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Sep 24 18

50% of SA’s dams aren’t safe to swim in – you can check dam water quality in real time on this website

by ZwemZa

A real-time map of nutrient pollution in more than 100 dams in South Africa shows that two in five could pose high health risks from toxic algae, and about half are not safe to swim in.

Cyanolakes, a South African company that specialises in determining water quality and algal bloom from satellite data, created the map. It was developed as part of the Earth Observation National Eutrophication Monitoring Programme, funded by the Water Research Commission. But the government funding has run out, and at the end of this month be information will no longer be free.

A 2014 study found that 50% of South Africa’s water bodies had pervasive toxic algae, which thrived due to eutrophication. Eutrophication is an excess of nutrients in the water, often caused by fertilizer and sewage run off, among other factors. This bacteria can be toxic to humans and animals.

Mark Matthews, founder of Cyanolakes, produced the 2014 study as part of his doctorate. He developed a method to determine the quantity of algae in water bodies from satellite data, and used it as the basis for Cyanolakes. This technique “allows [water utilities and companies] to monitor their water more effectively than traditional methods”, he says.

“[The map] is really about providing real time online service which gives you info about cyanobacterial blooms in the interest in protecting public health,” he says. “There is tons of satellite data, but it is sitting there doing nothing. We wanted to use that and serve it up so that the public can make decisions.”

The department of water and sanitation said it was considering options for the project. “We are however restricted by available budgets and no decision has yet been made,” said Gerhard Cilliers, scientific manager for resource quality monitoring at the department.

Asked if the South African situation had gotten worse since his PhD, Matthews says that it is about as bad as it was then. “The thing is, it is quite difficult to make generalisations.”

But he notes that the current levels are those for Spring. “[The quantity of algae] will be higher in summer. When the most people are in the water, it will be the worst.”

Sarah Wild, Business Insider SA

Sep 24 18

British Swimming Performance Squad revealed for 2019

by ZwemZa

Holly Hibbott and Sean Kelly (South Manchester News)

British Swimming has selected fifty-four athletes for its World Class Performance Programme for the 2018/19 season following an extensive selection procedure.

British Swimming undertakes a thorough analysis of athletes’ current and past performances to assess their ability to win future medals on the Olympic stage.

Athletes selected on to the World Class programmes are eligible to receive training camp and competition opportunities throughout the selected season.

They also have access to world-class sports science and medicine services, as well as enhanced support from British Swimming performance staff and National Institute of Sport programmes across the UK.

Athletes will also receive targeted financial assistance from UK Sport through the World Class Performance Programme’s Athlete Performance Award (APA).

Commenting on the selection announcement, British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice said “2018 proved a successful one for the World Class programme culminating in our home European Championships where we won our most medals in history (19 in Olympic events).  This was on the back of a highly successful meet in Finland with our European Junior squad which has made this selection all the more difficult.

“We selected a much larger team at the European’s than we normally would with seventeen new members selected to the senior team last season. As a result, we unearthed some exciting youngsters and the focus is to maximise our efforts in the next two years.

“We will be returning to our much tighter selection policy next year for the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju as we head into the final year of the 2020 Olympic cycle.

“We look forward to working with the athletes and their coaches to move our performances forward in this very important season.”

Double Olympic medallist Jazz Carlin is taking time out at the moment to get ready for the season after a difficult year with illness and injury.

*seven month offer (until end April 2019), subject to target.

British Swimming

Athlete selected for the British Swimming World Class Programme:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*seven month offer (until end April 2019), subject to target.

British Swimming

Sep 24 18

Duncan Scott: Scottish star ruptures ankle ligaments ‘falling over pavement’

by ZwemZa

Scotland’s Duncan Scott won two relay silver medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics (Getty Images)

Duncan Scott hasn’t made many missteps in his medal-laden career so far.

But the Scottish swimming star has revealed he is recovering from two ruptured ankle ligaments after falling over a pavement.

The 21-year-old was voted National Lottery athlete of the year on Sunday after winning six Commonwealth Games medals – a record haul for a Scottish athlete – and four at August’s European Championships in Glasgow, including three goals.

Scott admits his injury setback is “not ideal but it could have happened at a worse time”.

The next major event on the horizon is the World Championships in South Korea in July 2019, with the British trials in April the first target.

Scott hopes to be back in full training in a couple of weeks, but is in no rush after taking specialist advice.

“The swelling has gone down a bit now,” Scott, who is still a student at Stirling University, told BBC Scotland.

“With the support that I have here, I was able to see a specialist quickly and I’m well on the road to recovery. I’m in good hands.

“It’s obviously quite early [in the season] so I’m not sure I was looking to be at a certain place at the minute in terms of training. I’ve been back two or so weeks now and just doing some pool work and doing a bit more on land; it’s just about trying to let it recover.

“I’m not trying to rush back into things; that would be the biggest mistake.”

Building on this year’s achievements will no mean feat for Scott, whose stunning 100m freestyle gold on the Gold Coast was burnished with a 200m medley silver and four bronze medals.

He followed that with 200m freestyle gold and 100m silver in Glasgow, as well as helping Great Britain to gold in the 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays.

“The sheer depth we’re starting to get in British swimming is great, but it means it’s harder and harder to qualify for the teams, which is lovely,” he said as he looked forward to the World Championship trials, and “hopefully if all goes well”, the main event in Gwangju.

“It could be quite a busy year next year which could set us up nicely for the Olympics [in Tokyo]. We’re only two years away.”

Duncan Scott attends the National Lottery Awards in London

Scott attended the National Lottery Awards, where he was named athlete of the year, but says his growing profile “won’t faze him

Scott, then 19, returned home from the last Games in Rio with two relay silver medals.

His hard work for the next one will continue at Stirling University, where he trains alongside other British team members in Ross Murdoch, Craig Benson and Kathleen Dawson.

“Steven Tigg [Scott’s coach] is a great asset; he’s been here for a few years and he’s probably the boss of it all,” Scott added.

“The amount of work he puts in looking at the small details – there’s no luck to it all.

“We’ve always had good quality coaching and the support staff that we’ve had here over the last couple of years has been really good.

“Also being within touching distance of the Institute of Sport, we’ve got a really close connection with them and with sport science, physiology, nutrition, psychologists… the list goes on and on.”

BBC Sport

Sep 24 18

Jazz Carlin: Double Olympic medallist ‘taking time out’ from swimming

by ZwemZa

Double Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin suffered from pneumonia earlier this year (Getty Images)

Double Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin is taking time out from swimming and will not be considered for funding.

Since claiming 400m and 800m freestyle silver medals at Rio 2016 Carlin has struggled for form in both pool and marathon swimming events.

Carlin was sixth in the Commonwealth Games 800m final in April and dropped out part way through the 10km World Cup in China last week with illness.

Carlin is expected to return to the sport when she resumes full fitness.

“Jazz Carlin is taking time out at the moment to get ready for the season after a difficult year with illness and injury,” read a statement from British Swimming.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty, European gold medallist Duncan Scott and rising star Freya Anderson are among the 54 swimmers selected for British Swimming’s 2018-19 World Class Performance Programme.

European bronze medallist Hannah Miley and Commonwealth champion Aimee Willmott are the major names to lose funding, having failed to convince selectors they deserved further support, despite their successes in 2018.

BBC Sport

Sep 24 18

The world’s top anti-doping scientist thinks we can end cheating in sports. Here’s why.

by ZwemZa

The athlete biological passport: don’t leave home without it. Shutterstock

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have come to a close, and only four athletes were busted for doping.

Yay?

It’s certainly an improvement over the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Russia ran a massive, state-sanctioned doping program for its athletes, got caught, and was stripped of 13 of the 33 medals it won.

The scandal was highlighted in the Netflix documentary Icarus, which featured Russian anti-doping lab director turned whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov exposing the sophisticated apparatus behind the cheating. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Yet the four athletes who were caught this year are a reminder that the pressure to cheat is still there. And it’s growing more intense as technology advances and the stakes get higher in international competitions. “Doping appears remarkably widespread among elite athletes, and remains largely unchecked despite current biological testing,” the authors of a 2017 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) study write.

Anti-doping officials like Olivier Rabin, however, are convinced they can win. Rabin has led the science division at WADA since 2002, and believes better testing in the future will be able to all but eliminate doping. Even with the rise of new technologies like brain stimulation, doping tactics like microdosing, and nefarious government conspiracies, tools like biological passports could make illegal performance enhancers a non-factor in future competitions.

A lightly edited version of our conversation follows.


Umair Irfan

Sorry about earlier. Looks like the line was garbled and then disconnected.

Olivier Rabin

Hopefully we are not being recorded by the Russians.

Umair Irfan

So do you actually think we can end doping?

Olivier Rabin

Well, if my answer to your question was no, I wouldn’t be at WADA. I’m one of the people who believes that yes, we can probably come to that point.

There will always be new substances coming, but if we can be proactive enough to receive all the information from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for new drugs with doping potential … if we can access very rapidly all the illegal drugs that are released around the world almost every week, that’s just a matter of resources.

It’s not that we do not know what to do; it’s that we need to do it at a sufficiently large scale.

If you look at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games, the leading nation in medals was Norway, and Norway has a very good anti-doping agency there and they test their athletes a lot. So it shows that you can compete and you can win with good anti-doping programs in your country.

So I think there’s a lot of challenges to come, but yes … I really believe that we can come to a point when the impact of doping in sport would be absolutely negligible.

Umair Irfan

It’s interesting you bring up Norway because there were some questions about Norwegian athletes misusing the therapeutic use exemption for asthma drugs, which can also serve as performance enhancers. Their Olympic team went to Pyeongchang with 6,000 doses of asthma medicine. That seems fishy.

Olivier Rabin

Asthma is fairly prevalent in some sports and in some countries. And when we talk about the athletic population, people who compete in the cold and dry air environment are more susceptible to developing bronchoconstriction related to physical activity.

Asthma is not unusual, let’s put it this way. We have developed our own research on asthma and drugs to treat asthma, and we have no indication today that when taken at a therapeutic dose by inhalation, those drugs can provide any performance-enhancing effect to the athletes.

We have been involved in a few cases where we thought the medication was not properly used. And if needed, that can lead to sanction of the athletes wherever they are in the world, Norway or elsewhere.

Umair Irfan

Do we know how prevalent doping is in general? I’ve seen different estimates, including an anonymous WADA survey that found that anywhere between 43 percent and 70 percent of athletes were using banned substances in various international competitions.

Olivier Rabin

It’s a very good question. First of all, when I say “prevalence,” it should probably be “prevalences” because we’ve got indication that prevalence of doping varies according to the sport and according to the country.

You’ve got sports with potentially fairly high doping [cycling, weightlifting], a few percent, and different sports in the same country with an extremely low prevalence of doping [archery, table tennis]. In that situation, it’s not related to the country, it’s related to the discipline.

And then you’ve got countries, Russia being one of them, where manipulation can be high and the prevalence of doping is probably high. A publication by the [International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field] back in 2011 found that the prevalence of blood doping track and field varies a lot from country to country. Probably from discipline to discipline as well.

There is no one simple answer to this, and this is why at WADA we’re working now with a group of experts to develop tools that could be put in the hands of anti-doping organizations to better assess the prevalence of doping in their country or their sport.

Shutterstock

Umair Irfan

As more new drugs are developed and more substances are added to the banned list — there are more than 300 now — it seems like doping screens are getting harder.

Is the goal to screen for everything, or are you being more strategic about how you test?

Olivier Rabin

You are right. It’s always a challenge when you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of substances to analyze and the sensitivities of the methods you apply. Of course, we have to develop strategies, and those strategies are guided by our colleagues in other departments. Let’s take an example, EPO abuse could be potentially more prevalent or more of a benefit for the athletes [in cycling and track and field]. Then in those sports we need to have a higher rate, a higher percentage of samples tested for EPO.

Of course in some other sports where EPO use is less of an issue — let’s think about chess, let’s think about curling for example — you may want to reduce percentage of samples analyzed for EPO. You do some EPO analysis but you do not do that as frequently as for other endurance sports.

Umair Irfan

How do you deal with institutionalized cheating, like what we saw with the Russian government manipulating test results at the laboratory?

Olivier Rabin

First of all, as you may be following the Russian dossier from the beginning, you may have seen that one of the first concrete actions taken by WADA was to suspend the lab and then to revoke it and then to request that the lab director at the time was basically laid off.

That’s the authority we have over the anti-doping labs. It was a lesson learned by everybody that, of course, a lab that is part of the anti-doping system can with different strategies fool the system. Even as we started to have suspicions, we needed to go from suspicions to proof, proof that we could use before a court, which we’ve done of course now.

In 2012, we did two things that I believe are very important: We received the authority to investigate under the new version of the WADA anti-doping code. A case like the one we’re referring to required investigation power that we now have.

The second element that now is in place is what we call the international standard for compliance. In the past, WADA had no authority when a country, or a sport, or other bodies such as a government or an international organization were not compliant with the anti-doping rules as established under the world anti-doping code. This has changed now. We have an international standard in place that allows us to investigate, but also a sanctioning mechanism for countries that are not compliant.

Umair Irfan

It seems athletes are looking increasingly toward forms of mental performance enhancement or drugs that act on the central nervous system. Clearly, drugs like amphetamines are banned, but it seems there is a gray area with drugs like caffeine and some new twists with tactics like transcranial direct current stimulation. How does WADA handle these kinds of drugs or strategies?

Olivier Rabin

So there are still new stimulants that we add to the list. They are by definition are prohibited, but when we see new legal ones coming, we identify them and we make their detection a variable to screen at the anti-doping labs.

Now if you talk about transcranial stimulation, this is something our group of experts looked into and they are not convinced at this point that there are some measurable enhancements of performance with this approach. We follow the literature very well, and if you look at transcranial stimulation, some studies are very controversial and there is still a need for this methodology to demonstrate that it is effective.

Some people believe it is, some other people are very doubtful. It’s also being applied also in a medical environment and we followed some of these studies being conducted for clinical applications of transcranial stimulation. And again, the results are not that clear.

So before we jump the gun and say this is absolutely prohibited, we need to have some level of scientific and medical evidence to say so. The code imposes on us that a banned method has the potential to be performance enhancing, is a risk for the health of the athletes, and potentially violates the spirit of sport. For now, transcranial stimulation doesn’t fulfill these criteria.

Caffeine has been the subject of a lot of debate with our list expert group. The fact that caffeine is widely available shows it cannot be considered as a risk for health, even sometimes you’ve got studies showing quite the opposite. So far WADA decided not to include caffeine on the list of prohibited substances and methods.

Umair Irfan

I’ve been really interested in the use of the athlete biological passport as a tool to detect cheating in sports like cycling and track and field by monitoring the values of individual biomarkers over time that could signal foul play. It seems that it’s shifting the burden of proof from the anti-doping authorities to find cheating to the athletes who have to now prove they are clean.

Can you tell me about the logic behind this approach?

Olivier Rabin

Having been intimately involved with the passport at the very beginning back in 2002-2003, I think that there are two major things you have to keep in mind. The first one is that you are not using a reference population or reference range population to establish a value.

Now, with the passport, we have changed from a reference range population to your own values. So that cuts down on a lot of human population variability.

The second element coming into play is we take the values over time and we use what we call the adaptive model. It allows us to predict what your next value should be if you do not manipulate your biology, or if you take doping substances.

We usually need to have two or three values to establish a good baseline for the different variables, the different biomarkers. And some of the athletes are tested tens of times every year.

When all these elements are developed and well-integrated, some of us do believe that it will be very, very complicated for athletes to dope, or if they do, they will do it at such a low scale that the impact on their performance is probably going to be negligible.

Umair Irfan

Have you started to see the effects of a biological passport? And could an athlete game the passport? Can athletes microdose with a performance enhancer over time so their baseline is elevated?

Olivier Rabin

Today the athlete biological passport, and in particular the hematological module, has led to a huge difference in terms of impact on the blood variables. There has been some very good data collected by some federations showing the normalization of the blood variables of the athlete population compared to normal values in given populations.

With a normalization of blood values over time, we showed that the athletes are less likely to manipulate.

Let’s think about EPO microdosing. It’s something we integrated into the development of the hematological module of the ABP right at the beginning. Some of the studies we have conducted have been done with microdosing factored in.

Now, we are not naive to the point where we believe that we have eradicated blood doping. We are constantly refining the passport and the biomarkers and the variables we include in the passport to make sure this is a very strong tool that will last for years.

Umair Irfan | Vox

Sep 23 18

5-time Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin announces engagement to Hayes Johnson

by ZwemZa

(L-R) Hayes Johnson proposes to Missy Franklin at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort on Sept. 22, 2018 in Georgia.

After diving into an Olympic swimming pool and emerging with a gold medal five times, Missy Franklin will soon be taking a different kind of plunge.

The 23-year-old announced her engagement to boyfriend Hayes Johnson in an Instagram post Sunday morning.

“Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin said in the post. “Yes. Yes. Yes. A million times over.”

Johnson was also a swimmer, competing at the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and also winning an NCAA team championship while at the University of Texas in 2010. Franklin was also a star in college for Cal, maintaining her amateur status for two seasons after making her Olympic debut at the Olympic Games London 2012 as a 17-year-old.

Franklin won five medals in London, four of them gold. Her gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke was the first for an American woman in that event in 40 years. Her time of 2:04.06 remains the world record. For her remarkable achievements in 2012, she was named World and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World.

After turning pro in 2015 with four individual NCAA national championships to her name, Franklin won the gold medal in Rio in the 4×200 freestyle. Until Katie Ledecky broke it in 2017, she held the record for most world championship medals with 11.

Todd Kortemeier | Team USA

Sep 23 18

People can put pressure on me but I’m not bothered – Duncan Scott

by ZwemZa

Duncan Scott celebrates winning the Men’s 100m Freestyle final (Image: Action Plus via Getty)

Heightened expectations and pressure to win medals “do not bother” Commonwealth gold medallist Duncan Scott.

The swimmer, 21, earned six medals on the Gold Coast – a record Games haul for a Scottish athlete – and four at the Glasgow European Championships.

He has been voted National Lottery athlete of the year but says his “growing” profile “will not faze me”.

“People can think what they want, put pressure on me but I won’t read into it,” Scott told BBC Scotland.

“If I swim well, I swim well. If I don’t, I don’t. I won’t look at things online or anything about swimming. I love the sport but a lot of this side stuff I don’t really look into.”

A double-silver medallist in two relay events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Scott helped Great Britain to 4x200m freestyle relay gold at the World Championships the following year.

His six-medal tally in Australia, including a stunning 100m freestyle victory, and collection of three golds and a silver in Glasgow capped a fine 2018.

Scott’s next major target is sealing qualification for the British World Championships team – a task he says gets “harder year on year” – that will travel to South Korea in August.

“I didn’t go into this year looking to try and do what I’ve done – it was more one race at a time – but I’m delighted with how things have gone,” Scott said.

“British swimming has quality and quantity now. That’s great and you could say it’s down to the immense lottery funding British swimming has had over the last couple of years. I’m one of many that have got to thank the lottery for what they’ve done.”

BBC Sport

Sep 23 18

Le Clos, Van der Burgh to lead Team SA charge in Hangzhou

by ZwemZa

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 09: Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa celebrates after winning the Men’s 100m Breaststroke on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Optus Aquatic Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos will feature at their fifth FINA World Short-Course Championships in Hangzhou, China from December 11 to 16.

Swimming SA (SSA) named the two stalwarts in an 11-member team for the biennial showpiece where they will spearhead the country’s charge in the 25-metre pool.

The duo were the only contributors to South Africa’s tally at the previous edition in Canada where their five-medal haul placed the country on the meals table.

Le Clos was named the top male swimmer at the championships claiming the golden butterfly treble winning the 50m, 100m, and 200m titles in his specialist stroke.

He added the 200m freestyle for good measure while Van der Burgh claimed the top step on the podium in the 50m breaststroke.

South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker wins the swimming women’s 200m breaststroke final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on April 7, 2018. Photo: FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT / AFP

The team includes Commonwealth Games breaststroke double gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker has been included in the team but it is anyone’s guess whether she would be going to her maiden world championships.

She could be a medal contender with her form this year in both the 25 and 50m-pools after she broke the longest standing national record at last month’s South African Short-Course Championships in Durban.

Schoenmaker broke swimming legend Penny Heyns’ 50m breaststroke during the heats before improving the time in the final clocking 30.39 seconds.

The championships should also be a baptism of fire for rising star Rebecca Meder, who would be making her senior debut at a major championship.

SSA said swimmers would have to contribute R15 000 each to go to the championships while they would also have to foot the bill for  their visa applications.

South African team: 

Men: Ryan Coetzee, Doug Erasmus, Chad le Clos, Ayrton Sweeney, Brad Tandy, Cameron van der Burgh, Zane Waddell.
Women: Erin Gallagher, Rebecca Meder, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Emily Visagie.
written by The Games | Edited by ZwemZa

 

Sep 22 18

Lilly King among swimmers who voiced disappointment with WADA on Twitter

by ZwemZa

Lilly King (USA Swimming)

Olympic champion IU swimmer Lilly King and others around the world are furious with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and are venting on Twitter.

WADA on Thursday reinstated the Russia Anti-Doping Agency as compliant with the World Anti-Doping code.

Russia’s testing agency had been banned for three years for alleged state-sponsored doping. The International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the Winter Olympics this year in Pyeongchang, South Korea, because of the scandal.

Many well-known swimmers were angry with the decision to reinstate the agency, including Hoosier star King, who gained fame for wagging a finger at Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Efimova was allowed to compete in Rio after a 16-month suspension for doping and despite another positive test in 2016 for the banned substance meldonium.

Indy Star

Sep 22 18

Kevin Cordes is motivated and moving forward

by ZwemZa

Kevin Cordes (Tim Binning/TheSwimPictures.com)

Almost two months later, Kevin Cordes still isn’t quite sure what went wrong at Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships this summer.

Maybe he didn’t rest enough. Maybe his taper was mistimed. Maybe he took it for granted that a spot on this summer’s Pan Pacific and next summer’s World Championship teams was his for the taking.

Hard to say, really, although one thing’s for sure.

Because his times were slower than the ones he put up at last year’s Phillips 66 Nationals in winning the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events and making the 2017 World Championship team. Cordes failed to defend his titles and missed a spot on what would have been his fourth-straight World team next summer.

“Usually after a season ends, I take some time off because I was so focused on my swimming, so I took a couple weeks off after Nationals to refresh, heal a bit and cleanse my mind,” said Cordes, a member of and medalist for the 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championship teams.

“After this year’s meet, I needed to gain some perspective and think about what happened at Nationals. What I learned was that, rather than be too disappointed, I found more motivation for my swimming. I rediscovered my competitive flame.”

Unlike his reaction in 2012 when he missed making the Olympic team by a single spot (finishing third) in the 100 breaststroke, Cordes said he is embracing his feelings this time around – a sure sign of maturity.

In the past, he said he would have shut down, closed himself off and not talked about the disappointment he felt from not having performed as he wanted and reached the goals that he set.

But now at 25 and more accepting of the failures in his swimming life as he is the many successes, and instead of wallowing in what he missed, he said he’s focusing on what he can do to get better over the next 21-plus months leading up to the next Olympic Trials.

“Life has taught me that the valleys are just as important – and sometimes more important – than the peaks, but that is something you have to experience for yourself to really learn and appreciate,” said Cordes, who won the 100 breast and finished second in the 200 at 2016 Olympic Trials to make the Rio team.

“Even though I won last year, that didn’t mean I was going to automatically win this year, but I may have taken that for granted and assumed that it would happen.”

While he said he can’t pinpoint any one thing that prevented him from swimming his best times at Phillips 66 Nationals – he finished fourth in the 50 and 100 breaststroke events and fifth in the 200 breast, a full two seconds slower than he was in 2017 – Cordes said he does remember that he struggled to find his speed throughout the meet.

While he said, in retrospect, he didn’t rest enough prior to the meet, while he was going through his races, he was lacking what he calls his easy speed and lacked that final push he’s had in the past.

“I couldn’t find my extra gear, and when I’m swimming my best, it’s smooth and easy and I don’t have to force things,” said Cordes, the American record holder in the 100 breaststroke.

“It was a struggle for me the whole meet, but I really thought I would find what I needed to finish in the top 2. I didn’t have it the whole week.”

And while he failed to make the 2018 Pan Pac team and won’t get the chance to swim in Korea next summer at the 2019 FINA World Championships, as a member of the National Team for the seventh straight year, Cordes said he feels he has a good chance of being asked to compete at the 2019 Pan American Games next summer in Peru.

He doesn’t know when he will find out if he has been appointed to that team.

In the meantime, he is focusing on his training and planning out next season and the next year or so to make sure the same thing that happened at Phillips 66 Nationals this year doesn’t happen at Trials in Omaha in 2020.

“It’s important for me to have something to train toward, and whether that’s the spring meets or Pan Ams next summer or even Trials, that will continue to motivate me to work hard to get faster,” who said he never considered retiring after the disappointment he experienced this summer.

“I’m not big on proving myself to anyone other than myself, but I see the next couple of years as an opportunity to re-establish myself and show everyone again that this summer was a fluke – a one-time thing. I’m excited to bounce back and gain some momentum moving forward to 2020.”

Mike Watkins | USA Swimming Correspondent

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