Four months after setting world records in the 800-meter freestyle and 1,500-meter freestyle at the World Championships in Barcelona, Ledecky continued her banner year Saturday by shattering the American record in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the Winter National Championships.
Ledecky’s time of 15 minutes, 15.17 seconds was more than 9 seconds faster than the previous American record of 15:24.35 set by Katie Hoff in 2008.
“I wasn’t expecting 15:15,” Ledecky said. “I knew I was going pretty fast, but I couldn’t really tell exactly how fast. I was pretty shocked.”
Ledecky, a 16-year-old from Bethesda, Md., beat all her competitors Saturday by at least 39½ seconds. She turned in that record performance two days after winning the 500 freestyle in 4:32.37.
Not bad for someone who felt a little tuckered out at the start of the day.
“I woke up a little tired today, but I got a good nap in after prelims,” said Ledecky, the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner in the 800-meter freestyle. “I was feeling pretty good tonight.”
Ledecky wasn’t the only swimmer feeling good.
Nathan Adrian celebrated his 25th birthday Saturday by winning the 100 freestyle in 41.39 to edge Adam Brown (41.89) and fellow Olympic gold medalists Matt Grevers (41.99) and Darian Townsend (42.13). Adrian won the 50 freestyle Thursday.
As soon as Adrian finished, California’s swimmers sang “Happy Birthday” to the former Golden Bears star.
“There aren’t many things I feel that are more special than your teammates — although I’m not on a college team anymore — singing ‘Happy Birthday’ after you win a race,” Adrian said. “That was really cool and special for me.”
Missy Franklin closed a productive meet by joining California teammates Rachael Acker, Elizabeth Pelton and Kaylin Bing on a women’s 400 freestyle relay team that set a meet record (3:13.45). Franklin also finished second in the 200 backstroke (1:51.54) and third in the 100 freestyle (47.42) on Saturday. The four-time Olympic gold medalist won two individual events — the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke — and was part of three first-place relay teams this week.
Franklin now returns to campus, where the California freshman will take semester exams later this month.
“I couldn’t be happier at Berkeley,” Franklin said. “It’s been absolutely incredible. I love practices. I love school. I love my new coaches, my team. It’s been such a blast.”
Pelton won the 200 backstroke in 1:49.59 to cap a meet in which she also had finished first in the 200 individual medley and had competed on the winning 400 medley relay team and 400 freestyle relay team. Natalie Coughlin won the 100 freestyle (47.19) two days after placing first in the 50 freestyle.
Connor Jaeger won the men’s 1,650 freestyle in 14:39.02 after finishing first in the 500 freestyle two days earlier. Alia Atkinson won the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:06.22 to follow up her victory Friday in the 100 breaststroke.
The final day of competition at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center also featured a first-place performance from Brad Craig, who swam collegiately at Tennessee and still trains in Knoxville. Craig won the men’s 200 breaststroke in 1:52.99. Members of the Tennessee swim team cheered Craig on as he led from start to finish.
“It’s a nice change being kind of back in a team environment, having all them behind me,” Craig said. “I’ve got some friends from out of town that came in. Just having kind of that home-pool advantage and everything, it’s a great feeling.”
Other individual winners Saturday included Arkady Vyatchanin in the men’s 200 backstroke (1:37.87), Kelsi Worrell in the women’s 200 butterfly (1:54.12) and Dylan Bosch in the men’s 200 butterfly (1:41.01). Tyler Messerschmidt, Ryan Murphy, Fabio Gimondi and Seth Stubblefield set a meet record in the men’s 400 freestyle relay (2:51.16).
You just have to shake your head sometimes. World Swimmer of the Year Katie Ledecky not only scorched the American record in the 1650 free by nearly 10 seconds, she lapped the field that included a two-time Olympian in what might be one of the most amazing distance freestyle swims in the history of our sport at the final night of action at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals in Tennessee.
Ledecky hit the 500 yard mark in 4:35.35, just two seconds off the time she used to win the event on day one and if she were in college, would be good enough for an NCAA A cut — as a split. Then, about halfway through the swim, Ledecky lapped her first swimmer. At the 1000 mark, she clocked a 9:14.22, cutting several seconds off her personal best and just a few seconds off Katie Hoff’s American record in that event of a 9:10.77.
Ledecky then left no doubt by keeping up the pace with an unreal 15:15.17 to win the finale and cut almost 10 seconds from Katie Hoff’s 2008 record of 15:24.35 set while swimming for North Baltimore. Notably, Ledecky also crushed her meet record of 15:28.36 that also had stood as the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record until tonight.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman put up a strong 15:54.68 for second, while IX3′s Chloe Sutton clocked a 15:57.45 for third.
California’s Nathan Adrian made a serious run at the meet record in the 100 free, but wound up just short with a 41.39 for the win. That came up short of Matt Grevers’ 2010 record of 41.35 while swimming for Tucson Ford that year. The time is Adrian’s fourth best ever.
Along with Natalie Coughlin’s 50/100 free double, Adrian made it a clean sweep for Cal’s post-grad sweep with a 50/100 free double of his own.
The top three swimmers all cleared 42 seconds in a stacked finale. NYAC’s Adam Brown put up a strong 41.89 after clocking a 42.04 in prelims, while Grevers claimed third overall in 41.99.
NYAC’s Darian Townsend (42.13), Louisville’s Joao De Lucca (42.24), NYAC’s Josh Schneider (42.32), Utah’s Nicholas Soedel (42.72) and SwimAtlanta’s Karl Krug (42.78) also put up sub-43s in the championship finale.
Michigan’s Dylan Bosch lowered his personal best with a winning time of 1:41.01 as he had no peer this evening in the longer distance fly. That time beat his 1:41.18 from the 2013 Big Ten Championships as his personal record as he led wire-to-wire.
NCAP’s Andrew Seliskar dropped a second-place 1:42.55, about a second back of Tom Shield’s 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 1:41.52 from 2010. He still has some time to catch the record before he ages up.
Arizona State’s Alex Coci took third overall in 1:43.27, just edging Cal’s Will Hamilton (1:43.33) for the final spot on the podium.
For the full story go to Swimming World Magazine
The South African sport world on Saturday paid tribute to Nelson Mandela for recognising its role in uniting the country.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said this legacy should spur local teams on to greater heights.
“As the national Olympic body, we are saddened by the death of a great man who played a fundamental role in unifying people through sport,” said Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy.
“We will carry this legacy and encourage all athletes to continue nurturing their winning spirit and take South African sport to a higher level.
“It is a sad time. We should keep doing what his legacy stands for and take South African sport to another level.”
Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, said all sporting events in South Africa on the day of Mandela’s funeral on December 15 would be cancelled.
“Teams will also wear the black band and sing the national anthem and dedicate coming games in honour of Mandela,” said Mbalula.
He said South Africans must embrace sport as a unifying factor, as Mandela had.
“It’s through sport that we do not differentiate between white and black but are identified as one nation.
“This is through the legacy that Mandela achieved.”
National T20 cricket captain Faf du Plessis said Mandela made a difference in the lives of all people of the nation.
“Madiba has changed our lives, taught us the pillars of love, forgiveness and grace,” said Du Plessis.
Itumeleng Khune, captain of Kaizer Chiefs, said Mandela’s reach was universal.
“We have lost a father. We couldn’t have had all the opportunities we are having now if it wasn’t for Tata,” said Khune.
“Tata touched the lives of everyone throughout the world. He used his power to unite this country through sport and we have been bringing medals to South Africa.”
Chairman of Orlando Pirates Football Club, Irvin Khoza, remembered the role Mandela played in securing the rights to host the 2010 World Cup.
“Madiba realised that the catalyst required to build the unity of this country was the World Cup,” he said.
Swimming legend Michael Phelps, winner of the most medals in Olympic history, made his way this week to São Paulo to shoot a commercial with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, fueling more rumors of his return to competitive swimming in the 2016 Rio games.
While Phelps took time to shoot a commercial for Subway and conduct a fitness clinic alongside Pelé, the media following his South American sojourn hounded the swimming icon about buzz over his potential return to the pool.
Phelps coyly deflected a question from French news agency Agence France-Press about his alleged return, saying that it was “the million dollar question.”
“I’ve said 100 times if I feel like coming back … I could,” he added. “But I’m not saying I am going to.”
If Phelps plans to get back into the sport, he has certainly lined up his prospects. Long-term coach Bob Bowman fueled speculation of a comeback for the star last month by revealing the multiple champion signed up for drug-testing in May, which would allow Phelps to return to competitive swimming in March.
For his part, Phelps has said that he is only looking to get back in shape and not back into the competitive arena.
The trip to shoot the commercial for Subway was the American swimmer’s third trip to Brazil in 14 months. On his last trip – eight months ago – he gave swimming tips to children from the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro.
This time, while in São Paulo, Phelps said he was happy to see all the young fans come to meet him and Pelé.
“I always enjoy interacting with kids, and to be with a legend like Pelé makes it even better. The kids were so engaged when Pelé walked into the room,” he said. “Being healthy and staying active is very important to me and I want to teach the kids the same message.”
The removal last month of renowned swim coach Dick Shoulberg at Germantown Academy followed a hazing incident involving at least two male swimmers, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Shoulberg’s absence from the pool deck – after 44 years at the school, numerous championships, Olympic competitions, and national records – has caused an uproar among families and alumni, and cast an unwanted spotlight on the prestigious prep school and its elite swimming program.
Sources close to the GA swim team, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the issue, described an incident about two years ago when one freshman allegedly urinated on another. While many of the sources used the word hazing, it was unclear whether this was part of a pattern of behavior on the swim team.
It is also unclear who at GA learned of the incident and when.
Two sources close to Shoulberg, who also did not want to be named, said the coach notified his superiors immediately. Shoulberg said Wednesday that he “did nothing wrong” and that his leave was not related to any criminal or ethical violations.
A source within the school, who also did not want to be named due to the nature of the case, said that athletic director Jim Fenerty and Head of School Jim Connor learned of the allegations only recently and that Shoulberg had tried to handle the problem himself and “bury it.”
The source at Germantown Academy said tension between the boys has grown over the last two years, with the alleged victim refusing to stay in the same room with the perpetrator on athletic trips because, he said, the alleged perpetrator told him, “Don’t fall asleep.”
Kevin R. Steele, first assistant district attorney for Montgomery County, said his office was aware of “an allegation regarding a juvenile involved in an assault offense.”
He said he could not discuss any specific allegations because of state laws “protecting against the public disclosure of records regarding a juvenile matter of this grading.”
But, he said, “school officials brought the matter to the attention of law enforcement authorities and have fully cooperated.”
Connor said Friday that the school had “zero tolerance” for hazing or other behaviors that violated the institution’s code of conduct. He again refused to comment on Shoulberg’s leave or any allegations regarding students.
Shoulberg remains on administrative leave for “a personnel matter,” and Connor would not indicate when or whether the coach would return.
Shoulberg has said he wants to come back, even if not as head coach. In the meantime, Germantown alumna Claire Crippen and longtime boys coach Chris Lear have been promoted to acting head coaches.
Some news was made this week in Swimming World’s latest article presenting some of the most intense responses regarding our landmark decision to strip the drug-fueled East Germans of their World and European Swimmers of the Year awards.
USA Swimming, in a Swimming World request for response from multiple organizations involved in the situation, produced a statement from its president Bruce Stratton stating that USA Swimming is in support of stripping medals and records from cheaters.
To its credit, USA Swimming is the only organization that responded with a direct statement. Swimming Canada also responded, forwarding us to the Canadian Olympic Committee to handle an Olympic-specific request.
“The issues surrounding the alleged drug use of the East German swimmers have been extremely complex. This is a sensitive topic that has affected our swimming community, especially the athletes competing during that time period. USA Swimming is always in support of keeping the sport of swimming clean from illegal drug use. If there was doping involved in the achievement of past Olympic medals or records, we believe that the medals should be stripped and the records should be invalidated.”
Although one has to strip away some of the lawsuit-dodging qualifying terms like “alleged” and “if” in this particular situation, Stratton is now on record representing USA Swimming stating that “medals should be stripped and the records should be invalidated.”
Now, all it will take is for USA Swimming to internally get past the alleged part of the equation, which is surprising considering the German government admitted it happened, and nearly all of those involved admitted that it happened, and Swimming World produced the Stasi files that demonstrated it happened.
Once USA Swimming accepts these facts, the next step is for it to convince the USOC and FINA to make a push within the IOC to make things right.
For the full story go to Swimming World Magazine
Australian 5km open-water swimming champion Jarrod Poort has proved too good in the second round of the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.
The 19-year-old won the State Bay of Islands Classic today; a 3.3km swim from Russell to Paihia, 22 seconds ahead of Auckland’s Phillip Ryan.
The race was held in choppy conditions as a result of a strong nor-east breeze of between 15-20 knots.
In the women’s race 15-year-old Paige Schendelaar-Kemp made it a one-horse race, easily winning by over two minutes from fellow Aucklander Liana Smith.
“I’m definitely happy to get the win to get my overall points up in the series … I needed the win today after getting third in the first one,” Poort said.
Fairfax NZ News
The Junior South African Swimming Team returned from the 10th Africa Junior Swimming Championships which was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 28 November to 01 December 2013 at the Lusaka Olympic Swimming Pool with a dominant performance as defending champions.
The team won a total of 78 medals combined which included 46 gold, 17 silver and 15 bronze medals. In second came Egypt with a total combined medal count of 62 medals which included 5 gold, 33 silver and 24 bronze medals.
The four day swimming gala saw the South African swimmers breaking a staggering 22 African Junior Records. In the women’s section, the Victrix Ludorum trophy in the U15/16 went to South African Samantha Randle who broke a Junior African Record in the 200m backstroke with her team mates Erin Gallagher and Tarryn Els tied for second place.
The Victor Ludorum trophy for the U13/14 boys went to South African swimmer Kade Wood. In the U15/16 men, South African Joshua Steyn was crowned Victor Ludorum winning a total of 8 individual gold medals breaking 6 Junior African Records, the outstanding performer of the meet.
The CEO of Swimming South Africa had this to say on the team’s overall performance, “The young athletes performed exceptionally well and we are confident that the future stars for swimming will come from this team which was selected to represent our country at the African Junior Swimming Championships.”
FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, is taking the time to recognize and honor the legacy of South African legend Nelson Mandela today after his passing on Thursday at age 95 by flying the FINA flag at half mast in the organization’s Switzerland headquarters.
Though Mandela never had a direct involvement with aquatic sports, his work to end apartheid in South Africa had a lasting effect on sport in that country. With the end of the oppressive regime that treated the black majority as second-class citizens, South Africa was allowed to return to the Olympic Games after a 28-year-absence. Since then, South Africa has won 11 swimming medals at the Olympics, including five gold.
Two of those prestigious medalists, Roland Schoeman and Chad Le Clos, honored Mandela as well on Twitter.
Below is the full FINA press release regarding their tribute to Mandela:
FINA learnt with great sadness about the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the most charismatic leaders of the 20th century, and a true hero for his nation, South Africa. To honour his memory, the FINA flag is at half-mast at its headquarters in Lausanne.
During his life, he paid a hard price for his commitment towards equality, justice and human rights. His example, his courage and his vision remain a strong legacy for the entire world.
“The world has lost a great human being, and an inspiration to all of us. His successful fight against apartheid in South Africa is a major contribution to the improvement of human rights worldwide. Mandela also loved Sport. He strongly believed in its capacity to unite the five continents, in its commitment to bring peace and in its added value for the youth”, considered FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.
In this moment of worldwide mourning, FINA sends its heartfelt condolences to the entire South African nation, namely its Aquatic community.
Nick Thoman (Cincinnati, Ohio) broke three American records Friday at the 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships. Thoman broke both the 50y and 100y backstroke records and was also a part of the SwimMAC Carolina men’s relay team that broke the American record in the 4x50y medley relay. The competition concludes Saturday, December 7.
In one of the most exciting races of the night, Thoman battled Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) for the top spot in the 100y back. Both men finished under the previous American record held by Grevers (44.55), however, Thoman was the victor with a time of 44.07. Grevers finished second in 44.49 and Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla.) was third in 45.77.
Thoman was also part of the men’s relay team from SwimMAC Carolina that won the 4x50y medley with a time of 1:23.02. They broke the previous record by .15. Thoman also bested the American record in the 50y back with a split of 20.69 on the lead-off leg of the race. The realy team also included Eric Knight, Tim Phillips and Cullen Jones.
Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) earned her first two individual titles of the meet Friday, winning the 100y back and setting a championship record with her win in the 200y free.
Franklin won the 200y free with a time of 1:41.40. Franklin was able to hold on to an early lead to finish the race in championship-record time. Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) closed fast in the final 100 yards but was unable to overtake Franklin and finished second in 1:42.03. Elizabeth Pelton (Baltimore, Md.) rounded out the top three with a time of 1:44.71.
Franklin’s second win of the night came in the women’s 100y back. She took the lead at the halfway point and held on for the win in 51.59. She was followed by Cal teammates Pelton in 51.70 and Rachel Bootsma (Eden Prairie, Minn.) in 51.86.
Grevers won the men’s 100y fly, earning his first National title of the meet. Grevers touched the wall in 44.94 and was followed by Tim Phillips (Vienna, W. Va.) in 45.61. Romania’s Alexandru Coci was third with a time of 46.41.
2012 Olympian Claire Donahue (Lenoir City, Tenn.) was victorious in front of her home state crowd, winning the 100y fly in 51.69. Janet Hu of Nation’s Capital Swim Club was second in 51.76 and Kelsi Worrell (Mt. Holly, N.J.) was third in 51.94.
The women’s 400y IM saw a dominant performance by Celina Li (Pleasanton, Calif.). She led the field from start to finish and won the event in 4:06.54. University of Kansas swimmer Chelsie Miller placed second with a time of 4:08.86 and Canada’s Marni Oldershaw was third in 4:10.31. The men’s race went to 17-year-old Andrew Seliskar (McLean, Va.) with a winning time of 3:41.19. Josh Prenot (Santa Maria, Calif.) finished second in 3:43.86 and South Africa’s Dylan Bosch placed third in 3:45.31.
In other races, the men’s 100y breast was won by Slovenia’s Damir Dugonjic with a time of 51.93. Finland’s Eetu Karvonen was second in 52.13 and Brad Craig (Midland, Mich.) was third in 52.18. On the women’s side, Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson set a championship record in 57.62 to win the race. SwimMAC Carolina’s Katie Meili ws second in 59.03 and Molly Hannis of the University of Tennessee finished third in 59.18. Brazil’s Joao De Lucca won the men’s 200y free in 1:31.65, setting a new Championship record. South Africa’s Darian Townsend placed second in 1:31.93 and Dax Hill (Round Rock, Texas) was third in 1:32.77.
Competition concludes Saturday with preliminaries at 9 a.m. ET and finals at 5 p.m. ET.