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Apr 19 19

Scott breaks British record on day three of British Championships

by ZwemZa

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

Duncan Scott underlined his unquestionable talent as he broke the British record to crown a sensational night of swimming on day three of the 2019 British Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

Earlier in the night Daniel Jervis produced the swim of his career to secure automatic World Championship qualification after dominating the 1500m, but Scott stole the show in the Men’s 100m Freestyle to round out proceedings.

Having looked good in qualifying, Stirling University’s Scott was hot favourite to take gold and book a seat on the plane to the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, but few would have predicted he would break the British record in the process. A quick first 50m saw him reach halfway in 23.10, and despite admitting it was hurting at the back end, Scott brought it home in fine style to touch in 47.87.

“It was good, a PB obviously and a nice way to move it on slightly from two years ago. It was nice to break 48 flat again, I’m happy with that. It was good to do it in Glasgow as well, as it’s becoming quite a good pool for me. Now it’s about trying to do that on an international scene quite consistently – I’d like to be competitive on the world stage, so there’s still quite a lot of areas for me to improve on for me to do that. That’s not going to medal at a World Championships so there’s definitely a couple more steps that need to be taken.

“It’s a weight off my shoulders though, as trials are always quite tough. The second you finish you know whether it’s good enough or not, there’s no real ‘am I on the team or not?’ You just know the second you’re done. It’s nice to get it out the way in my second day of racing and move on over the next couple of days.

“I’ve had a really good block of training and the last 8-12 months have been really good, with two altitude camps I’ve done with British Swimming – it’s been really good and consistent, which is key.”

Chasing him all the way was training partner Scott McLay, who took almost a second off his lifetime best from the start of the day to take silver, with David Cumberlidge getting up for third. In the transition final Jacob Whittle produced a record breaking swim to touch third in 50.37, the fastest time in history by a 14 year.

After winning the 400m title on the opening night, everything indicated that Daniel Jervis was in the shape of his life and so it proved as he moved to within half a second of the British record. With the Tollcross crowd roaring him on, Jervis pushed all the way, despite being well clear of the field, to stop the clock in 14.46.51, a personal best by some two seconds. That swim leaves him second on the British all-time rankings, behind only his idol David Davies.

A jubilant Jervis said:

“I’m really pleased with that – today was my day fortunately for me. I just had to keep focused as I was so nervous because I put a lot of pressure on myself. When I compete at Worlds that’s going to be a completely different environment, there’s going to be a lot more people, a lot more people to race, and a lot better guys than me and you never know what’s going to happen. I haven’t competed in that many major international competitions, so every competition I go to will just be a learning experience for me.”

Commenting on his idol David Davies, the double British champion said:

“David was just a legend – if that was 15 years ago just think what that time would have been now. That’s just testament to him and his coach back then, but me and my coach have got a lot to work on before then and I will be going after that time. Maybe not in the next competition but definitely in the future.”

The third automatic qualifier for the World Championships on the night was Max Litchfield, the National Centre Loughborough swimmer delivering when it counted to take the win in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley and go inside the required qualifying time. Setting things up with a strong butterfly leg, Litchfield led from start to finish to secure his spot on the GB team. Commonwealth Games medallist Mark Szaranek put up a good fight to take silver, with Millfield’s Brodie Williams bagging bronze.

Of his performance Litchfield said:

“That was the aim, to get under that time and we’ve done that, so it takes the pressure off the rest of the week a bit – we can have some fun in the two shorter events now! I try to make things simple, I do swim better when I keep things simple – it was a matter of getting that time and I’ve done that. I’ll go back and look at the splits now and see where we’re at, but I’m sure there’s definitely a few things we can work on that can bring that time down for sure in the summer.”

Alys Thomas was also on form on an incredible night of swimming, the Commonwealth and European medallist taking gold in the Women’s 200m Butterfly, a really strong swim bringing her home inside the World Championship consideration time. Despite a quick opening 100m, Thomas didn’t have it all her own way as silver medallist Laura Stephens finished like a train to set a new lifetime best of 2.07.96, less than a tenth outside the consideration time.

Afterward Alys said:

“I’m really pleased with that. Obviously it’s a season’s best and to be back where I was at Europeans, well I’m just pleased to be back there already. I think the aim for me is to keep progressing on the swim every time I swim it, and just keep getting faster this season. I got the consideration time so I’ll just have to wait and see about Worlds, but obviously it’d be my second Worlds. My last one in Budapest I was sick, so I don’t think I got to swim to my full potential, so I’ll be giving it a good go if I get to go.”

Anna Hopkin powered her way to the Women’s 50m Freestyle British title, backing up her status as fastest qualifier. After qualifying first in the Women’s 50m Butterfly only to finish fourth in the final, Hopkin had a point to prove and she duly delivered tonight. Taking the touch ahead of Emily Barclay and Freya Anderson, Hopkin dipped under 25 seconds but was just pleased to take the title.

“I’m really happy to have won – obviously it wasn’t quite as quick as the morning, so I’d always like to go quicker but at the end of the day the final is about the win, so I’m happy. I’ve got the 100m tomorrow so that’s the main focus for me, so hopefully I can bring this into that.”

The live stream resumes at 10am tomorrow morning in the Deep End Live studio, with the finals kicking off at 6.30pm. Head to the British Swimming Facebook and YouTube channels to ensure you don’t miss out.

If you’re up in Glasgow, a limited number of tickets are still available on the door at the venue.

For full results from today’s action please click here


Apr 18 19

Olympic star Emma McKeon reveals what she learned from Rio Games controversy

by ZwemZa

Australia’s most successful swimmer at the Rio Olympics, Emma McKeon, says she’s learnt from the pitfalls of her 2016 campaign, while honing in on her physical attributes in an attempt to build muscle and get stronger in the lead up to 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Fresh off a successful meet at the Australian championships, the Australian swim star’s maiden Olympic campaign in Brazil was a successful one with four medals in all, taking home gold in the 4x100m relay, a pair of silvers in the 4x200m medley and 4x100m medley relays and a bronze in the 200m freestyle.

After missing out on selection in 2012, the Wollongong local said she was “stoked” with her debut at the Olympics and even though there was only one gold to take home, she felt the experience was a huge learning curve.

Australia’s Emma McKeon after the women’s 100m butterfly final at the Rio Olympics. (AAP)

Upon reflection, the 24-year-old shook up her practice regime and implemented an approach that was going to capitalise on strength training and the current swimming calendar which has seen a change in dates for the Australian trials.

Although she was satisfied with her medal haul at Rio, she confessed that she would ultimately like to compete harder in individual events. But that would only happen by concentrating on increasing the size of her frame and muscle mass.

“What I was lacking was strength behind most of the girls in the world so putting that good block of gym work in definitely made me a lot stronger I feel confident in that,” McKeon told Wide World of Sports.

“After Pan Pacs last year I kind of just did a lot of gym walk my focus was getting stronger so I really didn’t do much swimming and then just heavy in the gym and I feel like that really paid off.

“Since January I’ve been back in the pool and getting that work done. Because we’ve got later trials it’s given me the opportunity to be able to do that I’ve never been able to do that before.”

While McKeon’s performance alone was enough to make headlines, unfortunately her conduct outside the pool gained just as much attention at the Rio games.

The Australian Olympic team’s Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, promised discipline would be a feature of her leadership inside the team and followed through by banning McKeon from participating in the closing ceremony for breaching team rules when she failed to inform team management she would be staying the night with friends instead of returning to the Athlete’s Village.

However, Chiller decided to backflip on the ban after McKeon wrote a letter of appeal and an uproar from politicians and the swimming community in Wollongong followed.

While McKeon said the biggest learning curve from the games was “to follow the rules a bit closer”, the gold medallist said she tried hard not to make the negative headlines her focus when she arrived back home from Rio.

Emma McKeon faces the media in Rio. (AAP)

“It opened my eyes up how things are run I guess which I had never realised before never being to an Olympics before,” said McKeon.

“I think once a I got back I tried to make my memories of the good things not all the crap that happened.

“For us it felt like it was a bit more strict than it needed to be. We’re all adults. That stuff happens, it’s a big team.”

McKeon achieved a level of success at the Aussie championships that will provide her with a better view in setting her goals for the Japan Olympics next year.

It also gave her an indication of how fast the younger breed of swimmers are developing and how much of a threat they will pose come Tokyo.

Eighteen-year-old Ariarne Titmus flexed her muscles at the local meet and perhaps put in the most impressive swim at the championships.

Titmus put up a 1:54.30 in the 200m freestyle to smash the existing Australian record previously owned by McKeon, also breaking the Commonwealth mark.

Emma McKeon and Mitch Larkin were two of the stars of the Rio Games. (AAP)

Rather than worry about the previous record she set, McKeon said it was better that the mark was broken with plenty of time to react. She will use it as extra motivation heading into the Olympics in just under 18 months.

“I’ve had that record since the Olympic trials in 2016. It sucks for it not to be yours anymore it motivates me as well,” she said.

“I was happy with my 200m freestyle time which is faster than I’ve done in season even leading into when I did get that record so I’ve kind of got to try and look at that and look at my own progress but also use that as motivation.

“If you’re worrying about someone else breaking your record then it can be distracting. I was never worried about that. Ariarne is an amazing swimmer and I think it’s a good thing its gone and not keeping me comfortable.”

Apr 18 19

‘Anytime, anywhere’ says Adam Peaty as he takes his second British title

by ZwemZa

Adam Peaty is a double champion at the British Swimming Championships after striking gold in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke event.

The Loughborough NC swimmer won the 100m Breaststroke race in session two of the championships, clocking the fastest time in the world this year for that event.

However, Peaty was slightly disappointed with his time in the 50m events as he clocked 26.49.

He said: “It’s almost the same time as this morning – little bit disappointed in that. I wanted to move it on but the harder you try sometimes, you end up with worse results.”

Nevertheless, it was still an impressive performance from the 24-year-old who looked certain to take the win from the 20m mark onwards.

The second and third places were taken by two Scottish swimmers, with Ross Murdoch in silver in 27.45 and Craig Benson touching home in 27.74 to finish in the bronze medal position.

“Sport can be a very powerful thing, it can inspire millions of people if you allow it.”

“But at the same time you’re only human, don’t take it too seriously and enjoy it,” Peaty added.

“I’ve always got an ethos that the bigger the crowd the better I swim and it really does show. All my best performances have been in the big crowd arenas.

“That’s just who I am. I like to almost showboat it – I love to race in front of loads of people.”

When questioned about whether he would prefer the 100m and 50m races more spread out, Peaty said: “Anywhere, anytime – that’s my attitude. It could be on the same night and I’ll still race the same so that’s my attitude to that.

“The World Championships are pretty much the same. Obviously you’ve got the semis, then you’ve got the finals so you’ve got a bit more rest but everyone’s in the same boat.”

Golden Greenbank swims two PB’s

In the men’s 100m Backstroke Luke Greenbank set a new personal best in the process of taking the British title.

Greenbank beat his personal best from last year’s Commonwealth Games twice in the same day, his gold medal winning swim was 53.92, which beat his 54.15 swim earlier in the day.

He said: “I’m really pleased to get under 54 that was the aim, so I’m really chuffed. It always helps with the 200, to get a good 100 under my belt, so I’m really pleased.”

Joe Litchfield finished second with a time of 54.71 followed by 18-year-old Nicholas Pyle who achieved a record time for his age group, clocking a time of 54.82.

Disappointed Davies

Despite claiming the women’s 100m Backstroke British title, Georgia Davies was far from happy with her time, clocking a 1.00.31.

She said: “I’m really disappointed with that time, I’m obviously very pleased to become British champion that’s always nice to win, but I’m always chasing times and trying to improve myself.

“I set the bar so high for myself and that time just isn’t anywhere near what I was aiming for tonight. I obviously really want to qualify for the World Championships and I’m definitely not within the consideration time there so I’m absolutely devastated.

“I was actually shocked at the time when I saw the scoreboard, I was gobsmacked and not in a good way. I don’t know what I did wrong and I’m going to have to watch it back and try to work that out.”

Jessica Fullalove took silver in that race with a time of 1.00.84 and Kathleen Dawson swam a time of 1.01.12 to earn bronze.

Molly Renshaw wins gold at British Champs 2019

Renshaw hopes for World Champs place

Molly Renshaw earned gold and recorded a consideration time of 2:23:42 in the women’s 200m Breaststroke ahead of the upcoming World Championships.

After winning the British title, she said: “I couldn’t have asked for much more really, my training has been going so well.

“I just wanted to come here and post a good time and try to get on the team, so I’ll have to wait and see.”

The battle for silver and bronze was a close one, with Katie Matts (2:25:58) finishing ahead of Jocelyn Ulyett (2:25:79).

Guy takes gold

James Guy took the men’s 200m Butterfly title, beating Duncan Scott and fellow Englishman Jacob Peters.

Guy recorded a time of 1.56.51 with Scott not far behind with a time of 1.57.00.

But Peters was almost two seconds away from his personal best (1:57:16), which he achieved at the Swim England Winter Championships in 2017, finishing with a time of 1.59.14.

Guy said: “The last ten metres I felt like a drowning hippo, it was very very hard. Nice to get the win, Jacob and Duncan were good competitors in that race but nice to get the win.”

Atkinson ‘unexpected’ win

Charlotte Atkinson swam a personal best with a time of 26.80 to be crowned British champion in the women’s 50m Butterfly.

Atkinson said: “I’m really happy with that 50 because I’ve not done that time since I won it in 2017 so I’m really pleased.

“It was unexpected because I’ve approached this season a bit differently.”

The race was an extremely close one, with just 0.04 of a second between Atkinson and Harriet Jones who took silver.

Sophie Yendell was just another 0.03 of a second behind, clocking a time of 26.86 as she won the bronze medal.

Sport England

Apr 17 19

DJ Louderstein on the Decks as Edwards-Smith drops Ozzie record

by ZwemZa

Clocking a time of 55.01 in the Boys’ 16-year 100m Backstroke was music to Joshua Edwards-Smith’s ears, as the UWA West Coast swimmer broke Andrew Lauterstein’s Australian Age and All Comers record on night three of the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships.

Fittingly, Lauterstein – also known as ‘DJ Louderstein’ – was controlling the beats poolside and witnessed his 15-year-old record be surpassed by 0.43 of a second. Fighting it out in lanes three and four, Will Sharp (Nunawading) touched in 56.16 to claim silver, while Thomas Hauck (All Saints GC) achieved his third medal of the meet – finishing third in 56.18.

Rackley’s Thomas Neill racked up his second gold medal of the competition, after swimming sub eight minutes in the Boys’ 16-year 800m Freestyle. Cruising through the water in lane five, Neill led for the majority of the race – and cut nearly 10 seconds off his qualifying time – to secure the title in 7:59.05. Thomas Raymond from Nudgee College clocked 8:11.68 to nab silver, while Seungbeen Cho from St Peters Western pinched the bronze in 8:15.48.

Newmarket Racers’ Elizabeth Dekkers was successful in her quest to take out the Girls 14-year 200m Butterfly event. Logging a time of 2:11.37, the young prospect was only six one hundredths of a second behind the Australian Age and All Comers record set by Dolphin Madeline Groves in 2009. Korea’s Yunhui Kim finished second in 2:14.24 and Jamie Krueger (Fairymead) nabbed third in 2:14.27.

Touching the wall in 1:05.80, an ecstatic Joshua Collett (Knox Pymble) slammed his fist into the water to celebrate his win in the Boys’ 15-year 100m Breaststroke. Joshua Staples from St Peters Western and Jack Dugandzic from Churchie battled it out in lanes four and five for silver and bronze. In the end, it was Staples who stood in second place on the podium with a time of 1:05.89, to Dugandzic’s 1:06.12.

Swimming for Rackley, young Bronte Job got the job done in the Girls’ 16-year 100m Backstroke. Recording her second win of the meet – Job also won the Girls’ 16-year 50m Freestyle on night two – the versatile swimmer clocked 1:00.51 to take home the gold. Brisbane Grammar’s Tahlia Thornton received silver in 1:02.04, while swimming from lane three, Arena’s Alyssa Burgess scored bronze with a time of 1:02.09.

It was a trio of Thomas’ who took the trifecta in the Boys’ 16-year 400m Individual Medley. Thomas Hauck (All Saints GC) earned his second medal of the night in 4:20.58, Thomas Neill (Rackley) snared silver in 4:22.07 and Thomas Lightfoot (Marion) lured bronze in 4:28.55.

St Peters Western scored two medals in the Girls’ 14-year 100m Freestyle, with Ella Ramsay (55.96) claiming her second gold of the meet and teammate Paris Burlock (56.63) placing third. Sydney Brown from Wests Illawarra spoiled their hopes of the top two spots, taking home silver in 56.14.

Charging home in the Boys’ 14-year 100m Freestyle in a time of 53.20 was TSS Aquatics’ Flynn McGregor. Speeding along in lane five as the second-faster qualifier, he had tough competition from lane nine, with Churchie’s James Yu (53.37) powering through the water to also record his second medal of the competition. North West Aquatic swimmer, Stone Ma, collected bronze in 53.59.

Manly’s Charli Brown and SLC Aquadot’s Jessica Madden eyeballed each other in lanes five and six throughout the Girls’ 16-year 400m Individual Medley. Going stroke for stroke, Brown was strong enough to touch the wall first in 4:47.92, with Madden fractions behind in 4:47.98. Local swimmer Emilie Muir (Norwood) was third fastest, coming home in 4:48.77.

In other results of the night:

Boys’ 17-year 800m Freestyle

Gold – Silas Harris (Northcote) in 8:09.85

Silver – Nick Jennens (Manly) in 8:15.51

Bronze – Stuart Swinburn (Uni of NSW) in 8:17.64

Girls’ 15-year 100m Breaststroke

Gold – Tara Kinder (DVE Aquatic) in 1:09.79

Silver – Nisha Kijkanakorn (Nunawading) in 1:11.03

Bronze – Emily Cobb (Acacia Bayside) in 1:11.16

Boys’ 14-year 200m Butterfly

Gold – Jesse Coleman (Bond) in 2:06.99

Silver – Fergus McLachlan (Norwood) in 2:08.76

Bronze – Daniel Craig (Miami) in 2:08.85

Boys’ 17-year 400m Individual Medley

Gold – Se-Bom Lee (Carlile) in 4:19.10

Silver – Kyle Niesler (St Peters Western) in 4:24.21

Bronze – Lucas Humeniuk (Chandler) in 4:24.35

Girls 15-year 400m Freestyle

Gold – Jenna Forrester (St Peters Western) in 4:13.55

Silver – Emily White (Norwood) in 4:16.98

Bronze – Finella Gibbs-Beal (Noosa) in 4:20.09

Boys’ 15-year 400m Freestyle

Gold – Samuel Short (Albany Creek) in 3:56.05

Silver – Joshua Staples (St Peters Western) in 4:02.04

Bronze – Ruben Rees (Miami) in 4:03.51

Girls’ 13-year 200m Backstroke

Gold – Claveria Johnson-Tiumalu (St Peters Western) in 2:20.32

Silver – Sienna Shepherd (Bayside) in 2:22.55

Bronze – Emily Mitchell (Launceston) in 2:22.97

Boys’ 17-year 200m Breaststroke 

Gold – Aleksandr Bell (UWA West Coast) in 2:16.15

Silver – Joshua Yong (UWA West Coast) in 2:16.61

Bronze – Connor Roberts (Tamworth City) in 2:18.16

Girls’ 15-year 50m Freestyle

Gold – Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) in 25.85

Silver – Crystal Edwards (UWA West Coast) in 26.05

Bronze – Layla Day (Bendigo East) in 26.26

Boys’ 15-year 50m Freestyle

Gold – Edward Speller (Melbourne Vicentre) in 23.35

Silver – Kai Taylor (Commercial) in 23.92

Bronze – Joseph Hamson (Knox Pymble) in 24.07

For all relay results, click here.

Day four action from the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships kick off tomorrow at 9am at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre when swimmers take to the starting blocks for heats – finals take place at 6pm.


Apr 17 19

Freya Anderson: ‘I hated swimming lessons. I was screaming and crying’

by ZwemZa

Freya Anderson won two relay gold medals at last year’s European Championships and won the British 200m freestyle title on Tuesday. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

Freya Anderson was never destined to stay buried in the crowd. Tall and red-haired, anonymity would be an impractical trick to pull off, even if she were not increasingly prominent in the role of British swimming’s Next Big Thing.

A label pinned due to talent, says the 18-year-old from Merseyside, is one she can live with. “But I got teased for being a redhead,” she reveals. “And almost as much for being tall, which was tough. I got teased a lot. But once I started getting more confidence in the pool, I was more confident out of it. Swimming really helped me come to terms with that.”

With her schooldays soon to end once she has concluded her impending A-levels in geography and art, Anderson is primed to accelerate rapidly away from her former tormenters. The world junior champion of 2017 in the 100m freestyle, she burnished her reputation still further with two relay golds at last August’s European Championships in Glasgow.

With world championships this summer, she returned to the Tollcross pool this week for the British trials and justified the hype by winning the 200m freestyle on Tuesday, with the 50m to follow on Thursday and her favoured 100m 24 hours later. The high-performance aquatic adjudicators tasked with forecasting her future enthuse about what she might achieve. Less than 18 months out from Tokyo’s Olympics, her trajectory is intriguingly upward.

This all came out from very unpromising beginnings, she confesses. Anderson was never a water baby. “I remember the swimming lessons I had in sixth year,” she says. “You had to take them. I used to hate it. Somehow, I was promoted to the local club. But I was screaming and crying because I didn’t want to go.”

She grins at the recollection. “I guess things have changed. I started off pretty nervous. But I started to get more comfortable. And then moving to Ellesmere College changed me completely.”

Near the Welsh border, the boarding school has been her home from home, each Sunday night to Saturday morning, since she was 14. Its four-lane pool anticipates her arrival each morning by 6.30am. “I think that’s quite late,” she laughs. Not for your average teen.

The swimming programme based there, the Titans, has produced several international swimmers in recent times, including Cassie Wild, Joel Thompson, Conor Ferguson and Chloe Golding. As much as the regime has been effective, its location may be similarly conducive. “It’s in the middle of nowhere and you don’t do much,” Anderson relates. “So all I can do is school, train or hang out.”

Its nurturing environs were at their most valuable when Anderson was compelled to do much less. Two years ago, a sudden jolt in her back brought a pain that refused to subside. Scans revealed inflamed joints on her spine. She swam onward for a time, picked up medals, but was paddling with ever more frustration against the tide. “There were a lot of tears,” she says. “A big lot of tears.”

Being confined to dry land during her rehab almost broke her spirit. Swimming had not been this joyless since she was first ordered to take a plunge. “It definitely made me a better person though, learning not to take those hard steps for granted again.

“I had to watch my teammates crush it and that made me desperately want to be in that pool. So any time now when I feel tired, I think: ‘It’s just over a year ago that you weren’t swimming at all – so get your act together.’ It all made me a lot stronger.”

Freya Anderson says of July’s world championships: ‘I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. I don’t like to think about medals.’
Freya Anderson says of July’s world championships: ‘I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. I don’t like to think about medals.’ Photograph: Allan McKenzie/

Her friends kept her sane then and now, she says. When she turned 18 last month, a relatively sedate meal was organised so she could be fresh for training at dawn. “No partying until after this week,” she says. Is an appropriate belated celebration planned then? “I’ve a few days off,” Anderson beams, telling us all we need to know.

Subsequently, however, energies will shift from the dance floor to logging the kilometres required to make a splash in the South Korean city of Gwangju in July. There, the world’s best will make their own assessments of her threat and rivalling the likes of Australia’s Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, and Swedish speedster Sarah Sjöström will require an extra gear shift.

Just inside the top 20 of the world rankings by the end of last year, Anderson maintains it would require an unexpected leap to challenge for the podium three months hence. “I’m not putting any expectations on myself for worlds,” she says. “I’m still quite young I guess. I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. It’s about going there, seeing what I can do and getting more experience. I don’t like to think about medals. I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

Even so, she hears the chatter. And knows that 19-year-olds have rocketed from the outside lane to become Olympic champions before. “It’s a fun place to be in. When I was little, I never thought it would be me. I always wanted it but you never imagine that’ll happen do you?”

Mark Woods | The Guardian

Apr 17 19

International Swimming League wants to give swimming a permanent audience

by ZwemZa

Katie Ledecky (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin was never an elite swimmer. But just over a decade ago, he became fascinated with the sport and saw an opportunity to make his mark in the water.

“This is the most popular Olympic sport, with hundreds of millions of people watching swimming during the Olympic games, but financially, it’s a really poor sport,” Grigorishin said. “This was like a challenge to myself—how to make swimming more popular from a spectator point of view.”

Now, Grigorishin is the founder and main financial backer of the International Swimming League (ISL), a new eight-team league for elite swimmers with clubs based out of the U.S. and Europe. League ambassadors and participants of the ISL include Olympic medalists like Katie Ledecky, Nathan Adrian, Simone Manuel and Ryan Murphy.

To fulfill his vision of growing the sport, Grigorishin founded the ISL to offer fans a more consistent product and fill the gaps between Olympic years.

“It’s not possible to create a permanent audience for swimming if you have just one great event once every four years,” he said. “Our suggestion is if we create some permanent presence of swimming on screens during the whole season, we will definitely create a permanent audience… If you create some good format, I think sport lovers will come.”

Clubs will earn revenue through ticketing, merchandising and local sponsorships, while the league as a whole will lean on media rights and global sponsorship in addition to funding from investors.

This year, each team has $150,000 to pay its athletes, and swimmers also have the opportunity to earn extra performance-based prize money. Participants sign a contract with both the ISL and their teams, and revenue will be split equally between the league and swimmers. The ISL is not the first opportunity for swimmers to earn wages for competing; swimmers can win prize money at various FINA (International Swimming Federation) and USA Swimming events. But Grigorishin believes his league has put enough on the table to attract the world’s top athletes.

Dmytro Kachurovskyi, the ISL’s program development manager, believes visibility could be another major benefit for the swimmers.

“No one knows swimmers,” he said. “Because of the ISL, swimmers will be known by the public, and that gives them the opportunity to raise their commercial value.

General managers recruit their own swimmers for their gender-balanced teams, selecting 12 men and 12 women. Swimmers will compete for team points during meets, which will be formatted in short-course meters, unlike the Olympics’ traditional long-course style.

“We are developing swimming as a team sport, not as an individual sport, and that is a huge difference,” Kachurovskyi said. “It’s not interesting for fans of Katie Ledecky or Nathan Adrian to watch a two-hour show because there are only two minutes when their swimmer is in the water. Now, when Katie Ledecky becomes part of the team—and until the last minute, you will not know the outcome of this match—you will be interested to watch.

Despite the presence of USA Swimming and FINA, Kachurovskyi claims that the ISL’s primary challenger is not other swim organizations.

“We think about ourselves not as a sports organization but as a sports content production company,” he said. “We are developing a show which is unique, and I would say we understand our main competitors are not federations or Olympic committees. Our main competitors are companies like Netflix who are producing content.”

With that mindset, Grigorishin created the ISL with entertainment value at the forefront.

“The vision is electric, and the competition and show around this is quite a production,” said Kaitlin Sandeno, general manager of the Washington, D.C.-based ISL club. “It’s very fan-oriented. It’s a swim meet that really brings fans and masses to rally around our amazing sport.”

That production will reach its peak at the championship competition in a temporary pool at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Events Center, which seats 12,000.

The league still has major details to iron out before the first competition in October, though. League officials are currently in talks with media companies for broadcasting rights. Once a media partner is chosen, the league will seek out sponsorship deals.

Grigorishin admitted there are no guarantees when it comes to the league’s success.

“Of course, now it’s just some kind of speculation,” he said. “I strongly believe in it, but only experimentation can prove this estimation or speculation…It’s a question of belief, so we will see—[we will] just experiment and confirm or destroy this model.”

Even with that uncertainty, swimming fans can take solace in the fact that the ISL will likely be around at least through 2021, as the league’s budget is confirmed through the next three years.

The ISL is already thinking ahead, too, with plans to implement a longer season and a salary cap next year, pending agreement by the teams’ managers.

“The beauty of the sport is unpredictability,” Grigorishin said. “We should have some kind of salary cap to keep the intrigue, unpredictability, and have a salary cap to restrict the possibility of one crazy owner. It’s in favor of spectator interest.”

Between the unique team format and the emphasis on fan experience, the ISL is an unprecedented approach to professional swimming. But for Grigorishin and his team, it’s about more than just developing this new league. They have their eyes set on revolutionizing the world of swimming.

“That is the challenge for us—how to help swimming to be part of the future, not of the past,” Kachurovskyi said.

Bailey Knecht | Front Office Sports

Apr 17 19

Mixed celebrations in California’s Diving Grand Prix

by ZwemZa

Mission Viejo Nadadores (TeamUnify)

The third leg of the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2019 concluded last night in Mission Viejo, California, USA, as the host nation clinched three gold medals.

In the individual events, Briadam Herrera (USA) took gold with 438.10 in the men’s 3m event, while Hailey Hernandez (USA) was the best in the women’s equivalent (312.75). Teammates Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer pocketed the gold on offer in the women’s 3m synchro (294.39).

Mexico’s Randall Willars Valdez topped the men’s 10m (479.55), while together with teammate Diego Balleza, they claimed victory in the men’s 10m (431.67). Diego Balleza, together with Maria Sanchez, gave their country its third gold medal of the meet in the mixed 10m (308.88).

Jordan Houlden / Anthony Harding  of Great Britain bagged the gold at stake in the men’s 3m synchro (384.93), while Phoebe Banks / Emily Martin, representing the same nation, topped the women’s 10m synchro (300.36).

Australia and Italy, with Melissa Wu and Maicol Verzotto / Elena Bertocchi, were the other nations to access the first step of the podium this weekend with 355.80 points in the women’s 10m and 280.86 in the mixed 3m respectively.

Detailed results can be found here.

The 2019 circuit of the Diving Grand Prix next stops in Madrid (ESP) from June 7-9, before heading to Bolzano (ITA) from June 14-16. The competition will then move to Africa, Oceania and Asia.

Medallists in Mission Viejo (USA):

3m springboard: 1. Briadam Herrera (USA) 438.10; 2. Jordan Windle (USA) 425.45; 3. James Heatly (GBR) 416.65
10m platform: 1. Randall Willars Valdez (MEX) 479.55; 2. Matthew Dixon (GBR) 471.10; 3. Brandon Loschiavo (USA) 442.70
3m springboard synchro: 1. Jordan Houlden / Anthony Harding (GBR) 384.93; 2. Adan Zuniga / Alejando Daniel Islas Arroyo (MEX) 382.29; 3. Mark Anderson / Jordan Windle (USA) 376.89
10m platform synchro: 1. Diego Balleza / Randall Willars Valdez (MEX) 431.67; 2. Brandon Loschiavo / Jordan Windle (USA) 416.04; 3. Jordan Rzepka / Tyler Downs (USA) 318.66

3m springboard: 1. Hailey Hernandez (USA) 312.75; 2. Elena Bertocchi (ITA) 308.15; 3. Melany Hernandez Torres (MEX) 303.60
10m platform: 1. Melissa Wu (AUS) 355.80; 2. Amy Magana (USA) 316.80; 3. Noemi Batki (ITA) 301.40
3m springboard synchro: 1. Alison Gibson / Krysta Palmer (USA) 294.39; 2. Samantha Bromberg / Brooke Schultz (USA) 290.40; 3. Chiara Pellacani / Elena Bertocchi (ITA) 284.13
10m platform synchro: 1. Phoebe Banks / Emily Martin (GBR) 300.36; 2. Anabelle Smith / Melissa Wu (AUS) 290.64; 3. Katrina Young / Samantha Bromberg (USA) 290.22

3m springboard synchro: 1. Maicol Verzotto / Elena Bertocchi (ITA) 280.86; 2. Arantxa Chavez Munoz / Adan Zuniga (MEX) 277.32; 3. Lauren Reedy / Briadam Herrera (USA) 272.76
10m platform synchro: 1. Diego Balleza / Maria Sanchez (MEX) 308.88; 2. Noemi Batki / Maicol Verzotto (ITA) 282.60; 3. Sophia McAfee / Maxwell Weinrich (USA) 274.74

Calendar 2019

#1 – Rostock (GER) – February 14-17
#2 – Calgary (CAN) – April 4-7
#3 – Mission Viejo (USA) – April 11-14
#4 – Madrid (ESP) – June 7-9
#5 – Bolzano (ITA) – June 14-16
# 6 – Cairo (EGY) – June 21-23
#7 – Gold Coast (AUS) – November 8-11
#8 – Kuala Lumpur (MAS) – November 15-17
#9 – Singapore (SGP) – November 22-24

FINA Communications Department

Apr 17 19

TYR Pro Swim Series at Bloomington is one month away

by ZwemZa

Lilly King (USA Swimming)

With three meets already in the books, the 2018-2019 TYR Pro Swim Series will move to its second-to-last destination in Bloomington, Ind., one month from today. With plenty of fast swims already being posted during the first three meets in Knoxville, Des Moines and Richmond, Bloomington should feature another fast field.

Here are four reasons to buy tickets and head to Bloomington next month:

    1. World record watchThere haven’t been any world records set yet in the first three stops of the TYR Pro Swim Series – could Bloomington feature the first? Each meet has gotten progressively faster and more competitive as we have gotten further into long course season, so a world record could definitely be a possibility.
    2. Another opportunity for Trials cutsThe 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials are only 14 months away, and that means every long course meet is a valuable opportunity to qualify for the biggest meet on U.S. soil that only comes around every four years. Whether you’re trying for your first Trials cut, are trying to add another event, or you’re a seasoned Trials veteran, getting those cuts out of the way early can certainly be a sigh of relief and allow you to focus on making bigger improvements as Trials approach next summer.
    3. The most National Teamers you’ll find in one place besides the roster on USA Swimming’s websiteSome of the finals heat sheets at the recent Pro Swim Series meet in Richmond read more like an all-star team roster. With Olympic gold medalists, world record holders and world championship medalists littering the heat sheets – names like Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith, Simone Manuel, Amanda Weir, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Murphy, Chase Kalisz – there’s no better place to see the top names in the sport all in one place. Many of these swimmers aren’t just battling for fast times, but cash as well, which always adds a bit of extra incentive.
    4. Who will emerge as a name to watch?

The next Olympic Games are just over a year away. For those aiming to qualify for their first, second or even fifth Olympic team, this summer has the potential to really solidify who the contenders are to make the team. Which up-and-coming swimmers will emerge from the Pro Swim Series meets as a legitimate contender? There are two meets left in the series to see who the challengers will be heading into the rest of this summer and next.

Emily Sampl | USA Swimming Contributor

Apr 17 19

Lani lights up Adelaide

by ZwemZa

Lani Pallister (Surf Life Saving)

Cotton Tree’s Lani Pallister secured her second title at the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australia Age Championships on Tuesday night, after a dominant display in the Girls’ 16-year 400m Freestyle.

Following her win in the Girls’ 16-year 100m Freestyle on Monday, Pallister shaved 10 seconds off her qualifying time in the 400m free to log 4:08.37 and claim gold ahead of SLC Aquadot’s Jessica Madden (4:14.82) and Manly’s Charli Brown (4:16.55).

Rackley’s rising star of the pool, Thomas Neill, showed his class in the Boys’ 16-year 400m Freestyle, powering home in 3:50.99. It marked his second medal of the meet, after he collected silver in the Boys’ 16-year 100m Freestyle on opening night. Thomas Hauck from All Saints GC touched seconds later in 3:54.19 to grab silver, while Noah Millard from MLC Aquatic captured bronze in 3:58.47.

Gliding her way through the water in the Girls’ 14-year 200m Backstroke was Madeleine Hardy (Trinity Grammar, NSW), who nabbed the national age title in 2:16.70. Local swimmer and crowd favourite, Norwood’s Sophie Healy (2:17.49), secured her second silver medal of the meet and St Peters Western’s Amelia Cescotto pinched third in 2:18.40.

Backing up his gold-medal-winning performance from night one, Perth City’s Kalani Ireland stormed home in the Boys’ 17-year 100m Backstroke event. Clocking a time of 55.93, Ireland finished ahead of Carlile’s Se-Bom Lee (56.02), while Manly’s Kai Van Kool picked up bronze in a cool 56.88.

In a terrific display of skills and technique, Aimee Grella (Bayside) willed her way to the wall in the Girls’ 15-year 200m Butterfly. Taking the national age title in 2:14.10 – two seconds faster than her qualifying time – the Victorian edged out Hunter’s Cassandra Fayers (2:17.42) and MLC Aquatic’s Bethany Dalgleish (2:18.06).

In the corresponding event for the boys, the grandstand erupted as Ruan Van der Riet (UWA West Coast) snared the gold in a time of 2:03.82. Rockingham’s Damian Badenhorst (2:05.42) just managed to hold off Albany Creek’s Samuel Short (2:05.43), with only one one hundredth of a second between silver and bronze.

As the fastest qualifier heading into the Boys’ 17-year 200m Freestyle, Kawana Waters’ Csongor Cellie didn’t disappoint in the final. Pushed by those in lanes around him, Cellie touched in 1:51.02, in front of Carlile’s Se-Bom Lee (1:51.57) – who recorded his second silver of the night – and Nunawading’s James McBride (1:51.63).

Newmarket Racers’ Georgia Powell had tough competition from Kawana Waters’ Georgia Pendergast in lane two of the Girls 16-year 100m Breaststroke event, however she managed to take the title in 1:10.62. Pendergast touched moments later in 1:11.45 to receive silver and SOPAC’s Felicity Chan finished with bronze in 1:11.47.

In the longest event of the night – the Girls’ 13-14-years 800m Freestyle – Tiana Kritzinger (Nudgee College) proved she could go the distance and secured her second title of the meet. Recording gold in the Girls’ 14-year 400m Freestyle last night, Kritzinger knocked an amazing 22 seconds off her qualifying time in the 800m to score the gold in 8:53.33. Meanwhile, Trinity Grammar’s Anna Lee battled it out with Bailey Day from Southside Aquatic in lanes three and one for silver and bronze. It was Lee who took the silver spoils, but only by one one hundredth of a second – 8:59.95 to 8:59.96.

In other results of the night:

Girls’ 15-years 100m Freestyle

  • Gold – Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) in 55.58
  • Silver – Crystal Edwards (UWA West Coast) in 56.15
  • Bronze – Maggie Skewes (Wangaratta) in 56.51

Boys’ 15-years 100m Freestyle

  • Gold – Joseph Hamson (Knox Pymble) in 51.26
  • Silver – Edward Speller (Melbourne Vicentre) in 51.74
  • Bronze – Maximillian Giuliani (The Hobart Aquatic) in 51.80

Boys’ 14 years 400m Freestyle

  • Gold – Evan Chee (Nunawading) in 4:07.01
  • Silver – Bailey Krstevski (Wests Illawarra) in 4:07.96
  • Bronze – Thomas Connellan (Nudgee College) in 4:08.12

Girls’ 13-year 200m Individual Medley

  • Gold – Sophie Martin (Brisbane Grammar) in 2:20.17
  • Silver – Collette Lyons (Kinross Wolaroi) in 2:20.78
  • Bronze – Mikhaila Flint (Cannonvale) in 2:22.58

Girls’ 16-year 50m Freestyle

  • Gold – Bronte Job (Rackley) in 25.47
  • Silver – Mia O’Leary (St Peters Western) in 25.51
  • Bronze – Ela Noble (Rackley) in 25.68

Boys’ 16-year 50m Freestyle

  • Gold – Jamie Jack (Sheldon) in 23.32
  • Silver – Noah Millard (MLC Aquadot) in 23.46
  • Bronze – Joshua Edwards-Smith (UWA West Coast) in 23.54

Girls’ 13-year 100m Butterfly

  • Gold – Hayley Johnson (Knox Pymble) in 1:02.59
  • Silver – Kate Able (Newmarket Racers) in 1:03.84
  • Bronze – Josephine Crimmins (Newmarket Racers) in 1:04.66

Boys 16-year 100m Breaststroke

  • Gold – Connor Bracken (St Peters Western) in 1:04.99
  • Silver – Lachlan Gilbert (Nudgee College) in 1:05.29
  • Bronze – Hadley Mayo (Churchie) in 1:05.31

Girls’ 13-year 800m Freestyle

  • Gold – Sienna Shepherd (Bayside) in 9:15.84
  • Silver – Paige Siren (Helensvale) in 9:22.94
  • Bronze – Alexis Barnett (St Peters Western) in 9:26.42

For all relay results, click here.

Day three action from the 2019 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships kick off tomorrow at 9am when swimmers take to the starting blocks for heats, with finals taking place at 6pm.


Apr 17 19

Madisyn Cox sues after swimming suspension over multivitamin

by ZwemZa

Madisyn Cox (Getty Images)

Madisyn Cox, the 2017 World bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley, sued an affiliate of a supplement company after saying its contaminated multivitamins caused her to fail a drug test and get suspended last year.

Cox’s ban was reduced from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she argued that the positive test was due to a legal Cooper Complete multivitamin that had been contaminated. The company, Cooper Concepts, Inc., said Tuesday afternoon that it had not received a lawsuit.

“However, when we learned about this issue we were stunned and angered and removed that vitamin immediately from our product line,” it said in a statement. “We are saddened and disappointed for Madisyn Cox and the time she missed in competition.”

She was still forced to miss the 2018 U.S. Championships, the qualifying meet for the two biggest international events before the 2020 Olympics. Cox could not qualify for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships or this summer’s world championships.

Cox said she had taken the multivitamin for seven years, listing it on doping-control forms since entering the drug-testing pool in 2014, and passed more than 20 drug tests in that span without incident.

“Cox was forced to miss several major events and to return fees, grants and prizes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and was unable to pursue lucrative corporate sponsorships,” Cox’s legal team wrote in a press release Tuesday. “In addition to that lost income, Ms. Cox and her family incurred considerable expense in hiring several medical and legal experts to seek the source of the banned substance and a complete revocation of her suspension.”

Cox originally thought she ingested the banned substance Trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina, through tap water.

She failed a drug test Feb. 5, 2018, and was originally banned four years. That punishment was cut in half after a FINA panel agreed that Cox did not intend to dope, though it did not accept that tap water was the definite source.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the ban to six months after Cox produced multiple bottles of the multivitamin, and the tablets were found to have four nanograms per tablet of the banned substance.

“The shock, pain and emotional trauma she has bravely faced are almost incalculable, and we will be doing everything possible to gain justice for Madisyn and her family,” Cox’s attorney said in the release. “We also hope to force this company and this industry to do a better job in assuring the purity of their products and the proper labeling of each product’s ingredients.”

Cox ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 200m IM this year, winning the event at a Pro Series stop in Richmond last week.

NBC Olympic Talk

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