PHOENIX, Arizona, September 10. THE past weekend was a big one for open water swimming, and we're going to start in the English Channel, where 24-year-old Trent Grimsey of Australia crossed the treacherous waters in six hours and 55 minutes on Saturday. He broke Petar Stoychev's record for the fastest crossing by a little more than two minutes. This was his first crossing of the English Channel. Grimsey has been doing well this year, winning the FINA open water grand prix circuit this summer.
Over here in the States, three major open water races took place over the weekend. In southern California the 82nd annual La Jolla Roughwater swim featured thousands of people taking to the La Jolla cove for the 1-mile and 3-mile swims. Chris Yontez won the men's mile in 20 minutes and 39 seconds, while Shauna Nelson took the men's race in 21 minutes and 58 seconds. 42-year-old Alex Kostich won the 3-mile men's race by 18 seconds over a competitor 25 years younger. The top female in the 3-mile race was UNLV swimmer Jessica Heim, who placed ninth overall. NCAA Division II powerhouse Grand Canyon University brought its men's and women's teams there, and though many of the swimmers on the team are sprinters, they did quite well in the 1-mile swim.
Over in Chicago was the Big Shoulders 5K swim, where Adam Dawkins won by more than two minutes in 59 minutes and 33 seconds. Barbara Richter was not only the fastest woman in the field, but the second-fastest overall behind Dawkins.
In northern California, the RCP Tiburon Mile featured repeat wins by Aussie Melissa Gorman and New Zealander Kane Radford, each winning $10,000. Gorman finished third, just three seconds behind Radford and one second behind Trent Grimsey's younger brother Ridge. The other Grimsey brother, Codie, was fourth. Also swimming in the race was 14-year-old Becca Mann, who finished in 12th place. UC-Berkeley's men's team raced in the mile as well, with Adam Hinshaw posting the top time for the Bears, just 50 seconds off the leader.
The day before the Tiburon Mile was the Tiburon Sprint Classic just a little further south in Atherton, in a two-lane 25-yard pool in the backyard of swimming philanthropist Tod Spieker. Josh Schneider repeated as men's champion over George Bovell, pocketing $10,000 to go with the win he picked up in 2010. In the inaugural Battle of the Sexes, Rowdy Gaines raced Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and won with a 21.98 to Vanderpool-Wallace's 22.33. Gaines won $2,500, which was donated to the USA Swimming Foundation.
Also featured at the Tiburon Sprint Classic was a special race between legends Matt Biondi and Tom Jager, who hadn't raced each other in 20 years. The 40-somethings raced a 50 freestyle for charity and Jager got his hand on the wall first in 23.11, with Biondi going a 23.18.
You can read a recap of the Sprint Classic on swimmingworld.com, and come back to swimmingworld.tv soon for more races and interviews from the event.
Japan's swimming future continues to look bright as Kenta Ito tries to put the country on the sprinting map. At the inter-university championships, Ito swam a 22.05 to set a new Japanese record and put himself in a tie for 24th in the world.
The Paralympics closed out over the weekend with more remarkable swims. Jacqueline Freney won her eighth gold medal of the meet on Friday, helping Australia win the 400 medley relay with a come-from-behind win in the anchor leg. Matthew Cowdrey won his 13th gold medal of his Paralympic career in the 100 freestyle, taking that event for the third straight Games. Cowdrey and Long also won eight medals, though not all golden.
And on the one-year anniversary of surviving an IED that took his eyesight while serving on a Navy tour in Afghanistan, Bradley Snyder won the 400 free in 4:32.41, his second gold and third medal of the meet. Snyder was also granted the opportunity to carry the flag for the United States in the Paralympics closing ceremony on Sunday.
If you've missed any of our recaps of the amazing swims from the Paralympics, you can find them on our world channel at swimmingworld.com.
And finally today, Bob Bowman is taking a year off from coaching, but he's still going to be involved in the sport. The Washington Post announced that Bowman will be a consultant with TSE Consulting to "make a positive contribution to the development of swimming worldwide." Bowman made an appearance at the American Swimming Coaches Association's world clinic last week, where he was awarded Coach of the Year for a record fifth time. As you may remember, Bowman guided Michael Phelps to all 22 of his Olympic medals, and also helped Allison Schmitt become a star in London, where she won five medals.