PHOENIX, Arizona, September 17. AFTER two failed attempts to break the 200 long course breaststroke world record, Akihiro Yamaguchi finally got it on Saturday with a 2:07.01 at the Japanese National Sports Festival. This was Yamaguchi's third attempt at the world record after falling short twice in August. Yamaguchi brings the world record back to Japan, with Kosuke Kitajima last owning it from April 2008 to July 2009. Yamaguchi broke Daniel Guyurta's record that was set about six weeks ago at the Olympics. Yamaguchi did not swim the 100 breast this weekend, but has publicly stated that he has his eyes on that world record by Cameron van der Burgh as well.
Over in Australia, Kenneth To was the star of the Australian short course championships, wrapping up his meet with a national record in the 100 individual medley. To swam a 51.64 on Sunday, putting him at the top of the very early 2012 world rankings, but more important, is now seventh all-time in the event. Last year, that time would have been the fastest in the world, one hundredth of a second faster than Michael Phelps swam in October. This puts To in line for a few medal chances at the short course world championships, including the 200 IM and 100 fly.
Back here in the United States, Missy Franklin was given the swimming athlete of the year award at the United States Aquatic Sports convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, an award voted on by those in attendance at the convention. Franklin won five medals, four of them gold, at the 2012 Olympics, and broke the world record in the 200 back and 400 medley relay. Michael Phelps received the Athletes Appreciation Award, voted on by the House of Delegates, and Katie Ledecky was awarded the Phillips 66 Performance Award for her gold medal swim in the 800 freestyle at the Olympics. Haley Anderson and Alex Meyer were voted female and male open water swimmers of the year, and Jessica Long, hot off eight medals at the Paralympics, was named the top disabled swimmer of the year.
David Boudia was voted as the diver of the year by USA Diving after winning gold on the platform and a bronze with Nick McCrory on the synchro event in London.
Also at the USAS convention, USA Swimming voted on two proposals at the House of Delegates meeting. The delegates voted down the proposal forbidding sexual relationships between coaches and swimmers of legal age, but passed the proposal on deck changes at swim meets, giving each meet host the ability to allow or disallow deck changes instead of a complete ban across the board.
Ryan Lochte was spoofed on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, as host Seth MacFarlane portrayed Lochte as someone who doesn't know how to count or pronounce words correctly. Lochte responded today to the sketch, saying "Well I gotta admit that was a pretty harsh one, but it's cool to have Seth parody me." To our knowledge, the real Ryan Lochte has not been asked to host "SNL," but he's set to show up on TV screens soon in cameos on "90210" and "30 Rock."