PHOENIX, Arizona, September 21. WORLD champion Gemma Spofforth officially announced her retirement today in an article in the London Times, though she'll still be involved on deck as a volunteer coach at the University of Florida. Spofforth finished fifth in the 100 back at the London Olympics in her final race, a fantastic accomplishment considering that she had battled thoughts of suicide for the past year. Spofforth won three straight 100 back titles at the NCAA championships and was world champion in the event in 2009. She retires from the sport as the current world record holder at 58.12.
Missy Franklin has completed filming her cameo in the upcoming comedy "The Internship," and she got to hang out with some of the cast members, including "Daily Show" correspondent Aasif Mandvi, and stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, as well as director Shawn Levy. The film will be released some time next year, and Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn two laid-off men who take intern jobs.
Canada put on a parade for its Olympic and Paralympic athletes today in downtown Toronto, attended by thousands of fans. Swimmers came out in full force, including 100 free bronze medalist Brent Hayden, who you can see with the shaved head and sunglasses in this photo with his teammates. Benoit Huot, who had a successful Paralympics with a world record in the 200 IM and three medals overall, also attended the parade with diver Alexandre Despatie, both of whom live in Quebec.
On Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, four swimmers each from Brazil, Australia, France and the United States will do battle in a special Fast Lane meet that will showcase only 50 meters of each stroke and a 4x50 medley relay to determine the best country. Brazil will not have Cesar Cielo on their team, but will use their second-best sprint freestyler in history, Bruno Fratus. Australia will bring world champions James Magnussen, Matt Targett and Matt Abood, and France will have newly-minted 50 free champ Florent Manaudou as their star swimmer. The United States will be bringing Josh Schneider, who recently won the RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic, as well as breaststroker Mike Alexandrov, butterflyer Eugene Godsoe and backstroker Adam Mania. The winning team will get 50,000 Brazilian reals to divide among them -- about $25,000, with each team in second through fourth also earning a cash prize. This is a unique competition not seen anywhere else in the world, and could possibly signal the start of such competitions worldwide for professional swimmers.