PHOENIX, Arizona, February 25. IF you thought it was going to be a fairly quiet weekend in the pool here in the United States, you were in for a big surprise. Two American records and two national high school records were broken in the past five days, not to mention a host of other great swims in high school and college swimming.
On Wednesday's Streamlined News we told you about the American record set by the University of Georgia in the 800 free relay at the Southeastern conference championships. Breeja Larson of Texas A&M also broke an American record on Friday, lowering her 100 breast record to 57.43 after getting a challenge from Tennessee's Molly Hannis in the first half of the race.
The Georgia women's team, as expected, won the SEC team title by 124 points over Texas A&M in their first SEC championships. The Aggies had a good run on Friday, winning all the women's events and making a big statement that they will be major players in the SEC. On the men's side, however, Florida ended Auburn's winning streak at 16 with a 212-point victory in the team standings.
The women's Big 10 team title was won by host Minnesota in a dominating win over Indiana. Haley Spencer was the MVP for the Gophers, winning both breaststroke events, but it was Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman who was named the swimmer of the meet after winning the 500 free and 1650 free, both of which were meet records.
Virginia's women's team had an easy time of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference's championship by 296 points over Virginia Tech. Lauren Perdue was a big key for the Cavaliers' sixth consecutive win, taking the 200 free and helping out in a big way on relay duty. One of the big swims for Virginia was the 500 free, where they placed first, second, third, fifth and eighth. Stephanie Peacock of North Carolina State was primed to do well at the meet, but withdrew due to an illness. Peacock's already got her place at the NCAAs after fast swims last December, including an NCAA record in the 1650.
Conference meets continue this week with the men's Big 10 and ACC meets, as well as the women's Pac 12 starting Wednesday and the men's Pac 12 on Sunday. Cal's and Stanford's men's teams got in some last-minute racing for that Pac 12 meet, with a hotly-contested dual on Saturday. Cal won the meet for the first time in seven years, with Tom Shields putting up a quick 46.02 in the 100 fly and 1:34.70 in the 200 free.
Saturday was a big day for high school swimming. First, Connor Black swam a 46.71 in the 100 fly at the Illinois state championships, breaking the national public school record of 47.08 set by Sean Fletcher in 2008 but falling short of the overall record of 46.50 Joe Schooling swam for The Bolles School last November. Connor represented Mundelein High School at the meet, and will be a Stanford Cardinal this fall. This is the second national record swim in two years done at the Illinois state meet. Last year, a foursome from New Trier High School swam a 2:59.76 in the 400 free relay last February to become the first official high school team to break the 3:00 barrier.
Speaking of that 3:00 barrier, it was broken last Saturday for only the sixth time ever by a male high school team at the Eastern Interscholastic swimming and diving championships. It was Patrick Park, Bradley Cline, Josh Daniel and Michael Nunan from the Peddie School that swam a 2:59.98, tying the pool and meet record set back in 1991 by a team from the Bolles School. That swim from Bolles in 1991 was the first time a high school team had gone under three minutes in the event, but was later removed as the national record because Bolles did it outside their swimming season. Peddie had a great meet at Easterns on the boys side, winning 10 out of 11 swimming events.
But the big race of the meet at Easterns was the national high school record swum by Germantown Academy's Shannon McKernan, Meagan Dollard, Madison Visco and Rachel Zilinskas in the 400 free relay, with a 3:21.63, breaking the overall national high school record of 3:22.34 set by none other than Germantown Academy in 2006 with a team that included Teresa Crippen. Zilinskas is the only senior on that relay, so Germantown could challenge that time again at next year's meet.
You can watch the full races of both of the 400 free relays on the Easterns event page at swimmingworld.tv, and get full recaps of all the records broken on our high school and college pages on swimmingworld.com.
Michael Phelps' golfing reality show makes its debut tonight on The Golf Channel. Phelps has been traveling the world with Hank Haney, filming episodes for "The Haney Project" as Phelps tries to become a better golfer. We can't wait to see how the debut episode turns out.