PHOENIX, Arizona, July 14. WE’RE going all over the world for today’s show, from the United States to Australia and the Netherlands, so sit back and journey with us in this look back at another amazing week.
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Starting off the countdown at number five is the junior European championships in the Netherlands, where three junior world records were set in the four-day meet. Apostolos Christou of Greece was responsible for two of those records, swimming a 54.41 in the semifinals of the men’s 100 back, then taking it even lower with a 54.03 in the final. Christou was in line for the 50 back junior world record, but Italy’s Simone Sabbioni had other plans, winning the event by a tenth of a second with a 25.22. Keep in mind that FINA’s junior world records are for swims that took place beginning this year and are faster than the times swum at last summer’s junior world championships. There are many swims in history that are faster than the listed junior world records, but those are not being grandfathered in. Russia was very dominant in the meet with the most gold medals, especially among the women’s events. Go to our world channel at swimmingworld.com for complete results.
Back here in the States, hundreds of high school swimmers and divers are poring through the recently-released list of high school All-Americans in the 11 swimming events, as well as 1-meter diving, and that comes in at number four. The list is made of the top 100 swimmers in each event, though some events go beyond 100 due to ties. If you got under the automatic All-American qualifying time, you’re on the list. If you just missed it, you might have snuck in, so go to our high school channel at swimmingworld.com to see the full list. If your name isn’t on the list but it should be, make sure you contact the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association and the person at your school responsible for submitting the time. Swimming World has been running a series of articles on swimmingworld.com for the past week looking at the past and present of high school swimming, and I’ve been talking to athletes each day on the Morning Swim Show who are on the All-America list, so if you’ve missed any of them, you can go back and take a look at your leisure. Congratulations to all the athletes who made the list. I know from experience that it’s a joy to see your name among the top swimmers in the country.
Athens, Georgia, was the site of some major swims from some of the sport’s biggest stars over the weekend, and the times put up by Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and more take number three on the show this week. Phelps made a big move forward in his comeback campaign, posting the second-fastest time in the world in the 100 fly with a 51.67, and winning the 100 back with a 53.88. In his first meet since May, Lochte showed that his knee isn’t doing too badly, winning the 200 IM with a 1:58.65. Lochte’s knee didn’t seem to affect him on the breaststroke leg as he split 34 seconds on that leg, which indicates his torn MCL tendon isn’t hampering him too much. This was likely the last meet before nationals for many of these guys before nationals, but things look pretty good for some fast swimming in Irvine in three weeks.
At number two on our countdown is Ian Thorpe’s admission after years of outright lies that he is a gay man. Thorpe sat down for a television interview with noted Australian journalist Michael Parkinson, and that interview aired Sunday night. In the interview, the five-time Olympic champion said he avoided answering the question for many years because he didn’t think it was appropriate for journalists to ask a teenager questions about his sexuality, even though he said he pretty much knew he was gay in high school. As he matured, he dated women and said plain and simple in his 20s that he was not gay. Now 31 years old, Thorpe said he started telling people in his close circle, and received a lot of words of support since the interview aired. He thanked his fans on Twitter, saying “To everyone who has sent a message of support I sincerely thank you.” Though Thorpe has ditched his ideas of making a comeback, he’s still involved with swimming and will be a swimming commentator for Australian TV.
And here we are at the number one headline of last week, and it comes from the world of collegiate swimming in the United States. Michael Hixon was a key member of the University of Texas’ swimming and diving team at the NCAAs last March, winning the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events and scoring on the platform. But last week Swimming World learned that Hixon was making the move from Austin, Texas, to Bloomington, Indiana, to work with the very talented group of divers at Indiana University. One of the reasons we understand he’s going there is to work with Darian Schmidt, who is his synchro diving partner in non-collegiate competition. This will obviously boost Indiana’s potential in diving immediately. Texas still has a very strong diving squad, but losing its best diver hurts the chances for the Longhorns to chase the team title next year. This year is viewed as an off-year for international diving, with some World Cup meets around the world serving as the big meets. We’ll see if the move pays off on the international scene for Hixon when the trials for the world championships comes around next year.