PHOENIX, Arizona, July 28. WHAT an amazing week of news in and out of the pool we just had. We’re in the throes of the championship phase of the long course summer season, with the Commonwealth Games kicking off the first of four major international meets we’ll be covering between now and mid-September. The Commonwealth Games is just one of the five headlines I’ll be talking about on today’s show as we look back on the top headlines of the past week. Let’s start here in the United States with our number five headline featuring some very fast young talent.
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Just about every week we are reporting on some national age group records set in the United States, and last week was no different. We almost had a full dozen records set in individual and relay events as swimmers ranging in age from 11 to 18 set the pool on fire. Ethan Dang set two records in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes in the 11-12 age group, while Destin Lasco rewrote the 11-12 age group records in the 200 back and 400 IM. Those were the only individual record swims of the past week, while the other national age group records came in relays. We’ve got a complete roundup of the records on our USA channel at swimmingworld.com.
Last week FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, met to consider moving the venue for the junior world open water championships from Israel as that region of the world continues to experience some major conflict. The competition will now be held in early September in Hungary, in Lake Balaton, which is where the world championship open water swimming will be held in 2021. No country has announced any intention to withdraw from the competition due to the schedule change, so expect to see some great swimming from athletes aged 14 to 18 years old in about five weeks.
Speaking of Hungary, the country’s biggest swim star, Katinka Hosszu, is planning to swim 10 individual events at the European championships in less than a month. Hosszu is known for swimming multiple events at meets, but this is one of her most ambitious schedules yet, especially at a championship meet. In addition to her expected races, the 200 and 400 IM as well as the 200 fly, Hosszu will swim all three backstroke events, the 100 and 200 fly and the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles. With her lineup, Hosszu could reap lots of medals and we’ll see if she can set the record for the most won at a European championships. That currently stands at five among three women: Fransizka Van Almsick, Inge Dekker and Therese Alshammar.
As I mentioned at the top of the show, the Commonwealth Games is underway in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Australians are absolutely cleaning up in the medal count. Before today’s events, the Aussies had won 38 swimming medals: 15 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze. Including today’s men’s 200 backstroke, the Aussies have swept the medal podium in the men’s and women’s 100 freestyles in the only major international swimming competition where each country is allowed three swimmers per event. The first night featured a world record in the women’s 400 free relay with a 3:30.98 by the Australians, but the Aussies weren’t the only ones having a good meet. England’s Fran Halsall posted the fastest 50 freestyle in a textile suit with a 23.98 and repeated as 50 fly champion with a 25.20, one of the fastest swims in history. Also swimming for England and having a major breakout meet is Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, who won the 200 IM with a 2:08.21, making her the fastest in the world this year … so far, but it’s still a promising swim for the 18-year-old two years out from the Olympics. Only two Commonwealth swimmers can call themselves reigning Olympic champion, and both were able to win their pet events in Glasgow. Chad Le Clos took the 200 fly easily, holding back until the final 50, and won the 100 fly today while Cameron Van Der Burgh looked in control of the 100 breast final for 80 meters, then was taken over by rising star Adam Peaty, who got under 59 seconds with a 58.94. Van Der Burgh got his revenge on Peaty in the 50 breast final today, winning with a 26.76, just nine hundredths off his world record. We’ve got daily prelim and finals coverage of the swimming from the Commonwealth Games on swimmingworld.com, so head over there to catch up on what you’ve missed.
And now we’re on to the top swimming-related headline of the week, and it took place just a few miles away from the Swimming World studio in Phoenix. Darian Townsend stood with 20 others formerly associated with 10 other countries and became an American citizen on Thursday. This had been a very long journey for Townsend, who moved from South Africa to the United States in 2004 for college and has lived here ever since. He got his green card in 2009 and had to wait five years to apply for citizenship. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Townsend, who is now eligible to compete at the USA Swimming nationals and for spots on the country’s international roster. Townsend won Olympic gold in 2004 as part of South Africa’s 400 free relay and also swam at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Congratulations to Darian on achieving your dream.
And that’s going to do it for this look back on the top five headlines of the past few days. We’re heading into the USA junior nationals and the final day of the Commonwealth Games, just to name a couple of the headline-making events on tap this week. Can’t wait to see what shakes out.