By guest writer Julia Wilkinson-Minks (2008 & 2012 Canadian Olympian)
EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands, August 8. BETWEEN the world records falling at the FINA World Cup in Eindhoven and the blistering meet records being posted at Junior Nationals in Irvine, it feels like 2009 all over again. After the suits were banned, the initial expectation was that it would take a very long time for a world record to be broken again: this was not the case, and record books continue to be rewritten, although not at the furious rate they did during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the apex of the suit progression.
Katinka Hosszu and Chad Le Clos are showing the world that it was worth warming down on Sunday night. While most swimmers would dread the thought of continuing to race after eight days of competition at World Championships, a short course world record and the generous cheque that accompanies it more than compensates for having to hold off on summer vacation for a few more weeks.
When you think about it, swimmers at the international level do not often have the chance to fully prepare for a short course meet because of the emphasis on long course championships in our sport. The Olympics are long course, and so it would follow that that is the most “official” distance when comparing swimmers in a 50-meter pool as opposed to a 25-meter pool. The best opportunity to take a crack at the short-course record books would be right after the summer championships: although fatigue will come into play, the ability to be fully tapered and shaved for these races hardly ever comes around, if ever, for most of the swimmers in Eindhoven.
As the trend of swimming at meets after World Championships or the Olympic Games continues to catch on, the world records are only going to get faster. More and more swimmers will begin to jump on Hosszu’s boat, seeing not only how much money she made this year simply based on performance alone, but also how much this new-found “profession” has helped her on the international stage. Hosszu has come off the best world championships of her life, and is riding this wake all the way through the world cups, collecting cash and world records along with her gold medals.
Swimmers are going to have a shocking surprise, however, when they arrive at a post-championships world cup and realize that it takes more than just showing up. Hosszu’s success not just at World Championships, but these past few days, speaks to the immense amount of hard work she has clearly put in this year. After all, you it can’t be easy to go a best time on day eleven (and counting) of a meet
Julia Wilkinson-Minks is a two-time Olympian for Canada and was a finalist in the 200-meter IM at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, she became Texas A&M’s first ever NCAA champion in swimming when she won the 100-yard freestyle. She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communication. Julia retired from competitive swimming following the London Olympic Games and now lives in Texas with her husband Shane.
Follow her on twitter @juliah2o