Commentary by Pamela Roberts
With a little more than two weeks into 2014, I think we have all recovered from extravagant holiday parties and either ditched the New Year’s resolutions or put some serious thought into how to realize them. It’s time for 2014 to start and swimming-wise, this should be a good one.
This weekend it’s back to the Arena Grand Prix series with the stop in Austin. Stars like Nathan Adrian, Katie Ledecky, Matt Grevers and Natalie Coughlin are expected, same as local swimmers like Jimmy Feigen and Michael McBroom. And, the Grand Prix series with further stops in Orlando (13-15 February), Mesa (24-26 April), Charlotte (15-18 May) and Santa Clara (19-22 June) are some of the hightlights of the year.
Between August 6 and 10, Irvine, California is host to this year’s summer nationals, a meet where it will also be decided who is going to represent the United States at the 2014 Pan Pacs, the 2014 Short Course World Championships and the 2015 Long Course World Championships.
But just before that, Europe will have one of the big competitions this year. Glasgow, Scotland will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games between July 23 and August 3 and if the 2013 of the Duel in the Pool is any indicator, swimming is going to be a major event during the games. Glasgow is also set to host British Nationals between April 10 and 15 of 2014, so the International Swimming Center at Tollcross is going to be in heavy use.
Almost at the same time as the Commonwealth Games, between 27 July and 10 August, Montreal is going to open its doors for the FINA Masters World Championships. Probably not as star-studded as the other events, it is still a great opportunity to see some fast swims.
August continues to be a busy month for anyone who wants to watch some swimming. I’d say better try to get some time off work scheduled between August 13 and 24 and stock up on coffee, because those will be some busy days will little time to breathe.
Starting some eventful days is Berlin, Germany ,who is the host of the 2014 European Swimming Championships. With open water swimming, synchronized swimming and of course the best what Europe has to offer in terms of swimming, summer in Berlin will be exciting.
And, whoever thinks that’s not enough action for the month of August, how about some Pan Pacs? During the last few days of the European Championships, between August 21 and 24, on the other end of the world at the Gold Coast in Australia, the Pan Pacs will feed your need for swimming. And, just an FYI, the time difference between Berlin and the City of Gold Coast is plus 11 hours.
Think we’re done with August? Not yet. If you still find some time in your day, why not follow the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China? Swimming is already a popular sport during the “grown up” Olympics, so why should it be any different for the Juniors? And luckily for you, they are between August 16 and 28 and you’re already away from work anyway, right? And another FYI, the time difference between Berlin and Nanjing is plus nine hours. And as added information, the time difference between Berlin and the US East Coast is minus six hours.
And because we still have very few days in August left, could I maybe interest you in some World Cup? The 2014 season of the FINA World Cup starts in Doha between the 27th and 28th of August and, to finish off the month right, the next World Cup stop in Dubai is set for August 31st and September 1st.
The FINA World Cup series will then make its way through Asia (Hong Kong on 29 and 30 September), do a short pit-stop in Europe (Eindhoven on 4 and 5 October and Moscow on 8 and 9 October – leaving Berlin out of the World Cup circuit) before heading back to Asia (Beijing on 24 and 25 October which still has to be confirmed, Tokyo on 28 and 29 October and Singapore on 1 and 2 November).
Another busy swimming week is then set for December with both USA Winter Nationals and the FINA Short Course World Championships in the same week between December 3 and 6 and December 3 and 7, respectively.
So I think it is safe to say that 2014 is going to be a good year for swim fans. I am personally looking forward to the European Championships coming to my hometown of Berlin, even though it is a little sad that Berlin has been denied a World Cup stop this year because of them.
I’m looking forward to seeing what swimmers will dominate this year. Is Michael Phelps going to officially come back? How and when will Ryan Lochte come out of his injury? After having an off-year in 2013, how will Allison Schmitt and Cullen Jones do in 2014? Can Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky swim to more world records? Is Chad Le Clos going to repeat his successes of the past year or will it be someone else. And who in Europe will fight Yannick Agnel, Daniel Gyurta and Katinka Hosszu?
It will be exciting to see the questions to these answers and be introduced to a new generation of swimmers so I say bring on 2014!