PHOENIX, Arizona, October 31. JAMES Magnussen competed for the first time since winning the 100 freestyle at the world championships, and though his short course meters time of 49.54 didn’t even break into the top 50 globally and was two seconds slower than he did in a meet in July, Magnussen said his preparations for London are ahead of schedule.
The Aussie told the media that his chief rival in London will not be anyone in the pool, but Cesar Cielo’s world record of 46.91 set in a now-illegal swimsuit. Magnussen also said he decided to skip the world cup meets because “the other guys won’t get the chance to race me or have the chance to get used to my tactics and the way I swim.”
The University of Southern California got some good news this weekend, when one of the top high school seniors in the US committed to be a Trojan. Jasmine Tosky, who won gold as part of the 800 freestyle relay at the world championships, holds the national high school record in the 100 butterfly. Also, Swimming World learned today that World University Games silver medalist Andrea Kropp is transferring from Princeton to Southern Cal to train with Rebecca Soni. Kropp made the final of the 200 breast at the 2010 nationals, which qualified her for the World University Games. She’s now the third-fastest American in the 200 breast this year, just a tick behind Amanda Beard.
The Texas men’s swim team began the competition part of the season with a win at the Southwest Collegiate Plunge. A few of the Longhorns’ top swimmers did not swim in the meet, including Eric Friedland, Jimmy Feigen and Austin Surhoff, but rising star Dax Hill was there, winning the 50 free and finishing second in the 100 free and 100 breast.
The Texas women traveled north to face Indiana and Michigan, and beat both teams handily. Leah Gingrich was the top swimmer for Texas, winning the 200 free, 500 free and 400 IM. Laura Sogar, a candidate for breaststroke NCAA titles, won both breaststrokes easily.
The University of Georgia women’s team are without Allison Schmitt this season, but had no problem beating Florida in a special long course dual meet on Friday. Three of Georgia’s top swimmers – Wendy Trott, Megan Romano and Michelle McKeehan – each won events, and the Bulldogs took both relays. The men’s meet between Georgia and Florida resulted in a rare tie, with both teams scoring 150 points. And because there is no overtime or sudden death in swimming, that’s the way the results will read.
United States water polo is on cloud nine, as the men’s and women’s team are on their way to the Olympics thanks to gold medals at the Pan American Games. The women defeated Canada 27-26, after trailing 7-3 midway through the third quarter. Canada almost won the game with 11 seconds to go, but star American goalie Betsey Armstrong saved the USA from wearing the silver medal – at least for the moment. After 12 shootout rounds, both teams had scored goals. On the thirteenth round, the United States scored and Canada missed, giving the US the win.
The American men’s team had very little drama on the way to their 7-3 victory over Canada in the gold medal match. Tony Azevedo was responsible for three of the goals for the US, and later carried the flag for the United States in the closing ceremony. This was the fifth-straight win for the US in men’s water polo at the Pan American Games.
Several federations are beginning to honor their aquatic sports athletes of the year. Japan has picked Ryosuke Irie, the bronze medalist in the 100 back and silver medalist in the 200 back at worlds, as the most valuable swimmer. The European Swimming League gave its top male and female swimmer honors to Alexander Dale Oen of Norway and Federican Pellegrini of Italy. Thomas Lurz of Germany and Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain won the open water swimmer of the year honors.
Swimming World has announced in its November issue that Payne is our pick for the open water female swimmer of the year, while Lurz will be sharing his honor with Greece’s Spyros Gianniotis as our pick for the male open water swimmers of the year. We’ll announce the remainder of our top aquatic athletes of 2011 in our December issue, and you can let us know who you think some of the best swimmers of the year were in our poll of the week, which you can find at swimmingworld.com.
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