PHOENIX, Arizona, November 7. IAN Thorpe’s comeback was expected to dominate headlines from the World Cup stop in Singapore this weekend, but Thorpe missed out on the final in the 100 butterfly on Saturday, a day after finishing seventh in the 100 IM. Thorpe told Swimming Australia afterwards that, “I would have liked to make the final but I’m happy with how I have swum.” Thorpe will now prepare to swim in the Beijing stop of the World Cup tomorrow and Wednesday, and then the Tokyo stop this weekend. Thorpe is part of the start list in tomorrow’s 100 freestyle in China, in addition to the 100 IM and possibly the 100 fly, though the start lists for day two have not yet been posted. This will be Thorpe’s first time swimming in the Water Cube, since he did not compete at the 2008 Olympics.
While Thorpe was attracting the attention of the worldwide media, Chad Le Clos was quietly dominating in Singapore, winning all six of his events and extending his lead in the overall World Cup points race over Japan’s Hidemasa Sano, who did not even compete in Singapore. On Saturday, Le Clos won the 200 free, the 100 fly and the 200 IM. On the women’s side, Therese Alshammar is now tied with Missy Franklin for the lead in the overall points race, but Franklin, along with third-place Allison Schmitt, are both maintaining their amateur status for NCAA competition and will turn down prize money. We’ve looked at the points standings going into the Beijing meet, and it appears that there is no way either Le Clos or Alshammar can lose the overall lead and the $100,000 they each will get. Le Clos is 41 points ahead of Sano, who would have to run the tables in Beijing and Tokyo and Le Clos would have to falter badly. As for Alshammar, anyone who had a viable shot at taking her down is not competing in the final two meets, so Alshammar can rest comfortably knowing she is winning the overall prize for the second straight year.
Eamon Sullivan has withdrawn from the remaining World Cup stops, citing a “mystery illness.” Sullivan says he came down with the bug at the World Cup stop in Moscow and has dealt with flu-like symptoms since and still doesn’t feel 100 percent and returned to Australia yesterday. This is not the first time Sullivan has withdrawn from an international meet due to illness, as he pulled out of the 2009 World Championships with a similar explanation.
Several top American swimmers competed at a meet in Bolzano, Italy over the weekend, with Natalie Coughlin earning four wins in the 100 IM, 100 free, 100 fly, and 50 free. In the 100 IM, her self-proclaimed favorite event, she swam a time of 58.72, which is the top time in the world this year and her personal best, just missing Ariana Kukors’ American record of 58.65 from the Short Course World Championships last December. Meanwhile, Nick Thoman led American sweeps in both the 50 and 100 back, as Randall Bal and Adam Mania took second and third, respectively, in both races. Tyler McGill took the win in the 100 fly in Bolzano, Cullen Jones and Josh Schneider were second and fourth in the 50 free and Mark Gangloff was second in the 100 breast.
Back here in the States, the women at the University of Michigan hosted teams from Florida and Stanford in a two-day dual meet, which featured long course competition on Friday and short course competition on Saturday. Florida defeated Stanford, 194-169, while both teams took down the Wolverines. Elizabeth Beisel continued her winning ways this season, posting a 4:43.01 in the 400 IM in her fourth swim of the day on Friday, and she returned Saturday to win the 200 back in short course in 1:56.18.
The Michigan men hosted Texas and Indiana this weekend, and the Wolverines upset the Longhorns by one point, 150.5 to 149.5, while both teams beat Indiana. Texas senior Jimmy Feigen lit up the Canham Natatorium with a 19.79 in the 50 free and 43.66 in the 100 free, both the top times in the country. Defending NCAA Champion Eric Friedland won the 200 breast, but Texas’ other individual NCAA champion from last year, Michael McBroom, lost to Ryan Feeley in the 1650.
Meanwhile, the women from UC-Berkeley blew out Washington State on Friday, 160-89. The reigning NCAA champion Bears won all 14 events contested, with freshman Catherine Breed, fresh off winning two gold medals at the Pan American Games last month, winning both the 200 and 1000 free.
The Texas women demolished their in-state rivals Texas A&M on Saturday, with a score of 197-103. Texas finished first in every swimming event except for the breaststrokes, where Aggie sophomore Breeja Larson out-dueled Longhorn rival Laura Sogar. Larson did not compete at Long Course Nationals this summer due to health problems, but she bounced back with times of 59.73 in the 100 breast and 2:10.25 in the 200 breast. That time in the 100 breast is more than a second faster than anyone else has swum this season, and the 200 breast is also first in the nation. Texas A&M has announced that it will move to the SEC next fall, so the two teams might not meet each other in a dual meet again next season or for several years down the line.
The Auburn men and women took out Penn State on Friday, with defending NCAA Champion Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace setting the top time in the nation in the 50 free at 22.34.
Louisiana State defeated Alabama in both football and swimming this weekend, as the Tigers swept the men’s and women’s meets against the Crimson Tide. Leading the way for LSU was Amanda Kendall, who won four golds at the Pan Ams. Kendall won four events again, including a 49.18 100 free.
You can read more about college swim meets around the country at our college channel at SwimmingWorld.com.
USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch was on Friday inducted into the University of Arizona Hall of Fame. Busch served as head coach at Arizona for 22 years before stepping down after last year’s NCAA Championships to succeed Mark Schubert at the helm of the National Team. Busch coached 48 individual NCAA champions and led both the men’s and women’s teams to NCAA team titles in 2008. Three swimmers were also inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Busch, all of them former individual NCAA champions: Marshi Smith, Simon Burnett and Lyndon Ferns.
New 1500 world record-holder Sun Yang showed off his talent outside of the pool recently, singing in a performance at a Chinese awards show. Sun won some awards for his outstanding performances in the pool this year and celebrated on stage with a production number that included strobe lights and dancers acting as swimmers. However, it would appear that Sun actually was lip-synching, so you probably don’t want to book his musical talents for your next party.
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