PHOENIX, Arizona, January 4. THIS morning, Swimming World learned that Katie Hoff is retiring from the sport and relocating to Miami. Her former coach Paul Yetter said Hoff will enroll at the University of Miami. Hoff had an amazing career, making her first Olympic team at 15 years old in 2004 and taking on an ambitious competition schedule in 2008, taking on five individual events and winning a silver and two bronze. Hoff's last competition was the 2012 Olympic Trials, where she came down with food poisoning the night before her first race and was unable to qualify for the team. Hoff was the former world record holder in the long course 400 IM and still holds several short course yards American records. We wish her well in this next stage of her life.
The second half of the collegiate swimming season is getting started this week. Yesterday the Michigan men's and women's teams had no problem at the Orange Bowl Classic in the Florida Keys, winning all of the 24 events. With all swimmers competing in the meet after a couple of weeks of intense training, the times were not impressive, but the men's team still looks to be a major player this March at the NCAA championships.
Today in Tucson, the Arizona Wildcats women's team will race against a few teams that came to southern Arizona for training. Teams from Northern Arizona University, Oregon State and New Mexico State will race this weekend. Since neither of those schools have men's teams, the Arizona men get the weekend off from competition.
And in Division II swimming, Grand Canyon University and UC-San Diego will face off in a dual meet tomorrow. These two teams will be in the thick of it for the national title in March, so we expect a close meet. One race of significance will be the men's 200 breaststroke, which will feature Grand Canyon's Eetu Karvonen, the reigning NCAA champion, and UCSD's Nick Korth, who was third in the 200 breast at last spring's NCAAs. Both swimmers have posted times in the low 1:58 range this season, and despite winter training, will be ready to race tomorrow.
Earlier today, FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, released its list of the top athletes of 2012 in all five aquatic disciplines. Not surprisingly, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin were named the swimmers of the year after their major medal haul in London. Wu Minxia and Ilya Zakharov were honored as the divers of the year, while Maggie Steffens and Josip Pavic were named water polo players of the year. Natalia Ishchenko received the honor as synchronized swimmers of the year, and 10K Olympic champions Ous Mellouli and Eva Risztov received open water swimmers of the year honors.
Before we end our show we want to send a hearty congratulations to NCAA champion and Olympian Julia Wilkinson, who is getting married tomorrow to her fianc? Shane Minks. The two were athletes at Texas A&M University when they met, and it's fitting they are tying the knot in College Station. We at Swimming World wish the two of them all the best in their new lives together.