PHOENIX, Arizona, October 22. WHAT a weekend it was for swimming fans! We almost got a world record broken in Berlin, and the biggest high school recruit of this year or any other year made her college choice. Let's start with that verbal commitment from Missy Franklin, who announced to the world on Saturday afternoon that she will be attending UC-Berkeley in the fall. Franklin's decision had been one of the most anticipated piece of swimming news in this post-Olympic season. Also included in her choice to go to Berkeley is the news that she will only swim collegiately for two years, turning pro after the 2015 NCAA championships. Franklin was a hot commodity after winning five medals in the Olympics, and will likely be even hotter once she is able to take endorsement and sponsorship money.
Another big college commitment was made this weekend, as Virginia found a middle distance freestyle diamond in the rough waiting in Gainseville, Florida. Andrea D'Arrigo could contribute greatly for the Cavaliers next year, with long course times that would translate to top 10 finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyles. D'Arrigo moved from Rome to Florida this year in pursuit of high goals in education and swimming.
The Berlin pool has historically been the fastest venue on the World Cup circuit, witnessed by the many world records in 2009 and Missy Franklin's world record last year. Joanne Jackson's short course world record in the 400 freestyle was threatened Sunday by France's Camille Muffat in Berlin. Her time of 3:54.93 missed the record by 1 hundredth of a second, giving Muffat some extra motivation for the short course world championships in December, where she'll be chased by Allison Schmitt, who followed her up and down the pool in London. In that race, Muffat won gold and Schmitt took silver.
Anthony Ervin finally got back to the top of the podium in the 50 freestyle, breaking the official American record in the event with a 20.85. The official American record is 20.88, set by Josh Schneider in 2010, but the fastest swim by an American is 20.71 by Nathan Adrian at the 2009 Duel in the Pool, which was after USA Swimming instituted its ban on ratifying swims done in the polyurethane techsuits. Ervin tweeted after the race that he has his sights on that 20.71.
Tom Shields finally broke out of his third-place slump in the 100 fly with a victory over Evgeny Korotyshkin Sunday in a 50.03. That's still a second slower than Ian Crocker's American record, and a second and a half slower than Korotyshkin's world mark, but still Shield's fastest time on the circuit. Watch for Shields to also make a big time drop in December at the short course world championships.
Katinka Hosszu appears to be running out of gas in these past two stops on the World Cup tour, but is still raking in lots of money. She now has $45,750 in race winnings with three more meets left and is extending her lead in the overall points total. Australia's Kenneth To is finding himself in a battle with George Bovell, who is inching closer to To's points total with every meet. Like Hosszu, To hasn't been swimming as fast as the meets go on, enabling Bovell to get those crucial points.
The World Cup takes a 12-day break before wrapping up with three meets in Asia. You can read our complete recaps from Berlin, as well as view the complete money list on swimmingworld.com.
The world and French swimming communities were rocked by the news of the passing of Christian Donze, who was the French team's national director for the past three years. Donze suffered a heart attack during a mountain bike race in southeastern France yesterday, and died at age 51. Donze was largely responsible for France's surge up the medals tables at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 Olympics with a philosophy of mental and physical preparation that started at the club level.
Back here in the States, the college dual meet season continued, and we have plenty of recaps for you on our college channel at swimmingworld.com.
Dave Salo had a busy weekend, keeping tabs on his men's and women's teams in two cities this weekend. He was at the SMU Classic in Dallas, where eight of his top swimmers claimed the meet title decisively over North Carolina and Florida. One of the top races of the meet was the 500 freestyle, featuring three NCAA champions, two of which won Olympic medals. Stephanie Peacock, the reigning champion in the 500 free, won the race ahead of Olympic 10K silver medalist and reigning 500 free NCAA winner Haley Anderson. Elizabeth Beisel, known mostly for her IM and backstroke abilities, was third.
USC freshman Jasmine Tosky swam well in the 200 fly, 200 free and 100 fly, winning all three events. Megan Hawthorne, a junior, swam a lifetime best in winning the 400 IM with a 4:07.21, just three tenths ahead of Beisel.
The Trojan women's “B” team was back in Los Angeles for a meet against the University of San Diego, winning the meet by 32 points. Andrea Kropp, an Olympic Trials finalist in the 200 breast, swam to wins in both breaststrokes and the 400 IM.
On the men's side, the Trojans beat North Carolina State, with NCAA finalist Christian Quintero winning three events and Alex Lendrum taking both backstrokes.
The University of Texas men's team won the Southwest Collegiate Plunge to start their season. Clay Youngquist had the top swim of the meet with a 1:36.20 in the 200 freestyle.