PHOENIX, Arizona, September 27. THE college swim season is in full force this weekend. Several meets are taking place as we tape this episode, and a few others are about to start. Michigan, the reigning men’s Division I NCAA swimming and diving champions, is kicking off its season today with a dual meet against Iowa. Tomorrow with the Michigan Water Carnival, which will not feature one race that is part of the normal swimming meet schedule. There’s a 100 breast where everyone does double underwater pulls of the start and turns, 50s of butterfly and breaststroke with a flip turn and a 200 IM where each swimmer gets to choose the order. It’s the second year Michigan is putting on this Water Carnival, and last year they “rewrote” the American record books by swimming races in distances that had not been contested since the 1960s.
The University of Tennessee is visiting the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a dual meet. This is Wilmington’s first meet since a major social media campaign kept the team alive after the athletic department threatened to cut the programs. Tennessee is kicking off its season after a great season for the women last season, when they finished fourth at NCAAs.
We will have results from these and other meets on swimmingworld.com throughout the weekend.
The Stanford women started their season yesterday with a win in their annual first meet against San Jose State. It was the first college meet for Olympian Lia Neal, who won the 200 freestyle. Senior Maya DiRado was the only double winner of the day, winning the 1000 free and 100 fly. How’s that for versatility.
In college water polo news, the University of Southern California’s men’s team got bumped out of the top spot in the weekly coaches poll for the first time since November 2011. The team on top? That would be UCLA, who beat USC at the NorCal tournament last weekend. USC has a chance to get back in the number one spot with two matches against Princeton and Whittier this weekend, though UCLA has a seemingly much tougher match today against Pepperdine. We’ll see if UCLA can continue their reign at the top when the new coaches poll is released next week.
While we were sleeping here in the United States, the news came out that Olympic champion Britta Steffen was retiring from competitive swimming. Steffen won the 50 and 100 freestyles at the 2008 Olympics and set world records in those events at the 2009 world championships, but was never able to get back on top of the world rankings after that. She said through her manager that she wasn’t sure she could find the motivation to train hard for the Rio Olympics.