PHOENIX, Arizona, April 8. SWIMMERS of all ages and levels raced all over the world over the weekend in short course and long course meets, showing us who to watch not just this summer at the world championships, but in the near future.
Let's start with our neighbors to the north in Canada, which was filling the roster for the world championship team. Twenty women and 14 men will travel to Barcelona, one of the largest international teams Canada has sent in recent years. Ryan Cochrane and Alexa Kormarnycky will be the busiest Canadians at the meet, each swimming in three individual events. Cochrane had his hands full in the 1500 free, as Will Brothers and Eric Hedlin chased the Olympic silver medalist up and down the pool for 15 minutes. Cochrane posted the second sub-15 minute mile of the year with a 14:59.73, while Brothers and Hedlin became the second- and third-fastest Canadian performers in the event. Brothers qualified for worlds with a 15:02.48 and Hedlin swam a 15:03.64. Canada's other active world championship medalist, Martha McCabe, will get the opportunity to match or improve on her bronze medal in the 200 breast from 2011, though Tera van Beilen will go to Barcelona as the country's fastest in the event.
Sun Yang, Cochrane's longtime rival, was the first under 15 minutes in the mile for 2013, posting a 14:48.10 at the Chinese nationals last week and setting up for another strong performance at the world championships. Sun also posted a 1:44.9 in the 200 free and 3:42.93 in the 400 free. Sun could be the first swimmer since Grant Hackett to win medals in four distance freestyle events, an accomplishment he almost achieved in 2011. It appears that Ye Shiwen could be adding the 200 freestyle to her event schedule, after winning the Chinese national title with a 1:57.54 in addition to taking both IMs and the 200 backstroke. Jiao Liuyang, China's other Olympic champion, easily cruised to a win in the 200 fly with a 2:05.87 in a step to defending her world title.
Here in the United States, the Far Western championships and the YMCA nationals showcased some of the best 18-and-under swimmers, with some of them breaking longstanding records. More than two dozen meet records fell during our live stream of the Far Western championships in San Jose, California, but perhaps the best swim came from 14-year-old Benjamin Ho, who posted a meet record 48.93 in the 100 backstroke, just two tenths off the national age group record. We have video of Benjamin's swim and the hundreds of other races from Far Westerns on swimmingworld.tv, as well as recaps of each night on swimmingworld.com.
Over in Greensboro, North Carolina, the YMCA nationals showed us who could be part of the next wave of great swimmers, but tradition was upheld in the team race, as Sarasota once again dominated by 223 points over Middle Tyger YMCA. A lot of meet records fell in the four days of competition, and you can read about them all on swimmingworld.com.
The wedding of the year took place on Saturday in San Antonio, as friends and family witnessed Matt Grevers and Annie Chandler exchange vows. Unfortunately, the happy couple doesn't have time for a honeymoon; Grevers is racing in the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona, starting on Thursday. Congratulations to Matt and Annie.
With Lance Armstrong out of the Masters meet in Austin, Texas, swimmers had the opportunity to docus on their swimming, and three national short course yards records were broken, including two in the breaststroke events by David Guthrie. It was a big weekend for Masters swimming, with several state and regional championships held in advance of next month's nationals in Indianapolis. We're looking to see if other national records were broken, and we'll bring those results to you on swimmingworld.com.