PHOENIX, Arizona, October 28. OUR newest addition to the SwimmingWorld.TV family, The Week That Was, goes deeper into some of the top aquatic sports headlines of the past few days. Host Jeff Commings offers his perspective on some of the most buzzworthy topics of the week, from collegiate swimming to world competition.
Below, a full transcript of the show:
Starting off our countdown at number five are the retirement announcements from Australian butterflyer Nick D’Arcy and Canadian Scott Goodrich. Both of these swimmers still hold national records and will have a generation of younger swimmers chasing after their fast times. Dickens was the first Canadian under one minute in the long course 100 breaststroke, doing so last year at the Olympic Games with a 59.85. Dickens was part of the 2004 Olympic team but was unable to qualify for the 2008 team. After some soul searching, Dickens got back in the pool and got the right to swim in London where he posted his historic swim.
As for D’Arcy, it’s likely that his exploits out of the pool will be remembered more for what he accomplished in the water. After the 2008 Olympic Trials, D’Arcy got into a fight with Olympic teammate Simon Cowley and was subsequently removed from the team. The financial burden of the legal battle that followed forced D’Arcy to declare bankruptcy, all while he was working toward redemption in the pool. He set the current Australian national record at the 2009 world championship trials with a 1:54.46 but his conviction from that assault kept him off the world championship team. And then there was the photo of him holding rifles with Kenrick Monk while they visited the United States for competition, particularly the Santa Clara International where D’Arcy beat Michael Phelps in the 200 fly, a viictory that was quickly forgotten once the gun photo went viral. D’Arcy wasn’t removed from the Olympic team but had to leave London immediately after swimming was done. We wish Scott and Nick all the best in their future endeavors.
At number four on our countdown is Tae Hwan Park’s return to swimming. Taking a year off after the Olympics to participate in some required military obligations, Park was back in racing form at the Korean National Sports Festival, where he posted a 3:46.71 in the 400 long course freestyle. While it’s nowhere near the top three times of the year, it is good enough to put the 2008 Olympic champion and 2011 world champion in the top 10 global rankings. Park was a close second in the 400 free at the 2012 Olympics behind Sun Yang and could be working his way back to form in time for the Asian Games next year, where he and Sun could likely race head-to-head once again. No matter the outcome, it’s great to see Tae Hwan Park back in the pool.
On our countdown at number three is the news that Cesar Cielo and his coach Scott Goodrich are moving to Tempe, Arizona, to become a part of Sun Devil Aquatics. It’ll be familiar territory for both of them. Goodrich had served as assistant coach at Arizona State for many years and will now take over as the age group team’s head coach. As for Cielo, he was in Tempe last summer for a couple of weeks training in his preparation for the world championships. Given that Cielo won two gold medals in Barcelona, it’s quite obvious that this partnership is working out very well, and could continue to prosper as Cielo gets ready for the Olympics in his native Brazil. This news could get a new crop of swimmers headed to Sun Devil Aquatics looking for the opportunity to train with Cielo … or at least the chance to be trained by his coach. At the very least, any local meet Cielo decides to attend will be a highlight for any age group swimmer who attends.
California doesn’t have one state championship for swimming and diving, but that could change in 2015, according to an article by the Orange County Register’s Dan Albano. He reports that a proposal has been made and a vote likely next February. Specifics about this proposed state meet haven’t been made public, and so it raises the biggest question: How many swimmers will compete in this state championship? California is without argument the largest swimming state in the country, and right now the various sectional meets that serve as the season-ending championship are quite populous. Would the state meet be an elite championship for say, the top 300 swimmers, or will the qualifying times allow for upwards of 1,000 swimmers, which will make that meet a monster? I grew up in Missouri, and prelims for our high school state championships took almost six hours to get through. Imagine what it would be like for a state three or four times as large. We’re all for the opportunity to crown actual state champions in California, but there are a lot of logistics to be ironed out before that can happen.
The number one swimming headline of the past week continues to generate a lot of conversation on the pool deck. It’s the announcement that Arizona’s head coach Eric Hansen was taking a leave of absence for an unspecified amount of time for personal reasons. Those reason have not been made public, and it comes during a crucial time for the men’s and women’s teams at Arizona. Their mid-season taper meet is about five weeks away, and not having their head coach on deck could affect a lot of the swimmers, no matter how mentally tough they are. During this time, Hansen still holds on to his title of head coach, and Rick DeMont is, according to university officials, taking the leadership role on the team until Hansen’s return. The Wildcats had a dual meet against UNLV this past weekend and won with little difficulty. Swimming World continues to wish Hansen all the best during his leave of absence.
That’s going to do it for this episode of the Week That Was. Before we go, we want to remind you that we’re holding a Halloween contest looking for the best aquatic-themed costume out there. Whether you’re dressed up as Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Aquaman or even this guy, the mascot from the world championships, we want to see photos! You can post them on our Facebook page, send them to us on Twitter or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll announce the winner on next week’s show.