PHOENIX, Arizona, November 4. WE had another interesting week of aquatic sports-related headlines, from a superstar’s driving mistake to a world record bonanza in Masters swimming. We’re counting down the top five headlines of the past week, and we’re ready to get started with number five.
At number five on this week’s countdown is the news that world championships silver medalist Marco Koch will be a part of the Euro All-Stars roster for the Duel in the Pool. This adds a lot of depth for the Europeans in the men’s breaststroke events, and will present a major challenge for the United States. Andrew Willis and Michael Jamieson will also race the breaststroke events with Koch at the Duel in the Pool in Scotland at the end of December. According to SwimSportNews, Koch was initially planning to race in the Salnikov Cup in Moscow the same weekend, but decided on the Duel instead.
Breast cancer awareness month, and the ways various swim teams are getting involved in the fight for a cure, comes in at number four on today’s show. Throughout October many college swim teams wore pink caps in their dual meets in addition to taking donations for breast cancer research. The University of South Carolina announced last week that the caps worn in a recent dual meet that features the school logo in pink lettering will be auctioned off to raise more money for cancer research. And just last weekend Denver University sported pink caps in their dual meet with Air Force. It’s great to see so many teams supporting breast cancer awareness, and we at Swimming World are thankful for their support.
Moving on to number three on our countdown, and it’s the five Masters swimming short course meters world records set by Olympian Darian Townsend on Sunday not too far away from us in Mesa, Arizona. Townsend set those records in a matter of two hours at the Fall Invitational, not an easy feat for a swimmer of any caliber. Possibly the top swim of the day was a 1:44.90 in the 200 freestyle, which not only would have been top four at the most recent FINA World Cup meet, but broke the record set by a former teammate of Townsend’s at the University of Arizona. Adam Ritter swam a 1:46.52 a few weeks ago, which in itself was an amazing swim. Townsend also put up a 53.47 in the 100 IM, 24.55 in the 50 back, 52.45 in the 100 fly and 22.08 in the 50 free. This meet marked the Masters swimming debut for the 29-year-old Townsend, who very well might be eyeing the world record list for the 30-34 age group next year.
Number two on the countdown is the announcement of the next class of inductees for the International Swimming Hall of Fame. This year’s list of 12 athletes, coaches and administrators includes five Olympic champions and a renowned coach who’s still churning out world-class swimmers. Probably the most-known on the list is Australian Grant Hackett, who won the 1500 freestyle at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, as well as silver in the 2008 Olympics. Other Olympic champions include 200 breast winner from Hungary, Agnes Kovacs; American Tom Malchow, who won the 200 fly at the 2000 Olympics; Bo Peng, the 3-meter diving champion in 2004; and Carlo Silipo of Italy, who was part of the winning water polo team in 1992. Joszef Nagy was instrumental in developing the wave breaststroke in the 1980s and helped numerous breaststrokers, including Kovacs, win at the elite level. Mike Barrowman was one of his students, revolutionizing the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s. You can see the full list of inductees on our world channel at swimmingworld.com and on ishof.org.
And finally, we’ve reached the number one item on this week’s list of the top headlines, and it’s Sun Yang’s run-in with the law over the weekend. Sun was involved in a car accident when a bus rear-ended his Porsche in Hangzhou, and though it was not the accident that got him in trouble, it was the fact that he had no driving license. Sun’s reason for not having a license was that he did not take the time to get one before the world championships. Despite being an immense star in China, Sun was arrested for driving without a license and was given a fine and a seven-day jail sentence. It’s not known if that sentence was suspended, or if Sun really is spending time in a jail cell. Sun issued a public apology, saying “”I should have been a role model as an athlete and a public figure but I failed in my responsibility. I am deeply sorry for what I have done and will reflect on my behavior. Because I have been focusing on training and competition, I ignored learning some legal knowledge, which led to my mistake.” What should we take away from Sun’s “mistake?” Obviously, it’s not as bad as Michael Phelps getting a DUI or late-night pranks by members of Australia’s Olympic team. And it is great to see that celebrities don’t get away with infractions in China. This is not likely to create much distraction for Sun in terms of his training, but it continues to keep the athlete in the media spotlight when all it seems he wants to do is not be in the spotlight.
Before we go I do want to mention that we are still looking at submissions for our Halloween costume contest and will most likely announce the winner on swimmingworld.com later this week. Thanks to everyone who has submitted photos so far, and if you have an aquatic-themed costume that you wore for Halloween that you’d like to share, send it to us now at email@example.com.
That’s going to do it for today’s show. We’ll bring you next week’s episode on Tuesday, highlighting the top five episodes of the week, and we hope you’ll join us then.