PHOENIX, Arizona, February 17. WE at Swimming World covered a lot of news, and it wasn’t easy narrowing it down to the five best, but here they are, starting with number five.
At number five was Olympian Caitlin Leverenz’s announcement that she is engaged. Leverenz talked with Swimming World’s Tiffany Elias about it at the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando, and here’s how her boyfriend, water polo player Collin Smith, popped the question.
It always great to hear of star swimmers finding love and taking the next step to starting a new life together. Our best to Caitlin and Collin.
Our number four headline of the week is Eric Hansen’s first public statement regarding his resignation as head coach of the University of Arizona’s swim teams. Speaking to his hometown paper in Sioux Falls, Iowa, Hansen said burnout was a major factor in driving him to take a leave of absence last fall and ultimately submitting his resignation. “I realized that this chapter in my life had kind of played out,” he said. “I feel like I got a lot done and now just want a little more balance. I want to have a weekend. I don’t remember the last weekend I’ve had.” With Hansen appearing to leaving a remarkable coaching career behind, it appears he’s going to begin working with his brother, Nick, in real estate in Colorado. The life of a swim coach is never easy and does indeed take up a great portion of your life. Not every coach is able to handle that schedule well, and it’s a testament to Hansen that he was able to come to that realization at this point in his life.
It was fun tracking all the records broken over the weekend across the United States, and we got nearly a dozen national records reset in the past week. That’s our number three headline on today’s show. Five of the 11 major records broken were national high school records, four of which were in relays. Carmel High School in Indiana broke all three relay records on the girls’ side to help them win their 28th state title. And then there was the Baylor School in Tennessee, breaking a tough boys’ 200 medley relay mark that had been set a little more than a year ago by the Bolles School. And the other high school record took place in Hawaii, where Jasmine Mau swam a 52.23 in the 100 fly to break the six-year-old record of 52.44 by Kathleen Hersey in 2008. Michael Andrew wasn’t going to let a week of record-breaking go by without being a part of it, and he lowered his own long course meters marks in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM at the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando. And finally, four NCAA records were set in conference competition, starting with two Division III records in diving by Denison’s Connor Dignan at the North Coast Conference meet. Caroline Arakelian helped Queens University of Charlotte with an NCAA Division II record time of 1:56.40 to beat the two-month-old record by two tenths of a second. She and previous record holder Anastasia Klyaroskaya will meet up at the NCAAs next month for a great matchup. The other NCAA record came in the women’s 200 breast, as Drury’s Agnieszka Ostrowska swam a 2:12.70 at the Great Lakes Valley conference meet to beat the previous mark by about two tenths of a second. This was one of the most prolific weekends we’ve seen recently, and we’re just getting started with the championship phase of this season.
Every year, the dual meets between Stanford and Cal are intense as the rivals fight to determine which Bay Area school is best – at least in a dual meet format. This season, that appears to belong to Stanford after beating Cal 167-133, which puts them at number two on our list of the top five headlines of the week. Stanford won pretty much every event, and posted some impressive times. Felicia Lee and Maya DiRado swam in their final dual meets, and each won two events over the Golden Bears to set up a potentially great conference championships in two weeks. Cal’s Missy Franklin helped out with three wins in the freestyle events, including a close victory over Olympic teammate Lia Neal in the 100 and 200 freestyles. As exciting as this meet was, next week’s dual meet between the Stanford and Cal men should be just as thrilling.
And now it’s time for the number one headline of the week, and it belongs to Ryan Lochte and his return to competition three months after sustaining a knee injury. The entire world was excited to see him race in six events in the Arena Grand Prix in Orlando, but inclement weather in North Carolina kept Lochte from being able to arrive in Orlando until Friday afternoon. So, he was only able to swim two events, but most importantly, showed that his knee problems aren’t that bad. He was second in the 200 backstroke behind former training partner Arkady Vyatchanin with a 1:58.12, then was seventh in a stacked 100 free field with a 51.54. Lochte goes back to North Carolina with plenty of information about his progress as he prepares for this summer, where he’ll be looking to make the Pan Pacific team as well as next year’s world championship team at the USA Swimming nationals. Lochte told Swimming World that he’s anxious to race, and thinks his knee will be at 100 percent by August.
And those are the top five headlines of the week. We hoped you enjoyed our look back at last week’s top storylines, and invite you to come back next week as we count down the top five swimming headlines that are going to have people talking.