PHOENIX, Arizona, November 12. WHAT an amazing week of headlines from around the world. Records were being rewritten, Olympic champions were having problems outside the pool and college swimmers were making some big statements in the pool. We’re here to count down the top five swimming headlines of the week, so let’s get right to it.
Starting off at number five on the countdown is an amazing barrier-breaking swim by Ryan Hoffer last Friday in the prelims of the Arizona Division I high school swimming championships. Hoffer, just 15 years old, swam a 19.55 in the 50 freestyle to not only get under the 20-second barrier for the first time, but do it in a big way. It was a new USA Swimming national age group record for Hoffer, and just a few months into his 15th year, he’s bound to take that record even further. Hoffer went for it in finals the next day but could “only” manage a 19.69. That time is definitely going to be one of the fastest 50 freestylers of the entire high school season anywhere in the country, an impressive feat for a freshman. You can see the footage of Hoffer’s 19.69 to get an idea of his talent by going to the state championships landing page at tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com.
Our number four headline of the week is the suspension handed down to Sun Yang in the wake of his fender bender that revealed he did not have a driver’s license. Sun is a major superstar in China, and the Chinese swimming federation gave Sun an indefinite suspension from any official national team activities, as well as forbidding him from competing anywhere outside of China. Sun was released from jail today and it remains to be seen how the drama will affect his performances in the pool, when he is finally cleared to compete.
Coming in at number three are the four short course meters world records set at the FINA World Cup in Tokyo and Singapore last week. First up was Chad Le Clos, who lowered his own world record in the 200 butterfly by five tenths to 1:48.56 in Singapore, followed by the Australian quartet of Bobby Hurley, Christian Sprenger, Alicia Coutts and Cate Campbell, who set the world mark of 1:38.02 in the mixed 200 medley relay. Australia would lay claim to the world record in the mixed 200 free relay at the Tokyo meet with Tom D’Orsogna, Travis Mahoney, Campbell and her sister Bronte posting a 1:29.61. Also breaking a world record in Tokyo was Yulia Efimova, who did what many have been trying to do this year: break Jessica Hardy’s 2009 world record of 28.80 in the 50 breast. Ruta Meilutyte couldn’t get to it, and Alia Atkinson fell short as well. But Efimova got her first world record of the World Cup with a 28.71. We have one more stop on the World Cup circuit, and it starts in a few hours in Beijing. Maybe we’ll have more world records to finish off a spectacular circuit.
The two national high school records broken last weekend take the number two spot on this week’s show. Joe Schooling, who was awarded our Speedo Performance of the Week today, swam a 45.52 in the 100 fly to take the record back after Caeleb Dressel stole it in September. Dressel tried to get it back but was four tenths too slow. Dressel had enough to celebrate anyway with a 19.29 in the 50 freestyle. Not only is that the fastest swim ever done by a high school swimmer, it’s a USA Swimming national age group record in the 17-18 age group. Both of these swims would have placed in the top eight at last March’s NCAA championships. Schooling’s time would have been third, while Dressel would have placed fourth. This continues the amazing performances by some of the country’s best swimmers that includes Dressel winning gold at the junior world championships, Schooling placing in the top 20 at the world championships and other teenagers putting in remarkable performances in 2013. Keep it coming, guys!
And now it’s time for the number one headline of the week, and if you’ve been visiting SwimmingWorld.com for the past few days, you’ll know that nothing tops the news that Ryan Lochte severely injured his left knee last Tuesday. Reports indicate that Lochte was back in Gainesville, Florida, visiting his brother, when a female fan noticed him on the street. That fan, who has not been named, ran to Lochte, and Lochte did his best attempt to catch her. Her momentum caused the two to fall to the ground, where Lochte hit his knee on the curb. The fan was not injured, but Lochte tore his medial collateral ligament in his knee and sprained his anterior cruciate ligament. Though a tear is quite serious, Lochte’s father told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that his son will not have surgery. He’ll just take part in some serious rehab to get the knee strong enough again. Obviously, this will take months to heal, and Lochte is not going to be able to swim in nationals next month, or the Duel in the Pool for that matter. USA Swimming has not said what they plan to do with Lochte’s spot on the Duel in the Pool roster. Obviously, it’s not easy to replace a swimmers as versatile as Lochte. It would take two swimmers to be as good as he is. Lochte plans to be in racing form in time to qualify for the Pan Pacific championships this summer, and we at Swimming World wish him the best.
So that was the top five headlines of the week, and what a week it was. Before we go, we want to announce the winner of our Swimming World Halloween costume contest. We got lots of submissions, and our staff enjoyed going through all of them. Some were funny, some just a little bit scary, and others were pretty inventive. Only one team sent in a group photo, and this one came from Swim Fort Lauderdale, who had some spooky swim caps on during a Halloween week workout. I’d be a little scared if I saw those swim caps skimming the surface at my pool!
The winner of the contest was this photo taken of young Henry, who came up with an inventive way to prevent sunburn in Arizona. We also viewed this as an interesting outfit for a swimming superhero. For this photo, Henry and his family get a free one-year subscription to Swimming World Magazine. Congratulations, Henry!
That’s going to do it for this week’s show. Tune in next Monday for our next look back at the top aquatic sports headlines. I’m Jeff Commings, and that was the week that was.