This week saw another NCAA team cut, an Olympic head coach split from his long-time program and two Olympians announcing an end to their competitive careers. Catch up on all those stories, including recaps of the Japan Open and U.S. Open Water Nationals, in this edition of The Week That Was!
The Week That Was #5 – David Marsh Officially Splits From SwimMAC
According to a report from the Charlotte Observer this week, Olympic Head Coach David Marsh is officially splitting ways with SwimMAC effective immediately. We already knew that Marsh was stepping away as head coach and CEO of the club (he announced that back in February), but this indicates that he will no longer have an official working relationship with the club moving forward. Marsh had worked with SwimMAC for the last 10 years, coming there after an incredibly successful stint as the head coach of Auburn University that saw his teams win a combined 12 NCAA Championship titles. Marsh will continue to coach in Charlotte and direct the Team Elite program at Queens University of Charlotte. Team Elite has been under the SwimMAC umbrella, but will now solely be under the direction of Marsh. You can read a full statement from Marsh and his representatives on his departure from the club here.
The Week That Was #4 – Camille Lacourt, Martha McCabe Announce Retirements
Two Olympians announced their retirements this week, with French backstroker Camille Lacourt and Canadian breaststroker Martha McCabe announcing their plans to leave the sport. Lacourt will compete for the last time at the upcoming FINA World Championships in Budapest, the same city where he had his breakout meet at the 2010 European Championships. Lacourt was the World Champion in the 100 back in 2011 and won the 50 back in 2013 and 2015. Lacourt will only compete in the 50 backstroke in Budapest, a way to end his career on his terms after finishing fifth in the 100 back final in Rio last summer. McCabe for her part has already hung up her goggles, announcing in a recent interview her new venture, Head to Head, that aims to connect Olympians with age group athletes across Canada. McCabe’s top Olympic finish was fifth in the 200 breaststroke in London, and she was a co-captain of the Canadian Olympic Team in Rio. In the interview, McCabe credits the Canadian Olympic Committee’s “Game Plan” programming for helping her navigate the waters in retirement, giving her perspective on how to channel her energy after her professional career.
The Week That Was #3 – Worlds Roster Takes Shape At U.S. Open Water Nationals
U.S. Open Water Nationals took place this week at Castic Lake, serving as the qualifying meet for the FINA World Championships this summer. While there was concern over the chilly temperatures of the lake leading up to the competition, lake temps reached 69 degrees just minutes before the start of the event, taking away the controversial option for wetsuits that is available when the water is 68 degrees and cooler. Ashley Twichell led the women in the 10k event, winning by more than a minute with a final time of 2:04:17.848. She beat out two Olympic silver medalists who had to battle it out for second, with American Haley Anderson ending up second over 2016 silver medalist Rachele Bruni of Italy. Anderson would also come back to win the 5k event, where Twichell finished fourth and was the #2 American finisher. On the men’s side, Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky will defend his 2015 World title this summer after winning the 10k event by nearly a minute. Wilimovsky will also be competing at the U.S. pool nationals next month. He was fourth in the 1500 free at the Rio Olympics last summer. Tennessee’s David Heron won a tight battle in the 5k, holding off a charging Andrew Gemmell down the final stretch to grab the win by three tenths. You can see the full recaps of U.S. Open Water Nationals on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #2 – Peaty, Watanabe Highlight 2017 Japan Open
There was some fast swimming in Tokyo this week, as the 2017 Japan Open kicked off on Friday with Olympic talent from Japan, Great Britain, and Australia came together for some top flight competition. British breaststroke star Adam Peaty swept his usual sprint breast events in dominant fashion, throwing down times of 26.94 and 58.82 in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes. Peaty won both events by more than half a second, and even though he was a full second of his season best of 57.79 he continues to show he will be the favorite heading into the 2017 World Championships. In the longer breaststroke event world record holder Ippei Watanabe was also about a second off his season best world record from earlier in the year when he won in 2:07.77. Watanabe became the first man to break 2:07 earlier this year when he threw down a world record 2:06.67, and like Peaty has been a head above the rest of the world in this event this season. You can see full recaps and results from all sessions of the meet on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #1 – Wright State University Cuts Men and Women’s Swimming
Wright State University will be joining University of North Dakota and University of Buffalo as one more university that is cutting its swimming and diving programs. The university announced it’s decision on Friday morning, stating that both men’s and women’s programs will be cut “effective immediately.” The decision was made as a cost-cutting measure for the university. The school expects to save $500,000 annually from the cutting the programs. As per NCAA rules, all student-athletes will be allowed to transfer without penalty, although with this decision coming in late May swimmers will be at a great disadvantage to find a school they are able to transfer to by the fall semester. All scholarships will be honored for those athletes who choose to stay at the university through their graduation. Wright State’s men were fourth and their women were seventh at the most recent Horizon League Championships. You can read the full press release from Wright State University here.