This was another busy week in the swimming world, with two of the last major meets before U.S. Nationals and the announcement of a new Executive Director of USA Swimming. Catch up on all those stories on The Week That Was.
The Week That Was #5 – ESPN Highlights Ryan Lochte And Ning Zetao
ESPN posted the second annual World Fame 100 List for athletes this week, with two swimmers landing themselves on the list. Ryan Lochte of the United States and Ning Zetao of China both made the rankings, with Lochte coming in at No. 67 and Zetao just edging him out at No. 66. The rankings are developed by Ben Alamar, ESPN’s director of analytics, and calculate an athlete’s level of fame based on a formula he developed that included endorsements, internet searches and social media following. Because of the formula amateur athletes (such as Katie Ledecky) are excluded from the list, as are retired athletes (such as Michael Phelps, who himself was number 46 on last year’s list). You can see the full list from ESPN here.
The Week That Was #4 – Smith College’s Kim Bierwert Retires After 40 Years
Kim Bierwert is stepping down after 40 years at the helm of Smith College’s Swimming and Diving program. Bierwert will leave the program with an overall dual meet record of 202-161-3 in addition to several national champions and 21 Division III NCAA appearances that included five top-10 finishes. Bierwert was most recently honored as the NEWMAC Diving Coach of the Year in 2017, an award he also received in 2006. He has coached both swimmers and divers to national championships, with Barbara King a two-time diving national champion and Maureen McMahon and Monique Fischer both won swimming national titles. You can read an interview with Bierwert with Swimming World here, and read the full statement from Smith College here.
The Week That Was #3 – Ryosuke Irie Among Top Performers at 2017 Charlotte UltraSwim
While swimmers were racing over on the west coast at the Santa Clara meet, a number of national and international athletes were competing back east at the 2017 Charlotte UltraSwim. Japanese backstroker Ryosuke Irie hit the third fastest time in the world en route to winning the 100 back, improving on his season best to go 53.25 over Justin Ress’ 53.49. Ress also improved on his season best and moved into the top five in the world this year. Also notable was Katie Meili, who dropped a 1:05.95 in the 100 breast to move to third in the world. Also in sprint breaststroke, Molly Hannis moved to second in the world in the 50-meter event with a 30.19. Michael Chadwick also announced himself as a serious challenger for a spot in the 100 free on the U.S. Worlds team this summer, dropping a huge 48.69, a new personal best. You can check out all of the recaps from the 2017 Charlotte Ultraswim on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #2 – Ledecky, Cox, Litherland Top Santa Clara Pro Series
The road towards US Nationals and the FINA World Championships continued in Santa Clara this week with the latest stop on the Arena Pro Series circuit. Katie Ledecky continued to show that he first collegiate season hasn’t put a damper on her long course dominance, swimming her way to the fifth fastest performance ever in the 1500 free on the first night of the meet (15:35.65) while also posting the top time in the world in the 200 free (1:55.34). Madisyn Cox won three events over the weekend: the women’s 200 breast (2:25.62), 400 IM (4:39.07) and 200 IM (2:11.56). Another standout from the meet was rising Georgia senior and 2016 Olympian Jay Litherland, who completed an impressive 400 IM/200 free double on the third night of the meet. Litherland started the session with a dominating win the 400 IM (4:13.79) before coming back in the next men’s final to win the 200 free (1:49.28) with an incredible second 100. Litherland also tied with Michael Andrew in the 200 IM, using a monstrous last 50 to track Andrew down and hit the wall identically in 2:00.48. You can check out all of the results and recaps from the Santa Clara Pro Series stop on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #1 – Tim Hinchey Named Executive Director Of USA Swimming
This week, USA Swimming announced that Tim Hinchey will be stepping in as the new Executive Director of the organization. He will be taking over for the late Chuck Wielgus, who passed away on April 23. Hinchey will be coming to the job after spending the last six years as the President of the Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team. He has also spent time working in the NHL and NBA, and while he has never worked directly in swimming, he has been involved in the sport his whole life. In college he swam for UC-Irvine, and he currently competes for a Masters team. Hinchey will begin his new position on July 12 and is planning to attend this summer’s FINA World Championships in Hungary. You can read an exclusive interview with Hinchey with Swimming World here, and read the full press release from USA Swimming here.