PHOENIX, Arizona, April 21. OUR top five headlines of the past week are coming from all over the world this week, with Scotland, Australia, Japan and the United States represented in today’s show. Let’s get our countdown started with number five.
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Stanford University diving head coach Rick Schavone is retiring after 36 seasons there, ending a career that put him on several international coaching squads and produced many diving champions. Schavone started coaching divers at Stanford in 1975 and left for just one season to serve as head diving coach at Princeton. When he returned in 1979, Stanford diving was not the powerhouse it is today, but Schavone worked to bring the program up to national recognition, guiding four divers to NCAA titles. One of those was Kristian Ipsen, who is still at Stanford and won an Olympic medal under Schavone’s guidance. All the best to Dr. Schavone as he makes the transition to retirement.
Australia held its age group championships last week in Sydney, where eight new age group records fell. Our number four headline this week spotlights one of them, the 100 freestyle record set for 15-year-olds by Kyle Chalmers with a 49.68. The previous record of 50.21 was swum by Ian Thorpe in 1998, the year he started making a name for himself on the international scene. Chalmers could be a name to watch at the 2016 Olympic Trials based on last week’s swim. And comparing him to the 15-16 national age group record in the United States, Chalmers is just four tenths off what Caeleb Dressel swam as a 16-year-old last summer, so we could see these two go head-to-head in the very near future. Chalmers is already a big name in Australia, having set numerous age group records since he was 13, and soon the world could get to see his talents.
We’re going to stay with national age group records for our number three headline, traveling to Florida for the NASA Showcase Classic. Michael Andrew turned 15 years old on Friday but he was able to compete as a 14-year-old at the meet, since that was his age on the first day of competition. As such, he was able to break a couple of national age group records in the 13-14 age group one final time. He swam a 1:43.15 in the 200 backstroke to lower his record by two seconds, then followed it up with a 46.95 in the 100 fly. The 100 fly was significant in that it also was faster than the national age group record for the 15-16 age group by four hundredths of a second. I’m sure the Andrew family will be excited to look for another short course yards meet soon so Michael can officially put his name on that 100 fly national age group record for the 15-16 division. Also setting records was 12-year-old Vinny Marciano of the Morris County Swim Club, taking down five national age group records. He broke the tie he had with Destin Lasco in the 50 back with a 24.32, and beat Michael Andrew’s 50 free and 100 free records with times of 21.78 and 47.89. And for good measure, Marciano swam times of 51.40 in the 100 back and 23.63 in the 50 fly for his fourth and fifth records to wrap up a very impressive meet.
After the British national championships wrapped up last week, Scotland released the roster of 37 swimmers who will race in front of a home crowd at the Commonwealth Games in July. This could be the start of a great era for Scotland that will spill over to the Olympic Games, where Scottish swimmers might win most of the medals in Rio while representing Great Britain. Among those names is Michael Jamieson, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 200 breast. Scotland’s male roster is strongest in the breaststroke, with six swimmers slated to race breaststroke at the meet, including national record holder Ross Murdoch. Robbie Renwick is the reigning Commonwealth champion in the 200 free, and will face a group of Aussies in his defense of that title. Also looking to defend a Commonwealth title is Hannah Miley in the 400 IM. Miley looks to be in good shape to win gold again, but anything can and will happen. Dan Wallace is another swimmer to watch for Scotland. He had a great NCAA championships for the University of Florida and will swim both IMs and the 400 free in Scotland this summer. The swimming portion of the Commonwealth Games takes place July 24 through 29.
On the other side of the world in Japan, a strong squad was named to compete at the Pan Pacific championships and the Asian Games, and that roster announcement is number one in our list of the top five swimming headlines of the week. Japan could do very well at both meets, with a very, very strong men’s team set for some fast swims. Kosuke Hagino will be one of the headliners of the 22-person team going to the Gold Coast for Pan Pacs after breaking his Asian record in the 200 IM and setting a national record in the 400 free. Ryosuke Irie is still one of the best backstrokers in the world, and he and Hagino will potentially race the likes of Matt Grevers and Ryan Lochte next summer. One of the most notable omissions from the roster is Kosuke Kitajima, who was unable to swim fast enough to get consideration for addition to the roster. Japan is planning on adding more swimmers to the list, but Kitajima, based on his low placings at the Japan Open, is not likely to be on the final list. On the women’s side, the group of breaststrokers has promise, but will need to be faster to compete with the Americans and Australians. Japan will be putting a full focus on the Pan Pacific championships, as they are one of the four charter nations of the meet, and we’ll see if they can do better than the three gold medals won in 2010.
Well, that’s it, the top five swimming headlines of the past week. I’m sure you can already predict what next week’s top headline is going to be, and it will likely feature this guy as he makes his competitive return to the pool. Swimming World will be covering Phelps’ return to racing, and all the other elite athletes swimming at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa starting on Thursday, so we hope you’ll join us on swimmingworld.com, swimmingworld.tv and our social media platforms for full coverage.