The Week That Was: Untimely Passing, American Record Chase Top Headlines of the Week

Photo Courtesy: John Michael Simpson

PHOENIX, Arizona, May 5. A lot went down last week, including the chase of an American record, the passing of a swimming legend and a world record holder’s attempt to get back to the top of the global rankings. Without any further ado, let’s get this countdown started with our number five headline.


Note: YouTube Measures Views Only For Episodes Watched On YouTube.com

On Wednesday, USA Swimming announced that Bob Bowman and Teri McKeever will be the head coaches for Team USA at this summer’s Pan Pacific swimming championships. The actual team won’t be selected until early August, giving Bowman and McKeever next to nothing to do until then. This will be Bowman’s first time at the helm of the Pan Pac team, though he was part of the coaching squad at the 2010 meet. Bowman, who will lead the men’s team in Australia in August, is likely to have several of his North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmers racing Down Under, including Conor Dwyer, Tom Luchsinger and of course, Michael Phelps. As for McKeever, she was first named head women’s Pan Pac coach in 2010 on the way to becoming the first female head coach for Team USA at an Olympic Games. McKeever could also have some of her personal swimmers racing at Pan Pacs from the University of California-Berkeley, including Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Pelton. The assistant coaches for the team are usually picked at the same time as the athletes at nationals, and we can expect that to happen this year as well.

It was a sad week in the swimming community, as several notable names passed away last week. Fans of swimming history will know the name Chet Jastremski well, and his passing is number four on our list this week. Chet was an Olympian in 1964 and 1968, winning the bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke in 1964. His lasting contribution to the sport was working with the great Doc Counsilman at Indiana University to revolutionize the breaststroke kick into a smaller whip-like motion that used less of the hips and more of the lower legs to make the kick narrower. Using this new technique, “Chet the Jet,” as he was called, would set world records in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and become the first man to break the one-minute barrier in the 100-yard breaststroke. Jastremski would earn a medical degree from IU in the 1970s, and had a couple of stints working in private practice in the Bloomington area. The pool would call him in 1986, when he became the head women’s swim coach at Indiana for five seasons. Jastremski was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 1977.

Last week’s German nationals takes the number three spot on our countdown, particularly Paul Biedermann’s quest to return to the top of the world rankings after a very disappointing 2013. Biedermann was felled by injuries and illness last year, keeping him off Germany’s team that competed at the world championships. But Biedermann looks to be on track to do well this summer at the European championships after a 3:47.89 in the 400 free, 48.31 in the 100 free and 1:46.25 in the 200 free. Biedermann is the world record holder in the 200 and 400 freestyles. Also swimming well were Steffen Diebler, who is second in the world in the 100 fly with his 51.86, and Marco Koch, who swam a 2:08.51 for second in the world in the 200 breast. Dorothea Brandt won four gold medals at the meet to lead the charge on the women’s side, and a 14-year-old named Johannes Hintze swam a 2:03.68 in the 200 IM to become what we believe to be the fastest 14-year-old in history in the event. Read more about these incredible swims on swimmingworld.com as Germany prepares for the European championships.

The University of Alabama swimming and diving team is mourning the loss of one of their own this week, and the untimely death of junior John Servati takes the number two spot on our countdown. Last Monday evening, Servati was at the home of his girlfriend during the tornado that swept through Tuscaloosa. When a wall threatened to trap his girlfriend, Servati came to the rescue to try and keep the wall from falling while his girlfriend escaped. Unfortunately, Servati was not as lucky, and the wall crushed him. Hundreds of friends, family, teammates and classmates turned out for Servati’s funeral on Saturday, and his legacy will continue with the John Servati Memorial Scholarship Fund. Servati was a freestyler and backstroker at Alabama and scored points for the Crimson Tide at the Southeastern conference championships in February.

We have arrived at the number one swimming headline of the past week, and it’s the drama surrounding Nathan Adrian’s 100 freestyle at the U.S. Masters short course nationals in Santa Clara, California. Immediately after he finished the race, the scoreboard read “41.08,” which tied Adrian’s American record. But a misjudgment by the timing officials caused the system to go into backup mode at the 50-yard mark, and the 41.08 that came up on the scoreboard was the result of the average time by the timers behind the blocks who pressed their backup timing buttons when Adrian finished. But an audit of the timing sheets after the meet showed that the automatic timing did not malfunction, and the official time was corrected to 41.13. It’s still a fantastic swim for Adrian to highlight his first Masters swimming competition, where he also swam an 18.78 in the 50 free in the 25-29 age group. He brought along teammate Anthony Ervin, who swam in the 30-34 age group in his second Masters nationals, and his first since 2007. Much of the discussion before the meet began centered on the large number of pro swimmers attending the meet and whether their appearance had a negative effect on the meet. Judging by the fact that the meet virtually stopped to watch Adrian and other pro swimmers when they raced, as well as the many Facebook and Twitter photos taken with the Olympic champion, it seems as if seeing these swimming stars on deck turned out to be a good thing. Several national records were set from the youngest age group, 18-24 to the 80-84 age group, where David Radcliff broke five of the six freestyle records. You can read more about the dozens of records set by going to our Masters news page at swimmingworld.com.

And that was it, the top five headlines of the past week. We hope you enjoyed today’s show. There were many more headlines that didn’t make our top five, and you can read up on them by going to swimmingworld.com. What will make the top five for next week’s show?

Comments Off

Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

Current Swimming World Issue


Trouble Viewing on Smart Phones, Tablets or iPads? Click Here