The Week That Was: USA Swimming Mourns Loss Of Chuck Wielgus

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming

This was another big week in the world of swimming as we move towards this summer, with the GOAT hinting at a comeback, major NCAA news, fast swimming in Britain, and the sad passing of USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus. Catch up on all the week’s news in the week that was below.

The Week That Was #5 – Phelps Changes Tune On Possible Comeback

michael-phelps-press-conference-before-rio-olympics

Photo Courtesy: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

While Michael Phelps was adamant about his retirement following the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, he admitted in an interview with the Associated Press this week that the real test of his retirement will be whether he gets the “itch” to compete after watching this summer’s World Championships. Phelps noted that after the 2012 London Olympics — his first retirement — watching the U.S. men only grab silver in the 400 free relay at the 2013 Barcelona World Championships sparked his first comeback. While Phelps did take his name out of the WADA drug testing pool back in the fall, any hint of a comeback from Phelps would be major news for USA men’s swimming.  

The Week That Was #4 – Bret Lundgaard Takes Over For Susan Teeter At Princeton

Bret Lundgaard

Photo Courtesy: Eric Bugby

This week Princeton Athletics announced that Tennessee Assistant Coach Bret Lundgaard will be taking over the reigns as head coach of the Princeton women’s swimming and diving program. He step into a role that fellow Tennessee graduate Susan Teeter has been in for 33 years. Teeter announced her retirement back in December after producing 17 Ivy League team titles and 22 All-America honorees during her career. Lundgaard has been an assistant with Tennessee for the last five years and has had a notable impact during his time with the program. In addition to working with multiple SEC Champions and NCAA All-Americans, Lundgaard was responsible for the training of breaststroker Molly Hannis, a 2016 U.S. Olympian in the 200 breast and a four year member of the U.S. National Team. Lundgaard will officially be taking over the program on May 15.

The Week That Was #3 – NCAA and ACC Return To Greensboro

greensboro-warm-up-pool-

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week it was announced that a few big name collegiate tournaments will be returning to Greensboro, N.C., as the NCAA and ACC will again be bringing championship meets back to the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The NCAA had previously pulled all scheduled competitions from Greensboro following the passage of the controversial HB2 bill, but following its repeal the organization is planning to have several competitions return in the coming years. The NCAA announced the future host sites for its championships through 2022, with Greensboro slated to host the women’s Division I Championship meet in 2021. The GAC will also host the Division II Championships in 2018 and the Division III Championships in 2019 and 2020. The ACC also announced their men and women’s conference championships will return to the GAC beginning next year through 2023.

The Week That Was #2 – Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott and Ben Proud Highlight British Champs

ben-proud-50-freestyle-rio

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

This week the 2017 British Swimming Championships took place in Sheffield, England, with some new and old names making an impact on the world rankings. World record-holder Adam Peaty walked away with wins in the 50 (26.48) and 100 (57.79) breaststrokes. Both times are the fastest in the world this year, with the 50 just .06 off his 2015 world record. Duncan Scott had a huge breakthrough performance in the men’s 100 frees, becoming the first British man to swim under 48 seconds when he won the event in 47.90. That is the fastest time in the world this year, just .01 faster than Australian Cameron McEvoy, and puts all eyes on the 19 year old heading into World Championships this summer. Ben Proud also rocketed his way to the top of the world rankings in the men’s 50 free, with a new personal best of 21.32 to win the event. That breaks Proud’s own British record from this summer and moves him into the top 10 all-time in the event. That time also would have won gold in Rio, where Proud finished fourth. You can find complete meet coverage of the event here

The Week That Was #1 – Chuck Wielgus Passes Away

Chuck Wielgus

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming

Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s Chief Executive Officer, passed away this week after a long battle with cancer. He was 67 years old. Wielgus had been with USA Swimming since 1997 when he joined as Executive Director of the organization. He was also the CEO of the USA Swimming Foundation since 2004. Under Wielgus’ tenure USA Swimming saw a dramatic growth in participation, corporate sponsors, and national outreach. This included securing television coverage for championship meets, including growing the U.S. Olympic Trials into a marquee event with all eight finals sessions televised live and more than 200,000 tickets sold for a 17,000 seat venue. Wielgus had announced his retirement earlier this year, citing health concerns over his continued battle with colon cancer. He was initially diagnosed with the disease in 2006. You can read the full statement from USA Swimming on Wielgus’ passing here.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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