PHOENIX, Arizona, June 23. IF you managed to get off the grid for a few days, you missed a lot in the swimming world. On today’s show we’ll bring you the top five swimming-related headlines of the past week, which included a new chapter for an Olympic legend and shocking performances from the newest distance queen. Let’s get it started with number five.
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Since the news that Richard Shoulberg was stepping down as head coach of the Germantown Academy after more than four decades on deck, many were waiting to see who would be selected as his replacement. The school announced on Thursday that Jeff Thompson would continue the team’s legacy, which is a big one. The school has placed numerous swimmers on Olympic teams and other major international squads, and the school has regularly been one of the top high school programs in the country. Thompson comes to Germantown from Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was the head coach for the Terre Haute Torpedoes for 17 years and coached at Terre Haute South Vigo High School.
We’re going to Japan for the number four headline today, specifically to the Japan Open where the Japanese put together another fantastic meet in the lead-up to the Pan Pacific championships. A few spots on the country’s international teams were up for grabs at this meet, and some of the performances illustrated the great swimming were going to see from Japan as the summer progresses. Three swimmers broke national records, starting with Kanako Watanabe’s 1:05.88 in the 100 breast that put her second in the world. Kohei Yamamoto made a statement that he deserves to be on Japan’s international roster with a 14:54.80 in the 1500 freestyle, breaking the previous record by a little more than two seconds. Satomi Suzuki went a 31.04 in the 50 breast to lower her own national record by three tenths, while Miho Takahashi swam a 4:35.69 in the women’s 400 IM to break the oldest Japanese record by three tenths of a second, a record that had stood since 2000. Several other top swimmers continued to impress, including Daiya Seto and Ryosuke Irie, and you can find results from the meet on our world channel at swimmingworld.com.
The Arena Grand Prix took a bow last weekend in Santa Clara, and that’s our number three headline on the show. The meet wrapped up a six-meet series with one-year BMW leases on the line for the top American male and female, as well as $10,000 each for the top overall swimmer regardless of nationality. Caitlin Leverenz and Conor Dwyer won the BMW leases by touching first in the 200 IM on Sunday evening. Leverenz’s win was pretty dominant, and though she wasn’t able to outscore Katinka Hosszu in terms of points, Leverenz will be driving around Berkeley with a new BMW ActiveHybrid. Dwyer got the BMW AND the $10,000 in a very close battle with two of his North Baltimore teammates in the 200 IM. Dwyer already had the BMW in his grasp before the race started, but needed to win the race in order to secure the $10,000. He beat Chase Kalisz by four hundredths of a second, and outtouched Michael Phelps by almost three tenths. With the win, Dwyer denied Arkady Vyatchanin of the $10,000 by one point. Plenty of other great races took place in Santa Clara, including a win by Simone Manuel in the 100 free, Bruno Fratus in the 50 free, Kevin Cordes sweeping the men’s breaststroke events and Elizabeth Beisel winning the 400 IM and 200 back on Saturday. We have all the race recaps and race videos from the A finals on swimmingworld.com, as well as plenty of video interviews with top athletes on swimmingworld.tv and YouTube.
Less than two weeks after a harrowing all-terrain vehicle accident severed her spine and rendered her paralyzed from the waist down, Amy Van Dyken Rouen boarded a plane to Craig Hospital in Denver to begin rehab and start the next chapter of her life. Van Dyken held a press conference with the surgeon who treated her before leaving Phoenix last Wednesday, and here’s part of that press conference.
Everyone here at Swimming World join the thousands around the world wishing Amy all the best in this next step.
And course, the number one headline of the week is Katie Ledecky and her two world records in the 800 and 1500 freestyles at the Senior Invite in The Woodlands, Texas. Coming off altitude training in Colorado Springs, Ledecky shocked the world with a 15:34.23 in the 1500 freestyle on Thursday, taking two seconds off her world record that is not even a year old! Averaging 1:02.7 for most of the 100s, Ledecky continues to raise the bar for what’s possible. But that wasn’t all. After two days of racing that included swimming the 200 and 400 IMs, Ledecky went after her 800 free world record on Sunday posting an 8:11.00. Yeah, I know. It’s unbelievable. My brain can’t fully process it. Not only are these swims shocking because they beat her best times by more than two seconds, but because they were done in the middle of the season! What are we going to see from this 17-year-old in August, either at nationals or the Pan Pacific championships? You can watch the final 150 meters of her 1500 free and the entire 800 free race on our website, swimmingworld.com.
As you can see, it was a great week to be a swimming fan, and a swimming journalist covering the sport. I’m looking forward to seeing what this week will bring, and we’ll have the top five headlines for you on next week’s show.