PHOENIX, Arizona, January 31. MICHAEL Phelps visited Phoenix yesterday to participate in the Annexus Pro-Am golf tournament with partner Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion. The rules of this particular pro-am only let the best player in each group play through the hole, so Phelps did not get to play through all 18 holes. Swimming World's Tiffany Elias was with Phelps for all 18 holes and shot video of Phelps' shot, as well as him signing autographs for eager fans. Phelps got to the 16th hole at the course, which is where about 10,000 fans cheered for him, then booed when he was unable to get onto the green on the first shot. This was Phelps' first day on the course after signing a deal with golf equipment maker PING, which is a big get, not only for PING, but for Phelps after just a few months in this new chapter in his life. After a day on the golf course, Phelps made an appearance at last night's basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers. You can read our coverage of Phelps' day on the course by going to swimmingworld.com.
Over in France, Laure Manaudou made a big announcement yesterday, that she was officially officially retiring ... and expecting her second child. Manaudou had retired the first time in 2009 then gave birth to a daughter Manon in 2010. Five months after giving birth, she made a comeback that got her to the 2012 Olympics, but she was unable to make it to the finals in both backstroke events. Manaudou's final competition was in France at the European championships in November.
Earlier this week, the French swimming federation announced that Lionel Horter will be their new technical director. Horter was the personal coach for Manaudou in 2008 and has worked with Amaury Leveaux for years, helping the sprinter win two medals in 2008 and gold in the 400 free relay in 2012.
That was just the first of a string of new hires announced this week. Michael Scott, who recently resigned as performance director in Great Britain, will now be the CEO of Swimming Australia. Scott was essentially forced out of his job in Great Britain because the independent performance review dictated that the person who takes the job should live in the UK full time. Scott had been spending equal time between Australia and Great Britain in his four years as performance director.
Pierre Lafontaine is leaving his post as CEO and high performance director of Swimming Canada to work with the Canadian Interuniversity Sport in March. Lafontaine had been a big part of bringing Canada into the international swimming spotlight in the past seven years. In that time, Canadian swimmers have won Olympic medals and set world records while prospering under an organization that utilizes the national training center model to great effect. In Lafontaine's place, Swimming Canada has promoted Ken Radford from director of swimming operations to CEO, while Great Britain's John Atkinson will be the high performance director.
And shortly after the news that Paulus Wildeboer was moving to Australia work as a coach there, Shannon Rollason announced today that he's going to take Wildeboer's place as head coach of the Danish national training center. Rollason was a big part of helping the Australians win gold in the women's 400 free relay and guided Jodie Henry to Olympic glory in 2004.