PHOENIX, Arizona, May 13. SWIMMING fans were treated to a host of fast meets across the United States last weekend, with records falling at the high school and Masters levels and the best swimmers in the U.S. putting up some fast in-season times at the Arena Grand Prix.
Let's start with those record-breaking swims, which included three national high school records. We told you about Ella Eastin's 200 IM record on Friday's Streamlined News, and that was just the beginning of the record rampage. Two high school records fell on Saturday, as the independent high school record in the boys 200 IM fell at the hands of Curtis Ogren at the California Central Coast Section championships. His time of 1:45.01 took down Matt Thompson's four-year-old record of 1:45.27, but the time is still light years away from David Nolan's overall record of 1:41.39. Also on Saturday, down at the California Division I southern section championships, JSerra Catholic High School's foursome of Kaitlyn Albertoli, Karli Thuen, Rebecca Millard and Katie McLaughlin posted a 3:21.20 in the 400 free relay to become the fastest team in history in the event. They beat the record of 3:21.63 set by Germantown Academy just last February.
The U.S. Masters national short course yards championships saw 43 national records broken in Indianapolis. Rick Colella was responsible for six of those records, breaking records in all three breaststroke events in the 60-64 age group plus all three individual medley races. Colella was a 1976 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 breast and has been breaking world and national records for several years. Laura Val almost had a perfect record-setting meet, breaking five records, also in the 60-64 age group. One of the notable swims of the meet was in the men's 100 breaststroke, where Bob Strand became the first person to swim his age in the event. At 67 years old, Strand swam 1:07.35 in the event to break the record of 1:07.63 he swam when he was 65 years old.
The Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte, North Carolina, was packed with Olympians getting ready for the opportunity to compete in the world championships, and from what we saw last weekend, the best swimmers in the country are not letting up in this year after the Olympics. Chase Kalisz made it known that he's looking to be a strong replacement in the individual medley events for his former North Baltimore teammate Michael Phelps, posting quick times in both IM events. And Anthony Ervin took both sprint freestyle events to cement himself as a contender not only for a spot on the world team in the 50 free, but the 400 free relay, and maybe even the 100 free.
We have recaps from all these meets on our high school, Masters and USA channels on swimmingworld.com, as well as video interviews galore from the Arena Grand Prix.
On Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 11 aquatic sport athletes, one coach and one official were inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Seven of the athletes were Olympic champions, including two-time 50 free champion Gary Hall Jr., two-time 100 free champion Pieter van den Hoogenband, two-time double IM champion Yana Klochkova and 400 freestyle champion Dagmar Hase. Alberto Castagnetti was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame after years of leading Federica Pellegrini to success at the Olympic and world championship levels.
Missy Franklin celebrated her 18th birthday on Friday in the presence of British royalty. Franklin was an ambassador for the Warrior Games just south of her hometown of Denver in Colorado Springs. Prince Harry, who serves in the British military, was visiting the competition as well to support British athletes at the Games. Paralympic swimming champion Brad Snyder was on hand as well, not to compete but to carry the torch at the opening ceremonies.