2008 Swimming World Magazine Covers in Review

PHOENIX, Arizona, December 25. DURING the past year, Swimming World Magazine covered some top-flight and exciting action throughout the swimming community. One of the greatest honors the magazine can bestow, outside of its World Swimmer of the Year awards, is a spot on one of 12 covers each year. This year, we actually had 14 covers with a pair of special digital-only editions of the magazine provided for free to our readers.

To the right, we have created a slideshow for each cover of 2008, as detailed with each issue's cover description below:

JANUARY
The USA women's water polo team, coached by Guy Baker, is ranked No. 1 in the world and is the hottest team in the sport, having gone undefeated in its last 36 international matches. As the reigning world champion, the USA women appear to be the Olympic gold-medal favorite in Beijing next August.

PHOTO BY TONY DUFFY

FEBRUARY
Randall Bal was nicknamed "Blackjack" after winning all 21 of his backstroke races in the FINA/Arena World Cup circuit last fall. Between Oct. 19 and Nov. 25, he traveled to five continents and competed in seven meets. Bal received a check for $100,000 as the men's top performer.

PHOTO BY BILL COLLINS

MARCH
Cesar Cielo will help lead Auburn, March 27-29, in its quest for an NCAA record-tying sixth straight men's team championship. A year ago, he established NCAA records of 18.69 and 41.17 in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles, and also carried Auburn to victories in three relays.

PHOTO BY TODD VAN EMST; INSET PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK

APRIL
Laura Val, 56, who competes for Tamalpais Aquatic Masters and trains with the Santa Clara Swim Club, was the top vote-getter in Swimming World Magazine's Top 12 World Masters Swimmers of 2007. Last year, she set 22 world records for women 55-59—eight long course and 14 short course meters.

PHOTO BY JOHN TODD, INTERNATIONAL SPORTS IMAGES, INC.; INSET PHOTO BY DAVID CALLOW, REUTERS

MAY
The University of Arizona women captured their first NCAA team title,
March 20-22. A week later, Arizona's men also won their first NCAA crown to complete the sweep. "It's two teams that wanted to win, two teams with a lot of pride," said head coach Frank Busch. "There's something about this group that's very special."

PHOTO BY JACOB CHINN

JUNE
Forty-one world records have been set this year alone! Is it because it's an Olympic year, and the athletes are swimming faster in preparation for Beijing this summer? Or is it because of the new swimsuits that were introduced recently that claim to be the most technologically advanced and, simply, the fastest ever?

SPECIAL SWIMSUIT EDITION
In 2008, Swimming World Magazine debuted its first swimsuit edition. A project spearheaded by marketing director Toni Napper, and completed by the students of South Mountain High School, the swimsuit edition featured some of the top fashionable swimwear and accessories available from our advertisers.

COVER MODEL: JENIECE HARPER; PHOTOGRAPHER: CESAR VARELA; SUIT PROVIDED BY RBK

JULY
Mark Warkentin and Chloe Sutton (inset) will represent the United States at this summer's Olympics in the 10K open water events. Warkentin earned his spot by finishing seventh at the FINA Open Water World Championships in Seville, Spain, while Sutton won the women's 10K at the sport's final qualifying event in Beijing.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY TYR; INSET PHOTO BY BRUNO DOMINGOS, REUTERS

SPECIAL OLYMPIC PREVIEW
At the U.S. Olympic Trials, June 29-July 6, in Omaha, Neb., Michael Phelps put himself in position to win eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. Phelps, 23, competing in his third Olympiad, will be shooting for Mark Spitz' Olympic record of seven gold medals won at Munich in 1972. Spitz also set seven world records!

PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK

AUGUST
At the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha last month, Dara Torres became America's first and only five-time Olympian. She previously represented the United States in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 2000. Now 41 and the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Tessa, Torres also is the oldest person ever to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team.

PHOTO BY PETER H. BICK; INSET PHOTO BY MICHELLE TUCKER

SEPTEMBER
Austin Westlake High School, which captured the Texas 5A High School Championships earlier in the year, parlayed that success into its second straight girls' national high school championship. Coach Isaac Grombacher's team was responsible for three public school records this past season: the 100-yard back and 200 IM by Mary Beck plus the 400-yard free relay.

PHOTO BY MICHELLE TUCKER; INSET PHOTO BY JASON REID, REUTERS

OCTOBER
What Michael Phelps did at the Beijing Olympics had never been done before in the 112-year history of the Olympic Games. He won eight gold medals at a single Olympiad, breaking the 36-year-old record of seven gold medals set by Mark Spitz at Munich. With 14 career gold medals (an Olympic record) and 16 medals overall (two shy of the record), experts and fans alike are calling him the greatest Olympian of all time.

PHOTO BY JASON REED, REUTERS

NOVEMBER
More than 900 athletes lined up on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay's Angel Island for the start of the 9th Annual RCP Tiburon Mile in October. The world-class competition offers unique challenges for elite swimmers, age groupers and recreational athletes alike, as well as financial support this year for Hospice by the Bay and in past years for the Special Olympics.

PHOTO BY ELLIOT KARLAN

DECEMBER
Michael Phelps claimed his third consecutive Swimming World Magazine Male World Swimmer of the Year award. Debbie Meyer is the only other swimmer with three straight titles (1967-69). Phelps also is the first person ever to win the magazine's ultimate honor five times. Australia's Stephanie Rice (inset) was named Female World Swimmer of the Year for the first time.

PHOTO BY DAVID GRAY, REUTERS; INSET PHOTO BY JASON REED, REUTERS