2019 Splashbacks – Mar-Apr: Katie Ledecky Counts Laps & Jovan Vavic Gets the Boot

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This year has been another stacked with thrills and spills in the aquatics world. It included the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, and the debut of the International Swim League (ISL). Swimming World had our readers covered every step of the way. During the final days of the year, we’re looking back in “Splashbacks” to some of the most read stories of 2019.

The top stories for March and April 2019 are…

1. What Happens to Your Body During Taper?

Swimming World college intern, J.P. Mortensen, published a timely article about what happens to your body during taper during peak championship season. Mortensen’s article explores the physiological changes that a swimmer’s body goes through each time they taper.

Kenneth To of Australia celebrates after winning the men's 100m Individual Medley during the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2012 at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 02 October 2012. EPA/ALI HAIDER

Kenneth To – Photo Courtesy: World Cup Berlin

2. Passages: Hong Kong National Record Holder Kenneth To Dies at 26

The swimming community lost 26-year-old Kenneth To in March 2019. To was training in Gainesville, Florida with the Gator Swim Club when he passed away in preparation for the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympics. He passed away as a sixteen-time Hong Kong National Record holder and four-time World Championship medalist.

3. After a Quarter Century in Troy, Jovan Vavic Fired as USC Men’s & Women’s Head Coach Water Polo Coach

USC’s winningest water polo coach was arrested by FBI agents and fired from his position as the head men’s and women’s coach after 25 years in March. Vavic’s tenure saw USC garner a total of ten men’s titles and six women’s titles.

Upon his departure, Casey Moon and Marko Pintaric took over responsibilities for the women’s and men’s teams respectivly.

4. Passages: ASU Alumnus Stephen Estes Dies in Helicopter Crash

The swimming community and the Arizona State University community lost an important member when an experimental helicopter crashed outside of Phoenix on April 16th. Stephen Estes was an engineer with Van Horn Aviation, a standout high school swimmer in the state of Arizona, and a walk-on swimmer at ASU. In 2013, he and his comeback story were featured in Swimming World Magazine after a biking accident nearly took his life.

5. Katie Ledecky Counts for Former Stanford Teammate at NCAA Championships

Katie Ledecky did not swim at the 2019 NCAA Championships, but that did not stop her from finding an important role. This time around she served as a counter for former teammate Leah Stevens for the 1650 freestyle. In addition to counting laps, she also handed out awards for the event.

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Katie Ledecky counts laps as a Stanford team player in NCAA competition

6. NCAA Announces 2020 Swimming and Diving Championships to be Swum in Short Course Meters

In April 2019, the NCAA announced that the 2020 edition of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships would take place in a short course meters pool. This would allow for swimmers who are focused on the upcoming Olympic year to spend more time training meters. This change opens the door for athletes to potentially set short course world records at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. (This was our April Fools Day joke of the year)

7. NY Governor Says SUNY Geneseo Team Cannot Use GoFundMe Donations to Stay in NC

After SUNY Geneseo’s alumni ran a successful GoFundMe to help with travel and accommodation costs to the NCAA Division III Championships, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo ruled that they would not be allowed to use any of it and must stay in neighboring state Virginia per New York’s Executive Order 155. 

8. Top 10 Quotes from Women’s NCAAs that All Age Groupers Should Hear

Sometimes the best way to get through to a young athlete is through inspirational quotes. So Swimming World’s Diana Pimer compiled a list of the top 10 quotes from the 2019 Women’s NCAA DI Swimming and Diving Championships that are meant to inspire young swimmers left and right.

9. Is It Time for NCAA to Revise Rules on Swimming Disqualifications? 

Swimming World’s Brent Rutemiller posed the question about whether or not it is time for the NCAA to revise the rules on swimming disqualifications. The question arose after two swimmers were disqualified at the 2019 Women’s NCAA DI Swimmin and Diving Championships, but unofficial video evidence did not seem to show the infractions taking place.

10. Michael Phelps Announces Family to Grow By One with Baby #3

Michael Phelps and family announced via social media in March that baby #3 would be arriving sometime in 2019. The Phelps family chose not to disclose the gender of the baby, nor did they disclose the exact due date.