Open Water Swimmers of the Year, Texas Heat and Big Paychecks on The Week That Was

PHOENIX – It was more treats than tricks for many athletes around the world this past week, as the FINA World Cup dished out more than $2 million to some very fast swimmers and a special 50 free event brought the best in the United States to Texas. That was just a small part of the buzz in the swimming community last week, and we’re counting down the top five swimming headlines of the week on today’s show. Let’s start with number five.


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Every November Swimming World Magazine announces the male and female open water swimmers of the year, and in 2014 that honor went to American Andrew Gemmell for the male open water swimmer of the year and Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands as the female open water swimmer of the year. Both of them won their respective top international races this summer, with Gemmell taking the Pan Pacific gold medal in the 10K swim, which had been delayed by a week due to adverse conditions. Gemmell has been a part of the open water scene for many years, winning the 5K silver medal at the world championships in 2009, but 2014 is proving to be his biggest year yet. As for Van Rouwendaal, this is her first major international open water medal after many years of excelling in the pool. She was a star backstroker and freestyler for Holland, winning a bronze medal in the 200 backstroke at the 2011 long course world championships. But this year she made a very successful transition to open water, winning the 10K event at the European championships and helping the Dutch win the team event as well. For good measure, she captured silver in the 5K and raced to a silver medal in the 400 freestyle. You can read more about these two fantastic swimmers in the November issue of Swimming World Magazine.

On to number four, and it’s the big paydays for several well-known athletes around the world. The biggest paychecks went to Katinka Hosszu and Chad Le Clos, who were named the top female and male swimmers of the seven-meet FINA World Cup series that ended over the weekend. Hosszu won nearly $400,000 over the course of about three months, setting five world records in the individual medleys for a $10,000 bonus per record broken. As for Le Clos, he didn’t set any world records, but he was winning a lot, and not just in the butterfly events. He won a few sprint freestyle races to show off his growing diversity and help grow his winnings to nearly $300,000. For a look at the complete money list, head to our world channel at swimmingworld.com. Back here in the United States, Olympian Josh Davis put on his famous Fastest Man In Texas meet in San Antonio, and for the first time, added a women’s competition to change the meet’s title to simply Fastest In Texas. And that title went to two Auburn grads: Adam Brown and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace. Brown took down some heavyweights with a 19.25 in the 50 free while Vanderpool-Wallace took the $5,000 check with a 22.01. The meet also featured a costume party and a clinic for the kids in attendance.

College swimming is getting intense here in the United States, and that was no more evident than in the Bay Area when the University of Texas women’s team beat Stanford and California in separate dual meets for the number three headline on the show. This could be viewed as an upset of major proportions, as Cal and Stanford placed second and third in the team race at last March’s NCAA championships, while Texas was eighth. The win over Stanford came down to the final relay, with Stanford losing by just a couple of tenths of a second. Texas’ win over Cal was a little more decisive, though Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Pelton did all they could to hold off the Longhorns. Though dual meets are not any major indicator of what will happen at the end of the season, it’s clear the Texas women’s team is making a statement that they plan to be in the thick of things next March.

Moving back to the FINA World Cup for our number two headline, and it’s Kosuke Hagino’s Asian record in the 200 short course individual medley in Tokyo. Hagino’s 1:51.27 is extremely fast, and should put himself at the top of the list for gold at the short course world championships next month, if he elects to compete there. The Asian record comes about a month after his seven-medal haul at the Asian Games, where he lowered his long course Asian record in the 200 IM. As a point of reference, Hagino still has a long way to go to reach Ryan Lochte’s world record of 1:49.63 but it’s the fastest time of the year. Those who have been following Hagino’s amazing year so far might not be surprised by the swim, but given how much he’s raced this year, it was a bit of a shock to see him continuing to raise the bar in the pool.

We’ve reached the number one headline of the week, and it’s the release of the three international rosters for next year’s major meets by USA Swimming. A lot of things delayed this announcement, but the biggest one was Michael Phelps’ decision to withdraw from the world championship team in the wake of his DUI arrest last month. That left USA Swimming scrambling a bit to fill the spots left open in the 100 fly, 100 free and 200 IM. Tim Phillips wasted no time in accepting the spot for the 100 fly, joining Tom Shields as the American representatives in that event. As for the 100 free, Ryan Lochte takes over for Phelps to mark his first major international 100 free race and gives Lochte a third individual event. Tyler Clary steps into the 200 IM and now has four individual events he’ll race in Russia next summer along with the 400 IM, 200 back and 200 fly. Phillips was originally set for the Pan American Games, but his move up created some shifts in the rosters for Pan Ams and the World University Games. Nonetheless, all three rosters have some major names on them, and Team USA is bound to win multiple medals in all three meets. You can take a look at all three rosters on our USA channel on swimmingworld.com.