Splashbacks 2020 – Nov.-Dec.: Caeleb Dressel Dazzles as Year Winds Down; Mourning Through Swimming


In a year that saw minimal racing compared to the past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several of the top stories from November and December finally involved competition. Headlining the action was American star Caeleb Dressel, who punctuated the second season of the International Swimming League with a handful of world records, including marks in the 100 individual medley and 100 butterfly.

The last two months of 2020 couldn’t pass, of course, without the Coronavirus occupying a few headlines. Meanwhile, another tragedy had to be reported on, this time the death of Illinois high school standout in a car accident that also claimed the life of her father. Here is a look at the top stories on the Swimming World website from November and December.

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1. Nearly a Year After Losing His Wife in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash, Matt Mauser Using Swimming as Therapy


Matt Mauser, right, with son Tom and daughter Penny Rose. Photo Courtesy: Diego Pombo

In a poignant piece by Matt De George, widow Matt Mauser reflects on how swimming has served as a respite of sorts following the death of his wife, Christina, in the helicopter crash that also killed NBA star Kobe Bryant. As he raises three children as a single father, Mauser is using the pool and Masters swimming as an escape.

2. Study: Zero Incidents of COVID-19 Infections at Indoor Pools

This article highlighted a report by the New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance that revealed that more than 300,000 people passed through 60 indoor facilities without a single positive test for COVID-19. The NJSSA has been gathering the statistics to emphasize the fact that pools are safe environments for training and lap swimming.

3. Watch Caeleb Dressel Shatter World Record in 100 Individual Medley (Video)

Although Caeleb Dressel was even more impressive during the championship match of the International Swimming League, his world-record performance in the 100-meter individual medley from the ISL semifinals was can’t-miss video as far as readers were concerned. In the event, Dressel clocked in at 49.88, marking the first time someone cracked the 50-second barrier in the event.

4. Caeleb Dressel Destroys World Record in 100 Butterfly (VIDEO)

Caeleb Dressel Breaks WR in 100 IM ISL, Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

Caeleb Dressel; Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

American standout Caeleb Dressel dazzled on the first day of the International Swimming League Grand Final, as he kicked off action with a world record of 47.78 in the 100 butterfly. Dressel became the first man to dip under the 48-second mark in the event, and jumpstarted a weekend in which he also set world records in the 50 freestyle and 100 individual medley.

5. Passages: Kendall Pickering, Illinois High School Swimmer, Dies in Car Accident

In mid-December, Illinois standout Kendall Pickering died in a car accident that also took the life of her father. A state finalist for Hinsdale Central High School, Pickering and her father were traveling in North Carolina when their car veered off the road. A sophomore, Pickering was one of the top recruits in her class in Illinois.

6. A Look at Swimmer Muscles by Stroke

This article from mid-December analyzed which muscles are used most in each of the strokes. The piece compared the different strokes and described how the muscles are activated during races. Making the feature even more interesting to readers was the complement of illustrations that highlighted the muscle groups most used by stroke.

7. World Record Swim Prior to Tokyo – What’s Next For Gia Pergolini?

Showing that she is ready to excel at next year’s Paralympics in Tokyo, 16-year-old Gia Pergolini posted a pair of swims in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the U.S. Open that were under the existing world records. However, because the event was not approved by World Para Swimming, Pergolini’s times will not be ratified as world records.

8. Ryan Lochte Disappointed With Performance at US Open


Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

As he prepares to seek a fifth Olympic berth, Ryan Lochte knows he is fighting against age as an athlete in his mid-30s. So, when Lochte didn’t get the results he wanted during the multi-stop U.S. Open, the veteran expressed his disappointment. Coming off that meet, Lochte vowed to up his training and seek out additional racing opportunities.

9. USA Swimming National Age Group Motivational Times For 2021-2024

As a way to provide targets for developing and rising athletes, USA Swimming released motivational times during the latter stages of the year. The list provided attracted considerable attention, as swimmers and coaches were given times to chase in not only the coming months, but over the course of the next few years.

10. COVID-19 and Environmental Considerations for Aquatic Sports

This paper by Mark Collingham examined the ever-lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically investigated how pools and aquatic sports can be safe havens for swimmers and water polo players. The paper looked at the potential of the virus to live in chlorinated environments and atmospheres in which there was high humidity, among other points.

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