Splashbacks: Phelps Plays Baseball; Franklin Has Double Shoulder Surgery in March-April 2017


It’s been another amazing year of aquatics competition, including an exciting trip to Budapest for the World Championships, and Swimming World had our readers covered every step of the way.  During the next few days, we’ll take a look back in “Splashbacks”, the most read stories of 2017.

Second on our list is March and April of 2017. Commentaries reigned supreme over our top ten list, while Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, and Missy Franklin were the top athletes mentioned.

1. 11 Coaches Reveal the Funniest Excuses They Have Ever Heard

In an entertaining turn of events, the top story for the months of March and April is a throwback to 2016. “11 Coaches Reveal the Funniest Excuses They Have Ever Heard” recounts some of the more elaborate, albeit entertaining, excuses swimmers have given to their coaches.

2. 5 Impossible Things to Explain to Non-Swimmers

The struggle to explain some of the nuances of the sport of swimming to non-swimmers was eloquently explained by Swimming World intern Erin Himes. “5 Impossible Things to Explain to Non-Swimmers” takes the time to explain some of the top swimming topics like duration of a swim meet, taper, and more!

3. Michael Phelps to Play Minor League Baseball

Guest writer Reginald Dunwoody struck gold on Swimming World in early April when he concocted an elaborate story about five-time Olympian Michael Phelps signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, a minor league baseball team. Unfortunately for the two sporting communities Phelps did not announced his intent to play via MySpace as the story was an April Fool’s Day original.

4. 20 Reasons for Swimmers to Eat Chocolate

Everyone loves chocolate, but sometimes athletes feel conflicted about consuming the sugary treat. Swimmers need not fear chocolate consumption, for health experts have identified health benefits within the treat and Swimming World college intern, Bri Groves, counted down the top 20 reasons swimmers should eat chocolate!

5. FINA Proposes Longer Event Schedule for Tokyo 2020

With 2016 and the Rio Olympic Games in the past, the aquatic community has turned their full attention to the next quadrennial and the 2020 Tokyo Games. In early April, FINA announced that they were looking into adding extra events to the swimming schedule, including 50s of strokes, the men’s 800 free, the women’s 1500 free, and the mixed 400 free and 400 medley relays.

6. NCAA Swimming Fans Treated to Greatest Distance Race Ever

It’s an exciting moment for spectators to watch one swimmer down a record at the NCAA Championships, but it becomes an even grander spectacle when four swimmers do so in the same race. Yet that is exactly what happened in the final of the 1650 free at the 2017 Men’s NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. The greatest distance race ever included distance aces Clark Smith, Jordan Wilimovsky, Felix Auboeck, and Akarem Mahmoud, with Smith narrowly claiming the title at the conclusion of the race.

7. Missy Franklin Has Double Shoulder Surgery, Out of Competition Indefinitely

Following a somewhat disappointing 2016 season, Olympian Missy Franklin announced via social media that in January she had been diagnosed with bursitis in both shoulders and had undergone surgery to get rid of the build up. Franklin did not announce when she would return to competition.

8. Is “Ledecky Fatigue” Setting In?

Following the conclusion of the 2017 Women’s NCAA Championships, which saw the crowning of Cal’s Kathleen Baker as NCAA Swimmer of the meet, Swimming World staff member Joe Johnson tackled the question of many: why didn’t Katie Ledecky win NCAA Swimmer of the meet? In “Is ‘Ledecky Fatigue’ Setting In?” Johnson analyzed the accomplishments of both Baker and Ledecky at the NCAA Championships, while reminding the swimming community of the amazing spectacle that is Ledecky and how she has made the impossible seem routine.

9. Coaches React to FINA Proposal to Add Olympic Events

Following FINA’s proposal of adding events to the Olympic swimming schedule, Swimming World reached out to Bob Bowman and Dave Marsh, the coaches for the 2016 Olympics coaches, as well as Frank Busch, former USA National Team director, and John Leonard, ASCA director, to hear their takes on the proposal.

10. 6 Reasons Your Child Should Swim

Despite being over two years old, “6 Reasons Your Child Should Swim” remains a well-read commentary on the importance of water safety and teaching children how to swim. The piece contains six distinct reasons as to why children should swim, while also providing elaborate explanations.