Swimming World December 2021 Presents – A Voice For The Sport: Return to the Norm – By Editor-in-Chief John Lohn

Voice For the Sport Tokyo Olympics pool

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A Voice For The Sport: Return to the Norm

By John Lohn

The conference calls regularly held to determine content for the various issues of Swimming World Magazine are generally upbeat in nature. Friendly banter is mixed with decision-making on the content that will be included. Who should we highlight? Does a specific month include an annual feature? What deadlines are we facing?

A year ago October, as the staff gathered to debate the December 2020 issue, a difficult decision was made. Because the COVID-19 pandemic halted life as we know it and limited the number of competitions conducted worldwide, the magazine opted to pause its traditional Swimmer of the Year selections—both world and regional.

With only a partial season to judge, our call was the right way to lean. Yet, that does not mean it was easy, or one we wanted any part of. The December issue is special, an opportunity to appreciate the year that’s about to end and award accolades to the deserving athletes who make our jobs possible. Really, the issue is a celebration, and 2020 was anything but a party.

With Swimmer of the Year honors suspended, we were challenged to find an appropriate substitution for the year-end issue. Ultimately, we opted to review the first 20 years of the 2000s and recognized Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky as the World Swimmers of the Millennium, with regional recognition also awarded. As proud as we were of presenting this alternative, something was surely missing.

Well, we’re feeling much better this time around.

Although COVID-19 remains a concern, and everyday life has not returned to its pre-pandemic state, a step forward was taken during 2021. As far as the sport of swimming is concerned, meets resumed and we again were treated to the excellence of Caeleb Dressel, Emma McKeon, Adam Peaty, Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky—among others. They were all sensational at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which took place after a one-year delay and in a spectator-free environment.

As this issue shows, Swimming World has resumed the allocation of its Swimmer of the Year honors. The conference call that discussed this renewal was upbeat, and there is a true sense of pride that Dressel and McKeon are our front and back covers, respectively, and lauded for the combined 12 medals they won in Tokyo. To praise the likes of South African Tatjana Schoenmaker and Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui is equally satisfying.

How we arrived at our Swimmer of the Year decisions did not differ from the past. Sticking with the process that has been used for years, Swimming World convened an 11-person panel to cast votes for World Swimmers of the Year, along with the four regions recognized: Africa, Americas, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Voters were asked to rank their top-five choices in each category, with the ballots tabulated to determine the finishing order.

Dressel, in a hardly shocking development, was the unanimous choice for World Male Swimmer of the Year. On the women’s side, McKeon claimed nine first-place votes to finish No. 1, an expected position after she became the first female swimmer to win seven medals at a single Olympics. This year marks the third time Dressel has been named World Swimmer of the Year.

Another returning element to this issue is the Top 10 Performances of the Year, which was also curbed for a year due to COVID-19. Dressel, on the strength of his world record of 49.45 in the 100 meter butterfly at the Olympics, tops that list, with the No. 2 slot going to Schoenmaker and her world record of 2:18.95 in the 200 breaststroke.

The victories attained by the sport’s elite athletes at the Olympics were career-defining and will forever serve as major bullet points when their careers are discussed. For us at Swimming World, having this issue return to the norm is a victory of its own. As a new year beckons, it feels good to celebrate the best of the best.
It is the way it should be.

John Lohn
Editor-in-Chief
Swimming World Magazine

 

Click here to download the December 2021 issue of Swimming World, available now!

Swimming World December 2021 - World Swimmers of the Year - Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon Lead the Way - COVER
[Dressel Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher / USA Today Sports]

 

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FEATURES

014  2021 SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona, Matthew De George, John Lohn and David Rieder
World: Caeleb Dressel (Male American) & Emma McKeon (Female Pacific Rim)
Male Pacific Rim: Zac Stubblety-Cook
Female American: Katie Ledecky
European: Evgeny Rylov & Sarah Sjostrom
African: Ahmed Hafnaoui & Tatjana Schoenmaker

022  THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF 2021
by John Lohn
Five-time Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel heads the list of the best swimming performances produced in 2021, thanks to his world record in the 100 meter butterfly at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Overall, the top 10 performances consisted of seven women’s efforts and three from the men. A further breakdown reveals seven individual swims and three world record-setting relays.

025  HONG KONG HERO
by David Rieder
People gathered in shopping malls, crowding in front of big screens to watch their national hero race for Olympic medals. Others watched on office conference room TVs, while passengers on the train had their mobile devices tuned to the Tokyo Games. What they saw was Siobhan Haughey become the first and only Olympian from Hong Kong to capture multiple medals—two silvers in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

032  ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 3)
by Bruce Wigo
This is the final story of a three-part series about “The Aquatots Murder Case” regarding the death of 5-year-old Kathy Tongay and the subsequent murder charge against her father, Russell. This month’s episode: Russell Tongay’s appeal, life in (and out) of prison, what happened to Kathy’s brother, Bubber, and the impact the case had on age group sports in America.

044  NUTRITION:  HOLIDAY/INTENSE TRAINING
by Dawn Weatherwax
To train hard, you need to eat hard! Make sure you put as much emphasis on nutrition and sleep as you would on your workouts.

COACHING

036 COACHING IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Last month, in Part 1, Swimming World explored how COVID-19 altered swim training as we have known it. This month, we look at some issues and opportunities facing club swimming as it strives to be the sport of choice for a younger generation.

042  SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 6)—THE PUSH PHASE
by Rod Havriluk
In freestyle and butterfly, swimmers typically decrease the push phase time to increase stroke rate and swimming velocity. In doing so, the premature upward motion of the elbows pulls the hands upward and compromises propulsion. Most swimmers can gain additional propulsion on the push phase by pushing the hand backward instead of pulling the hand upward.

045  SPECIAL SETS: ZOE DIXON—VERSATILITY IS KEY
by Michael J. Stott
Zoe Dixon, 2021-22 National Junior Team member, has had quite a year. Swimming for Coach Norm Wright at NOVA of Virginia, the 17-year-old is ranked No. 1 in Virginia and 11th nationally for the Class of 2022, and has committed to the University of Florida.

047  Q&A WITH COACH BRENT BOOCK, ELMBROOK SWIM CLUB (Wis.)
by Michael J. Stott

048  HOW THEY TRAIN CAMPBELL STOLL
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

041 DRYSIDE TRAINING:  FINISH STRONG
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

051    UP & COMERS:  THOMAS HEILMAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

012   A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

013    DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE 1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES?

028   HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

050    HASTY HIGH POINTERS

052    GUTTERTALK

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