Swimming World Presents “A Voice For The Sport: Male and Female High School Swimmers of the Year Tradition Temporarily Suspended”

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A Voice For The Sport: Male and Female High School Swimmer of the Year Tradition Temporarily Suspended

By Craig Lord

The tradition at Swimming World is to use the August and September issues of the magazine to pay tribute to the high school level of the sport. The August edition has long recognized its Male and Female High School Swimmers of the Year. The list of past winners is dotted with Olympians, including gold medalists Matt Grevers and Katie Ledecky.

In September, the focus typically shifts to the best scholastic teams, with Swimming World recognizing its mythical national champions—public and private. Additionally, a mock heat sheet runs with the package that promotes the top 16 high school performers/relays in each of the events contested in scholastic competition.

This year, however, we made the difficult decision as an editorial staff to temporarily suspend our tradition. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a crushing blow to the world, evident in the more than half-million deaths caused by the virus. On a smaller scale when compared to the loss of life, the pandemic has disrupted day-to-day activities in a significant way.

Although most states had completed their swim seasons by the time COVID-19 caused a mid-March shutdown of normal routines, some states found themselves substantially affected. For instance, Pennsylvania made it only halfway through its Class AAA Championships, with its Class AA competition wiped out entirely. Pennsylvania is regarded as one of the premier states in the country, both for top-tier talent and depth.

While Pennsylvania’s state championship meets were interrupted, California had its campaign completely short-circuited, leaving some of the nation’s elite high school standouts without an opportunity to shine on the scholastic stage. Like Pennsylvania, California is also known for its splendid combination of stars and depth.

Through the course of a year, Swimming World Magazine offers its readership a variety of coverage. There are columns on pressing issues in the sport. There is coverage of pre-eminent competitions, such as the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Champs. There are monthly features that investigate the careers and lives of established veterans and rising stars. There are regular pieces that provide analysis and examine moments in history.

For all that content, though, it is fair to say that the special high school issues mean a lot to the staff—and to our readers. They have held a special place on the calendar for decades and will continue to be a high-profile exercise of the magazine in the years to come. But this year, given the impact of COVID-19 and in the interest of fairness, we felt there was no other option but to hit the pause button on our traditional approach.

When we gathered as an editorial staff to discuss the high school dilemma, the initial opinion went something like this: “If we name swimmers of the year and identify mythical national champs, it would be an unfair decision to athletes and teams from states such as Pennsylvania and California.” We also took this viewpoint: “Handing out watered-down awards would be less appreciated by those honored, and that is a path we would prefer not to travel.”

With a tough call made to temporarily shelve our individual and team awards, we quickly moved on to this question: “How can we still honor the high school season?” We believe our answer is more than satisfactory.

For this August issue, our writers put together articles that looked at the following topics:

• How COVID-19 affected the high school season
• Who set national high school records before racing was halted
• Which swimmers have gone from swimmer of the year accolades to the Olympics
• Where the top recruits are headed for their collegiate careers.

Next month, in lieu of naming mythical national champions, we will look at some of the greatest high school programs in history—public and private. More, we’ll look at the current forces, and why they have maintained supremacy.

Hopefully, the suspension of our individual and team awards will not be replicated in the future. And know that we are counting down to naming our next swimmers of the year and national champs.

John Lohn
Associate Editor-in-Chief
Swimming World Magazine

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Swimming World Magazine August 2020 Issue

FEATURES

014 OPPORTUNITY LOST
by Dan D’Addona
High school swimming has multiple seasons with roughly 130 state/sectional/divisional high school championship meets held as early as October or as late as May of the following year. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, some high schools had already completed their championships, others saw their season canceled…while still others were interrupted during the middle of their meet! Here are a few examples of how the coronavirus affected high school swimming.

016 A GOOD INDICATOR OF FUTURE SUCCESS
by Andy Ross
Since Swimming World first honored its Male and Female High School Swimmers of the Year in 1997, 60 percent of those athletes have gone on to compete in the Olympics from 2000 through 2016.

019 TOP HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITS
by Chandler Brandes
Swimming World takes a look at the swimmers it considers to be the 10 best high school recruits—both male and female—from the Class of 2020 and where they’ll be attending college in the fall.

022 THE RECORD BREAKERS
by David Rieder
Nine high school swimmers from eight different states combined for 11 public or independent school records and eight overall national high school records—including three times in one event!

026 A GROSS INJUSTICE
by John Lohn
In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, 16-year-old Rick DeMont had won the 400 meter freestyle only to have his gold medal taken away several days later in one of the biggest injustices in Olympic history.

029 ISHOF: THE TOM AND MATT SHOW
by Bruce Wigo
As explained in last month’s issue,sprinters are considered a different breed of swimmer. They’re not just free spirits, but they seem to be rule breakers and troublemakers of the sport. In July, Swimming World featured two of swimming’s notorious female rebels, Eleanor Holm and Dawn Fraser. This month’s article takes a look at two male disruptors who paved the way for professional swimming, Tom Jager and Matt Biondi.

COACHING

012 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: DEVELOPMENT OF AN OPTIMAL MODEL FOR TECHNIQUE: PART VIII—BODY BASE OF SUPPORT FOR BREASTSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
The torso is the swimmer’s base of support (BOS). During a stroke cycle of a typical breaststroker, excess vertical motion of the shoulder distorts the BOS, which compromises the ability to maximize propulsion and, as a result, limits swimming velocity. This article offers suggestions for how to stabilize the BOS to generate more propulsion to swim faster.

033 SUMMER LEAGUE: HAVING FUN AND GETTING THE WORK DONE
by Michael J. Stott
No matter what tomorrow or next year brings, one can hope that the benefits of summer league as we know them will persist.

035 SPECIAL SETS: TRAINING FROM TRIALS TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES
by Michael J. Stott
Through the voice of Michigan associate coach Josh White, this month’s “Special Sets” traces the training Connor Jaeger did in the period between the U.S. Olympic Trials to the Olympic Games in 2012  and 2016.

041 Q&A WITH COACH NEIL HARPER
by Michael J. Stott

042 HOW THEY TRAIN ANNA HOPKIN
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

010 DRYSIDE TRAINING: EXERCISES FOR EXPLOSIVE STARTS & TURNS
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

039 GOLDMINDS: HOW TO BECOME AN “A” SWIMMER
by Wayne Goldsmith
Ultimately, success comes to those amazing people who make the decision to be successful and who then live that decision in practice and performance—in and out of the pool—until they realize their potential.

045 UP & COMERS: ABBY REICH
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

032 DID YOU KNOW? PETER JACKSON: “THE BLACK PRINCE”

046 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

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