Swimming World Presents – The Top Performances of the Millennium’s First 20 Years (2000-19)

Swimming World January 2021 - The Top Performances of the Millennium - Lilly King
Natalie Coughlin at the 2002 LC Nationals [PHOTO BY GEORGE OLSEN]

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The Top Performances of the Millennium’s First 20 Years (2000-19)

By John Lohn

A tradition at Swimming World is the annual compilation of the 10 best performances of the past year. But with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of competitions that were held in 2020, putting together that list for the past 12 months didn’t make sense. Yet, there was another option, one that complemented a celebration from the December issue of the magazine.

One month after we selected the Swimmers of the Millennium (to this point), we have picked the top 10 performances of the millennium’s first 20 years. The swims that were selected were not just based on speed, but carried a certain level of significance or marked a defining moment in the sport. To say the task was difficult would be an understatement, as several tremendous performances didn’t make the cut. However, we feel the selections that were made stand up as extraordinary.

Enjoy the choices, which are listed in chronological order.

IAN THORPE, AUSTRALIA
400 Meter Freestyle (3:40.59 WR)
Sept. 16, 2000
Racing in front of his home crowd at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Ian Thorpe was under immense pressure as his country’s rising teenage star. As a World champion at 15 in 1998, nothing less than Olympic gold was expected of Thorpe. Despite the pressure heaped on his shoulders, all Thorpe did on the opening night of the Games was set a world record and capture gold by nearly three seconds in the 400 freestyle.

Thorpe put the spectators at the Sydney Aquatic Centre into a frenzy, and maintained that madness later in the evening when he anchored Australia to gold in the 400 freestyle relay, marking the first time the United States lost the event in Olympic competition.

INGE DE BRUIJN, NETHERLANDS
100 Meter Butterfly (56.61 WR)
Sept. 17, 2000
As the female headliner at the 2000 Olympics, Dutchwoman Inge de Bruijn stood on top of the podium on three occasions. While she prevailed in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, what she did in the 100 butterfly was her most impressive showing.

Winning gold by more than a second, de Bruijn set a world record that would endure for nearly nine years. She was so ahead of her time that her mid-56 performance remains an impressive mark two decades later and would keep her highly competitive in current-day international competition.

NATALIE COUGHLIN, USA
100 Meter Backstroke (59.58)
Aug.13, 2002
Before Natalie Coughlin claimed back-to-back Olympic titles in the 100 backstroke, she etched her name in history at the 2002 United States National Championships in Fort Lauderdale. Completing a feat that was long anticipated, Coughlin became the first woman to break the minute barrier in the 100 back and did so in emphatic fashion, as she sliced 58-hundredths off the previous world record of China’s He Cihong.

Coughlin followed that iconic swim by winning gold in the 100 back at the 2004 Olympics and duplicated the feat at the
2008 Games in Beijing.

To access our full list of the Top 20 Performances of the Millenium so far,
click here to download the Swimming World January 2021 issue,

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SW January 2021 - Cover - Michael Andrew - Taking the Road Less Traveled[PHOTO BY MINE KASABOGLU/ISL]

 

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Swimming World Magazine January 2021 Issue

FEATURES

011 A YEAR LIKE NONE OTHER
by Dan D’Addona
The top story of 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic—impacted all of the year’s stories in aquatics…from age group, high school, college and Masters competition all the way to the Olympics!

012 THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF THE MILLENNIUM’S FIRST 20 YEARS (2000-19)
by John Lohn
One month after we selected the Swimmers of the Millennium (to this point), we have picked the top 10 performances of the millennium’s first 20 years. The swims that were selected were not just based on speed, but carried a certain level of significance or marked a defining moment in the sport.

020 TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
by David Rieder
Michael Andrew has been the target of criticism the last seven-and-a-half years for his decision to turn pro at 14, his unique training style (USRPT), his training plan and more. But he’s also enjoyed success along the way and is ready to move to the next level as he prepares to qualify for the 2021 Olympics.

024 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS?
by Bruce Wigo
This is the first part of a series that highlights an International Swimming Hall of Fame exhibit showing the history of swimming through the eyes of the photojournalists who have covered the aquatic sports for more than 150 years.

028 A SHOOTING STAR IN SEOUL
by John Lohn
American Matt Biondi had it all. The physique. The pure talent. The inner drive. Add those traits together, and it is no surprise that Matt Biondi—over the span of three Olympiads—cultivated one of the finest careers the sport has ever seen.

031 2020 WORLD & AMERICAN RECORD PROGRESSION
compiled by Andy Ross

033 NUTRITION: IF YOU WANT TO BE AN OLYMPIAN OR WORLD CHAMPION, THEN TRAIN LIKE ONE!
by Dawn Weatherwax
A strong immune system means fewer days out of the water.

038 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH OLIVIA SMOLIGA
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

015 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, Swedish cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. His ideas later formed the basis for the “10,000-hour rule” described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” (2008), which holds that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” to coaches, Swimming World details how they use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 1)
by Rod Havriluk
Many sources suggest that swimmers use a different freestyle technique for sprint and distance events. However, science (both physics and research) shows us that a swimmer can optimize performance in events of all distances by using the same arm motion with a different arm coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TOUGH SETS THE DON SWARTZ WAY
by Michael J. Stott
Don Swartz, now at North Bay Aquatics, was Rick DeMont’s coach at Marin Aquatic Club in the early 1970s when he set world records in the 400 and 1500 meter freestyle. The halcyon era was a time of mega yardage being done by the likes of DeMont and fellow Olympians Brian Goodell, Bobby Hackett and Australia’s Steven Holland. When it came to designing tough sets, you could say that Swartz had a front row seat.

043 Q&A WITH COACH KATIE ROBINSON
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN MIRIAM GUEVARA
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: RESOLUTIONS FOR SWIMMING FASTER IN 2021!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: LEVENIA SIM
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

027 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT SPORTS CARTOONS?

042 THE OFFICIAL WORD

046 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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