The Soak – Swim News In Brief (Jan 6-12): How Katsuhiro Matsumoto Grew Out Of His Bathers

Katsuhiro Matsumoto

Swimming World soaks up snippets from the realm of water sports around the world in a one-stop digest updated each day of every passing week.

If you have a snippet of news for us, let us know:

The Week of January 6-12, 2020  

Sunday, January 12

Tokyo 2020 Golden Shot Matsumoto Growing in Stature – Literally

A day after setting a 3:37.94 Japanese short-course record over 400m freestyle (see January 11 below), Katsuo Matsumoto ended the Chiba Prefectural New Year Swim Festival with a 1:44.02 win over 200m freestyle.

The time fell short of the 1:42.41 national mark he set on October 26 last year at the Japanese Championships at the same pool in Tokyo but cheered the 22-year-old who noted that it had been the last of his fine races and followed a 15:02.42 in the 1500m free and a 54.14 in the 100m medley. “My legs felt fluffy like bread. I had nothing left at the end. We had a hard training camp for about two weeks on Phuket Island, Thailand at the end of the year … so I was racing quite tired.”

Another day of training for a man who tells Japan he’s gunning for gold at a home Olympic Games in Tokyo come July.

World-titles silver medallist over 200m freestyle last year, Matsumoto, whose first means ‘bonito’ and is used in that sense by teammates as a nickname, after the bonito fish a ray-finned predator from the same family as mackerel and tuna – is becoming an ever bigger fish in Japan – literally.

He tells the media gathered at the meet in Tokyo that swimming training has grown him out of his suits of late. At 84kg and standing 186cm, he cuts a cut figure as he tells reporters through laughter:

“As a result of swimming training, some shorts (swim suits) got too tight and I couldn’t wear them anymore. My body is getting bigger and my back muscles are swelling. I’m still far from done [growing] … even I was surprised: I suddenly looked at the mirror and thought ‘this feels good’.”

Of Tokyo 2020 and his Olympic prospects, Matsumoto said: “I’m really determined to win a gold medal.”

New Irish Football Director Is Daughter Of The Testers Who Caught Smith de Bruin

The Football Association of Ireland has just appointed its new independent directors and one of them is lawyer Catherine Guy, daughter of Kay and Al Guy, the anti-doping testing team that took the sample that would turn out to have whiskey in it and lead to the fall from grace of swimmer Michelle Smith de Bruin.

Kay Guy tells the Irish Mail on Sunday:

“My four daughters are strong women and well educated. Catherine retired from law last year and she is now involved in other projects. She did sports at school. We’re proud of her. Good on her.”

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith Photo Courtesy: Tim Morse 1996

Kay and Al Guy became household names in Ireland after it emerged they were the testers at the centre of the case against triple Olympic champion Michelle Smith. They visited the swimmer’s remote home in Kilkenny on the morning of January 10, 1998 as the rest of the world got down to racing at the World Championships on the other side of the World in Perth, Western Australia. The urine sample taken from Smith that day had been spoiled with enough whiskey in it to have killed a human had the quantity inferred by the concentration in the urine actually been sipped. Smith was banned and never returned to the sport, while the Guys were both lauded and vilified by those taking sides.

Craig Lord, Swimming World‘s Editor-in-Chief, broke the story of Smith’s rogue test result in The Times back in 1998. On the day the verdict came through after an appeal hearing in Lausanne, Kay Guy told the media:

“It was such a relief on the Monday morning in Lausanne, knowing that the truth would come out. Just the facts. That we would be able to speak at last. I was worried that the judgment would be fudged and I’d have to leave the Island…”.

Australian Water Polo teams to help Bushfire Appeals

The power of Water Polo – Photo Courtesy:

The Australian Men’s and Women’s Water Polo teams will join the Australian sporting community to support various bushfire appeals, donating $100 for every goal scored during the upcoming Test match series in Brisbane.

The much anticipated Australia vs USA Three Test Match Series will be held at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre this week, headlining the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships.

Water Polo Australia (WPA) will support different charities and volunteer services for each Test, with money raised from the First Test to support State Volunteer Fire Services, the Second Test aiding the Red Cross and the Third Test assisting World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature.

Water Polo Australia acting CEO, Richard McInnes, said the Water Polo community like the rest of Australia is feeling the impact of the bushfire crisis across the country.

“So many Australians, including the sporting community, have rallied to support all those impacted by the bushfire crisis across our country,” McInnes said.

“We wanted to show our appreciation for the great work of so many volunteer organisations and charities who are on the front line supporting our communities.


First Test: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Time: 5:00pm Women’s Test, 6:30pm Men’s Test

Venue: Brisbane Aquatic Centre

Funds raised from both matches will support: State Volunteer Fire Services (in NSW, Vic, SA, WA, Tas & Qld)

Second Test: Thursday, January 16, 2020

Time: 6:00pm Men’s Test, 7:30pm Women’s Test

Venue: Brisbane Aquatic Centre

Funds raised from both matches will support: The Red Cross

Third Test: Saturday, January 18, 2020

Time: 5:00pm Women’s Test, 6:30pm Men’s Test

Venue: Brisbane Aquatic Centre

Funds raised from both matches will support: WWF

For all the details of the Australia vs USA test match series – click here for more.

Saturday, January 11

Nervous IOC Warns Against Political Protests & Demos At Tokyo 2020

Mack Horton AUS protests Sun Yang's CHN Gold Medal, 400m Freestyle Final, 18th FINA World Swimming Championships 2019, 21 July 2019, Gwanju South Korea. Pic by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia. Pic credit requested and mandatory for free editorial usage. THANK YOU.

Mack Horton protests Sun Yang’s Gold Medal in the 400m free at 2019 World titles in Gwanju, South Korea – Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia

The International Olympic Committee doesn’t want to see kneeling, or any other kind of political protest, at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, according to multiple reports.

The IOC published new guidelines Thursday that outline the specific types of protests that will not be allowed at this summer’s Games.

“The unique nature of the Olympic Games enables athletes from all over the world to come together in peace and harmony,” said the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world. This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.

“If we do not, the life’s work of the athletes around us could be tarnished, and the world would quickly no longer be able to look at us competing and living respectfully together, as conflicts drive a wedge between individuals, groups and nations. That is not to say that you should be silent about the issues you care deeply about, and below you will find a list of places where you can express your views at the Olympic Games.”

Political protests and demonstrations will not be allowed at all Olympic venues and any protest or demonstration outside Olympic venues must obviously comply with local legislation wherever local law forbids such actions.

Athletes will have the opportunity to express their opinions at press conferences or in interviews as well as at team meetings and on digital or traditional media.

Here are some examples of what would constitute a protest in the eyes of the IOC:

  • Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands
  • Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling
  • Refusal to follow the Ceremonies protocol.

If an athlete or participant violates this rule, each situation will be reviewed by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC. Disciplinary action will take place on a case-by-case basis.

Matsumoto Takes Down Japanese Short-Course 400m Free Record

Katsuhiro Matsumoto took down the Japanese short-course 400m freestyle record on the first day of the weekend-long New Year Festival at the Tatsumi International Swimming Centre. The 22-year-old World-titles silver medallist over 200m free, Matsumoto clocked 3:37.94 for victory, the time inside the 3:38.01 Naito Ehara standard established at the Saitama Indoor Championships in February 2017.

Hayden Cotter denies Olympic champion Mack Horton in Lorne Pier to Pub thriller

hayden cotter surf

Photo Courtesy:

Queensland’s rising open water and surf swimming star Hayden Cotter has used his superior wading skills to deny Olympic champion Mack Horton victory in today’s prestigious 40th running of the Lorne Pier to Pub 1.2km Ocean Swim on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road– which attracted 5000 competitors in perfect surf and weather conditions.

While triple World Junior Swimming champion and Olympic hopeful Lani Pallister had to pull out all stops to beat one of Victoria’s favourite swimming stars in Gold Coast-based ironwoman Harriet Brown and Sophie Thomas in the women’s Superfish category.

Cotter claimed his third successive make Superfish victory after he and Horton swam stroke-for-stroke around the final turning buoy before both riding a small wave into the shallows.

And it was actually Horton who rode the wave further, only to see the more experienced Maroochydore surf swimmer, Cotter, jump to his feet first, striding past Horton in the tricky shallows before bolting to the finish, leaving Horton to again lament what may have been – a race he has strived to win on so many occasions.

Mordialloc lifesaver Matt Gilling was again third, winning a frantic race to the finish.

OPEN MALE SUPERFISH: 1st: Hayden COTTER (#33) 10:55 2nd: Mack HORTON (#2) 10:59 3rd: Matt GILLING (#3) 11:38

OPEN FEMALE SUPERFISH: 1st – Lani PALLISTER (#41) 11:49 2nd – Harriet BROWN (#42) 11:51 3rd – Sophie THOMAS (#43) 12:46

Friday, January 10

FINA Suspends Kenya From 2020 Olympic Games

FINA banned the Kenyan Swimming Federation on Thursday from competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games because of their failure to comply with FINA rules and FINA constitution.

The KSF was due to hold its elections in 2018 after the conclusion of a four-year term by the outgoing officials, but the federation failed to act after FINA gave them three different deadlines to hold a general assembly.

“Through this letter, we would like to inform you that Kenyan Swimming Federation is not in compliance with FINA rules and FINA constitution,” FINA said in a letter dated December 16, 2019.

“All members are obliged to hold a general assembly at least every two years. The General Assembly must approve the accounts, the budget, a technical report as well as an audit report. Elections must be held every four years,” it said.

FINA Bureau Member at the time of an Olympic scandal, Ben Ekumbo, resigned as head of Kenya Swimming in 2017 after being detained during an investigation into fraud. He is also being investigated over allegations that he sexually abused swimmers.

Thursday, January 9

How do you solve the problem of RUSADA? WADA turns to CAS

Montreal, 9 January 2020 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) today filed a formal request for arbitration with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, to resolve the dispute related to the non-compliance case against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

In a statement, WADA noted:

This request for arbitration was filed in accordance with the process outlined in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS, Article 10.4.1) and it will be resolved by the CAS Ordinary Arbitration Division. Under Article 23.5.7 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), third parties may apply to intervene within 10 days of the date of this press release.

Ippei Watanabe Wants To Be A Sub-2:06 WR Pioneer


Ippei Watanabe (left) wants his 200 breast world record back. And he plans on doing it at the Japanese Trials in April. Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Former 200 breaststroke world record holder Ippei Watanabe of Japan has stated in an interview at his practice in Tokorozawa that he wants to break the 2:06 barrier in the 200 breast in April this year, which would lower Anton Chupkov’s 2:06.12 world record from the 2019 Worlds. Watanabe was the first man to break 2:07 when he swam a 2:06.6 in January 2017. That record stood for two and a half years until Australia’s Matthew Wilson tied it in the semi finals at World Championships, and then Chupkov lowered it in the final the next day with Wilson silver and Watanabe bronze.

It was the fastest 200 breaststroke field ever assembled with all three medalists under 2:07 for the first time in the history of the sport. But Watanabe has shown he is not satisfied with that bronze and wants to get his world record back in April at Japan’s Olympic Trials.

“The aim is in the order of 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Putting it there will put pressure on rivals,” he said.

A 2:05 would certainly put the pressure on the rest of the world as Watanabe will be hearing the cheers from the Tokyo crowd come the Olympic final on July 30, if he is to qualify. Watanabe was sixth in Rio in the 200 breast and was third at the last two World Championships in that event.

Katinka Hosszu To Compete At Euro Meet In Luxembourg


Katinka Hosszu – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Katinka Hosszu has been unveiled as the latest addition to the Euro Meet line-up for the event in Luxembourg on 24-26 January.

Fresh from being named Europe’s top female swimmer in 2019 by governing body LEN for the fifth time in seven years, the Hungarian will kick off Olympic year in China at the FINA Champions Series in Shenzen on January 14-15  and Beijing on January 18-19 before moving on to Luxembourg.

The triple Olympic champion is a regular competitor at the event and in 2013 reached the final of all 15 individual events and won 11.Katinka Hosszu – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. KraemerThe Euro Meet will host a shoal of current and former Olympic and world champions including Sarah Sjostrom, Florent Manaudou, Pernille Blume, Ben Proud, Bruno Fratus and Marco Koch.

Wednesday, January 8


Two-time Australian Olympian David McKeon has experienced Australia’s bushfire devastation first hand.  Photo Courtesy: TLA

David McKeon announces Speedo’s ALL IN fundraising efforts as world unites to support Australian bushfire victims

Two-time Australian Olympian David McKeon, who has experienced Australia’s bushfire devastation first hand, has announced that Australian Olympic team sponsor Speedo has joined over 30 of Australia’s leading retailers to provide support to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

One hundred percent of profits earned from sales across all Speedo Australia stores TODAY (Thursday, January 9, 2020) will be donated to help those affected by Australia’s worst ever bushfire crisis which have now claimed 25 people’s lives and destroyed over 1800 homes.

“You can help by making a purchase in store, and 100% of the profits earned from that sale will be donated by Speedo to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, or, if you are in the position to, you can make a direct personal donation to the fund at,” wrote McKeon on his Instagram page.

At the height of this horrific disaster, McKeon’s sister and Rio Olympic team mate Emma McKeon issued an impassioned plea on behalf of her family to help those who have lost their homes to Australia’s worst ever bushfires after the McKeons had witnessed the horrific losses in their home town Lake Conjola, on the NSW south coast.

Since September, 15.6 million acres of Australia have burned in one of the country’s worst fire season on record and putting it in perspective in the US it’s an area larger than West Virginia, and more than eight times the area that burned in California in 2018, that State’s most destructive year for wildfires.

Thorpe Gives Thanks For “Love And Support” As Bushfire Tragedy Continues

Australian great Ian Thorpe has expressed his gratitude for the “outpouring of love and support” from the global community who have looked on in horror at the devastating bushfires.

Reports claim 25 people have died while properties and livelihoods have been lost and the animal population decimated with heartbreaking images beamed around the world.

Thorpe, whose haul of five Olympic gold medals is the most by any Australian, hails from Sydney, New South Wales, a state that has been greatly affected and where fires continue to burn.

Reports say that 4.9m hectares – an area larger than Denmark – has been ravaged in New South Wales with up to half a billion animals affected and at least 24 people have been charged with intentionally starting bushfires.

Thorpe has now added his voice, saying on Instagram:

The bushfires have devastated our communities, our environment and our animal populations but the outpouring of love and support, both international and domestic is truly heart warming. Thank you. For those who can help, some useful links: @redcrossau @nswrfs @wireswildliferescue @salvosau @cfavic ? @mattabbottphoto

Thorpe, who won nine Olympic medals in total, joins double Olympic 200m freestyle medallist Federica Pellegrini whose compassion was accompanied by a call for action.

Pray for Australia, pray for all the firefighters killed, for all the dead animals, for all the citizens who have lost their lives and homes … we must do something to change the course of history …. NOW…. ????? #australia”

Former world 50m breaststroke world-record holder Zoe Baker donated profits from a swim clinic and Adam Peaty, the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, made clear his intention to help.

Kevin Clements Diagnosed With Leukemia

Kevin Clements, a world championship silver medalist in 2003, has been diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma & Leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, according to a GoFundMe page.

The statement on the site “Kevin Crushing Cancer”:

On October 30, 2019, after just a few weeks of not feeling well and unexplainable symptoms, Kevin was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma & Leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. The very next day on October 31, 2019, Kevin began an intense regimen of induction chemotherapy and will continue several rounds until a “remission” state is achieved. At that point, he will most likely need to receive a Bone Marrow Transplant, followed by additional chemotherapy and treatment. As you can imagine, this has taken a huge toll on the family emotionally, physically and financially.

Jana Vincent Takes Over Pepperdine Program

Pepperdine has a new head coach. The mid-major college confirmed with Swimming World that Jana Vincent has taken over as the interim head coach.

Joe Spahn, who started the season as head coach, has left the program. School officials confirmed the change, but declined to give further details at this time. Swimming World will update with more information when available.

Martin Methodist to Start NAIA Swim Program

Martin Methodist College, an NAIA school in Pulaski, Tennessee,  announced that it will add both men’s and women’s swimming as a varsity sport in the 2020-21 season.

Drew Peterson was announced as the program’s first head coach.

The RedHawks will compete in the Mid-South Athletic Conference.

Can Muller Master A Move From Marathon To 1500 For Tokyo 2020?

Aurélie Muller, the French open water ace who made the Marathon podium at Rio 2016 before a controversial disqualification knocked her out of contention, will seek a berth on the French team for Tokyo 2020 in the inaugural Olympic women’s 1500m freestyle.

The French pool trials and Championships at Chartres in April will provide Muller, who switched coaches to Fabrice Pellerin in Nice last year, with a last-chance shot at a ticket to Tokyo after she finished in the worst of all places in the 10km at World Championships last summer.

The top 10 finishers at the World Championships in Korea named themselves as the first 10 marathon qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 but Muller fell one place shy in 11th at the back of a blanket finish, China’s Xin Xin on 1hr 54:47.2 with gold, the French swimmer on 1:54:51.2, 0.01sec ahead of her much-relieved then training partner and Dutch Olympic champion in Rio, Sharon Van Rouwendaal.

Muller might have had another chance of qualifying for Tokyo at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2020, scheduled for May 30-31 in Fukuoka, Japan, but for the fourth-place finish of France teammate Lara Grangeon in the World-title race last year. The Olympic marathon qualification only allows for two swimmers per nation if both swimmers make the top 10 at World Championships the year before the Games. Says Muller of her next challenge:

“The time to do at the French championships is 16:21. I have a personal best of 16:24 and in recent years I have not specially and specifically trained for the 1500m. So I tell myself that within a few seconds I can get my qualification.”

aurelie-muller-by alex voyer

Aurelie Muller – Photo Courtesy: Alex Voyer

Muller, World 10km champion in 2015 and 2017, made the 1500m her goal at the start of her time with Pellerin to “make the year less painful than it would have been if I had continued to swim elsewhere”. She admits that open water will “always be at the back of my mind, but finding pragmatic strategies to get over painful disappointment has been a part of who Muller is.

She tells Le Républicain Lorrain: “It’s not easy to switch from open water basin because it is a different method of swimming.”

Muller – Rio Recollections

Back in 2016 in Rio in the days after silver had turned to the dust of a DQ – one caused less by her being forced to swim in the path of a rival than the layout of a course that had funnelled her into the wall of a giant buoy in the very last strokes of a race and years of preparation – Muller wrote that her “Olympic flame was extinguished that night”.

She added in a social media post at the time: “I could not enjoy the last days of celebration [at the Games]. I fought to the end to try to regain my honour, which was flouted because, more seriously than disqualification and loss of the medal, was just how hard it is to accept that I am considered a cheat or someone who did not uphold fair play at these Olympics. The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport acknowledges that there are problems related to the decision of the disqualification. They admit that my situation deserved consideration by the Olympic judges. However, judges are not authorized to reverse the arbitration award, they refused to replace the referees (FINA). This is understandable. It’s like that. Injustice is sometimes part of the sport. Of life.”

Muller found perspective by walking in “expensive ‘France’ kit with its pretty tricolor crocodile [Lacoste]” through the ‘favelas’, the impoverished shanty towns of Rio. She wrote:

“This helps to put things into perspective …”

The Sign Over Lane 5 At St Peters Western


Dean Boxall – Photo Courtesy: Ian Hanson

Dangling over Lane 5 at St Peters Western pool Down Under is a sign that simply reads “Tokyo 2020”. It was put there after Tokyo 2018 Pan Pacific Championships by coach Dean Boxall and while time, weather and the heat of a scorching southern summer have left the sign worn and tethered, the message remains as relevant as it was the day it went up, as relevant as it ever was on any training day at one of the most iconic swim clubs in Australia and the wider world. Boxall tells Westside News:

“I wanted to have something there to keep it (the Toyko 2020 Olympics goal) going. I put it in the middle of the pool because the middle of the pool is symbolic with the fastest swimmers in the pool. That way everyone could see it all of the time. It is something I really want to highlight. They know the Olympics is coming up.”

St Peters Western is home to Ariarne Titmus, Mitch Larkin, Clyde Lewis, Jack Cartwright, Abbey Harkins, rookies Meg Harris, Mollie O’Callaghan, Ella Ramsay and Jenna Forrester and New Zealand sprinter Michael Pickett, a boarder at St Peters Lutheran College.

Stubblety-Cook Aiming For Best Version Of Himself


Zac Stubblety-Cook; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Zac Stubblety-Cook is a breaststroke ace on the move with a world-record breaking target to pin his speed to in the shape of fellow Aussie Matt Wilson. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could see two Australians in the 200m breaststroke final with a shot at the podium. Sydney 2000 was the last Games at which two Aussies made the 200m final, while in Rio 2016, none made it through.

Speaking to the Southern Star, Stubblety-Cook, fourth at World titles last July in Gwangju when Wilson claimed silver after having set a world record in semis, looked forward to his national Olympic trials in June but would that the momment like “another swim meet”. Of late, “I notice myself lifting in sessions,” he added. “I want to be on the team and do my best this year. I am in a good position. I was fourth at the worlds.”

Coached by Vince Raleigh, Stubblety-Cook clocked 2:07.36 to fall 0.63 shy of the podium led by Russian Anton Chupkovand a world record of 2:06.12, Wilson on 2:06.68, former world-record holder Ippei Watanabe, of Japan, on 2:06.73. Says the fourth man home.

“I was happy with that, but I want more. Having that experience (at the worlds) last year fuels me every day. I want to show them the best of me and get the best out of myself. I am moving forward. It is one day at a time. I am enjoying the ride.”

He tells the paper of his first Olympic memory: as a Wellers Hill State School student in 2008, he watched Michael Phelps rocket to a record eight golds. Says Stubblety-Cook: “I did not know I would be a breaststroker, but I was watching the swimming and the atmosphere and the performance of Phelps, even though you did not know the gravity of what he did at the time.”

The moment of the “Ice Doc” cometh

The World Open Water Swimming Association (Wowsa), has recognised the chilly achievements of “Ice Doc” Alexander Fuzeau, a 53-year-old doctor from Rouen. In January last year, he swam the “Ice Mile” in Volendam, the Netherlands in standard suit, cap and goggles – and then on July 28, took part in the Hamburg Ironman (3.8km swim, 180 km bike and a marathon in 14h 48mins). Wowsa award the “Ice Doc” and fifteen other international swimmers a “Performance of the Year” honour, in recognition of his contribution to the growth of “extreme sport”.

Athletics may be on the cusp of its own shiny suit moment

World Athletics is coming under increasing pressure to introduce strict rules on running shoes amid concerns that technological advances by Nike could allow inferior sprinters to break Usain Bolt’s world records, The Times reports today. The newspaper gives the following examples of speed that some say relies too heavily on the shoe not the athlete:

“Nike’s controversial Vaporfly shoe for endurance athletes has had a transformational impact on the times run by the world’s elite long-distance runners — including Eliud Kipchoge, who wore them as he became the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon — and amateurs.

“Laura Muir, Britain’s leading middledistance runner, wore special Nike spikes last year that benefited from similar innovations in shoe design, and industry insiders fear that prototype Nike spikes developed specifically for sprinters could allow athletes such as Christian Coleman, the 100m world champion, to beat Bolt’s best of 9.58sec at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.”

The article in full

British Swimming welcomes official breakfast partner

British Swimming has announced UP&GO as its first official breakfast partner.

UP&GO is a milk and oat-based drink high in protein, calcium and fibre and fortified with vitamins and minerals and is the fastest-growing major breakfast drinks brand in the UK.

The partnership will also work closely with 2008 double Olympic champion Becky Adlington’s SwimStars, a learn-to-swim programme for children aged 3-11.

Twelve thousand children across Great Britain are involved each week and with the backing of UP&GO there are plans for to increase that number over the next three years.

French Multi-Sport Masters Games

Between 5,000 and 10,000 athletes are expected to race at the first multi-sport French Masters Games, to be held from October 1-4 in the French spa town of Vichy. The competition is being organized by the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (the French NOC) and will be open to athletes of all levels, ages 35 or older. Swimming is among the six disciplines chosen for the first event.

French NOC boss Denis Masseglia, was in Vichy this week for the first Masters Games organisation meeting. He told the French media that the format is not new: it will follow that of the the World Masters Games, which will be held in Kansai, Japan, in 2021, with about 50,000 athletes expected.

Canadian Masters in May

The 2020 Canadian Masters Swimming Championships will be held
May 22-24 at the Etobicoke Olympium Masters Aquatic Club, Toronto, Ontario.

Tuesday, January 7

Anderson, Guy and Koch among entries for Flanders Cup

Foto Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse 21 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. Nella foto: GUY James Photo Gian Mattia D'Alberto/LaPresse December 21, 2019 Las Vegas - USA sport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League. In the picture: GUY James

James Guy tops the 400m free in Las Vegas for Roar – Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse

Olympic year gets under way at the Flanders Cup with Freya Anderson, James Guy, Marco Koch and Konrad Czerniak among the field in Antwerp on 18-19 January.

Anderson heads the 100m and 200m free fields and is second into the 50 behind Kim Busch, who was part of the Netherlands 4x100m free quartet that won 2017 world bronze.

The 18-year-old, who trains under Alan Bircher at Ellesmere College Titans, delivered a golden double plus two relay bronze medals at the European Short-Course Championships last month in Glasgow with a fourth place in the 400 free that hints at a very special 200m to come.

Guy, with two Olympic and eight world medals among his silverware, will compete in the 200m freestyle – in which he was world champion in 2015 – plus the 100m butterfly and 100m free.

Of note in the 100m free is the appearance of Guy’s fellow Briton Jacob Whittle who became the first 14-year-old to crack the 50-second barrier when he blasted 49.97 at the European Junior Championships and the European Youth Olympic Festival.

Koch recently announced he is now training under former Germany head coach Dirk Lange and the 2015 200m breaststroke world will go in the 100 and 200m.

He will face competition in both races in the form of Giedrius Titenis, the 200m breaststroke 2014 and 2016 European bronze medallist, and his Lithuanian compatriot Andrius Sidlauskas, who reached the world 100m semi-finals last year in Gwangju, South Korea.

Also competing will be Darragh Greene, of Ireland, who missed making the semi-final cut by 0.07secs behind Sidlauskas.

Jesse Puts, 2016 world short-course champion, heads the 50m freestyle field which also features Czerniak, best known as a butterfly specialist but who won silver in the splash and dash at the 2014 European Championships, and Whittle.

Mie Nielsen, who led off Denmark’s bronze-medal winning 4x100m medley relay at the Rio Olympics, and world 400IM finalist Arjan Knipping of the Netherlands also compete.

Yannick Agnel Back For Olympic Duty With Flo-Mo

Yannick Agnel and Michael Phelps – when they shared a pool – Photo Courtesy: JD Lasica

France Television has signed up Yannick Agnel, the Olympic 200m freestyle champion and deliverer of French gold in the 4x100m freestyle at London 2012, as expert commentator for its Tokyo 2020 swimming broadcast team alongside Alexandre Boyon.

Agnel made a fine debut for France TV Sport at the World Championships in Gwangju last year. His place in Olympic history was immortalised by his towering and dominant 200m victory at London 2012, his 1:43.14 still the swiftest ever effort in textile by a significant margin over the two giants below him on that list: 1:43.86, Michael Phelps; 1:44.06 Ian Thorpe. At the time, Agnel’s 46.74 split bringing France home to gold in the 4x100m free at London 2012 was the second-fastest ever split in textile after a 46.70 from Pieter Van Den Hoogenband in 2003.

Still 27, Agnel might still be racing but … he had no wish to do so. After some turbulent changes, including leaving long-term coach Fabrice Pellerin for a spree in the USA with coach Bob Bowman, Agnel was back in hopeful form for the French trials in Montpellier for the Rio 2016 Olympics. He appeared to finish second in the 200m freestyle to Jérémy Stravius but the pad did not register and Jordan Pothain was declared second man home and on to the team for Rio.

Agnel’s path to defending his Olympic 200m freestyle title was cleared by Pothain’s decision to swim the 400m freestyle and not the 200m freestyle. However, in Rio, Agnel did not make it past heats of the 200m, while the France 4x100m free relay fell well shy of previous form. In 2018, Agnel was back at the helm of a sport: eSport, as sports director of a Marseille club.


Yann – by Yannick Agnel and co-author Pascal Ruter

France TV, meanwhile, will include a podcast “Entre-deux” in its Tokyo 2020 coverage. Leading athletes will talk about their career – and the first guest is sprint ace and London 2012 50m free champion and comeback king of 2019, Florent Manaudou.

Mehdy Metella Operation A Success

Mehdy Metella – Photo Courtesy: Peter H.Bick

Sticking with France, L’Equipe reports that the shoulder operation that will keep Mehdy Metella out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was a success. Metella had suffered a partial rotator-cuff tear. He is expected to be in rehabilitation for between 4 and 6 months ahead of a steady return to elite training.

At last summer’s World Championships in Gwangju, Metella finished fifth in the 100 butterfly, missing the podium by .22. He was also a semifinalist in the 100 freestyle and a member of France’s eighth-place team in the 400 freestyle relay. Metella was the bronze medalist in the 100 freestyle at the 2017 World Championships and twice medaled in the 100 fly at the European Championships. He was also a European Champs medalist in the 100 freestyle. In relay duty, Metella has helped France to three medals at the World Championships.

In his social media post, Metella made it clear that his shoulder surgery would not deter his career. The Frenchman emphasized that he was seeking to return for a successful 2021 season, in which the World Championships will be the target meet of the year.

Swim England’s Value of Swimming: measured in money & social care impact

Swim England commissioned what it describes as “robust research to demonstrate the value of swimming to individuals and to society”. The findings “show clearly how swimming positively contributes to physical and mental wellbeing, to individual and community development, and helps to reduce the burden to our health and social care system”, says Swim England. Swimming therapy for dementia sufferers saves the health system £139 million a year, Swim England head Jane Nickerson claims. Here’s what the research was about and what it found as part of the association’s “Value of Swimming” campaign:

German Aces Koch and Heintz Confirmed For Euro Meet

German pair Marco Koch and Philip Heintz will compete at the 22nd edition of the Euro Meet in Luxembourg from 24-26 January. It will follow swift on the heels of the Flanders Cup for Koch, the 2015 200m breaststroke world champion.

The triple European medallist is unbeaten over 200m breaststroke at the annual meet since making his first appearance at the Centre Aquatique in 2013. Heintz is a 200IM specialist and took silver at the European Championships in Glasgow in 2018 and Berlin in 2014. The event acts as a qualifier for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July.

No Partying For Etiene Medeiros


Eitiene Medeiros – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Etiene Medeiros, the Brazilian backstroke World 50m champion, went to bed early on December 31, 2019. There’s a job to be done: Tokyo 2020. To get away from the Carnival up-all-night atmosphere at the start of 2020 back home, Medeiros travelled far away: the turn of the year found her at altitude camp in Spain’s Sierra Nevada.

Medeiros outlines her season ahead in the Brazilian media with this summary beyond mention of 2020 starting in 2019 because she was already on high in the Sierra:

“In February have South American in Buenos Aires, and a preparatory competition at a date to be determined. Then, 20 to 25 April, the Maria Lenk, which serves as selections trials for Tokyo. I’m ready, I’ve set it all up with Fernando Vanzella, my coach … [we] planned every detail of another year together. The goal is to arrive in Tokyo in best shape.”

Her schedule at the Maria Lenk may extends beyond the expected 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke: she notes that she has here eye on the 100m butterfly and 50m backstroke (the latter non-Olympic), too.

Lausanne 2020 in Winter Olympic first with gender equal programme

Lausanne 2020 gets under way on Thursday as the first Winter Olympic event to be gender equal. The third Winter Youth Olympic Games will feature the same number of women as men among a total of 1,872 athletes, the largest ever to compete at the event. Switzerland has the largest delegation of the 79 NOCs with 112 athletes followed by Russia (107) and the United States (96) while Albania, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago are among 12 countries making their debuts. The Games will take place from 9-22 January and follow previous editions in Lillehammer, Norway, and Innsbruck, Austria.

British Swimming Signs Nutrition Deal

British Swimming is delighted to confirm it has signed a multi-year partnership with Healthspan, who have come on board as official supplier of Sports Nutrition Products, Sports Drinks and Sports Recovery Products. The Guernsey based company already work with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton FC, Scottish Rugby and The Lawn Tennis Association.

When Boycott is Too Big To Ignore…

The 2022 Commonwealth Games is set to stage shooting and archery in India several months before the main event starts in Birmingham, the host, thousands of miles away in England. The unprecedented proposal has been put forward by India, who had threatened to boycott Birmingham 2022 after shooting was excluded from the Games. India is rather good at shooting… including from the hip. BBC Sport reports the story – and understands the results of the competitions held in India would count towards the official medal tally.

Portugal Has Five Swimmers Past the Post For Tokyo 2020

Portugal has five swimmers qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as 2020 gets underway. They are:

  • Men: Gabriel Lopes and Alexis Santos: both on 1:58 over 200IM
  • Women: Tamila Holub and Diana Durães, 1,500m free (16.20 and 16.31 respectively) and Ana Catarina Monteiro, 200m butterfly (2.08)
  • A surfer has also made the grade for the Games. He is Frederico Morais, the top European at the 2019 World Surfing Championships.

Monday, January 6

Appeal For Bushfire Victims

The Australian Swimming and Teachers Association (ASCTA) has launched a Bushfire Relief appeal for Swim Coaches, Swim Teachers and Swim Schools who have been affected by the Australian bushfires. Some have lost their homes, their pools and employment.

ASCTA Cares is a benevolent fund to support its members.


Queensland’s 2032 Olympic Bid

It’s been a horrid time Down Under but the catastrophic bushfires have not dented Australia’s passion for Olympic sport, including support for Queensland‘s desire to host the Olympic Games in 2032.

All eyes are on the fires, the fallout and the continuing evacuation (such as that involving the community where the McKeon swim family have a home) and the generosity of sports stars and others at home and around the world, including acts of kindness from the swimming community sharing the shock of what has unfolded, with more challenge to come. Today, Federica Pellegrini took to social media to appeal for all to work to change the course of history.

Games business goes on regardless. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) boss John Coates arrived in Switzerland today to officially notify his International Olympic Committee colleagues that a Queensland bid is being drafted. He told the Courier Mail  that he wants formal documentation submitted by June 30 ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in July.

Cate Campbell stretch - Delly Carr Collection

Cate Campbell stretching her leadership to a 2032 Olympic bid – Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Coates has the backing of a powerful athletes’ lobby, including some proposed as members of a “Team Queensland” board to include politicians and business leaders. A new public company for the bid team still needs to be established, but its first meeting is planned for early next month with Prime Minister Scott Morrison as chairman at a time when the nation’s top politician has come under fire over his handling of the bushfires crisis.

Swimming World January 2020 - Takeoff To Tokyo - The US Boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics - Tracy Caulkins by Horst Muller

Tracey Caulkins in her heyday – Swimming World Magazine

Among athletes invited to the party are swimming Olympic gold medallists Susie O’Neill and Cate Campbell and Mark Stockwell, who represented Australia in swimming at the 1984 Olympics and is now a Brisbane-based investor and property developer. Stockwell’s wife is Tracy Caulkins, an Olympic champion for the USA and one of the most versatile swimmers in history. Stockwell served as the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee Chairman. You can hear him talk about his new Life Journey in an ABC interview back in 2011.

Queensland is the most advanced of all potential candidates for a 2032 bid process expected to include campaigns from Indonesia, a multi-city bid from regional Germany, India and China. Russia, which was planning to make a bid for St. Petersburg, cannot now take part because it has been banned from bidding to host any major sporting events in the next four years as part of sanctions handed down by the World Anti Doping Authority last month. That time frame rules Russia out of being able to bid for events to be decided up to eight years beyond the end of the suspension period.

Two more Israeli swimmers earn Tokyo spots

Two swimmers joined the Israeli Olympic swim team during the weekend, reaching automatic qualifying standards for the 2020 games.

Tomer Frenkel, 19, earned a spot in the 100 butterfly (51.92), while Ron Polonsky, 18, earned a spot in the 200 IM (1:59.45). Both times were achieved at the Swim Cup Amsterdam.

The Israeli team now includes: Meiron Cheruti (50 free), who won the event in Amsterdam with 22.08, Anastasia Gorebenko (200 IM), Frenkel (100 fly) and Polonsky (200 IM.).

They will be joined by two more swimmers — one man and one woman — to form the Israeli mixed relay.

Sun The Singer

Sun Yang, the Chinese Olympic champion awaiting Sun Yang Vs World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): A Detailed Analysis From CAS Arbitrator made a guest appearance as a singer at a New Year’s party at which he cheered fans with “The Swimming Song“:

Fanny Lecluyse: 3rd Games at Tokyo 2020 To Be Fun, Pressure a Thing of The Past

Fanny Lecluyse

Fanny Lecluyse – Photo Courtesy: Arena

Belgium has three swimmers who have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games so far. They include Rio 2016 surprise silver medallist in the 100m free Pieter Timmers (with a 48.32 clocking in the build up to the Games next year), 200 ‘fly ace Louis Croenen (on 1.56.35) and Fanny Lecluyse, the national breaststroke record holder who last year took out the Belgian 100 and 200m breaststroke records and (1.06.97 and 2.24.97) and is heading for her third Games with a new attitude.

Lecluyse tells L’Avenir that Tokyo is about “having fun” and shrugging off the pressure to perform she felt at her first two Olympic Games, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Now 28, Lecluyse, whose partner is elite cyclist Victor Campenaerts, says that every major event was followed by a fear that she would lose her motivation to get back to work in the pool. Her coach Horatiu Droc begged to differ early on. Back in 2012 he told Belgian media that such things were part of the journey, saying: “Fanny is a swimmer who will last.” How right he was. At the World Championships in Gwangju last year, she cracked her own national 100m and 200m records with efforts of 1:06.97 and 2:23.76 in semi-finals. Her 100m time led her to a swim-off for the last place in the final but 9th was where it ended, while she finished 7th in the 200m final. Lecluyse currently holds nine national records, including all breaststroke marks, short- and long-course and the 200m medley (l/c) and 400m medley (s/c) standards.

You can catch up with Lecluyse on her YouTube channel here:


Petter Løvberg To Lead Norway Beyond Tokyo 2020 To Paris 2024

Petter Løvberg is to stay in the role of Head Coach to Norway until the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Løvberg will lead both able-bodied and para-swimming programs.

Through the Norwegian federation, Løvberg said: “We have a young and exciting national team that is developing rapidly. I feel highly motivated to embark on four new years and contribute to developing Norwegian swimming ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris 2024. In addition to an amazing national team, I look forward to continuing to work with very talented colleagues.”

King of Butterfly Train Takes Flight in Moscow

The Moscow Metro Circle Line has a new train dedicated to swimming: the King of Butterfly. Dmitry Volkov, one of the keenest rivals of the last British Olympic breaststroke champion before Adam Peaty, Adrian Moorhouse, and other ace sprinters in his day as an elite racer, served a project leader for the swim train. Speaking through the Russian swim federation, Volkov : “Our train is a time and space machine in which passengers of the Moscow Metro will be able to plunge into a world where harmony and beauty rule, touch the history of the exploits of our famous swimmer ancestors, swim beyond the horizon of everyday life and visit different parts of the world.”

Julia Temnikova, deputy head of the Moscow Metro, explained: “The King of Butterfly train is the first Moscow metro train dedicated to swimming. It will run on the Koltsevaya Line for six months and will transport about three million passengers who can learn more about the tradition of sports swimming in Russia and abroad.”

A ceremony to launch the train was attended by Vladimir Salnikov, president of the Russian swim federation and Olympic backstroke medallists Anastasia Fesikova (nee Zueva) and her husband and fellow Russian team member Sergei Fesikov.

12 USA Officials Selected For Tokyo 2020 Duty

United States Aquatic Sports (USAS), the body the combines the national federations for all aquatic sports disciplines in the country, has announced the names of the 12 officials selected by FINA from its specialist committees for duty at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. They are:

  • Diving: Colleen Huffman  (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Julie Ahlering  (Saint Louis, Missouri)
  • Open Water: Sid Cassidy  (Boca Raton, Florida); Matt Wilson  (Fishers, Indiana)
  • Swimming: Dale Neuburger  (Indianapolis, Indiana); Carol Zaleski  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Synchro: Virginia Jasontek  (Loveland, Ohio); Betty Hazle  (Santa Clara, California), Denice Wepasnick  (Daytona Beach, Florida), Amy Hoppenrath  (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Water Polo: Takeshi Inoue  (Huntington Beach, California); Michael Goldenberg  (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Bill Smith, President, of USAS, said: “This is a significant honor for each of the individuals and for the National Governing Body that they represent.  Their dedication and experience is without parallel. l am pleased that we have so many people involved in the integral preparations for and in the successful conduct of each aquatic discipline at the 2020 Olympic Games.”

Brazil Has More Women Than Men Qualified for Tokyo 2020 – So Far


Bruno Fratus, Brazil’s top sprinter and a podium shot for Tokyo 2020 – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

According to the Folha de São Paulo, Brazilian sport has more women than men qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: the count marks a gender watershed in the country’s Olympic campaigns, with 80 women across the qualification line, compared to 65 men. Most of that is down to team sports, while the men dominate the numbers yet in swimming.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian Government has announced an investment of $84.2 million Reais (currency Real), or about $21m in the Athlete Purse for 2020. Athletics gets the lion’s share in terms of the numbers of athletes benefiting from the money, at 862, swimming next in line at 483.

Why Being Sent To Coventry Might Be Quite Nice

The saying “sent to Coventry” will soon take on on a more positive spin for visitors to the city as well as those already there. The Coventry Telegraph reports that while the new and long-awaited 50-metre pool at the Alan Higgs Centre in the English city was set to open in 2019, the wait for works to end will be worth it beyond talks between the facility’s operator CV Life and contractors that it remains “in discussions with” over undisclosed reasons for delays to the project.

Along with the new pool, a large “health suite” is set to open this year, including sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi complex, while the centre’s new 100-plus station gym opened its doors just before Christmas last month. It includes an indoor cycle room, while the pool and health suite will operate alongside new and neighbouring indoor and outdoor 3G football pitches and existing four-court sports hall. The Coventry Telegraph estimates that it costs £13.5 million to updating the gym and fitness suite along with the health suite, re-locating the 3G indoor pitch and building the pool, the budget includes investment from Coventry City Council and Sport England.

Tom Derbyshire Calls Time On Elite Career

Tom Derbyshire, the British distance swimmer and former European Junior 1500m free champion (2016) announced his retirement from racing on January 2 in a tweet in which the University of Bath swimmer highlighted his mental health:

“It has been the hardest decision of my life but I have decided to bring my swimming career to an end. After a difficult few months, I have decided to focus on myself and on improving my own mental health as I search for new challenges and move on in life.”

All change at City of Derby

Kyle Hudson is to be head coach at the City of Derby Swim Club in England. He moves into the role from Derventio Excel, where he helped develop a regional squad. Mel Marshall, mentor to Adam Peaty, was the guiding light to City of Derby swim club in England, for the years leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. A shift for Britain’s top 2 coach-swimmer partnership to Loughborough meant changes at Derby too. Those changes gathered pace late last year when Mandy Bell announced she was leaving Derby to be head coach at Stockport Metro.

China and Uruguay – Athletic Partners

The Global Times of China reports that the country has a new sports partner: Uruguay. The two nations have only had diplomatic exchanges since 1988 but now a strategic partnership agreed between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez in 2016 is about to be extended to sport.

“As a soccer powerhouse, Uruguay has a lot of know-how that China can learn from. They recently established a second Uruguayan soccer base in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province (the first one is in Tangshan, North China’s Hebei Province) during Caceres’ visit. The base aims to train China’s future soccer talents and enhance China’s level in this field, the GT reports Uruguayan Sports Secretary Fernando Caceres tells the paper that while soccer takes up the oxygen in the room, China may yet help his country in sports such as swimming, which has no world-class elite swimmers. Uruguayan octogenarian Julio Maglione is in his third term as FINA president having served as treasurer before that and a Bureau member stretching back 35 years. Says Caceres:

“The relationship between Uruguay and China in terms of sports is a bit uneven at the moment, because four out of five Uruguayan athletes choose soccer in Uruguay. Even though we have 65 federations of sports, most of them chose to go for soccer. So Uruguay is strong in soccer but is lacking in other sports disciplines. China is really strong because it has been able to diversify its fields of sports, such as table tennis, gymnastics and swimming.”