The Soak: Kamminga Goes Third All-Time With 58.43 In 100br; Second-Fastest European over 200

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The Soak – Swim News In Brief

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:

Towards the end of last week, we had to set the Soak aside for a day or two as some big news rose up the aerial. Here is what that was all about, underneath which, we begin the new week’s Soak for March 2-8.

Swimming World’s coverage of Sun Yang & FINA Vs WADA At the Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Week of March 2-8, 2020

Sunday, March 8

Kamminga Powers To Third All-Time In 100 Breaststroke In Antwerp

Dutchman Arno Kamminga became the third-fastest man over 100m breaststroke in history when he clocked 58.43 at the Antwerp Diamond Race.

He followed that up with a 2:07.18 blast over 200m to become the second-fastest European in history, bettered only by Russia’s Anton Chupkov, world champion and world record holder.

Now 24, Kamminga’s 100m best at 21 was 1:01.24 but now he sits only behind Adam Peaty – on a best of 56.88 – and Ilya Shymanovich (58.29) and ahead of James Wilby and Cameron van der Burgh (both with bests of 58.46).

Kamminga had lowered his own national record to 58.52 in the heats before he returned in the evening, going out in 27.62 and showing some serious back-end speed of 30.81.

It prompted a post on social media by 2012 Olympic champion Van der Burgh who said:

“Whoa! Well done Kamminga

Thumbs up

“If Olympics are on (Coronavirus) this 100 breast field is going to be swift!”

Kamminga had moved up to sixth all-time with a time of 58.61 at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Shenzhen, China.

It has been a time of startling improvement for Kamminga who claimed four medals at the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow in December, including a golden breaststroke double over 100 and 200m.

Showing so signs of fatigue after his Saturday exploits, Kamminga went 2:07.54 in the 200m breaststroke heats.

There was more to come though in the Belgian afternoon when he took that apart in the finals.

Splits of 29.09; 32.49; 32.64; 32.96 propelled him to 2:07.18 and second fastest European man in history behind Chupkov and ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta (2:07.23) and joint sixth all-time.

1 2:06.12 WORLDS19  Anton Chupkov, RUS
2 2:06.67 JPNKKC17   Ippei Watanabe, JPN
3 2:06.67 WORLDS19 Matthew Wilson, AUS
4 2:07.01 JPNSFSEP   Akihiro Yamaguchi, JPN
5 2:07.17 USAOLY16   Josh Prenot, USA
6 2:07.18 JPNNAT17   Koseki, Yasuhiro, JPN
6 2:07.18 ANTWERP20 Arno Kamminga, NED

Kira Toussaint won the 50/100m backstroke double in 27.83 and 59.82 with Femke Heemskerk taking the 50 and 100m free double in 24.78 and 53.45.

Friday, March 6

Tokyo 2020 Torch Ceremonies Scaled Back – and Climbing Test Goes ahead With No Top Athletes Nor Fans

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organizers have downsized the arrival ceremony for the Olympic torch because of the spreading coronavirus.  Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said Friday that 140 children will not be sent to Greece to give the flame a send off on March 19, a day before it is due to arrive in Japan. Mori, speaking in Japanese, told reporters:

“It’s a gut-wrenching decision not to be able to let them perform.”

The Olympic torch will be lit on March 12 in a ceremony in Greece and then flown to Japan. It is to land in Miyagi at a Japan Air Self-Defense base in the northern part of the country. Mori said the the changes forced by the spreading virus “make me feel even more strongly about not losing the fight.” He added:

“Of course we are worried. But the government is doing its utmost to battle the situation, and scientists are fighting against the challenges. I believe in the power of human beings and the efforts from around the world. But that doesn’t mean will just wait and hope.”

Asked about talk of cancellation or postponement of the Games and such moves as holding events without a crowd, Mori said: “The Tokyo Olympics should be held even if parts of it have to be modified. But it does not mean we will scale it down.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in “constant” contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) and has maintained that “the Games will go on”.

Virologists, however, say it’s impossible to tell if the spreading virus will allow the Games to go ahead as and when planned, Japan among countries paying attention to the task of containing the virus and conscious of the 12 deaths so far in its country. China is reporting more than 3,000 deaths from the virus, and still has more than 80% of the world cases, though outbreaks are surging in Italy, Iran and South Korea and the figures growing in Britain, German, the United States and many other nations,

Against that backdrop, Tokyo organizers, faced with having to cancel a string of test events, allowed a sport climbing event to go ahead today, with significant twists and turns:  no fans and no top athletes. Instead they used amateurs to test the climbing facility.

Almost all sports events and large gatherings have been shut down in Japan because of the global health emergency.

Thursday, March 5

USA Swimming Update on Coronavirus

USA Swimming has asked all swimmers and others who get sick and think they might have been infected by coronavirus COVID-19, to stay home and avoid mixing with  team members.

The federation issued an update to its sweet to members as the global health emergency starts to bite in the United States, where 12 people out of the 200-plus known infections so far have died. USA Swimming directs its members to the direction of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The USA update:

Dear Members,

As we continue to monitor developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to remind you of important information resources and suggested safety measures everyone can follow.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to stress general precautions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases:

  • wash your hands often;
  • cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
  • get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19;  
  • stay home when you are sick, and away from the pool and from fellow team members.

USA Swimming will work with, and follow, all guidance and protocols issued by the CDC, state and local public health departments.

Both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published recommendations/guidelines for gatherings and healthy travel. For members planning to host or attend sanctioned events, we encourage you to request updates directly from event organizers, who should be actively communicating with local health professionals.

We strongly encourage everyone to seek further information using the CDC and the WHO websites:

Questions or personal concerns regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) should be directed to your local healthcare provider.

This is a dynamic situation and we will provide additional information as necessary for our membership.

Thank you for taking every precaution to protect yourself and others. Tim Hinchey III, USA Swimming President & CEO

Mexico’s WADA-Accredited Lab Shuts Down

WADAThe World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that the Laboratorio Nacional de Prevencion y Control del Dopaje-CONADE – the WADA-accredited Laboratory in Mexico City, Mexico (the Laboratory) – has ceased operations; and therefore, is no longer conducting anti-doping analyses as a WADA-accredited Laboratory. In a statement, WADA noted:

While the Laboratory ceased its operations effective 15 November 2019, this official WADA announcement follows weeks of sustained efforts by the Agency to inform the Mexican Public Authorities of the benefits of maintaining an accredited Laboratory in Mexico.

WADA is satisfied that, in accordance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL), the Laboratory took all necessary measures to notify its clients of its decision to cease operations and assist all relevant Testing Authorities with the transfer of samples, where required, to another WADA-accredited Laboratory. Throughout, WADA monitored the measures taken by the Laboratory in regard to the above ISL requirements in order to ensure continued high-quality sample analysis and storage of samples, and to preserve athletes’ confidence in this process and the wider anti-doping system.

In accordance with the ISL, WADA is responsible for accrediting and re-accrediting anti-doping Laboratories, thereby ensuring that they maintain the highest quality standards. This monitoring process is conducted in compliance with ISO 17025 Standard assessment and in conjunction with independent national accreditation bodies that are full members of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

Wednesday, March 4

Le Clos: We All Knew Sun Was ‘A Dirty Swimmer’

Four-time Olympic medallist Chad le Clos never had any doubt that Sun Yang was “a dirty swimmer” and has reiterated his call for his silver medal from the 200m free at Rio 2016 to be upgraded to gold.

Sun’s controversial career is almost certainly over after he was banned for eight years last Friday following a damning judgement by a panel of three senior judges at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

That followed an incident in September 2018 when a vial containing the Chinese swimmer’s blood was smashed with a hammer during an out-of-competition doping test..

It was the second doping violation by the triple Olympic champion who tested positive for a banned substance in 2014.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 12: Chad le Clos wins the 200m freestyle finals in Olympic qualifying time during the finals session on day 3 of the SA National Aquatic Championships and Olympic Trials on April 12 , 2016 at the Kings Park Aquatic Center pool in Durban, South Africa. Photo Credit / Anesh Debiky/Swim SA

Photo Courtesy: Anesh Debiky/Swimming South Africa

Le Clos has long been vocal about Sun and now his beliefs and worst fears – and those of many in the swimming community – have been realised.

He told South Africa’s Eye Witness News:

“It’s absolutely no surprise to me.

“We’ve all known that he’s a dirty swimmer.

“It’s not just me who knows this, it’s the whole swimming community. Finally, he’s being punished.”

Le Clos was ahead at the final turn of the 200 free final in Rio only for Sun to come past him in the final 25m to claim gold.

Le Clos took silver ahead of Conor Dwyer, who retired last year after being banned following a positive test for an anabolic agent after testosterone pellets were inserted into his body.

Le Clos added:

“I was ahead by a long way with 50 metres to go in that race but Sun Yang came past me. He was the only man who did that, and that says it all really.

“I broke the (South African) national record, the African record and Sun passed me like I was standing still in the last 25 metres, which is unheard of.”

For Le Clos, it meant a moment atop the podium – and one he was able to treasure when he won the 200 fly in London ahead of Michael Phelps – was taken away from him.

“I want it for my record. (But) I lost a moment. When Wayde (van Niekerk) and Caster (Semenya) won in 2016, it was huge. Everyone (in South Africa) was so happy.

“When the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup (in 2019), and when I won in London, those were huge moments. I didn’t get that.”

British Swimming Announces Quartet For Tokyo 2020 Open Water Qualifier

Jack Burnell finish

Jack Burnell: Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

British Swimming has announced the four swimmers who will be competing in the Olympic marathon swimming qualifier in Japan in May.

Jack Burnell, Hector Pardoe, Alice Dearing and Danielle Huskisson will head to Fukuoka for the event which takes place on 30-31 May.

One man and one woman can earn selection to Team GB with the nine highest-placed swimmers from nations who have not already secured their quota for Tokyo 2020 able to book their slots.

The quartet all competed at the FINA Marathon Swim World Series event in Doha last month with Dearing and Huskisson finishing ninth and 14th respectively.

Burnell – who was disqualified at Rio 2016 after initially finishing fifth following a tussle with Oussama Mellouli – was also ninth in Doha, one place ahead of Pardoe.

Dearing is a co-founder – along with Ed Accura, Seren Jones and Danielle Obe – of the Black Swimming Association.

The charity, the first of its kind in the UK, officially launched in partnership with Swim England earlier this week and seeks to encourage participation as well as prevent drowning in black and minority ethnic communities.

Tuesday, March 3

Cornel MARCULESCU, Fina Executive Director, is pictured during the 12th Fina World Short Course Swimming Championships held at the Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

Cornel Marculescu, director for FINA – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer ©

The call for FINA to step down continued apace far and wide. The Australian runs an editorial today that concludes:

“FINA’s response illustrates why its leadership should go. It formally cautioned Swimming Australia. FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu, who had hugged Sun Yang as he stepped off the podium in Rio in 2016, accused Horton of jealousy. Mr Marculescu, 78, is a former Romanian water polo player who has held office in Lausanne, Switzerland, since 1986. FINA president Julio Maglione, the president of the Uruguayan Olympic Committee, is 84.

Sports officials who enjoy the perks of international travel and the best seats at competitions need to be responsible and uphold rigorous standards. FINA’s hierarchy needs fresh blood and expertise, drawn from nations with a strong interest in swimming and fair play.

Part of the problem is that under current rules the US and Australia, which rank first and second in Olympic swimming medals, and other competitive swimming nations have no more say in running the sport than landlubber members.

The structure needs updating.

Athletes in North American and Europe are already voting with their feet, joining a rival swimming competition launched last year, the International Swimming League. As Smith wrote, this is the moment for reform. The Court of Arbitration’s ban is a major embarrassment for FINA and a wake-up call that something is deeply wrong in one of the Olympics’ main attractions, for which tickets sell faster than any other sport.

Australia, which has always stood firm against cheating, is well placed to help lead reform. Plenty of our ex-Olympians such as [Kieren] Perkins and Madame Butterfly, Susie O’Neill, would be ideal board members.

Monday, March 2

‘Sack FINA’ 

It’s the Monday after the Friday before. We start where we left off. Far and wide, the story related in the links above, the story broken by Swimming World Editor Craig Lord in The Sunday Times in January 2019, is everywhere, alongside comment that can be summed up by the first two words of communist Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail in Britain: “Sack FINA.”

The banner reads:

“Swimming’s Sun blindness stinks. The sport’s disgraced governing body have no credibility after supporting Chinese drugs cheat – sack the board NOW”.

Samuel repeats what’s already out there before he makes a plea for the International Olympic Committee to tell FINA that swimming will be removed from the Olympic Game s unless the leadership of swimming stands down for a new era to begin. Samuel hints at his lack of hope when he refers to such decisions being in the hands of “lickspittle of Russian drug cheats, president Thomas Bach”. The writer concludes:

“Cate Campbell, a world record holder, Olympic gold medallist and team-mate of Horton, said tough questions needed to be asked of FINA’s executives. She’s right. ‘What are you still doing here?’ That would be the first one. And: ‘Why don’t you f*** off?’ That would be the second. And, yes, crude. But so is smashing tainted blood vials with a hammer. It’s a bit late to aim for a battle of wits on the moral high ground. We just need them gone.

“So how do we achieve that? And this is the difficult part, because it involves the IOC and that noted lickspittle of Russian drug cheats, president Thomas Bach. If the IOC said swimming was out of the next Olympics unless the regime at the top of FINA changed, Maglione and Marculescu would have to stand down for the good of their sport. If Bach announced FINA could not be trusted to deliver clean competition with that pair at the helm, it would be over. The move from clean athletes and clean countries to preserve swimming’s Olympic status would be so strong, FINA’s executive would have no option but to resign.

“That was the IOC’s threat to weightlifting in 2000: go clean or go home. For a while it worked, but the sport is under scrutiny again, threatened with expulsion in 2024 unless improvements are made. It does have impact. The IOC have the capability to be an enormously powerful force for clean sport, if they are prepared to take that responsibility. And this is the place to start. FINA is not fit for purpose. Sun’s legacy is that his spilled blood should at last wash swimming clean.”