This week saw a defending Olympic gold medalist pull out of World Championships in order to deal with a long-term health problem. Get the details on that story and all of the week’s biggest news in The Week That Was!
The Week That Was #5 – Ning Zetao Makes Move To Brisbane With Matt Brown
Ning Zetao, the 2015 World Champion in the 100 free, has reportedly made a move to Brisbane to train under head coach Matt Brown at the Parkinson Aquatic Centre. Ning will be joining an impressive Chinese contingent in Brisbane that includes recent Olympic medalists Fu Yuanhui and Xu Jiayu.
Brown made the return to Brisbane a few months ago after a two year stint coaching in Melbourne. The head coach had previously coached in Brisbane for 12 years and mentored Australian Olympians Emily Seebohm and Eamon Sullivan.
Currently, Ning is not on the Chinese roster for Worlds after several rules violations that saw him kicked off the Chinese National Team, but he is still eligible to be added in the coming weeks. This continues the trend of foreign athletes finding a training base in Australia, a list that includes gold medalists Sun Yang and Park Tae Hwan.
The Week That Was #4 – Schooling Shooting For 100 Butterfly World Record
In an interview with Channel News Asia, Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling said he thinks he can take down Olympic legend Michael Phelps’ world record in the 100 butterfly at the World Championships this summer in Budapest.
Schooling’s best stands at a 50.39 from his gold medal swim last summer, the fastest ever textile suit time. Phelps’ world record stands at a 49.82 from the 2009 World Championships.
“I’m looking forward to that race,” said Schooling, adding that “deep down I think if I do what I know I can do, if I execute everything well perfectly, I’d have a really good shot.”
Schooling is coming off an NCAA meet where he posted the second fastest time ever in the 100-yard fly behind Caeleb Dressel but failed to make the finals of the 200 fly, where he was the two-time defending champion. Schooling commented that his NCAA experience this year has only fueled his motivation, saying “I don’t want to feel like that ever again.”
The Week That Was #3 – National Records Fall At French National Championships
While French stars were out in force trying to qualify for the 2017 FINA World Championships, it was Swiss swimmer Jeremy Desplanches who stole the show, winning the 200 IM (1:57.40) and 400 IM (4:13.11) in national record-time.
Charlotte Bonnet was also impressive, winning the 200 free in the third-ranked time in the world (1:55.80) and breaking into the top 10 in the 100 free (53.65). Camille Lacourt punched his ticket to what will be his final World Championship when he won the 50 back in 24.60, while Mehdy Metella just missed his own national record in the 100 fly, touching in 51.36 to move to third in the world.
Also performing well was Melanie Henique, who broke her own six-year-old record in the women’s 50 fly, touching in 25.86 to move to fifth in the world. You can find full recaps of every session of the 2017 French National Championships on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #2 – Arizona’s Rick DeMont Announces Retirement
Head Coach at the University of Arizona, Rick DeMont, announced his plans for retirement from coaching this week, ending a career that saw him on the staff for the Wildcats for the last 30 years.
DeMont himself swam at Arizona for two seasons from 1977 to 1979 before coming back in 1987 as a member of the coaching staff. DeMont has served the last four years as head coach of the Wildcats, and also served as an assistant coach for the South African men’s team at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
In addition to his many coaching accomplishments, DeMont is also known for his win in the 400 freestyle at the 1972 Munich Games when he was just 16 years old. While he out-touched Australian Brad Cooper by one-hundredth of a second, his gold medal was later stripped when traces of his asthma medicine, which had failed to have been properly reported by the USOC to the IOC, were detected in a post-race drug test.
DeMont bounced back from that incident in 1973, becoming the first man to break 4:00 in the 400 meter freestyle when he set a world record 3:58.18 at the World Championships in Belgrade. DeMont held world records in the 1500 free and 400 free relay in addition to the 400 free throughout his career.
The Week That Was #1 – Kyle Chalmers Withdraws From World Champs Roster
Australian Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers announced his decision this week to withdraw his name from the roster for the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest this summer in order to have surgery related to a heart condition. Chalmers is the defending Olympic gold medalist in the 100 freestyle, having won the event at just 18 years old over favorites Cameron McEvoy and Nathan Adrian.
Chalmers has a heart condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), and the break will allow him and his medical team to fully explore options at the early stages of the current Olympic quad. Peter Bishop, Chalmers’ coach, and Jacco Verhaeren, the Head Coach of the Australian National Team, agreed that this was in the best interest of Chalmers’ long-term development and that it will give him the best opportunity to prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the next major competition on the Australian calendar that will be hosted on the Gold Coast.
The replacement for Chalmers’ spot on the roster will be announced shortly.