The Week That Was: Comerford Shines At SMU Classic

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week gave NCAA fans one of their first big weekends of college racing, with Louisville’s Mallory Comerford putting on a show at the SMU Classic. Read about her strong performances at that meet and the biggest stories of the week below in The Week That Was!

The Week That Was #5 – Adam Peaty Receives Queen’s Honors

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Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

World record-holder and Olympic gold medalist Adam Peaty was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) honor this week from the Queen. The news Peaty would be awarded the MBE was announced back in December of 2016, and it was officially bestowed on the swimmer on October 11. The honor is bestowed on individuals who have made “an outstanding achievement or service to the community. This will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.” Peaty followed up his impressive 2016 with a successful 2017, breaking the 26-second barrier in the 50 breaststroke and winning two golds at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest and has become a leader for a resurgent British national team. Peaty will be diving back into competition next year for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Week That Was #4 – Petition To Name 2024 Aquatic Center After Muffat

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Photo Courtesy: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This week a change.org petition began to name the 2024 Olympic aquatic center after the late French Olympic gold medalist Camille Muffat. Muffat was the second French woman after Laure Manaudou to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the 400 free at the 2012 Olympic Games. Muffat also won the first relay Olympic medal for the French women in London as part of the 800 free relay, which earned a bronze. The swimmer retired back in 2014, just one year before she died in a helicopter crash while filming a reality TV show. The petition, which can be signed here, is currently aiming to get 25,000 signatures to get her name on the wall of the Olympic aquatics center.

The Week That Was #3 – Leah Smith Moving To Tucson

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Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Olympic medalist Leah Smith announced this week a move to Tucson, Arizona to continue training with longtime coach Cory Chitwood. Smith explained her decision to move with a statement to Swimming World: “While Charlottesville will always have a piece of my heart, I can’t wait to begin a new chapter in my life in Tucson, Arizona as I continue to train with my long-time coach, Cory Chitwood. I would like to thank the team and staff at the University of Arizona for being so kind and welcoming to me. Bear down and Wahoowa!” Chitwood was the assistant at Virginia from 2013-2017 and is following Augie Busch to Tucson after he took the head coaching job at Arizona in July. Smith was NCAA champion in the 500 and 1650 in 2015 and 2016 while competing for Virginia, and most recently won three medals at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.

The Week That Was #2 – Despite Fundraising, Wright State Swim & Dive To Be Cut

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Photo Courtesy: Wright State University

Despite a successful fundraising campaign that had seemingly saved the Wright State University swimming & diving teams, it was announced this week that the school will be cutting both programs following the 2017-18 season. Wright State was initially planning to cut the team last May before a campaign was started to raise $85,000 to save the programs. While that did secure the team another season, Athletc Director Bob Grant stated “…it is clear we are not able to fund operations of these programs after this season. And counting on external funding alone to pay for operations is not sustainable nor is it fair to the student-athletes and their families because of the uncertainty it creates year-to-year.” Following the completion of the 2017-18 season student-athletes will be able to transfer without penalty and any student-athletes who choose to stay will have their existing athletic scholarships honored. You can read the full announcement from Wright State University by clicking here.

The Week That Was #1 – USC Edges Louisville By Half A Point At SMU Classic

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The always-exciting SMU Classic came down to the narrowest of margins this week, with the USC women emerging victorious over Louisville by just half a point, 331 to 330.5. Michigan was not far behind in third with 322. While Louise Hansson, Riley Scott and Maddie Wright all helped to lead the Trojans to victory, Mallory Comerford was the star of the meet, winning three individual events that included several epic showdowns with Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey. The first came on day one in the 200 free, when Comerford threw down an incredible 1:41.70 to Haughey’s 1:42.44. The sprinter from Louisville would go on to edge the Michigan swimmer in the 100 free (47.00 to 47.22), with Comerford adding in a win in the 500 free (4:39.24) to close out the meet. You can see full results from Day One and Day Two to see all the swims from the meet.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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