The Week That Was: Coronavirus Causes Worldwide Shutdown

Coronavirus has caused pools around the world to shut down. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Week That Was is sponsored bySuit-extractor-logo

The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The coronavirus pandemic seemed to reach a climax last week in the western hemisphere as sporting events all across the United States ceased in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. The NBA season got shut down. The NCAA Division II Championships got cancelled after just three sessions. Pools all around the world shut down, leaving a lot of questions of the status of the Olympic Games up in the air.

The NCAA decided to cancel all of its winter championships, including the March Madness basketball tournament, and the swimming and diving championships.

Read below the five biggest stories in the Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: Ariana Kukors Settles in Hutchison Abuse Claim

Ariana Kukors while competing at the University of Washington. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Swimming World Editorial Team

Ariana Kukors Smith, who claimed the World 200m medley crown and world record in Rome back in 2009, has settled with USA Swimming for an undisclosed amount two years after pursuing a legal case against the swimming federation after she said that she had been groomed and then sexually assaulted by her personal and national-team coach Sean Hutchison when she was a teenager.

Today (March 11) the fifth-place finisher over 200m medley at the London 2012 Olympic Games, announced:

“I am glad that we were able to come to a resolution to this difficult process. As I begin the next chapter of my life, I hope that these last two years, along with the efforts of so many others, will help to provide athletes with a safer environment in which to compete.”

In its own statement, USA Swimming thanked Kukors Smith for her “incredible strength and bravery” in sharing her story, adding:

“Mrs. Kukors Smith thrust the very important subject matter of sexual abuse within youth-serving organizations into focus and furthered important dialogue about the continued need for robust athlete-protection policies and strong athlete and parent education.”

#4: Tokyo Olympic Games Could Be Called Off If WHO Says They Should Be

tokyo-2020-olympic-logo-released (1)

Photo Courtesy: The Japan Times

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

The International Olympic Committee will follow the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) on whether to cancel or postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a response to the containment and control measures required to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IOC president  Thomas Bach has suggested.

As Australia prepared to become the latest nation to cancel national swimming championships and the Tokyo metropolitan government postponed the opening ceremony of the Olympic Aquatics Centre, Bach was invited time and time again to get  beyond the standard “Games will go on from July 24” mantra, in an interview with German television ARD. 

Eventually, the reporter changed tack and asked Bach “if the WHO recommends that you should not go ahead with the Games in July, will you call a halt?” Bach hesitated a touch before replying:

“We will follow the advice of the WHO.”

As of today, the Olympic Games are 131 days away.

The Week That Was #3: Federica Pellegrini Sends Out Postcards During Italy Shutdown


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Federica Pellegrini, the most decorated swimmer in the history of 200m freestyle racing, has urged Italy’s young, swimmers and all alike, “to be patient and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. We’ll be back, stronger than ever.”

Pellegrini was taking to the leading Italian swimming site as part of a series of ‘postcards from Italy‘ during the nationwide lockdown imposed in Italy designed to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Italy was the first European nation to be hard hit by the virus, prompting the Government to impose stringent lockdown measures that include the closure of schools, universities, institutions, the cancellation of sports events and the shutdown of pools. The infections count has now topped 21,500, while the numbers of death have exceeded 4,500.

Elite senior and national-team juniors swimmers are being catered for, the bulk of club swimmers not – and national and Olympic training camps are all off – as noted by Pellegrini and senior Italian coach Claudio Rossetto in coverage of the Italian swimming realm in lockdown by, led by Editor-in-Chief Federico Gross.

Pellegrini, the 2008 Olympic champion. and record four times World 200m freestyle champion with a stunning eight podium finishes to her name in that events between 2005 and 2019, tells Nuoto:

“It’s hard to stay focused on training while the whole world is facing such an unprecedented health crisis. I hope everything works out for the best, hope that the Olympics will take place, this year or next. To young people I say, be patient and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. We’ll be back, stronger than ever.”

#2: Swimming Canada Postpones Olympic Trials


Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

By Dan D’Addona

Swimming Canada officially postponed the Olympic Trials and Paralympic Trials as part of containment measures being enforced in the country, in common with many others, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The trials have not been cancelled, though Swimming Canada confirmed that they will not take place on the originally scheduled days, March 30-April 5.

The Week That Was #1: NCAA Cancels Winter Championships


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Matthew De George

The NCAA has joined most American sports leagues in cancelling events, wiping out winter championships as well as spring events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday’s announcement includes the cancellation of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships due to be held later in March. It also halted the Division II Championships that were underway in Geneva, Ohio.

While everyone seemingly is on the same page about this having to happen, it still is devastating to athletes missing their final competitions — especially the seniors. It leads to an endless list of: “What ifs?” for NCAA swimming.

“That is the biggest things, the ‘what ifs?’ It was such an abrupt end,” Michigan senior Miranda Tucker told Swimming World.

Tucker was a senior poised to make a run at the NCAA swimming title in the 100 breaststroke.

“It hurts a lot, I am not gonna lie. I had been feeling the best I had all year. Everything was going in the right direction,” Tucker said. “I finally had a true belief in myself. I am capable of great things and I was ready to let it rock.”

“My first heart-felt thoughts go out to the seniors. It is an absolute nightmare. It is powerful stuff when you have to mess with kids’ dreams,” Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. “It is like all dressed up and nowhere to go. All the banners were in the pool when we got there, the place looked perfect and then no meet. It was a downer.”

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