The Week That Was: Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Delay of Chinese Swimming Olympic Trials

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to dominate the world’s headlines and it has even seeped into the swimming world as it has caused the Chinese Olympic Swimming Trials to be delayed. Originally set to take place at the end of March, the Olympic Trials have been rescheduled to May 10 – 16 in hopes that the virus will be contained by then.

In United States circles, three American records were broken at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Auburn, Alabama. Kieran SmithErika Brown and Bobby Finke will all have a chance to go even faster at the NCAA Championships in a month.

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

The Week That Was #5: Cate Campbell Comes Forward About What Really Happened in Rio 100 Free Final

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

By Ian Hanson with fellow reporting by Wayne Smith

It was the biggest race of her life, the 100m freestyle final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and Cate Campbell swam it fully expecting to be told at the finish that she had been disqualified.

For the first time, Campbell has spoken of the real reason she finished sixth in a race that seemingly all Australia had decided she would win in the week that was.

For the past three years, Campbell has been prepared to let Australians think she choked. Cate Campbell is convinced she jumped the gun in Rio.

Indeed, she herself fueled that version of events. But there was way more to the story than that …

Just before the starting gun had fired in Rio, Campbell had moved on the blocks. She then swam the entire race in the belief that she would be disqualified.

To this day, Campbell doesn’t know for certain whether she moved enough to warrant being disqualified. The officials no longer drop a false start rope to rein in any swimmers who have left the blocks early. Instead, they allow the race to be swum to the finish and only then break the shattering news to any transgressors.

The fact that no blazer-wearing official was waiting for her as she left the pool isn’t convincing proof in her eyes that she hadn’t made a false start.

It might simply have been that she had finished sixth, well out of the medals, and the officials were content to let sleeping dogs lie. Had she recovered from the mishap to win gold, silver or bronze … then, perhaps it might have been a different story.

“No, no, I moved,” Campbell said.

“But I might have been still enough to move again when the starting signal went.”

#4: Adam Peaty Returns to Racing at McCullagh International

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Adam Peaty at the 2019 World Championships – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Liz Byrnes, European Correspondent

Adam Peaty was taken aback by his own performance as he flew straight to the top of the 50m breaststroke world rankings with a time of 26.83 at the McCullagh International in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Peaty, who became the first man to win the 50-100m breaststroke double for the third time at the 2019 World Championships, took over from Joao Gomes of Brazil who had been in pole position with 27.08 from the FINA Series in Beijing, China, in January.

The 25-year-old will race one more time at the Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex with the finals being contested in the mornings in line with the schedule at Tokyo.

The Briton, who had withdrawn from the 200 final in the morning as was always planned, did not expect to have been so speedy as he led the way into the final ahead of Irish record holder Darragh Greene (27.41) and Ross Murdoch (27.65).

Peaty was pleasantly surprised and told Swimming World:

“I think it’s the whole point of this meet, isn’t it? We’re just trying new things.

“See what happens to your body at night, in the morning and obviously in Tokyo instead of having a whole morning off, I’ll be having a whole afternoon off so how do you deal with that in the sense that the semi-final will be in the morning and then you’ve got the whole day and then the morning after.”

Adam Peaty also treated the crowd at the Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Centre to a performance only he and 2012 champion Cameron van der Burgh have bettered in Olympic waters as he won the McCullagh International title in 58.78.

Out in 27.42 and back in 31.36, the Olympic champion cut 0.02secs from the time he set in heats on Thursday evening with the meet in Bangor, Northern Ireland, holding finals in the morning, mirroring the schedule in Tokyo in July.

The Week That Was #3: Three American Records Broken at SEC Championships

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Florida’s Kieran Smith smashed the NCAA & American record in the 500. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

By Andy Ross

The SEC Swimming and Diving Championships provided some great swimming across five days last week in Auburn, Alabama as the Tennessee women and Florida men won their respective conference titles in the week that was.

Three American records fell on the weekend with Florida’s Kieran Smith (500 free), Tennessee’s Erika Brown (100 fly) and Florida’s Bobby Finke (1650), with Smith and Finke also setting the NCAA records in the process.

#2: WADA Says CHINADA Will Resume Anti-Doping Testing Suspended In Coronavirus Crisis

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced that the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) will resume testing this week “on a phased basis” following a temporary suspension, initiated on 3 February, of its testing program on mainland China due to the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19″.

Almost three weeks of no anti-doping testing in China at the start of Olympic year – and at a time of the season when batches of 25-40 Chinese swimmers would be expected to face checks on a regular basis – has caused concern among Fair Play advocates.

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global emergency over coronavirus last month, the world sports calendar has been affected by cancellations and postponements. Among the many sports events affected, the Chinese Olympic Trials have been postponed from late March to a provisional date in May.

WADA, the global regulator of anti-doping, says that it has been “closely monitoring the situation and has remained in regular contact with CHINADA throughout in order to maintain the integrity of the anti-doping program in China”.

The Week That Was #1: Coronavirus Causes China Olympic Swimming Trials Postponement

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

The Chinese Olympic Swimming Trials and National Championships have been postponed as a result of the Coronavirus emergency.

The event, due to have taken place from March 28 to April 4, has been provisionally rescheduled for May 10-16, in the hope that the outbreak of the virus will have been sufficiently contained by then to allow the event to unfold in the week that was.

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