The Week That Was: Dave Salo Announces This is His Last Season as USC Head Coach

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Dave Salo at the 2013 Junior Nationals in Irvine. He announced he was stepping down as head coach at USC. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

There were a lot of really good swimming performances in the last week as the FINA Champions Swim Series started and concluded in China with some of the best swimmers in the world in attendance. Sydney Pickrem handed Katinka Hosszu her first loss in the 200 IM since 2012, and Japan’s Daiya Seto moved to third all-time in the 200 fly.

The second stop of the TYR Pro Swim Series in the United States also was in full swing as many of the best American athletes put down some solid times in the middle of training. Regan Smith started the new year off with a good note in winning both backstroke events with a world leading time in the 100.

Legendary coach Dave Salo also announced this would be his last season as head coach of the men’s and women’s teams at the University of Southern California.

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

The Week That Was #5: Judge Orders Closure Of Rio 2016 Olympic Park On Safety Grounds

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The Olympic Park, Rio 2016 – Photo Courtesy: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

A Brazilian judge has ordered the closure of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park from today on safety grounds. The complex includes the abandoned site of the pool in which we witnessed the last stand of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

The Rio pool was dismantled after the Games but the building remained as a facility in decay for a long time after the last race was swum, the last drop of water drained. Its legacy stands in stark contrast to that of the iconic Water Cube (National Aquatics Center) in Beijing, thriving and in regular use 12 years after Phelps raced to a record eight gold medals.

Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araujo made the Brazilian order late on Wednesday, his deadline set to run out before the weekend begins. There were no current safety licences for the site, while Rio’s city hall had not provided safety assurances for the Olympic Park to hold public events, the Judge noted in his ruling.

#4: Sydney Pickrem Upsets Katinka Hosszu in 200 IM at FINA Champions Series

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Sydney Pickrem at the World Championships. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Canadian Sydney Pickrem brought Katinka Hosszu‘s bull-run of wins over 200m medley to an end with a 2:09.26 to 2:09.93 win over the Hungarian Olympic and World champion as the two-day Beijing leg of the FINA Champions’ Series came to a close.

Hosszu, who had not been beaten in a major 200m medley since 2012, tested just how far she could give rivals rope during the four-way battle in which as she turned last on butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke before thundering through on freestyle. The World record holder just got past Japan’s Rica Omoto, third in 2:10.09, and 2012 Olympic champion Ye Shiwen, of China, on 2:11.02 – but Pickrem had been given a touch too much rope and was not to be caught.

The ebb and flow:

  • 28.36; 1:01.30 (32.94) 1:38.55 (37.25) 2:09.26 (30.71) Pickrem
  • 29.16; 1:02.44 (33.28) 1:39.75 (37.31) 2:09.93 (30.18) Hosszu
  • 27.79; 1:01.07 (33.28) 1:39.43 (38.36) 2:10.09 (30.66) Omoto
  • 28.70; 1:01.39 (32.69) 1:39.50 (38.11) 2:11.02 (31.52) Ye

The Week That Was #3: Regan Smith, Kaylee McKeown Trade 2:05’s Hours Apart Across the World

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Regan Smith at the World Championships. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By John Lohn and Ian Hanson

Teenage backstrokers Regan Smith of the United States and Kaylee McKeown of Australia traded 2:05’s this weekend in the 200 backstroke merely hours apart from opposite sides of the world. Smith started with a 2:05.94 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville, which is not far off her 2:03 world record from last year as she continues her push for the Olympic Trials in June.

Smith’s time was the fastest in the world just 20 days into the new year until a few hours later when 18-year-old McKeown swam a tick faster with a 2:05.83 at the South Australian State Championships in Adelaide.

McKeown and Smith have been known to trade quick times as they exchanged the world junior record a couple times at the 2017 World Championships where McKeown was fourth and Smith was eighth. At last year’s World Championships, Smith broke the world record in the semi finals and went on to win gold in the final while McKeown won her first individual Worlds medal with a silver. McKeown swam faster in Adelaide than she did in Gwangju last summer where she was a 2:06.2.

#2: Daiya Seto Throws Down 1:52 200 Fly in China

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Daiya Seto at the World Championships. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord

Daiya Seto is on fire. The Japanese medley World champion arrived in Beijing as one of those who speak to the label on the can: FINA Champions’ Series. He did not disappoint, an Asian record in the 200m butterfly elevating him to No3 all-time behind Kristof Milak and Michael Phelps.

First up, Seto took on Hungarian Tamas Kenderesi and his own national teammate Masato Sakai in the 200m butterfly – and trounced them with a 1:52.53 Asian Record. Seto led from go to gold, going through in a sizzling 53.36 at half-way.

The splits compared:

  • Seto’s splits: 24.72; 53.36 (28.64) 1:22.34 (28.98); 1:52.53 (30.19)
  • Milak’s splits:  24.66, 28.22, 28.69, 29.16. He was out in 52.88 and 1:21.57.
  • Phelps’ splits: 24.76, 28.12, 29.05, 29.58. He was out in 52.88 and 1:21.93.

Kenderesi took second in 1:55.87, Sakai third in 1:56.23.

The Week That Was #1: Dave Salo to Not Return as USC Head Coach Next Season

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Dave Salo at last year’s Men’s NCAAs. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

Southern California head coach Dave Salo announced that he will stepping down as head coach of the Trojans undergrad team and that this will be his last season. Salo said he will continue to coach the various Olympic hopeful swimmers at Trojan Swim Club through the 2020 Olympic Games.

Salo had been coaching the Trojans undergrad team since the fall of 2006 when he took over for Mark Schubert. After a rocky first four years in Los Angeles, he guided the men of Troy to seven top ten finishes in nine years, reaching as high as fourth in 2013 and 2015.

In his 12 years as head coach of the women’s team, they finished in the top ten a total of ten times, finishing as high as third in 2011 and 2012.