The Week That Was: Energy Standard, London Roar Punch Vegas Tickets; NCAA Invites Heat Up

ISL: energy-standard-
Energy Standard remained unbeaten in the International Swimming League. Photo Courtesy: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse

The Week That Was is sponsored bySuit-extractor-logo

The Week That Was sponsored by SuitMate.

There was a lot of big news this past week in the world of swimming as the last two teams punched their tickets to the International Swimming League final, November Invites picked up in full force, and Tokyo 2020 organizers revealed the aquatic center to visiting journalists.

Energy Standard and London Roar advanced to the ISL grand final next month in Las Vegas as Energy Standard is the only team yet to lose a match in the new league, defeating their European rival in their “home pool” in London, the home of the 2012 Olympics where swimmers Florent ManaudouChad Le Clos and Ranomi Kromowidjojo returned.

Across the pond in the United States, the NCAA’s November Invitationals started over the weekend as nearly every major top 25 team competed outside of Cal, Texas, Michigan, etc. The national rankings really shook up over the weekend as the athletes will now go home to enjoy some time with family for Thanksgiving.

The Sun Yang v. WADA case continued to stir the pot as the Doping Control Assistant who was tasked with witnessing the Olympic champion produce a urine sample in September last year (which ultimately did not get collected), was reported by state media in China as having changed his story. Some of the world’s best swimmers including Olympic champions Sarah SjostromChad Le Clos and Adam Peaty voiced their displeasures over Sun’s behavior and called for him to be banned for life for his actions.

Read the five biggest stories below in the week that was.

The Week That Was #5: Sun Yang Urine Watcher Changes His Story Saying He Was Never Trained Despite Signing to Say He Was


Sun Yang – Parting Shot Photo Courtesy: Craig Lord

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

The Chinese Doping Control Assistant (DCA) tasked with witnessing Sun Yang produce a urine sample on what turned into an acrimonious four-hour dispute through the night with a team of international out-of-competition testers last year, is reported by state media in China as having changed his story.

Reported as having refused to testify to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing last Friday in Montreux, Switzerland, the DCA, exercising his right to anonymity, now tells Xinhua that he had offered himself as a witness but had not been called to the CAS hearing.

Further, he is reported to have said that he was never trained for the role of DCA. The question that follows is clear: which version of events from the DCA and others is a lie?

His signature is on an agency Statement of Confidentiality (SoC) confirming his appointment, the training he had received from the DCO and agreeing to standard confidentiality provisions. He would now appear to have broken those.

#4: Sarah Sjostrom, Chad Le Clos, Adam Peaty Take Shots at Sun Yang


Sarah Sjostrom offered her opinion on what the fate of Sun Yang’s career should be in January; Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Chad le Clos and Sarah Sjostrom, the top two scorers at the International Swimming League‘s European Derby in London this weekend, believe Sun Yang should be banned for life. They have also called on FINA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to “get tougher” on doping.

In an interview with Swimming World, the Olympic and World champions, who raced to the helm of the MPV leaderboard  in London at the weekend, also urged FINA to embrace the International Olympic Committee’s latest swing by staging podium ceremonies for those denied the moment of celebration by those who subsequently proven to have cheated.

Both swimmers believe that Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, awaiting the judgement of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over an acrimonious encounter with testers last year, should be banned for life for “unacceptable” behavior. Le Clos described the events as “something we would never get away with and something that was totally unnecessary and should never have happened”.

Adam Peaty has described as “an absolute joke” Sun Yang’s claims that he was simply standing up for the rights of other athletes when he contributed to the smashing of a blood-sample container with a hammer.

“Neither he nor 95-98% of the World swimming community is buying a word of it,” says the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion in comments made on the eve of the International Swimming League’s European Derby in London.

Court of Arbitration for Sport  (CAS) hearing heard in Montreux last Friday heard Sun declare himself an athletes’ champion for standing up for the rights of sportsmen and women to know who is testing them and to expect “professional” handling and high standards from anti-doping testers.

Peaty, Olympic breaststroke champion, said of Sun’s justification and explanation for his behaviour:

“That’s an absolute joke. That’s probably what his lawyers told him to say, he’s probably got some great PR support. But I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.”

The Week That Was #3: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Aquatic Center Revealed; Will Finish in February


Tokyo 2020 unveiled its pool to journalists – Photo Courtesy: Tokyo2020

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organisers today unveiled the $523 million venue for swimming, diving and synchro that will seat 15,000 fans for the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

Construction is 90 per cent complete at the four-story Aquatics Centre and is due to be finished on schedule by the end of February, officials told Associated Press’s Japan service. Tokyo 2020 venue official Daishuu Tone told reporters in Tokyo:

“We are aiming to construct a swimming venue to the world’s highest standards equipped with the latest facilities.”

The main pool features a movable wall allowing the 50m facility to be converted into two 25m pools. The depth of the bottom can also be adjusted in keeping with modern standards around for at least a couple of decades now.

The building cost 56.7 billion yen but Tokyo hopes to make the most of the facility after the 2020 Games, aiming to attract one million users a year — 850,000 through swimming competitions and another 150,000 casual users.

#2: Anna Hopkin, Erika Brown, Shaine Casas Light Up November Invitationals Across Country


Shaine Casas posted three nation-leading times this weekend at the Art Adamson Invite hosted by Texas A&M; Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

By Dan D’Addona

November NCAA invitationals heated up in a big way over the weekend as there was a lot of fast swimming going on all across the United States amateur scape. Sophomore Shaine Casas of Texas A&M was one of the top performers of the weekend, swimming a 1:40 in the 200 IM, 44.4 in the 100 back, and 1:38 in the 200 back as he is leading the nation in all three events. This was a huge weekend for Casas, who did not finish higher than 11th at NCAAs as a freshman last season.

Arkansas senior Anna Hopkin out of the United Kingdom was also swimming well this weekend with a 21.19 in the 50 free, moving herself up to fourth all-time in the event and just shy of Abbey Weitzeil’s 21.02 record. Hopkin also won the 100 free at the Missouri Invitational with a 46.56 as she tied her own best time and remained sixth all-time. Hopkin has been on a roll this year after having a breakout summer where she made the final of the 50 free at the World Championships this summer for the British team. Hopkin has a chance to become Arkansas’ first national champion in swimming.

Tennessee senior Erika Brown matched Hopkin’s efforts in the 50 free, touching at the Tennessee Invite with a 21.19, just off her own best time of 21.15 which she swam at last year’s SECs and put her second all-time. Brown then swam a 46.15 in the 100 free to move up to second all-time in that event as she nearly became the second woman to break 46 in the 100 free after Simone Manuel did it in 2017. Brown also swam a 49.79 in the 100 fly to sit second in Division I this fall behind Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil.

The NCAA swimmers will take a break this week and the Minnesota Invite will be the epicenter of the Division I scene as it will be the only invite with more than one power five conference team the week after Thanksgiving.

The Week That Was #1: Energy Standard Tops London Roar in ISL European Derby


Energy Standard remained unbeaten with a win at the European Derby in the International Swimming League; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Energy Standard and London Roar are the Europe-based teams heading for the Final Match of the first season of the International Swimming League. Energy emerged the derby Match winner in London 467.5 to 458.5 points, courtesy of the decisive triple-points skins events beyond a thrilling contest of close calls.

The top two Europe-based teams, both with British head coaches, James Gibson for Energy and Mel Marshall for Roar, will battle with LA Current and Cali Condors, the top two United States-based teams, at the showdown Final Match of the League’s first season in Las Vegas on December 20-21. Said Gibson:

“We knew it would always be like that. London are such a great team and they’re going to add a lot more strength and depth to their field for Vegas. But, we were confident in our strategy, I didn’t change my tactics once, and we’ve got a great team.”

The Most Valuable Player award went to Chad Le Clos on 44.5 points, his Energy teammate Sarah Sjostrom, also captain, finished runner-up just half a point adrift. The biggest contributors for Roar were Emma McKeon, on 43.5 points and Duncan Scott, on 40.