The Week That Was: Europeans Return to Racing; Arizona State Redshirts Entire Team

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Hungary's Kristof Milak. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

Some of the top swimmers from Hungary, Poland and Austria returned to racing at Margaret Island this past weekend in Hungary as the first competition in many months for the athletes, who were supposed to be in Tokyo this week for the Olympic Games had the coronavirus pandemic not happened.

Germany’s reigning world champion in the 1500 Florian Wellbrock also had a solid return to racing this past week. There were many doubts on how distance swimmers would fare in racing after such a long time away but if these results this past weekend are any indication, it is that it may not be a worry.

In the United States, Arizona State coach Bob Bowman announced that the entire ASU team would be redshirting this upcoming season since it may not happen this coming year because of the coronavirus pandemic still affecting the US.

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

The Week That Was #5: Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center High Diving Tower Approved

Diving-Tower

Photo Courtesy: Hensel-Phelps

By Brent Rutemiller

The City of Fort Lauderdale Commissioners voted to fully fund the 27-meter dive tower and an Observation Deck on July 7th.  It will be the first and only high diving tower in the USA and is expected to attract elite divers from around the world.  It will be the second such tower with the first one erected in China.  The high diving tower in Fort Lauderdale will be the only one of its kind with multiple platforms and additional features.

The 27-meter high diving tower will be constructed using precast concrete sections and includes decorative glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) cladding and decorative lighting.

The $5,101,060 cost will be paid for with CRA funds.

#4: YMCA of Central Ohio Cancels Season

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

The YMCA of Central Ohio has announced it is cancelling all competitive swimming for the 2020-21 season at their metropolitan YMCAs. Swimmers will not be allowed to practice, let alone swim at meets. High school swim teams at YMCAs in Central Ohio will be affected as well, as this will be a huge blow to the sport in a large city like Columbus. High school teams regularly use YMCA facilities for practice and meets.

The YMCA of Central Ohio follows the decision made by the YMCA of Central Florida, which cancelled its swim season as well. When that decision was handed down, there was worry it would cause a ripple effect elsewhere. Many of our readers did not believe that the correct decision was made.

The teams affected: Delaware Riptides, Liberty/Powell Penguins, North YMCA Waves, Gahanna YMCA Gators, Garver & Ward YMCA East Tridents, Pickaway Piranhas, Grove City Manta Rays, Hilltop Poseidons, Hilliard Hurricanes and Hilliker Heat.

The Week That Was #3: World Champion Florian Wellbrock Hits 14:53 1500 in Return to Racing

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Liz Byrnes, Europe Correspondent

World champion Florian Wellbrock had a good hitout at the Magdeburg Swim Meet  on Saturday with a dominant victory in the 1500 free on his return to racing.

Wellbrock – who became the first man to win the 1500 free and 10k at the same world titles last year in Gwangju – dominated the race in 14:53.62, almost a minute ahead of his rivals.

That followed the German’s impressive effort in the 400 free heats where he was the only man inside 3:50, stopping the clock at 3:46.99 although he did not contest the final.

#2: Arizona State Redshirts Entire Team

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Photo Courtesy: Arizona State University Athletics

By Dan D’Addona

Arizona State is the first power five college swimming and diving program to make a decision about the upcoming college season — and Bob Bowman made a stunning announcement that the entire team will take a redshirt this season and focus on 2021-22.

Bowman consulted with the team and the athletes’ parents before making the decision.

According to the school, all involved parties agree this plan will allow for maximum flexibility and confidence for the student-athletes and their families in regards to their location and practice situation due to COVID-19. All members of the Sun Devil swimming & diving programs will redshirt and only train in 2020-21, with the expectation the entire roster will return in 2021-22.

“In March, (Vice President for University Athletics) Ray Anderson challenged all Sun Devil head coaches to find ways to make our programs stronger after the COVID-19 crisis,” Bowman said. “This decision clearly accomplishes that goal. It promotes the health and safety of our student-athletes, enhances their educational opportunities and allows time to rebuild and refocus on performing at the highest levels of NCAA competition.”

The Week That Was #1: Hungary’s Kristof Milak Returns to Racing With 51 100 Fly

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Kristóf Milák – Photo Courtesy: Hungarian Swimming Federation

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Kristóf Milák, the Hungarian who crushed the 200m butterfly World record for the global crown in Gwangju, Korea, last year, just gave a big hint that COVID-19 lockdown has been no barrier to his maintaining world-class form in the pool: 51.14 was the time on the Budapest scoreboard at the end of the 100m race on the first of three days at a four-nations comeback international in Budapest to celebrate “World Aquatics Day”.

If that hinted at the longer road back to full water fitness for those racing the bigger distances, Milák produced a speedy 100m, his time a precise match of that granted Michael Phelps, Laszlo Cseh and Chad le Clos an historic three-way silver behind Joe Schooling in the Olympic 100m butterfly final at Rio 2016.

That’s how fast Milák was on a first race day in months coming out of relative pandemic lockdown.

Out in 24.04 at the glorious Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium on Margaret Island, Budapest, he came home in the fifth best time of his career on a list topped by the 50.62 he clocked at the 2017 World Championships in the Duna Arena pool just a couple of kilometres upstream on the east bank of the Danube.

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