The Week That Was: German Nationals, Rio’s Waters, And Another Phelps

Marco Koch Germany 200m Breaststroke Men Swimming 32nd LEN European Championships Berlin, Germany 2014 Aug.13 th - Aug. 24 th Day08 - Aug. 20 Photo Andrea Staccioli/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli Insidefoto

Olympic predictions became a little more complicated this week, given the results of the 2016 German Nationals that served as the Olympic qualifying meet for the nation. While those fast swims dominated the week, there were more stories from around the world that helped make The Week That Was!

The Week That Was #5 – Michael Phelps And Nicole Johnson Welcome Baby Boy

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Photo Courtesy: Michael Phelps/Instagram

Olympic legend Michael Phelps and fiance Nicole Johnson welcomed their first child into the world this week. Born on May 5th, Boomer Robert Phelps arrived at 7:21 PM in Arizona, with his father rushing from training in Colorado to be there for the birth. The couple announced their engagement back in February of 2015, and announced they were expecting their first child back in November of 2015. Johnson and Phelps withheld the announcement for two days to take place after Phelps’ sister, Hilary, celebrated her wedding. Phelps will be competing at his last U.S. Olympic Trials in just under two months.

The Week That Was #4 – Open Water Star Lynne Cox Speaks Out On Rio Water Pollution

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Famed open water swimmer and author Lynne Cox penned an opinion piece in the New York Times this week that was critical of the preparation of the open water sites for this summer’s Olympic Games. Titled “Olympians Shouldn’t Swim Through Sewage,” the piece describes Cox’s own experiences swimming in polluted water and cites research that shows the seeming inevitability of infection for those who may compete in Rio’s waters.

Recounting her own experiences in polluted waters, Cox reflects that despite being sick with dysentery, “I didn’t want to stop because I was representing the United States, but after 15 miles, I nearly passed out. In the emergency room I was told I was extremely dehydrated and that I could have died.” She also cites research and reports from virologist Kristina Mena, an expert in risk management for waterborne viruses. Mena has predicted it would only take 3 teaspoonfuls of water to give athletes a 99 percent chance of infection. With less than 100 days until the start of the Rio Olympics, Cox emphatically writes that a new site should be found and that “they [the Olympic athletes] deserve a chance to compete where the water won’t hurt them.” Swimming World has covered the open water risk since February of 2014 and will continue to update the situation as we move towards the Rio Olympics.

The Week That Was #3 – Records And Drama At 2016 IPC European Championships

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Photo Courtesy: Kara Sekenski

While 28 world records fell at this week’s 2016 IPC European Championships, a focus of the event was the disqualification of Josef Craig following the prelims of the S8 100 freestyle due to his Olympic Rings tattoo. Craig has a tattoo of a lion and the Olympic Rings on his chest, and was disqualified due to a rule in the IPC that states “Body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

Josef Craig got his rings after winning gold and breaking several world records at the 2012 Paralympic Games when he was only 15 years old. Craig was able to compete in the S8 400 freestyle later in the meet provided he cover the rings, and grabbed silver in 4:35.87. You can read the full story regarding his disqualification here.

For full coverage of the IPC European Championships, head over to our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was

The Week That Was #2 – Joe Bernal Banned For Life By USA Swimming

Joe Bernal

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

This week USA Swimming announced that Joe Bernal, the former head coach and owner of Bernal’s Gator Swim Club, has now been banned for life. Bernal was a staple in New England swimming until recently, when Bernal’s Gators became the Gator Swim Club back in January. In a statement released by the Gator Swim Club “Gator Swim Club has no relationship to Joe Bernal. He is not employed by the Club or involved in any of its operations.” Bernal was banned based on violations on three separate versions of USA Swimming’s Code of Conduct 3:04.3.5. That Code of Conduct protects athletes from sexual misconduct. The full version of the violations can be found here.

Prior to founding Bernal’s Gators, Joe Bernal coached at Harvard University and was well-known for coaching world record holders and Olympians David Berkoff and Bobby Hackett. The ban has been effective since February 23, 2016, but has just recently been publicized. As recently as September 2015, Bernal was honored by ASCA by being inducted into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Swimming World will continue to update this story as it develops.

The Week That Was #1 – 2016 German Nationals Serve As Olympic Qualifier

Marco Koch Germany 200m Breaststroke Men Swimming 32nd LEN European Championships Berlin, Germany 2014 Aug.13 th - Aug. 24 th Day08 - Aug. 20 Photo Andrea Staccioli/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli Insidefoto

Germany’s 2016 Nationals were underway this past week, with the meet also serving as the qualification meet for the 2016 Rio Olympics. A few German national records fell throughout the meet, while old and new stars made an impact on the world rankings that should put several Germans in the medal conversation for this summer.

World record holder Paul Biedermann had one of his strongest swims in the last few seasons, moving to second in the world in the 200 freestyle when he touched in 1:45.45 to win the event and punch his ticket to Rio. Only British swimmer James Guy has been faster this season (1:45.19), which may set up for a European showdown in the 200 free in Rio. World leader in the 200 breaststroke, Marco Koch, qualified in the 200 breaststroke when he won in 2:07.88. That was just off his top ranked time in the 200 breast of 2:07.69 from the Luxembourg Euro Meet, and Koch continues to set himself up as the favorite for gold in the event this summer.

On the women’s side, Franziska Hentke moved to second in the world in the 200 butterfly, winning the final in 2:05.77. That time puts her behind only Australian Madeline Groves, who currently leads the world with her 2:05.47 from Aussie Trials. Sarah Kohler also made an impact on the world rankings, winning the 800 freestyle on the first night of the meet in 8:22.80 to move to fourth in the world. Alexandra Wenk broke two national records through the fourth day of the meet. She set national records in the process of winning the 200 IM (2:11.33) and 100 butterfly (57.70). Other notable swims included Florian Vogel winning the 400 freestyle to move to fifth in the world rankings (3:44.89), and Jan-Philip Glania who moved to fifth in the world in the 200 backstroke (1:56.01).

To see complete coverage of the 2016 German Nationals, head over to our Event Landing Page.