The Week That Was: Major Shake-Ups Heading Into 2018 U.S. Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

With less than a week until the start of the 2018 U.S. Nationals that will determine the international teams for 2018 and 2019, two major U.S. stars created a lot of opportunity on the women’s side of the meet. Meanwhile, athletes across the world are determining their summer championship schedules while plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continue to come into focus.

The Week That Was #5 – Canada Names Pan Pacs Team in Edmonton; Oleksiak Will Not Compete in Tokyo

penny-oleksiak-

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2018 Canadian Pan Pacific Championship Trials were underway in Edmonton this week with Canada’s biggest stars vying for a spot on Canada’s roster that will head to Tokyo in just a few weeks. 50 total athletes will be representing Canada at Pan Pacs (32 swimmers in the Olympic program, 18 in the Paralympic program), including world record holder Kylie Masse and rising star Taylor Ruck. Notably absent, however, will be Penny Oleksiak, the 2016 Olympic Champion in the 100 freestyle. The 18-year old announced she will not be competing this summer despite winning the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly in Edmonton, instead taking a break to focus on being ready for the second half of the Olympic quad heading into the 2020 Olympics. You can see all recaps and results from the 2018 Canadian Pan Pac Trials here.

The Week That Was #4 – Three Major International Stars Announce They Will Miss Their Summer Championships

Mireia Belmonte Garcia Doha 2014 200 Fly World Record

Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

Two Europeans, Olympic Champion Mireia Belmonte of Spain and World Champion Gabriele Detti of Italy, and Brazilian Olympian Bruno Fratus all announced this week they would be missing their respective international championships this summer. Detti, who was the World Champion last summer in the 800 free, announced he would be pulling out of European Championships due to an ongoing shoulder injury, while just a few days later 200 fly Olympic Champion Belmonte Announced she would be dropping out of the same meet because of injury. Additionally, Brazilian Bruno Fratus announced he will not be competing at this summer’s Pan Pacific Championships, also due to a shoulder injury. Fratus recently became the most consistent sprinter in history when he surpassed Cesar Cielo for the most career sub-22 second 50 freestyles.

The Week That Was #3 – Caroline Burckle Accuses Bob Bowman, Sean Hutchison of Sending Sexually Graphic Texts

caroline-burckle

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Olympian Caroline Burckle spoke out this week about an incident she alleges happened in 2011 that involves aggressive and sexually explicit messages from U.S. coaches Bob Bowman and Sean Hutchison. The story originally appeared in the Orange County Register, and reports that Burckle reported the incident to Jack Roach, at the time a national team assistant coach, who sent it newly appointed National Team Director Frank Busch. While Burckle said she received an apology from Bowman, she never heard from Hutchison. Burckle swam for Hutchison back in 2008 at FAST in Fullerton, CA.  Bowman confirmed that he apologized to Burckle 7 years ago for being involved with those messages and that his apology was accepted by Burckle at the time.  Hutchison is currently being sued by another former swimmer, Ariana Kukors, for sexual abuse.

The Week That Was #2 – Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Leaning Towards Morning Finals

Tokyo-2020-Olympics

Photo Courtesy: The Japan Times

This week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released an almost-complete schedule of events ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which notably was missing schedules for the aquatics events. The lack of official scheduling had to do with the debate over whether to hold the finals in the morning or evening, which affects which audiences will be able to watch finals live. Just a day after the IOC’s schedule, the FINA Bureau placed their support behind swimming finals in the morning in Japan. The chairman of the Japanese Swimming Federation, Tsuyoshi Aoki, and Australian Olympian Cate Campbell both expressed disappointment in FINA’s support of morning finals, although Campbell did say the decision was not “unexpected.” The finals in Beijing were held in the morning much to the benefit of U.S. broadcaster NBC, who signed a deal in 2014 for exclusive broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2023.

The Week That Was #1 – Major Shake-Ups Heading Into 2018 U.S. Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

The psych sheet for the 2018 U.S. National Championships in Irvine, CA was released this week ahead of the start of the meet this week, with news breaking soon after that affects two of the major players on the psych sheet. On Friday FINA made public that Madisyn Cox has been handed a two year suspension following a positive test for the prohibited substance Trimetazidine, a Class 4.5.4 substance. Cox was scheduled to compete in five events in Irvine, including as a #2 seed in the 200 IM, leaving a lot of opportunity in the IM events. Adding to that is Stanford’s Ella Eastin, who shared this week that she has mononucleosis. While she is still planning to compete in Irvine, she is one more strong contender whose status heading into Nationals may create more parity in the butterfly and IM events. You can see who Swimming World contributors have picked to finish in the top spots in Irvine and see all coverage of the meet here.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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