The Week That Was: McKeon Family Survives Australian Wildfires; Send Pleas For Help

Donations for the Devastation Down Under - Photo Courtesy: Main image, Emma McKeon, from outside her home; and inset Zoe Baker Twitter

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The McKeon family has survived the Australian wildfires that are plaguing the country as we speak. Now they are asking for help as the rest of the world is beginning to react to the tragedies down under.

Gretchen Walsh also landed perhaps the biggest commitment of the class of 2021 as she sent a verbal to the University of Virginia, adding to what is already a stacked team in place.

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

The Week That Was #5: Federico Burdisso, Olivia Carter Make Big Ten Debuts


Federico Burdisso, World Champs finalist, made his Northwestern debut over the weekend. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Many of the NCAA teams around the country finished up their respective training trips with meets in their tropical locations as Northwestern swam Arizona and Arizona State, and Michigan swam at the Orange Bowl Classic in the Florida Keys.

Italian freshman Federico Burdisso made his Big Ten debut for the Wildcats as he won the 100 butterfly against Arizona with a 47.45. He swam in the World Championships final in the 200 butterfly and will be a valuable asset for Northwestern moving forward.

Fellow Big Ten school Michigan also picked up a nice addition this January with Olivia Carter joining the Maize & Blue while they were on training trip in south Florida. She swam at the Orange Bowl Classic, a short course meters meet in Key Largo with the teams training in the area. She won the 100 fly with a new meet record at 1:00.62 and was second in the 200 IM at 2:17.54.

#4: Greensboro Aquatic Center to Host YMCA National Championships


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

The Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina will play host to five YMCA National Championships between 2020 and 2023 as the short course championships will be held in 2021, 22, and 23, and the long course championships will be in 2020 and 21.

Greensboro hosted the short course championship each year since 2012 and the long course championship for the first time in 2017.

The Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau expects the city will see an economic impact of more than $20.2 million, per the local Fox affiliate in North Carolina. Officials said Greensboro put bids in for all five championships and won all five, according to the local CBS affiliate.

YMCA National Championships at Greensboro Aquatic Center:

  • 2020 YMCA Long Course Nationals (March 30 – April 3)
  • 2021 YMCA Short Course Nationals
  • 2021 YMCA Long Course Nationals
  • 2022 YMCA Short Course Nationals
  • 2023 YMCA Long Course Nationals

The Week That Was #3: Adam Peaty Surpasses East German Expectations From 1981 Report


Adam Peaty has even surpassed the East German expectations of what was once thought possible in the swimming world. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

In 1981, eight years before the Berlin Wall would fall, sports scientists, coaches and Stasi operatives gathered around a table and tried to calculate where world records could reasonably be expected to get to by the year 2000 and at what level humans would reach their swim-speed limit.

The British breaststroke ace Adam Peaty has not only exceeded the 59.3 – along with others that the generation led by Roman Sludnov almost got to after the Russian had led the way below the minute – predicted in 1981 as “the pace of 2000”: he’s cracked the 57.3 the masterminds at the helm of State (doping) Plan 14:25 believed would be the human limit of possibility for man over 100m breaststroke.

No other swimmer has matched the GDR’s “Dreamworld limit” prediction of hitting the human buffer.

The full article can be read at the link above.

#2: Gretchen Walsh Commits to Virginia


Photo Courtesy: Gretchen Walsh Instagram (@gretchwalsh2)

By Chandler Brandes

NEW COMMIT: United States National Team member Gretchen Walsh, arguably the most sought-out recruit in the Class of 2021, has verbally committed to Virginia. The Nashville, Tenn. native and standout sprinter will join the Cavaliers as a member of the class of 2025.

Her older sister, fellow National Teamer Alex Walsh, has also committed to the University of Virginia and will join the Hoos in the fall of 2020, making this a 2-for-1 deal for head coach Todd DeSorbo.

Walsh does her club swimming with Nashville Aquatic Club under coaches John Morse and Doug Wharam. She was recently named to the 2019-2020 U.S. National Team for her stellar performance in 50m free and 100m free at FINA World Juniors. She currently owns four 15-16 National Age Group records in the 50 free, 50m free, 100 free and 4×50 medley relay.

Walsh earned a pair of gold medals the 50m and 100m free at the 7th FINA World Junior Championships this past summer, just shy off the championship record in both events. The team captain also anchored the winning 4x100m medley relay, led off the victorious 4x100m free relay, and anchored the World Junior record-setting mixed 4x100m free relay.

The Week That Was #1: McKeon Family Survives Australian Wildfires


Not far from the McKeon’s lakeside house – Photo Courtesy: Emma McKeon

By Ian Hanson, Oceania Correspondent

Australian Olympic swim star Emma McKeon has issued an impassioned plea to help those families who have lost their homes to Australia’s worst ever bushfires after her own family survived the utter devastation first hand from a normally majestic Lake Conjola, on the New South Wales (NSW) South Coast.

Her Olympian father Ron McKeon and mum Suzie, herself a Commonwealth Games representative, with Olympian brother David McKeon have a house on Lake Conjola and the family were evacuated earlier today – thankful to escape the fire zone that has claimed the life of one man and destroyed over 90 homes.

In total, over 380 homes have been destroyed in NSW since New Year’s Eve, leaving a total of seven people dead along the NSW South Coast while in Victoria two people have died,  some 28 people are unaccounted for, while hundreds more homes have been destroyed and 1000 people are being rescued from Mallacoota in Victoria by a Naval ship.

McKeon and her family were lucky to survive the horror that has besieged this picturesque town of Lake Conjola, such an idylic hideaway for holiday-makers, fishermen and a mecca for water sports enthusiasts.

But this week has seen that natural beauty turned into a catastrophic fire zone that has sent the small coastal community and a country to its knees.

To help the victims from Lake Conjola’s recent bush fires of New Years here is the link you can make donations HERE:

You can also support our brave volunteer fire fighters:

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