TUCSON – The swimming community was alive and well on social media in the past week, discussing some of the week’s biggest headlines that took place in and out of the pool around the world. We’re highlighting the top five headlines here on The Week That Was.
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The Week That Was #5: Andrew Seliskar scares national high school records in Virginia
As the winter high school season winds down, we got some fantastic swims from a few of the country’s future stars at their high school championships. At the Virginia 5A championships, Seliskar broke state records in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM, getting close to the national high school records in both. Seliskar swam a 1:43.01 in the 200 IM and 46.13 in the 100 fly, both lifetime bests. They weren’t fast enough to beat David Nolan’s national record of 1:41.39 in the 200 IM or Caeleb Dressel’s 45.89 in the 100 fly, but they will most likely be the fastest high school swims of the 2014-2015 school year.
The Week That Was #4: Reece Whitley breaks historic record at Eastern Interscholastic championships
Only one meet record was broken this year at the Eastern Interscholastic championships, and it was a big one. Reece Whitley and Carsten Vissering waged an epic battle in the 100 breaststroke, each with a goal of breaking Nelson Diebel’s 25-year-old record of 54.32. Vissering took the race out fast, but it was Whitley’s blazing second half that got him the win – and the record – with a 53.66. It’s not a lifetime best for Whitley, but he said after the race he was honored to break the record and help gain exposure to his Penn Charter School team. Swimming World streamed the meet live from La Salle University, and all races are available to watch on-demand. The meet was also a farewell for Dick Shoulberg, who was stepping down as coach at Germantown Academy after 46 years of guiding swimmers to excellence at every level of the sport. The meet took a break before the final event to honor Shoulberg, who has said he will continue coaching somewhere in the Philadelphia area.
The Week That Was #3: College conference meets ramp up excitement for NCAA championships
Some of the major conferences held swimming and diving championships this week, and we got some amazingly fast swims as athletes compete one last time before the NCAA championships. On the women’s side, Kelsi Worrell posted two of the fastest swims in the 100-yard butterfly at the ACC championships with a 50.38 in prelims and 50.17 in finals. She’s now third all-time in the event, and just 15 hundredths of a second off Natalie Coughlin’s 12-year-old American record of 50.01. The men’s 50 free at the Southeastern Conference meet featured two swimmers under 19 seconds. Kristian Gkolomeev of Alabama, the reigning NCAA co-champion, won with a 19.64, faster than his NCAA winning time last year. Florida freshman Caeleb Dressel broke his 17-18 national age group record in the 50 free with an 18.89 in prelims, then placed second in finals with an 18.93. Georgia’s women and Florida’s men dominated the meet as expected, winning the team titles. Indiana suffered heartbreak at the women’s Big Ten championships, earning a disqualification in the 400 medley relay to lose 28 points. Minnesota capitalized on that and won the team title by 27.5 points. Had Indiana not been disqualified, and if all other results remained equal, the Hoosiers would have won by half a point.
There were plenty more conference championships taking place around the United States, and you can catch recaps of all of them on our college channel at swimmingworld.com. And be sure to stay for what will be more exciting conference championship swims starting Wednesday.
The Week That Was #2: Guadalajara withdraws as host of 2017 FINA world championships
In a bit of a shocker, the Mexican city of Guadalajara has decided to not host the 2017 aquatics world championships, citing the heavy cost of putting on the event as the major decision. This puts FINA in a bind, and President Julio Maglione has said a committee is getting together to find a suitable replacement host city. It’s not known which cities are being considered, but Maglione said several have expressed interest. The United States is not one of them, saying the $100 million price tag on the responsibility of hosting is too high. Mexico is facing major budget cuts in the federal government, and won’t be able to pour more into getting Guadalajara ready for worlds. The country has already spent $9 million and will have to pay FINA a $5 million penalty. The news can be seen as a positive, as many around the world were concerned about holding the meet in Guadalajara, where the pools will be about 6,000 feet above sea level. The longer swimming events will be affected, as was evidenced when the city hosted the 2011 Pan American Games.
The Week That Was #1: Michael Phelps Engaged To Nicole Johnson
In the middle of the night last Saturday, Michael Phelps posted a photo to his Instagram account of him embracing his girlfriend Nicole Johnson while lying in the snow. Turns out Johnson became Phelps’ fiancé in that moment, as she said yes to Phelps’ proposal. Johnson and Phelps had started dating in 2007, three years before she became Miss California USA. She was at a couple of meets to cheer for Phelps, though she was notably not at the 2012 Olympics. Reports indicate the two were a couple last fall when Phelps was arrested on a DUI charge in Baltimore, and her support was likely a big catalyst in Phelps’ decision to propose. The two haven’t set a date, but it’s likely we’ll see the future Mrs. Phelps at a few competitions as Phelps makes a run at another Olympic appearance.