The Week That Was: NAG Records Tumble Across U.S. At Winter Champs

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Some of the biggest stars in age-group swimming across the United States competed this week at winter championships across the country, taking down multiple NAG records in the process. Take a look below to see the biggest stories from the past week in The Week That Was.

The Week That Was #5 – Belmonte Wins Major Spanish Sportswoman Award


Photo Courtesy: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte received the award as the greatest Spanish sportswoman in the last 50 years last week, winning the honor in conjunction with the legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal. The award was presented on the 50th anniversary of Diario AS, one of Spain’s biggest newspapers. Belmonte is the only Spanish female swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal, which she captured in the 200 fly in Rio. Belmonte has four Olympic medals to her name, and most recently won the 200 fly at the 2017 World Championships. Belmonte told the paper she was “immensely proud” that she was chosen as sportwoman of the year and that “I hope I can be a dignified example for all that AS has recognized me for.” To read Belmonte’s full interview click here.

The Week That Was #4 – Russia Restricted from 2018 Winter Olympics Per IOC


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee and imposed sanctions on the country that will prevent the country from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Russian athletes who qualify for the Games may be allowed to compete, but they must be approved as “clean” and will not be able to compete under the Russian flag. No Russian leadership or support staff from the 2014 Sochi Games will be allowed at the 2018 Games. Many top Russian officials within their Olympic Committee have also been sanctioned, and the IOC is reserving the right to announce more punishments in the future. In it’s official statement detailing the announcement, the IOC defended it’s decision not to suspend Russia from the 2016 Rio Olympics, citing a lack of time to follow “due process.” You can read the IOC’s full statement here.

The Week That Was #3 – Jessica Long Claims 35th Titles To Close World Para Champs


Photo Courtesy: Arena

The 2017 World Para Swimming Championships wrapped up this week in Mexico City with China topping the medal count with 56 medals, 30 of them gold. The United States was a close second in the overall medal count with 54 medals (21 gold). American Jessica Long left the meet as the most decorated swimmer with eight gold medals. That brings her total number of world titles to 35 over the course of her career. Seven total world records came down over the course of the championships that had originally been scheduled for September before a devastating earthquake forced them to be delayed. You can see full recaps of each of the sessions from the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships here.

The Week That Was #2 – Ariarne Titmus Shatters Aussie 400 Free Record


Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr, Swimming Australia Ltd.

Youngster Ariarne Titmus shattered the Australian record in the 400 free on Monday at the Queensland State Championships in Brisbane. The 17-year-old swam a 4:02.86 to break Jess Ashwood’s national record of 4:03.34 from the 2015 World Championships. Titmus’ time would have put her third in last summer’s final at World Championships, where Titmus herself finished fourth in 4:04.26. Titmus had already made waves this summer when she qualified for her first international team at the age of 16 in the 400 and 800 freestyles.  

The Week That Was #1 – Record Breaking Swims At Winter Juniors And NCAP Invite


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week was dominated with winter championships across the country, with age groupers competing at Winter Juniors East, Winter Juniors West and the NCAP Invite. The Walsh sisters made huge waves at the Juniors East meet in Knoxville, with 14-year-old Gretchen Walsh and 16-year-old Alex Walsh setting multiple NAG records. Gretchen Walsh almost became the first 14-year-old under 22 seconds in the 50 free, capturing the event in a stunning 22.00 the day after splitting 21.01 on a medley relay during the first night of finals. Older sister Alex set NAG records of her own in the 200 IM (1:54.02) and 100 breast (58.19) and earned the high point award for the meet. Reece Whitley was one of the big names over at the NCAP Invite, although he chose to forgo his usual breaststroke events to give this meet a different focus, as was fellow Cal commit Cassidy Bayer. You can check out all the results and recaps from Winter Juniors – East, Winter Juniors – West and the NCAP Invite (including race videos) on our event coverage pages.

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Author: James Sica

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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