The Week That Was: Near Miss Of World Records To Close Out Mare Nostrum

Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

The Mare Nostrum tour completed this week, with the final two stops in Barcelona and Canet providing more than one near miss of a world record from Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Russian Yulia Efimova. Check out the results from those meets plus the other biggest stories of the week in The Week That Was.

The Week That Was #5 – Phelps Joins Shark Week To Race Great White

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Photo Courtesy: Agence France-Presse

We knew back in March that Michael Phelps was going to be a part of this year’s “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel, but this week we found out he plans to race a great white shark as part of his role in the week long block of shark-centric programming. While how exactly Phelps will be racing the great white has yet to be announced, the segment is titled “Great Gold vs. Great White” and will take place at the Bimini Shark Lab in the Bahamas. Phelps posted a photograph to Instagram earlier in the week that featured a shark cage and a great white, with the caption saying he fulfilled a lifelong dream of diving down to see the animal. Phelps segment is scheduled to air on July 23 at 8 p.m. ET on the Discovery Channel.

The Week That Was #4 – Hentke Rockets To World Number One At German Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

The 2017 German Nationals were held this week in Berlin, with several of Germany’s biggest stars making an impact on the world rankings heading into this summer. Franziska Hentke was able to rocket to the top of the world rankings in the women’s 200 butterfly, hitting the wall in 2:06.18 to take the top spot in the world. That is just off her own German record in the event (2:05.26) and should give her confidence heading into this summer after she failed to make it out of the semi-finals in the 200 fly in Rio. Phillip Heintz also moved his way up to the top of the world rankings in the 200 IM, posting a world No. 1 time of 1:55.76 that is the new German record. Lisa Graf also set a German record at the meet, winning the 200 backstroke in 2:07.63. For full recaps and results of the 2017 German National Championships you can head over to our Event Landing Page.

The Week That Was #3 – Reece Whitley Verbally Commits to Cal

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Reece Whitley has verbally committed to join Dave Durden and the California Golden Bears in the fall of 2018. The Pennsylvania-native will head cross-country to join the Bears, and he comes in with some pretty impressive credentials already. This tall teenage breaststroker has best times of 1:01.00 in the 100-meter event and 2:11.30 in the 200. He was a semi-finalist in both events at the Olympic Trials last summer, and he has been on fire in short course since then, breaking the National High School record in the 100 breast (51.84) and moving into the all-time top-25 in the 200 breast (1:52.37).

The Week That Was #2 – Missy Franklin, Jordan Wilimovsky Officially Out Of U.S. Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Two big names announced they will be missing upcoming U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, with 2016 Olympians Missy Franklin and Jordan Wilimovsky both publicly saying they will be bypassing the meet. For Franklin, that continues to extend her break from competition following a double shoulder surgery earlier this year. Franklin said she and new coach Dave Durden decided that competing at Nationals would impact the quality of her  recovery as she continues to work towards bouncing back from her surgery and a disappointing 2016 summer. Wilimovsky, on the other hand, has already qualified for the 10k in Budapest. While he was a qualifier in both the pool and 10k at the 2016 Olympics, he has decided to focus only on open water this summer. Wilimovsky finished fourth in the 1500 at the 2016 Rio Games and with Connor Jaeger’s retirement would be the top American in the mile going into this summer. The U.S. National Championships will get underway on June 27.

The Week That Was #1 – Sjostrom Continues Mare Nostrum Hot Streak

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Photo Courtesy: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The final two stops of the Mare Nostrum Tour wrapped up this week, with Swedish Olympian Sarah Sjostrom continuing her amazing 2017 with sweeps of the 50/100 free and 50/100 butterfly in Barcelona and Canet. In Barcelona she reset her own Swedish record in the 100 free (52.28) before resetting it a few days later in Canet and nearly surpassing the world record (52.08). She was also just a hair off world records in both the 50 free (23.85) and 100 fly (55.76) in Canet. Russian Yulia Efimova also had a successful last two stops on the Mare Nostrum, nearly taking down the 200 breast world record in Barcelona (2:19.83) before setting a personal best and new Russian record in the 100 breaststroke in Canet (1:04.82). Both of these women were dominant over the three meets of the tour and are setting themselves up for some spectacular performances in Budapest this summer. For full recaps of all the stops of the 2017 Mare Nostrum Tour head over to our Event Landing Page.

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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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