The Week That Was: Olympic Champion Ruta Meilutyte Announces Retirement

Ruta Meilutyte Arena 2014
Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

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The major announcement from this week was the retirement of Olympic Champion Ruta Meilutyte, who is ending her competitive career at 22-years-old. Read more about her decision and the other major stories of the week below:

The Week That Was #5 – Ryan Held Announces Move To Tuscaloosa

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2016 Olympian Ryan Held told Swimming World on Monday that he was going to be moving from Bloomington, Indiana to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to train with Coley Stickels in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympic Trials. Held made the move to Bloomington in February after spending four years in Raleigh, North Carolina at NC State University. Stickels recently got the head coaching position at the University of Alabama, replacing the retiring Dennis Pursley. Held will be training with Stickels down in Tuscaloosa as he prepares for the 2019 US National Championships this summer in Palo Alto, California after he missed out on making the World Championships team for this year after placing 8th in the 100 free at the 2018 Nationals. Held will be aiming to make his second Olympic Team next summer in Omaha after he was on the gold medal winning 4×100 free relay team in Rio in 2016. Since making the move to Bloomington in February, Held swam a 48.70 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Richmond, not far off his 48.26 best time from the 2016 Trials.

The Week That Was #4 – International Rosters See Changes For Team USA

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week revealed some shake-ups on the international rosters for Team USA this summer. Andrew Abruzzo, Ali DeLoof, and Ian Finnerty were all added to the U.S. rosters for this summer, per updated rosters on the USA Swimming website. Abruzzo and DeLoof are now listed on the roster for the Pan American Games, while Finnerty was added to the World University Games (WUGs) roster. Notably, Helen Moffitt and Devon Nowicki were no longer listed for their respective rosters. Moffitt was originally slated to swim the 100 fly at the Pan American Games, while Nowicki had qualified to swim the 100 breast at WUGs. Nowicki was previously enrolled at Oakland University, but has left the university and is thus ineligible to compete at WUGs. And in perhaps the most significant change of the week, Conor Dwyer was replaced by Jack Conger for the 4×200 freestyle relay for this summer’s World Championships.

The Week That Was #3 – Missouri And Indiana Name New Coaches

university-of-missouri-venue-mizzou

Photo Courtesy: Anna Luckenbach

This week saw several more big hires in the world of college swimming. Andrew Grevers, who served as the interim head coach of the Mizzou Swimming and Diving programs during the 2018-19 season, was named the permanent head coach this week. Mizzou flourished under Grevers’ direction after being named interim head coach in late October 2018. The Tiger men’s team finished second at the 2019 Southeastern Conference Championships, easily surpassing the program’s previous best SEC placement of fifth. The 2018-19 Tigers produced the first men’s conference relay title in team history and senior Mikel Schreuders took home Mizzou’s first-ever SEC men’s swimming title. At the 2019 NCAA Championships, the Mizzou men tied for 11th and the women finished 22nd in the team standings. Indiana University head swimming coach Ray Looze also announced some coaching changes, hiring Jonty Skinner and Cory Chitwood to the Hoosier swimming coaching staff. Skinner will serve as the Associate Head Sprint Coach for IU, while Chitwood will be an Assistant Coach for the Hoosiers. Both coaches will work the Indiana men’s and women’s teams.

The Week That Was #2 – Luca Urlando Impresses At Mel Zajac Jr. International

Gianluca Luca Urlando

The 2019 Mel Zajac Jr. International was underway this weekend in Vancouver, with DART swimmer Luca Urlando as the major highlight of the week. The 17-year-old Georgia commit swept the butterfly events, winning the 50 fly (24.15), 100 fly (52.04), and 200 fly (1:54.35), while also taking the 200 free (1:47.81). Urlando’s 100 fly time was the second-fastest time ever for the 17-18 age group, and his 200 fly time currently has him ranked third in the world. His time was also a best time by about a second and is just a tick off of Michael Phelps’ 17-18 NAG record of 1:53.93. All four event wins were in personal best times for the teenager. You can see a full recap of all the sessions of the 2019 Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet here.

The Week That Was #1 – Olympic Champion Ruta Meilutyte Announces Retirement

Ruta Meilutyte Arena 2014

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

Lithuanian Olympic Champion Ruta Meilutyte has announced her retirement from swimming in a statement that was posted on the Lithuanian Swimming Federation website. Meilutyte explained that she would be forgoing a run at a third Olympic Games to instead focus on her education and growing outside of the pool: “I have given all of myself to swimming. I used to live with it since my early years. Due to a busy workout schedule, I had to compromise my studies, but I want to start again now. I want to do simple things now, to grow, understand myself and the world around me in a better way.” Meilutyte won gold in the 100 breaststroke at the age of 15 in the 2012 London Olympic Games, becoming the first Lithuanian swimmer ever to medal at an Olympics. The next year, at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, she broke the world record in the 100 breast in semi-finals, posting a 1:04.35 before going on to win gold in the event. She also broke the world record in the 50 breast in semi-finals before finishing second in the finals. The 22-year-old recently missed three doping tests and was facing a possible suspension from FINA related to athlete accessibility. Because of that, Meilutyte was also not listed on Lithuania’s World Championships roster. You can read more reflections on Meilutyte’s career here.

1 comment

  1. Rich Davis

    Might want to get an article ready for Penny Oleksiak as she’s heading down this road in a hurry.