The Week That Was: Pac-12 Takes USA College Challenge

Photo Courtesy: David Rieder

The Pac-12 Conference Team came away with the win in the second annual USA College Challenge at USC this week, defeating a slimmed down USA National Team. Read about the results from that meet and the biggest stories of the week in The Week That Was.

The Week That Was #5 – Katie Ledecky Named Sportswoman of the Year

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Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

This week Katie Ledecky was named the 2017 Sportswoman of the Year at the 38th Annual Salute to Women in Sports in New York City, hosted by the Women’s Sport Foundation (WSF). The two-time Olympian and world record holder was given the award in the individual sport category. Ledecky, who is arguably the most dominant swimmer on the planet right now, followed up the last Olympic year with an incredible 2017, playing a key role in Stanford’s NCAA Championship title and collecting six medals, five gold, at this summer’s FINA World Championships. Ledecky is beginning her second year at Stanford and most recently competed at the 2017 USA College Challenge this week, which you can read about below.

The Week That Was #4 – Dutch and Irish Records Fall at 2017 Swim Cup Amsterdam

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Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Several national records went down this week in Amsterdam at the 2017 Swim Cup. The three day meet was in short course meters in anticipation of the upcoming European Short Course Swimming Championships that are set to be held in Copenhagen. Dutch Olympian Ranomi Kromowidjojo lowered her country’s national record in the 50 butterfly twice during the meet, each time slicing .01 off of the record. Her fastest time was 24.53, which is inching closer to Therese Alshammar’s world record of 24.38. Dutch swimmer Arno Kamminga also set a national record in the men’s 200 breast (2:04.25), while Irishman Conor Ferguson set a national records of their his own in the 100 back (52.40). You can view full results from the meet here.

The Week That Was #3 – Madeline Groves Cleared Of Doping Charges

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Five months ago three Australian Olympians — Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Jarrod Poort, and Madeline Groves — were identified as missing drug tests by FINA. Fraser-Holmes and Poort were handed one-year suspensions, but this week we learned that Groves was able to bypass any suspension with the help of her lawyer, Tim Fuller. While the Olympic silver medalist was initially given a third strike for being unavailable for a drug test in March of 2017, FINA decided “the third test did not meet WADA obligations and the testing agents in question did not do everything in their power to track down the athlete.” This means Groves has been cleared to train and compete in Australia’s National Team Trials in February and the Commonwealth Games. You can read more from The Sydney Morning Herald here.

The Week That Was #2 – Anthony Ervin Kneels During Anthem At 2017 Raia Rapida Challenge

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin made a statement at the 2017 Raia Rapida Challenge, kneeling during the National Anthem at the start of the competition. Ervin choosing to kneel makes him one of many professional athletes over the last month who have joined public protests that NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in a preseason game last year. The protests have been an effort to bring light to the mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States, particularly by law enforcement. Ervin himself has is part African-American, Native American, Italian and Jewish and has been outspoken about his experiences in a predominantly white sport. He is the first professional swimmer to take part in such a demonstration.

The Week That Was #1 – Pac-12 Victorious In USA College Challenge

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Photo Courtesy: David Rieder

This weekend, at the second annual USA College Challenge, a team of Pac-12 all-stars took on members of the United States National Team in a two-day meet at the Uytengsu Aquatic Center at USC. The athletes of the Pac-12 ultimately came away with the victory, taking the meet 326.5 to 286.5. That brings the overall record for the series to 1-1, as Team USA took last year’s meet in Indianapolis. Despite Simone Manuel being out with a minor injury, Katie Ledecky, Kathleen Baker and Louise Hansson proved to be more than enough to lead the college swimmers to victory. Notable swims included Ledecky’s 4:28.75 win in the 500 (good for the 12th fastest in history) and Maggie Aroesty holding off Olympian Molly Hannis in the 200 breast (2:06.88) to swim a best time by two seconds. Olympian Tom Shields was consistent for Team USA, grabbing wins in the 100 free (42.73), 100 fly (45.16), 200 free (1:33.70), and 200 fly (1:41.59) while also contributing key relay legs. You can see complete results from the 2017 USA College Challenge here.

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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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