The Week That Was: Schooling to Reunite With Sergio Lopez, Schoeman Handed One Year Doping Ban

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Joseph Schooling will reunite with Sergio Lopez, who was his coach at the Bolles School. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Olympic champion Joseph Schooling has had a rough last few years in his swimming career but he will reunite with coach Sergio Lopez ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Lopez helped guide Schooling, as well as Ryan Murphy and Caeleb Dressel in high school at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida where they were one of the strongest club teams in the country in the first half of the decade.

Roland Schoeman was also handed a one year doping ban by FINA for failing a drug test, but he will still be eligible for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Read below the five biggest stories in the Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: Matthew Mitcham, David Marsh to be Inducted into Swimming Hall of Fame

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By Meg Keller-Marvin

Australian Diver, Matthew Mitcham is credited with having received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history.  At the 2008 Olympic Games, in Beijing, China, Mitcham chose to execute a two-and-one-half somersault with two-and-one-half twists in the pike position for his last dive.  The dive had a very high degree of difficulty with 3.8.  Mitcham scored four 10’s, giving him, not only the highest score on a single dive ever, but the gold medal for the event as well.

David Marsh is the Head Coach of Team Elite Aquatics, located in San Diego, California. Marsh was the 2016 Head U.S. Olympic Women’s Swim Coach in Rio, leading Team USA to the most medals in USA Swimming’s already storied history.

Come and meet Marsh and Mitcham in person and hear his incredible life story at the ISHOF Induction dinner on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

#4: Florian Wellbrock, Sarah Kohler Qualify for Tokyo in 800 & 1500

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Florian Wellbrock. Photo Courtesy: PATRICK B. KRAEMER

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Florian Wellbrock, World 1500m freestyle and Marathon champion, and Sarah Köhler added more tickets to their Tokyo 2020 rosters – for the inaugural Olympic men’s 800m and women’s 1500m freestyle – and Laura Riedemann joined the party of German swimmers inside the time cut for the Games as the MWG-Swim-Cup came to a close today at the Magdeburg Elbeschwimmhalle.

Top 4 finishes at World Championships in Gwangju for both Wellbrock and Köhler last year landed the distances aces automatic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 games provided that they backed up with a swim inside the FINA A cut in 2020. Inside that they both swam on Friday. Today was about adding more swims to their Tokyo campaigns.

Wellbrock has never been as fast over 1500m in winter training phase as he was Friday 14:46.61 over 1500m freestyle, the time placing him at the helm of the early World Rankings and sweeping him well inside the 15:00.99 FINA cut. Wellbrock claimed the World title in 14:36.54 in Gwangju last year.

Köhler, racing in her adopted home town clocked 8:29.96 over 800m freestyle (FINA cut 8:33.36), good for the ticket at a time of heavy training and well away from the 8:16.43 she raced in Gwangju for fourth place last year. Said Köhler:

“I’m relieved, because the qualification fulfills the criteria – and hopefully the speed will come in summer. Four years ago, reaching the Olympic final was a great success, this time I dream of something more.”

The Week That Was #3: Jonty Skinner Abruptly Retires From Coaching

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Jonty Skinner while at Alabama – Photo Courtesy: Amelia B. Barton

By Matthew De George, Americas Correspondent

Jonty Skinner announced his retirement from coaching Tuesday after 45 years developing swimmers.

Skinner, 65, was in his first year as an associate head coach at Indiana University. The move was first reported by SwimSwam.

Skinner was hired last May to coach the Hoosiers’ sprinters, after a third stint at his alma mater, Alabama. He had served as a senior associated head coach for the Crimson Tide since 2012 but left after Dennis Pursley’s retirement at the end of the 2018-19 season. At Indiana, Skinner replaced Coley Stickels, who in turn replaced Pursley as the head coach at Alabama.

#2: Roland Schoeman Handed One Year Doping Ban

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Photo Courtesy: Qatar Swimming

By Matthew De George – Americas Correspondent

South African Olympian Roland Schoeman was given a one-year doping ban by FINA Wednesday, but the sanction is retroactive to last May, leaving the sprinter eligible for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Schoeman’s violation is dated to May 18, 2019 and will expire May 17. Schoeman tested positive for GW501516, a drug that is illegal and not commercially produced after testing in the mid-2000s deemed it a cancer risk. The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a memo in 2013 as to its danger as a “black market substance.”

The decision by FINA was made at a meeting Jan. 24. The news was first reported by the Associated Press Wednesday.

The Week That Was #1: Joseph Schooling to Reunite With Sergio Lopez Ahead of Tokyo

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Photo Courtesy: USA TODAY Sports-USA TODAY Sports

By Matthew De George, Americas Correspondent

After a rough 2019, Joseph Schooling is reuniting with his former coach to prepare for the 2020 Olympics.

According to the Straits Times in Singapore, the reigning gold medalist in the 100 butterfly will return to the United States to train with former coach Sergio Lopez Miro as he gears up for Tokyo.

Schooling became a fixture on the world scene thanks to his work with Lopez at The Bolles School in Florida. He then trained for four years under Eddie Reese at the University of Texas, though Lopez, an Olympic bronze medalist for Spain in the 200 breaststroke at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, was still part of Schooling’s coaching staff as the head coach of Singapore’s national team leading up to Rio.

Lopez left Singapore to coach at Auburn and in 2018 was hired as the head coach at Virginia Tech, where Schooling and a group of some 15 swimmers from Hungary, Poland and Hong Kong will train.