The Week That Was: Short Course Records Fall Across The U.S.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The first weekend in December featured a bevy of invitationals across the United States that witnessed a handful of records fall. Take a look below to see what records fell and who stood out across the country in the week that was!

The Week That Was #5 – Boomer Phelps Takes A Swim In Baltimore

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Photo Courtesy: Boomer Phelps Instagram

This week we learned that when Michael Phelps was back home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the GOAT took his son, Boomer Phelps, to Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center for swim lessons with Cathy Bennett. That pool was Phelps‘ training base for much of his career, and is also the same pool that the Olympian learned how to swim under the instruction of Bennett more than a quarter-century ago. Bennett is now the manager of the Michael Phelps Swim School in Baltimore and was on hand to give Boomer his second lesson in Baltimore. Similar to his father when he started swimming, Boomer was none to pleased to put his head in the water. Phelps posted the video of Boomer’s lesson on his Facebook page, which you can view here.

The Week That Was #4 – Hungarian Swimming President Resigns Amid Criticism

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Amid recent public expressions of discontent from Hungarian Olympians Katinka Hosszu and Daniel Gyurta, the president of Hungarian Swimming, Tamas Gyarfas, announced his resignation this week. Both Gyurta and Hoszzu’s statements cited Gyarfaspoor management skills and the deteriorating training conditions for national team members as reasons for him to step down from his position. Hosszu has been the most active in distancing herself from the Hungarian Swimming Federation, openly criticizing the Federation last December before tearing up a monetary agreement that would have her promoting the organization. Gyarfus had been chairman of the organization since 1993. The Hungarian Federation will now face new challenges in 2017 as it is set to host the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest next summer in addition to pushing the city as a potential host for the 2024 Olympic Games. At this time, it is also unclear how this resignation will affect Gyarfusrole as a FINA vice president.

The Week That Was #3 – Andrew Wilson Part Of Record Setting D3 Weekend

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Division III teams across the country took part in their winter invitationals this weekend, with many swimmers having their first opportunity to swim rested and suited this semester. Several national records fell at the hands of two swimmers, Kenyon’s Arthur Conover and Emory’s Andrew Wilson. Swimming at the Total Performance Invitational at Kenyon College in Gambier, Conover became the first man in Division III swimming to break 15:00 in the 1,650, touching the wall in 14:56.44 to record a best time and break his 2015 record of 15:01.24. Conover also posted a best time in the 200 free (1:38.05), the second fastest time in the country this season. Emory’s Wilson, who is returning to competition at Emory following a redshirt year to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials, was part of five records this weekend at the University of Miami (Ohio) Invitational this weekend. Wilson started off with a new record in the 200 IM, touching the wall in 1:45.47 and beating defending NCAA champion Jack Lindell of Denison in the process. Lindell was the previous record holder with a 1:46.00. Wilson then added a 50.84 breaststroke split as part of the Eagles winning 400 medley relay. Joining the team of freshman Sage Ono, senior Christian Baker and senior Ollie Smith, the four touched in 3:13.03, breaking the previous record of 3:13.49 held by Williams College. On the second day of the meet, Wilson broke his own individual record in the 100 breaststroke (51.14) while also helping the Eagles 200 medley relay to a new record of 1:26.74. On the final day of the meet Wilson took almost two full seconds off his own 200 breaststroke record (1:51.15), completing what was an absolutely dominating weekend for the senior. To put those records in perspective, Wilson currently sits second in the country in both breaststroke events across all three divisions. You can find recaps of both meets on our College News Page.

The Week That Was
The Week That Was #2 – Top Swims At Georgia And Texas Invites

Georgia's Chase Kalisz during the Bulldogs' swim meet against Florida at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., on October 28, 2016. (Photo by Cory A. Cole)

Photo Courtesy: Cory A. Cole

Division I teams gathered across the country this weekend for their winter invitationals, including many big name schools who came together at the Georgia and Texas Invites. Olympian Chase Kalisz was a big star for Georgia over the weekend, posting wins in the 400 IM (3:36.98), 100 breast (52.31), 200 IM (1:41.26), and 200 fly (1:40.38). Kalisz was under his American record in the 400 IM at the 200 mark on the way out, but fell off the pace in the second half to still post the fastest time in the country this season. His 200 IM was even more impressive, just a tenth off his lifetime best and putting him ahead of an incredible field that featured Ryan Murphy, Andrew Seliskar and teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jay Litherland. Senior Olivia Smoliga also had a strong meet, winning the 50 and 100 freestyles en route to the fastest times in the country (21.58, 46.95). The Georgia sprinter also downed Olympian and redshirt freshman Abbey Weitzeil of Cal, who is the American record holder in both events.

Down at the Texas Invite, the defending NCAA Champions took on the likes of Stanford and USC. While the Longhorn men didn’t appear to have a full rest for the meet, they still had some notable performances. Clark Smith posted the fastest time in the country in the 500 free (4:11.20), Will Licon did the same in the 200 breast (1:50.76) and Jack Conger swam the best time so far this year the 200 fly (1:40.24). Stanford also had a special moment in the men’s 500 free, with three swimmers all going under the former school record. Freshman Grant Shoults (4:12.03), freshman Nicholas Sweetser (4:12.97), and junior Liam Egan (4:12.99) all touched under the record in the same race, showing that the Stanford distance crew will be a force to be reckoned with this season. The Longhorn women also showed up to race, with senior Madisyn Cox posting a leading time in the 200 IM (1:52.83) and helping her team to a new record in the 400 medley relay. USC redshirt junior Dylan Carter also made a statement on the first night of the meet, leading off the 800 free relay in a nation-leading 1:32.61. You can check out all of our recaps of the big college meets this week on our College News Page.

The Week That Was #1 – Tom Shields Breaks 100 Butterfly Barrier At Winter Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Undoubtedly the biggest story of this week came from the 2016 AT&T Winter Nationals Championship, where Olympian Tom Shields took down one of the most sought after short course yards records in the books. Competing in the 100 butterfly, Shields touched the wall in 43.84 to become the first man in history to go under 44 seconds in the event. That broke the previous American record (44.18) held by Austin Staab from 2009 as well as the U.S. Open record (44.01) held by Joseph Schooling that he set last March at NCAA’s. Splitting a 20.57 on the way out, just a hair off the pace of both records, Shields brought the race back in 23.27 to blast by both and cement his name on the short course record books. Speaking after the race, Shields noted that being the first man to go under 44 in the 100 butterfly had been in the back of his head since he was 18 years old and that he felt the clock ticking with the likes of Schooling and Caeleb Dressel having incredible an incredible NCAA’s last year. Shields came back shortly after his swim to win the 100 backstroke in 45.16. Other Olympians on-hand included Melanie Margalis, Amanda Weir, and Breeja Larson, all who posted event wins throughout the weekend. Our coverage of the 2016 AT&T Winter Nationals Championships can be found 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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