This week was another big week in NCAA swimming, with many of the pre-Thanksgiving Invitationals kicking off across the country and Katie Ledecky continuing her onslaught on the NCAA record books. Read recaps of those meets and more from The Week That Was!
The Week That Was #5 – Several Hungarian Swimmers Speak Out Against National Federation
This week, several prominent Hungarian swimmers spoke out publically against their country’s National Swimming Federation. Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu called for the President of the Federation, Tamas Gyarfas, to step down in a statement posted to her Facebook page earlier this week. Citing poor management of training operations for the Hungarian National Team, Hosszu argued that the upcoming World Championships in Budapest will suffer from the President’s poor management skills. Fellow gold medalist Daniel Gyurta expressed similar sentiments in a Facebook post of his own, again pointing to the upcoming World Championships as a source of tension. Boglarka Kapas, the bronze medalist in the 800 free in Rio, also released a statement similar to Gyurta’s, speaking out against the organization as a whole. While no action has been taken so far related to the swimmers’ comments, it is yet to be seen what impact this may have on the upcoming World Championships in Budapest.
The Week That Was #4 – 2016 Asian Championships
The 2016 Asian Swimming Championships took place in Tokyo, Japan last week and saw over a dozen Championship records and a few national records fall during the competition. The young Rikako Ikee was a star for the Japanese team. The 16-year old lowered the Japanese National Record in the 100 freestyle, hitting the wall in 53.68 to beat her existing record from the 2016 Olympic Trials. She also set championship records in winning the 50 butterfly (25.74) and 50 free (24.90), and won the 100 butterfly (57.46). South Korea Park Tae Hwan also made a return to competition following a controversial quadrennial for the swimmer, all stemming from a positive test for testosterone back in 2014. He won the 100, 200, 400, and 1,500 freestyles throughout the meet. Notably, his 100 freestyle time (48.57) was only .15 seconds off of his lifetime best. You can see full recaps of all four days of the 2016 Asian Championships on our Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #3 – Yannick Agnel Officially Retires
French Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel confirmed this week that he has retired from swimming in a Facebook post. Agnel had hinted at the Rio Olympic Games that he was at the end of his career. Agnel won the 200 freestyle at the 2012 London Olympic Games, just a day after running down Ryan Lochte in the 400 free relay to win the gold medal for the French Olympic Team. The frenchman backed up that title a year later at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona when he won the 200 free, his last international gold medal. Following that meet he made a move to the United States in 2014 to train with Bob Bowman at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which also marked a decline in his career. He won a single bronze medal in the 200 free at the European Championships in 2014, and declined to swim at the 2015 Kazan World Championships due to illness. The 2016 Rio Olympics were his final competition, where he finished 19th, failing to make it out of prelims.
The Week That Was #2 – Pre-Thanksgiving NCAA Invitationals Kick Off
This week marked the beginning of the winter invitationals, with several big name pre-Thanksgiving invitationals giving athletes from around the country chances to post some of the top times so far in the season. Florida junior Caeleb Dressel was absolutely on fire at the 2016 Georgia Tech Invitational, beginning with a 18.73 lead-off leg of the 200 free relay. That is good for the top time in the country by a country mile and makes him the first man under 19.00 this season. He would later back that up with win’s in the 50 free (19.28), 100 butterfly (44.86), and 100 free (41.60), the latter two also #1 times in the country so far. Dressel would also win the 200 IM, an off-event for him, in 1:42.7 to lead the country. Sarah Gibson had a stellar meet at the 2016 Art Adamson Invitational, winning 5 events to help the Texas A&M women to a team victory, while Ryan Held won 3 individual events at the 2016 NC State Invitational.
Perhaps the most unexpected swim of the week came from Andrew Sansoucie, a senior at Missouri who dropped a full second from his lifetime best to tie for the fastest time in the country in the 100 butterfly. Sansoucie went 44.86 to drop a full second from his personal best for last year’s NCAA meet and vault himself into the top-10 fastest performers in history. To see all of the results from the pre-Thanksgiving NCAA Invitationals, head over to our College News Landing Page.
The Week That Was #1 – Ledecky Adds Name To NCAA Record Books, Clips American Records
Katie Ledecky and the rest of the Stanford Cardinal had several noteworthy performances at the Ohio State Invitational this weekend. Coming off her first NCAA record in the 1,000 free last week, Ledecky became the first woman in the NCAA to break 4:30 in the 500 free. She did it first in prelims (4:27.54), breaking Leah Smith’s NCAA record of 4:30.37 from 2015, before taking it lower that night to 4:26.46 in finals. Not only was that a new NCAA record, but that clipped the gold medalist’s best time from last year by .12, setting a new American record as well. Ledecky continued with another NCAA and American record in the 1,650 freestyle on the final night of the meet, touching at 15:03.92 to cruise by her 2014 American record by almost ten seconds and break Leah Smith’s NCAA record by almost twenty seconds. She also reset her NCAA record in the 1,000 freestyle from last week, splitting 9:08.99 on her way out.
The freshman had several other notable performances throughout the meet, going 4:00.65 in the 400 IM and 1:42.16 in the 200 freestyle. While impressive times, what is more startling is that Ledecky was out-touched by two separate teammates in both of those events. Sophomore Ella Eastin got to the wall right before Ledecky in the 400 IM, touching in 4:00.36 to take the win, while Simone Manuel got to the wall first in the 200 free, touching in 1:41.90. It’s beginning to look like the Stanford women’s biggest competition in some of these events may be their own teammates, which is a good sign for any team that’s looking to finish on the top of the podium at NCAA’s this season. Full results of the 2016 Ohio State Invitational can be found here.