Olympic fever was in the air this week as swimmers from around the globe geared up to compete for their opportunity to represent their respective country this summer in Rio. Check out the stories below to get an update on who made waves this week and who to watch out for this summer in this week’s edition of The Week That Was.
The Week That Was #5 – Americans Compete At Canadian Olympic Trials
While the obvious focus of Olympic qualifying meets this week was on those competing to represent their country, several American stars also participated in the action up in Canada as they continue their own preparations for U.S. Trials this summer. Elizabeth Beisel competed at several events throughout the meet, including the 400 IM where she put up a season-best 4:35.59. That swim is a great sign for Beisel, who spent much of last season recovering from injury. Josh Prenot posted a lifetime best 2:08.58 in the 200 breast, while Cal teammate Ryan Murphy, who is coming off a historic NCAA Championships, posted impressive times in the 100 (52.57) and 200 (1:54.94) backstroke. Stating he was in the midst of heavy training following NCAA’s, this is another great sign for the Cal backstroker who will look to top a very competitive American backstroke field this summer.
The Week That Was #4 – Hungarian National Team Coach Resigns Amid Rape Conviction
This week Hungarian swim team Head Coach Laszlo Kiss resigned after the revelation of a 1962 rape conviction according to the Associated Press. Kiss had been the Head Coach of the Hungarian swimming team for more than two decades, coaching the women since 1993 and the men since 1999. While the knowledge of the incident was apparently well known in Hungarian swimming back in the 60’s, a recent posting of the conviction on a Hungarian website brought it back into the spotlight within the Hungarian swimming community.
The report details Kiss’ conviction and time in prison before his release in 1963. Telling the AP that he was leaving his position “in the interests of Hungarian sports and because his health was shaken by the disclosure of his conviction and three years in prison,” he maintains his innocence in the case. Kiss claims he was convicted on “trumped up charges.” You can read the full Associated Press article here.
The Hungarian Swimming Federation will begin a search to replace Kiss.
The Week That Was #3 – Tough Standards Make For Competitive Japanese Olympic Trials
The Japanese Olympic Trials were underway this week, with Kosuke Hagino setting himself up to continue the success he achieved at Worlds this past summer. Hagino posted world leading times in the 200 free (1:45.50) and 200 IM (1:55.07) and also broke his own national record in the 200 IM from this summer. Rie Kaneto had the standout swim on the women’s side, touching in 2:19.65 in the 200 breaststroke to break her own national record and jump to #1 in the world rankings. Youngster Rikako Ikee also had a pair of national records in the 100 butterfly (57.55) and the 50 free (24.76). Shinri Shioura also posted a national record in the 100 free (48.35), but failed to qualify individually as he missed the Japanese Olympic standard in the event.
Notably, breaststroke legend Kosuke Kitajima narrowly missed qualifying for his fifth Olympic Games in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Although he finished second in the 100 breaststroke final, he missed the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard. While he beat the mark in the semi-final, Japanese rules state the swimmer must go below the standard in finals.
To see the complete coverage of the Japanese Olympic Trials, head over to Swimming World’s Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #2 – Australian Olympic Trials Show Potential For Gold This Summer
Australian Olympic Trials are currently underway down in Adelaide, and while there are still a couple days to go we have already seen some impressive performances that have major implications for this summer. On the men’s side, Mack Horton started off the meet with a world leading time in the 400 freestyle (3:41.65). That makes Horton the second fastest Australian ever, sitting only behind the legend Ian Thorpe. Backstroke superstar Mitch Larkin also posted a world-leading and All-Comers record of 52.48 in the 100 back in semi-finals before taking the title in 52.54, while Emily Seebohm rocketed to the top of the world rankings en route to winning the women’s 100 back (58.73). Other notable performances included Emma McKeon’s national record in the 200 free (1:54.83) to move to second in the world rankings behind Katie Ledecky, and Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Cameron McEvoy’s tie in the 200 free (1:45.63) that puts them both second in the world behind Kosuke Hagino. Notably, 35 year-old Grant Hackett missed out on what would have been his fourth Olympic Games, finishing 4th in the 400 free and 11th in the 200 free.
To see the complete updates from the meet as it continues to unfold, head over to Swimming World’s Event Landing Page.
The Week That Was #1 – Brittany MacLean Leads Canada To Record-Breaking Trials
The women of the Canadian National Team were on fire this past week, breaking five national records and setting the team up as a medal threat in multiple events. Brittany MacLean, who is coming off an NCAA championship win with the University of Georgia, was the star on the women’s side, setting a national record in the 400 free (4:03.84) and 200 free (1:56.94). Her time in the 400 currently sits third in the world rankings behind Australian Jessica Ashwood and American Katie Ledecky. Also setting a pair of Canadian records was 15 year-old Penny Oleksiak, who qualified in record-breaking fashion in the 100 fly (56.99) and 100 free (53.31). Both of those times place her within the top 10 in the world this year, with her 100 freestyle also being a new Junior World Record. Kylie Masse also set a Canadian record in the 100 backstroke (59.06) to move to second in the world rankings, while veteran Audrey Lacroix qualified for her third Olympic Games in the 200 butterfly. On the men’s side, 21 year-old Santo Conderelli seems to have stepped into the sprint hole left by Brent Hayden, winning the 100 free (48.16) and qualifying for the 50 freestyle.
To see the complete coverage of the Canadian Olympic Trials, head over to Swimming World’s Event Landing Page.