The Week That Was: TYR Pro Series Kicks Off In Knoxville

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Photo Courtesy: Melissa Wolf

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The TYR Pro Swim Series returned with the first stop of 2019 this week, with plenty of the biggest names in the United States putting up some high quality racing.

The Week That Was #5 – Ledecky, Dressel, And Steffens Named To Sports Illustrated Fittest 50

December 18, 2017; Joint Forces Training Center, Los Alamitos, California, USA; Waterpolo: RockTape; Maggie Steffens Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne- KLC fotos

Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Sports Illustrated released its list of the “Fittest 50 Athletes” for 2018, and three major aquatic names made the list. Olympians Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, and Maggie Steffens were picked by a panel of “trainers, exercise physiologists, and performance experts” who looked at their performances over the last 12 months, the demands of their sport, and other physical criteria. Ledecky is coming off a year where she turned pro and shortly after broke the world record in the 1500 free at the Indianapolis Pro Swim Series.

The Week That Was #4 – Lia Neal Signs With FINIS

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Photo Courtesy: FINIS Swimming

Two-time Olympian Lia Neal officially signed a long-term deal with FINIS this week that will extend through the 2020 Olympic Games. Neal is a Stanford alum who was a captain of the Cardinal’s 2017 NCAA Championship Team. She is currently training with David Marsh and Team Elite in San Diego, California. Neal is the first woman of African-American descent to become a two-time Olympian and compete in an Olympic final for the United States. Neal has earned two Olympic medals, a bronze from 2012 and silver from 2016, as part of the United States’ 400 freestyle relay. She most recently left the 2018 Short Course World Championships with four medals, including three golds.

The Week That Was #3 – Caeleb Dressel Earns Team USA Best of December Honors

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Olympic swimmer Caeleb Dressel was presented with a Best of December honors from Team USA this week for his performances in the month of December. Dressel is coming off a fantastic performance at the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships, where he led all USA swimmers with nine medals (six gold and three silver). Dressel also set two new American records in the 50 free (20.43) and 100 free (45.62), and was part of four new relay world records.  

The Week That Was #2 – Michael Phelps Honored For Mental Health Advocacy

July 12, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former olympic swimmer Michael Phelps arrives for the 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The week the GOAT Michael Phelps was presented with the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion this week from The Ruderman Family Foundation, one of the leading voices advocating for people with disabilities. Phelps, who has 23 Olympic gold medals to his name, has been increasingly open about his own struggles with mental health in recent years, including battles with depression and thoughts of suicide. Foundation President Jay Ruderman says that Phelps has “changed the landscape of mental health awareness” through his own advocacy and sharing his mental health journey.

The Week That Was #1 – First TYR Pro Series Kicks Off In Knoxville

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Photo Courtesy: Melissa Wolf

The TYR Pro Series kicked off their 2019 schedule in Knoxville this week, with plenty of familiar names returning to long course racing in the new year. Katie Ledecky, who was the overall leader for the 2018 TYR Pro Series, continued her dominance of the circuit with four event wins in the 200 free (1:55.78), 400 free (4:02.71), 1500 free (15:45.59) and 400 IM (4:39.39). Her time in the 1500 free was the twelfth-best performance of her career. Other multiple event winners included Simone Manuel in the 50 (24.75) and 100 (53.42) free and Regan Smith in the 100 (59.37) and 200 (2:07.53) backs. Anton Ipsen also swept the distance events for the men, winning the 400 (3:52.26), 800 (8:00.34), and 1500 (15:16.19) freestyles. Also of note was the return of Natalie Hinds to the competition pool after retiring in 2016. Hinds has been training with Jack Bauerle in Georgia, and ended up with best times in the 50 free, 100 fly, and 50 fly. You can see all the recaps and interviews from the Knoxville stop of the TYR Pro Series here.