The Year That Was: Recapping The Top Five Stories of 2016

rio-2016-pool-720x500 (1)
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher- USA TODAY Sports

In this special edition of The Week That Was, we take a look back at the five biggest stories to come out of the year 2016. This includes records, controversies and plenty of gold medals. Welcome to The Year That Was!


The Year That Was #5 – Eddie Reese Wins Record-Setting Championship


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Texas men’s coach Eddie Reese won the 12th NCAA team title of his career this past spring, breaking a tie with Ohio State’s Mike Peppe for the most NCAA Division I men’s championships won by any coach. Only Richard Quick has won more overall team titles with 13 (12 women’s—seven at Stanford and five at Texas—plus one men’s at Auburn).

The win was cemented on, perhaps, the greatest evening in college swimming history, as American and U.S. Open records were broken in four straight events: by Cal’s Ryan Murphy in the men’s 200 back, Florida’s Caeleb Dressel in the men’s 100 free, Texas’ Will Licon in the men’s 200 breast and Texas teammates Joseph Schooling (U.S. Open) and Jack Conger (American) in the men’s 200 fly. For their outstanding efforts, Murphy, Dressel and Schooling—a trio of former teammates with the Bolles School Sharks—shared NCAA Swimmer of the Year honors.

The Year That Was #4 – Four American Swimmers Embarrass Themselves in Rio



Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

On the day after the Olympic swimming competition had ended in Rio, Ryan Lochte told reporters that he and three teammates, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, had been robbed at gunpoint the night before. But after Lochte and Feigen filed a crime report, the Rio police investigated and announced that the entire story was fabricated and that the four Americans had actually vandalized a gas station.

While the details about the altercation remain hazy, the four definitely were involved in a drunken incident with off-duty police officers around 6 a.m. local time. For their roles in the incident, USA Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended Lochte for 10 months and banned him from the 2017 World Championship team. Bentz, Conger and Feigen were each suspended through the end of 2016.

The Year That Was #3 – Michael Phelps’ Golden Finale


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The winningest Olympian of all-time now has 23 gold medals, three silver and two bronze after another strong performance in Rio. But that was only part of the story for Michael Phelps in 2016: his then-fiancée Nicole Johnson gave birth to a son, Boomer, in May, and were married in mid-June. The two welcomed family and friends for a larger ceremony in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in October.

In the pool, vintage Phelps made one last appearance, reclaiming Olympic gold in the men’s 200 fly, dominating the field in the men’s 200 IM for an unprecedented fourth-straight gold medal, finishing in a three-way tie for silver in the men’s 100 fly and contributing to three American relay gold medals.

The Week That Was

The Year That Was #2 – Katie Ledecky Pulls Off Historic Sweep


Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Ledecky has been making history ever since she was 15 years old when she won her first Olympic gold medal. However, 2016 might have been her most remarkable year yet. At the Rio Olympics, she became just the second woman in history to win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events after Debbie Meyer pulled off that feat in 1968.

Ledecky crushed the field with world records in both the 400 and 800 free while winning a tight duel with Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in the 200. She also anchored both American freestyle relays, adding a fourth gold medal in the 4×200 and a silver medal in the 4×100. In her Rio finale, the 800 free, Ledecky won gold by more than 10 seconds, posting a time of 8:04.79. No other woman has even come within nine seconds of Ledecky’s time!

The Year That Was #1 – Doping Hovers Over Olympic Games


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

In July, the IOC chose not to ban all Russian athletes from the Olympic Games despite a report from Canadian law professor Richard McLaren detailing the country’s state-sponsored doping system. Several Russian athletes, including seven swimmers, were suspended from the Games, but all were allowed back in on appeal, including breaststroker Yulia Efimova, who received clearance to compete during the Opening Ceremony.

Efimova, a medal favorite in the women’s breaststroke events, went on to clash with American Lilly King, who accused her rival of doping and argued that Efimova should not even be competing in Rio.

And King was not the only athlete to call out her competition for doping. Australia’s Mack Horton referred to China’s Sun Yang as a drug cheat before the two squared off in the men’s 400 free, and Michael Phelps called it “sad” that those with previous doping offenses were competing in Rio.

Later on, it was revealed that China’s Chen Xinyi, the fourth-place finisher in the women’s 100 fly, had tested positive for a banned substance. She was retroactively stripped of that finish and later issued a two-year suspension.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

@SwimOutlet @agonswim # NO THANK YOU JEFF WILMOT