Trio Of NCAA Records Highlight The Week That Was

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H.Bick

This week continued to see teams across the country come together for their conference championships as many continue their preparations for NCAAs in March. Read below to see what records were broken in addition to other news in the swimming community in this week’s The Week That Was!

The Week That was is supported by AgonSwim.com

The Week That Was #5 – Olympic Gold Medalist Inge Dekker Diagnosed With Cancer

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

According to a release from the Dutch Swimming Federation, Olympic gold medalist Inge Dekker has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Dekker has been a key component of the Netherland’s 400-meter freestyle relay since the 2004 Olympics, where the Dutch team captured bronze. The highlight of Dekker’s career was the Olympic record, gold medal performance in the 400 free relay alongside teammates Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk, and Marleen Veldhuis at the Beijing Games in 2008. Dekker was also part of the silver medal squad at the London Games in that relay.

In the statement from the Dutch Swimming Federation, Dekker notes how the diagnosis has affected the way she views life and her swimming, saying: “For three years, I’ve been preoccupied with getting ready for the Rio Olympics, and then I heard this. Suddenly, my life became very quiet and I could see that everything was relative.” Acknowledging that Rio is still in her sights for the future, Dekker said that her focus right now is on her recovery.

The Week That Was #4 – George Kennedy Retiring From John Hopkins After 31 Years

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Photo Courtesy: JAY VANRENSSELAER/Johns Hopkins Athletics

George Kennedy, the head coach of the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s swimming teams for the past 31 years, will be retiring as head coach at the end of this season. While his career will be remembered far more than just statistics, the success he has achieved over the years is difficult to match. During his time with the Blue Jays Kennedy amassed a total 373 dual meets and 24 conference titles. On the national level, Kennedy has coached 29 national champions and more than 1,400 All-Americans. The Blue Jays have also finished in the top 10 a total of 46 times, including 19 top-five finishes. He also led JHU to 28 consecutive men’s conference titles between 1971 and 1998. At the time, that streak was tied for the third-longest in any sport in Division III history.

Kennedy’s swimmers have gone on to achieve great things outside of the pool as well, including recognition for academic excellence from the CSCAA and the NCAA. In 2012, Kennedy was awarded the Steadman Award, which is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach who has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving, and in the spring of 2014 was honored as one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Leaders. Kennedy will officially vacate his position on June 30th.

The Week That Was #3 – Harvard Women Win Ivy League Title Over Princeton And Yale

harvard-ivy-league-win

Photo Courtesy: Harvard Athletics

This year’s Ivy League contest was destined to be a memorable one after Yale narrowly defeated both Princeton and Harvard in the end of season Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet just a few weeks ago. That was Yale’s first HYP win in nineteen years. But after a tight contest between the three teams over the course of the three day championship, the Harvard women prevailed on the final day of the meet to capture their third Ivy League Championship in five years.

The Crimson came out on top with 1,500.5 points, while Yale (1,422.5) edged out defending champion Princeton (1,411.5) by a mere 10 points. That gave the Bulldogs their highest finish since 1996, when they also finished second. Yale and Princeton both kept it close throughout the meet, with Harvard leading only by only 16.5 points over Yale after the first day and by a mere 12 points over Princeton after the second day. However the Crimson’s depth across the meet proved to give them the advantage, and they distanced themselves during the third day of the meet to come away with the win. Buoyed by wins from Sonia Wang in the 200 fly (1:57.02) and 400 IM (4:11.42), Meagan Popp in the 200 IM (1:57.94) and 200 breaststroke (2:12.18), and Danielle Lee in the 100 backstroke (53.13), Harvard was also able to place six divers in the championship finals on both 1-meter and 3-meter. This marks the twelfth Ivy League Championship title for the Crimson.

The Week That Was

The Week That Was #2 – Leah Smith Posts NCAA Records in 1000, 1650 Free At ACCs

leah-smith-uva

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Athletics

Leah Smith had an outstanding meet with the rest of her Virginia Cavalier team en route to their ninth consecutive ACC championship title. Smith kicked the meet off by winning the 500 freestyle in a meet record time of 4:30.74, just narrowly missing her own NCAA mark of 4:30.37 from NCAA’s last year. However the highlight of her meet was surely the pair of NCAA records she recorded in the 1000 and 1,650. Flipping at 9:20.15 after 40 laps to break Brittany MacLean’s 9:23.78 record, Smith finished the race in 15:25.30 to break MacLean’s NCAA record of 15:27.84. Both of the previous records were from 2014. For good measure, MacLean also led off the 800 free relay in an impressive 1:43.15 to help the Cavaliers get the win.

Leah Smith wasn’t the only impressive on in the pool at ACC’s, as Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell had an impressive meet in her own right. With expectations high for the first woman under the :50 second barrier in the 100 butterfly, Worrell raced to a meet record of 50.06 in the finals, just off her NCAA record of 49.81. That 50.06 stands as the fourth fastest all-time in the event and sets Worrell up with the potential for a great swim in a few weeks at NCAA’s. Worrell also recorded a meet record in the finals of the 100 freestyle, touching 47.30. Worrell won the 50 freestyle (21.85) and was a member of the winning 200 yard medley relay (1:35.43).

The Week That Was #1 – Caeleb Dressel’s Record Setting SEC Meet

Caeleb Dressel Florida

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The highlight of this week had to be Caeleb Dressel’s record setting SEC Championship meet. The Florida sophomore was on fire during the five day meet, setting two American records at the conference meet.

He started things off with a bang, first lowering the NCAA and American records in the 50-yard freestyle with an 18.39 in prelims before blasting an insane 18.23 that night in finals. That stands as the fastest 50 freestyle by an American by over 4-tenths of a second, and the fastest 50 freestyle of all time by 2-tenths, eclipsing Cesar Cielo’s NCAA record of 18.47 from 2008. That swim also cleared Nathan Adrian’s American record of 18.66 from 2011.

Later in the meet, Dressel recorded an American record in the 100-yard freestyle, touching in 41.07 to eclipse Nathan Adrian’s 41.08 record from 2009 NCAA’s. That time knocked almost a full second off of Dressel’s previous best (41.90) from this meet last year. That swim makes Dressel the third fastest performer of all-time behind Vlad Morozov (40.70) and Cesar Cielo (40.92). To top it off, Dressel also set an SEC meet record in the 100 fly (44.80) in addition to contributing to wins in the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, and 400 medley relay.

Making things even more exciting, Dressel stated that he wasn’t shaved for this meet, giving all the more reason that he may be faster in just a few weeks at NCAA’s.

1 comment

  1. Nekdoodle

    Congratulations on breaking the records!!!