Looking Back On Record Bonanza On The Week That Was – Video

Photo Courtesy: Qatar Swimming

PHOENIX – Two very big swim meets brought us some very shocking results in Qatar and the United States, and a college water polo dynasty was upended over the weekend. Let’s go ahead and get started with number five.

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La Jolla, California, was the setting for the men’s NCAA water polo championship match between the University of Southern California and UCLA. The Trojans were looking for an unprecedented seventh-straight title, while UCLA was coming in as the top-ranked team. UCLA took the lead early 2-0 at the end of the first quarter, but USC rallied with four goals to UCLA’s two in the fourth quarter. In the end, though, the Trojans couldn’t keep their streak alive, losing the match 9-8. Danny McClintock was the MVP and scored four goals in the final. He’s just a junior, so he’ll be back for more next year. This was history-making for head coach Adam Wright, who won two NCAA titles as a Bruin player in 1999 and 2000 and now has a title as a coach.

Our next two headlines come from Australia, and at number four is the report that Sun Yang is no longer allowed to train in Australia in the wake of his positive drug test. Sun had been preparing to visit Denis Cotterell for an extensive training stint on the Gold Coast, but Swimming Australia informed Cotterell, who had guided Sun to world records and Olympic gold, that the federation’s no-tolerance policy and welfare for its own athletes was coming into play. Swimming Australia is enforcing a much stricter policy than before in regards to letting foreigners train in Australia, requiring them to participate in out-of-competition drug testing, and to pay a fee to the federation to cover the costs of those tests. Cotterell had been training several of the top Chinese swimmers for many years, including 2012 Olympic champion Ye Shiwen, but it’s not clear how that relationship will move forward.

We’re sticking with Denis Cotterell for our next headline, which regards possibly his greatest home-grown athlete ever. Grant Hackett had returned to the pool earlier this year, saying he was just getting for fitness. But the two-time 1500 free Olympic champion confirmed to Australian media that he was indeed training with a goal of participating in next April’s nationals. That meet will select athletes for the world championships, and Hackett won’t have an easy road. He’s been out of the pool for six years and has a lot of tough competition in Australia, including Jordan Harrison and Mack Horton. Will Hackett’s return to the pool be as successful as Michael Phelps’ was, or crash and burn like Ian Thorpe’s? We’ll find out in a few months.

Though the first three days of competition at the USA Swimming nationals was very exciting, it was the two American records on the fourth day that really kicked the meet up a notch, and those records are our number two headline. Katie Ledecky kicked it off with a 15:13.30 in the 1650 freestyle, lowering her record by two seconds. Ledecky didn’t get under record pace until about 1000 yards, and stayed within that two-second range for the remainder of the race. Connor Jaeger set the American record in the same event immediately after Ledecky’s swim with a 14:23.52. Jaeger didn’t get under pace until the 1400-yard mark and celebrated not only breaking Chad La Tourette’s American record but Martin Grodzki’s US Open record. It’s hard to pick which of the two swims was more impressive, but maybe we give the edge to Jaeger because it’s his first American record. We couldn’t find a meet where both American records in the 1650 freestyle had been broken in the same day, so this was a historic moment. And we hope it reached beyond the Greensboro Aquatic Center, giving inspiration to a lot of younger swimmers with distance swimming aspiration.

And now we’re at the number one headline, and that would be the 23 world records set at the world short course championships in Qatar. Yes 23 world records. It started with two in one day from Spain’s Mireia Belmonte in the 200 fly and 400 IM, certainly not an easy double. She beat Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in both races, but the Iron Lady, as she is called, rallied to set four world records of her own among the eight medals she picked up. She set world records in the 100 IM, 200 IM, 100 back and 200 back to earn the female swimmer of the meet. Chad Le Clos won male swimmer of the meet for his four golds and one world record in the 100 butterfly. Seven of the world records were set in relays, and a couple other swimmers earned more than one world record. Perhaps France’s Florent Manaudou’s marks in the 50 free and 50 fly were the most surprising, given the tough standard in the 50 free and the fact that he is not known as a butterflyer. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom set records in the 100 fly and 200 free, while Etiene Medeiros of Brazil and Markus Deibler of Germany got world records of their own. Alia Atkinson could only tie Ruta Meilutyte’s world record in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:02.36, but she made history of her own as the first black swimmer to win a world title. And possibly lost in all the world record discussion was Ryan Lochte’s eight medals, which brings his overall total to an impressive 38 over six meets. Only one of those was gold, though, coming in a stunner of a finish in the 800 free relay. We’ve got recaps of all the action from Doha on our world channel at swimmingworld.com.