Billy Motherway and Princeton will defend at home while much of the East goes West for the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament in California. Photo Courtesy: Nicole Maloney
After paying attention to the top 10 teams in the weekly Collegiate Water Polo Association men’s varsity poll, it seemed appropriate that Swimming World looking at what’s happening with the next 10 in the Top 20 poll—especially given that so many of these teams will be playing each other this weekend at the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament, hosted by Santa Clara University.
Julian Fraser, former Santa Clara player who passed away in 2017. Photo Courtesy: Dignity Memorial
Holding down the #12 spot by virtue of an extremely successful showing last week at Harvard’s Crimson Invitational was Princeton, where the Tigers (12-6; 3-4 NEWPC) beat high-flying Bucknell 12-11. Unlike many of their Eastern brethren, Head Coach Dustin Litvak’s squad is staying home, hosting Northeast Water Polo conference foe Iona tonight in New Jersey.
Riding what has been a bit of a roller coaster this season is #13 Harvard. The Crimson (15-5; 5-1 NEWPC) had reached as high as #7 in the polls back on September 26 but have taken some lumps of late, including a high-scoring loss to Bucknell last Saturday at their own tournament. Later today Ted Minnis’ team will face the host Broncos at the Frasier Memorial. They’ll also face #19 San Jose State and #18 Loyola Marymount Saturday and then face Fresno Pacific on Sunday.
#14 Bucknell has seen its stock rise dramatically the past two weeks as the Bison (16-3; 8-1 MAWPC) won against #20 George Washington, # 20 Wagner—Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference rivals—as well as Harvard and #16 Brown. The last three wins came at the Crimson Invitational; if Head Coach John McBride’s charges had made it a clean sweep they—not Princeton—would be the East’s top-ranked squad. Alas, Princeton upset those plans, pinning a 12-11 loss on the Bison last Sunday. Bucknell gets a taste of California sunshine starting Saturday at the Fraser Memorial when they face #15 Cal Baptist and San Jose State followed Sunday by matches against host Santa Clara and Air Force.
Another top 20 team on the rise is #15 Cal Baptist (14-9; 2-1 WWPA). The Lancers took down #10 UC San Diego two weeks ago at the Gary Troyer Tournament, and recently picked up wins against Fordham and Concordia. They’ll look to continue their winning ways with matches against Eastern foes at the Fraser Memorial: today against Brown and Saturday against Bucknell and #20 Wagner.
Brown’s Felix Mercado has his Bears ready to play. Photo Courtesy: Brown Athletics
One team everyone may want to stay clear of at the moment is Brown, tied for #16 with Pomona-Pitzer. The Bears (12-9; 4-2 NEWPC) beat Harvard and Princeton two weeks ago, picked up wins against Claremont-Mudd and University of Toronto last Saturday—then dropped a tough match to Wagner before losing to Bucknell. What’s impressive is the resilience of Head Coach Felix Mercado’s players; they’ll be tested in California by Cal Baptist today, Loyola Marymount and Fresno Pacific tomorrow and then San Jose State on Sunday—all at Santa Clara.
The Lions of #18 Loyola Marymount (7-9; 2-1 WWPA) went 1-3 at the MPSF Invitational last weekend, but that one win was a big one: upsetting Pomona-Pitzer. It moved LMU into the top 20 for the first time in three weeks; question is: will they stay there after facing St. Francis Brooklyn today and Brown and Harvard on Saturday.
#19 San Jose State has played one of the toughest in the country, having faced the #1 team in the country three different times, as well as the #2, #3, #4 and #5 teams as well. The end result is a 4-11 record, which may get worse before it gets better; games this weekend against Harvard and Bucknell tomorrow and Brown and St. Francis Brooklyn on Sunday. It’s all a prelude for GCC play; over the next three weekends the Spartans (0-1 GCC) will play four matches against conference foes.
Spartan’s Bruce Watson. Photo Courtesy: SJSU Athletics
Wagner—tied for 20th with MAWPC rival George Washington—has experience a let-down after a program-first win last Saturday against Brown. The Seahawks (10-9; 5-2 MAWPC) lost later that day to Harvard, and then dropped a 14-10 decision to New York City rival Fordham on Wednesday night. Not a wonderful prelude to a match against #2 Stanford tonight at Avery Aquatic Center. The good new? A relatively manageable slate of matches against host Santa Clara and Cal Baptist on Saturday and Air Force and Fresno Pacific on Sunday at the Fraser Memorial.
Neck-and-neck with Wagner all season has been George Washington, but the Colonials (15-5; 5-2 MAWPC) did not follow the Seahawks—or any other Eastern team—out to California. Barry King’s team will stay at home where tonight they face Navy, an MAWPC foe looking to reclaim past glory; unfortunately the Middies are a year away from that, meaning GW will keep pace with Bucknell and Wagner even from afar.
By Isabelle Robuck, Swimming World College Intern.
As fall sports season is in full swing, it’s inevitable that one of the most popular debates is soon to arise again – whether or not student athletes should be getting paid. While many agree that athletes deserve some sort of stipend, other believe that money takes away the value behind amateurism.
It’s no secret that athletes bring in revenue to their universities. According to a conversation by The Aspen Institution, the projected revenue for major conferences in 2020 (like the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC) exceeds $2.8 billion. Going further down the list, 76 percent of Division I schools make less than $50 million in athletic revenue, and 44 percent make less than $20 million.
Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant
So, what exactly does it mean to pay college athletes? There are several different forms of income that student athletes can receive. Athletic scholarships are the most universal and legal form of payment for athletes today. These scholarships can cover a number of different items, such as tuition fees, room and board and course-related books. Scholarships can cover a portion, if not all, of these costs.
The NCAA is making bounds toward another form of payment; the Olympic model would give college athletes the ability to access the commercial-free market through endorsement deals and other individual advertising opportunities. This takes away the power of payment from the college and puts it in the hands of the athletes and their sponsors instead.
How many people buy into this proposed model? In an NCAA survey, 69 percent of the public and 61 percent of sports fans are opposed to paying college athletes. Furthermore, 53 percent of the public and 62 percent of sports fans are less than likely to watch or attend sporting events if popular players are paid more than non-popular players.
Let’s really get into it now. Below are a few pros and cons of paying collegiate athletes.
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick
The Pros of Paying Student Athletes
Being in a sport is like a full-time job. From spending countless hours in the pool, court or on the field to the classroom, athletes don’t get much down time to regroup or rebuild. Practices are lengthy and difficult and the mornings are early. Do they ever receive much of a break? Not really.
As stated earlier, student athletes bring in a serious income for their school; they’re practically part of their university’s advertising team. While schooling and education is important, a lot of college decisions are made based on the school’s athleticism and whether or not the student is proud to wear their team’s logo. Not to mention, nationally televised events bring their university into focus for everyone watching, regardless if they win or not.
Although athletes can attest that missing class isn’t always a sad thing, sometimes it can be detrimental to their grades. During midterm and finals week, piling on homework, tests, and projects isn’t the easiest to deal with, especially when athletes are expected to perform at their best. While most professors are understanding of the situation, it’s hard to find the time to make up a missed test on top of everything else going on.
It’s no secret that coaches are a huge factor in their athletes’ performance. Coaches usually receive salaries based on their team’s relevance and value to the university; when their team performs exceptionally well, coaches may receive a bonus of some sort. Most of the time, the athletes don’t get to see much of that bonus, because it goes straight to the coaches and their efforts rather than the team itself.
Financial support seems to be one the biggest reasons to pay athletes. While athletes come from many different backgrounds, financial support can not only benefit the athletes but also their families. With proper funds, athletes would be able to afford decent meals and other daily living expenses; they could possibly even send money back home to help family as well.
When it comes down to it, athletics is the heart and soul of athletes. They put their bodies on the line every day for their sport. They push past their limits constantly. Sometimes, it leads to career-ending injuries and even fatality. In February of 2017, Division II national champion swimmer and Drury University’s Wen “Ariel” Xu passed away after suffering a medical emergency during swim practice. Like Xu, many athletes have given their lives for the sport they love, and that’s really something to think about.
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher- USA TODAY Sports
The Cons of Paying Student Athletes
Athletes already receive scholarships, which is a form of payment. Although they aren’t receiving a check at the end of every week, the funds are going toward what’s important – academics and living. Not to mention, some athletes receive athletic gear supporting their team along with properly regulated meals.
Giving athletes direct compensation also loosens the regulation of financial funds. With a paycheck straight to pocket and no sort of guidance, it’s hard to distinguish between what athletes want and what they actually need. Perhaps instead of paying for rent one month, they might buy a bigger TV or another gaming system because they have the money sitting around.
If athletes do receive a salary, who regulates compensation among team members? As stated earlier, 62 percent of sports fans are less likely to watch or attend sporting events if popular players are paid more than non-popular players. Who decides a fair yet competitive rate to pay? Plus, it’s only fair that everyone who is part of the team gets paid equally, right?
Money can play a large part in an athlete’s decision when it comes to recruiting. Athletes would look at universities based on how high they’re willing to pay rather than the actual culture, educational basis and overall fit of the school may make an unwise decision. Although the money may seem nice at first, athletes tend to run into hiccups and road bumps that can soon result in either a transfer to a different school or an overall end of career.
Giving athletes a salary naturally changes the overall nature of the sport. College athletes aren’t professionals. If money becomes the leading motive, athletes may lose the hunger and passion that pushes them at the end of a close competition. People value amateurism for what it is, and money could very well take that away.
Paying athletes pulls at their incentive to put effort into their education and go to class. Sure, it isn’t always fun, but putting a salary behind the term “student athlete” really takes away the college feel of being an athlete. They may fall deeper and deeper in their sport being a job rather than an opportunity.
There are two sides to every argument. What do you think? Should college athletes get paid?
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.
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NEW COMMIT: Mundelein, Ill. Kyle Falkstrom has verbally committed to Boston University and will suit up for the Terriers next fall.
Falkstrom does his club swimming with the Woodstock Dolphins Swim Team and capped off his long course season with a successful showing at NCSAs after placing eighth in the 200m breast at IL LCM Seniors. He raced at NCSAs in March and had a pair of second swims at IL SCY Seniors. Also competing for Carmel Catholic, Falkstrom raced the 200 IM and 100 breast at the Illinois State Championship as a junior after placing first and second, respectively, in those events at IL Sectionals.
He told Swimming World:
“I am extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic careers at Boston University! I would like to thank my family, friends, and coaches for helping me achieve my dream. Go Terriers!!! Be Undeniable.”
His best times include:
100 breast – 58.49
200 breast – 2:05.85
200 IM – 1:53.64
400 IM – 4:05.57
Falkstrom will add valuable breaststroke and IM depth to Boston’s lineup when he arrives on campus next fall. He would’ve scored in the B-final of the 100 breast at the 2018 Patriot League Championships where the Terriers finished fourth overall in the team standings.
USA Swimming’s Matt Farrell is stepping down from his role as Chief Marketing Officer and will take on the role of General Manager of Alternative Golf at the Golf Channel. His new role also includes serving as the Executive Director for the World Long Drive Association.
Farrell has been at USA Swimming since 2005 and was promoted to the CMO role in 2009.
He oversaw all aspects of the USA Swimming Commercial Business Unit, including sponsor sales & servicing, productions, promotions, marketing, public relations, social media, creative services and media properties, such as the organization’s website and magazine.
USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey informed the Board of Directors about Farrell’s departure on Thursday and Swimming World was able to attain the letter which can be read in full below.
It is with a mix of sadness and full support that I share with you that Matt Farrell has decided to leave the organization. Matt will be leaving us on November 15 for the world of professional golf. He will be heading off to Orlando to take on the role of General Manager of Alternative Golf at the Golf Channel, which includes serving as the Executive Director for the World Long Drive Association. In this newly created role, Matt will lead all domestic and international business elements for Golf Channel’s owned and operated alternative golf franchises.
Matt has been an absolutely integral part of this organization for the last 13 years, and helped me tremendously in my first 18 months. Over the years, he has recruited world-class sponsors, including BMW, Marriott, Arena, and TYR, among many others, while renewing key partners such as Phillips 66 and Speedo. He created new partnerships and programs, such as #SwimToday, Swim 1922 and #Swimbiz, and helped build one of the top commercial entities within the Olympic Movement.
His dedication to this organization and unrelenting drive to elevate the sport of swimming and the USA Swimming brand will be sorely missed.
We wish him all the very best in his future endeavor.
4th FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic hosts strongest panel ever Speakers include Nigel Redman, Zhu Zhigen, Nigel Redman, David Lush, Stéphane Lecat, John Atkinson, Xu Guoyi and Miguel Angel López
Biggest gathering of elite coaches and performance directors since Rio 2016
Key highlight of the 5th FINA World Aquatics Convention 2018
Fresh from continued successes after the FINA World Championships and Olympics, the highest-profile speakers in Aquatics are confirmed to speak at the 4th FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic.
“We’re delighted to announce some of the biggest names in coaching for this year’s Coaches Clinic,” say FINA President, Dr Julio C. Maglione. “It provides a unique opportunity to meet the people responsible for guiding our stars to FINA World Championship and Olympic glory as they reveal the various ways to success.”
The 4th FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic takes place December 8-10, 2018 at the Intercontinental in Hangzhou (CHN) and is a key highlight of the FINA World Aquatics Convention.
Day 1 has Zhu Zhigen discussing ‘The Path to Become a Champion’. He is in a unique position to do so, having coached to Sun Yang – the first Chinese man to win Olympic swimming gold, and the first male swimmer in history to earn Olympic and World Championship gold medals at every freestyle distance from 200–1500 metres.
Next up is Nigel Redman, former Rugby international and current Head of Performance Team Development for British Swimming, who is ideally qualified to speak on ‘Competing as Part of a Training Programme’. His role is to support the development of British Swimming coaches and the wider performance team on their journey to Tokyo 2020. He also co-designed and delivered Coach Development Programmes for the English Institute of Sport (EIS).
David Lush, Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association ‘Coach of the Year’, discusses ‘Insights into Coaching a Developed Swimmer’. He’s the man who guided Emily Seebohm to World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth gold medals. Over the past three years he has had a Gold Medallist at every significant international event.
Who better to talk about ‘Keys of Long-Distance Training’ than French Swimming Federation OWS Program Director Stéphane Lecat. Having been a top-level swimmer– 10-time French champion and medal winner at European and World Championships – he has coached athletes at every level to medals and championship titles in the 5km, 7.5km, 10km and 25km.
John Atkinson, National High Performance Director/National Coach for Swimming Canada speaks about ‘Long–Term Athlete Development’. This has been a crucial part of his role since joining Swimming Canada in 2013 and overseeing athlete performances and achievements in Canadian, Pan Pacific, World and Olympic Championships. In Rio, the team had a 200% increase in medals won.
Xu Guoyi, who has made a huge contribution to the sustainable development of Chinese Swimming, speaks on ‘Adapting Coaching Style to Different Environments’. He has been coach to many famous and successful swimmers since 1994, including Ye Shiwen who became the youngest swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals in London 2012.
Miguel Angel López, FINA Training Center Head Coach, is perfectly placed to speak on ‘Coaching Heterogenian Groups’. Having worked with some of the world’s best swim coaches and technicians all over the world, including Spain, the US and Asia, there is not much he doesn’t know about his subject.
“The FINA Swimming Coaches Golden Clinic is an incredible and unique opportunity for coaches from all over the world to meet, discuss and improve. Platforms such as this are hugely beneficial to our sport and I look forward to a great event in Hangzhou.” (John Atkinson)
Your coach walks out onto the pool deck, looks the team up and down, and then makes the announcement: “It is sprint/distance day!”
Half of the team is going to do a workout that involves the largest amount of yardage that can be crammed into a two-hour practice. The other half is going to do the largest amount of sprinting that can be fit into a two hour practice. Before this time, everybody in the pool has figured out what their bodies are naturally geared for. They know which workout they will be doing.
The reaction of the team is a mixture of groans and cheers. For some, they may as well have heard an announcement for their own funeral. Meanwhile, others are cheering like they just got handed a one-way ticket to Tokyo 2020. These reactions are not specific to a group, however. The cheers and groans are coming from those who are sprinters and those who are distance swimmers.
After the practice, the team will go into the locker room and have one of the oldest debates in swimming: Who’s got it worse, sprinters or distance swimmers? Everybody has a different opinion; some think that they have it the worst, while others admit that they chose their specialty because they think it’s easier. In the end though, nobody can ever come to a consensus.
So the question remains. Who is the true warrior? The sprinter or the distance swimmer?
Photo Courtesy: Doug Mills/The New York Times
The Argument for Distance Life
It is pure and simple. Distance swimmers do more than the sprinters. They swim for a longer time and they swim longer distances. Any swimmer can finish a 50, but how many can swim the 1,000 at every meet? Distance specialists will race for 15 or 20 minutes, while a sprinter will spend less than a minute in their race. They are able to maintain a constant speed for great distances, while a sprinter would merely fly through the first 50 and then get slower and slower throughout the race until they give up.
Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol
The Argument for Sprint Life
Sure, the distance group swims farther, but when did that mean everything? To be a successful sprinter, you must be technically sound in every aspect in your race. If you miss a flip turn, the race is lost. If your start is slow, then the race is lost. To be able to have a fully technically-sound race is nearly impossible, and that is the challenge that sprinters charge into every day. There is no “pace”; there is only all-out speed. If you let up for even a second, you won’t be successful. There is a reason why the fastest 50-freestyler at the Olympics is labeled “The Fastest Swimmer Alive.”
After looking at these two strong and slightly condescending arguments, it is pretty tough to decide who is truly tougher. The reality is that to specialize in distance or sprint is to take on a huge challenge in itself. While we constantly compare the two, both require similar characteristics to excel. They require mental, physical and emotional strength. Without these, you wouldn’t be able to nail the flip turn in your 100 or hold the perfect tempo in your 1650.
While we spend all of our time fighting over who is more impressive between ourselves, we don’t stop to take the time to realize that being a competitive swimmer in itself is an accomplishment. We are all in the pool challenging ourselves everyday. It doesn’t matter whether you are a sprinter or a distance specialist. No matter what, you should be pushing yourself to the max despite what group you’re in. In the end, your specialty better be taking on a challenge. In the end, people should not focus on who has it tougher, but rather focus on making themselves better.
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.
Monmouth’s Jesus Aguirre fights off two Austin College defenders. Greg Bartram/betterImage
By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor
The Fighting Scots of Monmouth, Illinois, have been waging an uphill battle in Eastern water polo since joining NCAA varsity play in 2013. In six years of existence, the men’s and women’s teams—overseen the past three years by Head Coach Peter Ollis—has enjoyed one winning season combined (the women’s team went 9-8-1 in 2017). With an 0-8 record so far in 2018 and five matches remaining, the men are guaranteed another losing campaign.
2018 Division III Eastern Championship at Johns Hopkins University’s Newton White Athletic Center, Ollis’ team dropped two heart-wrenching decisions. In the morning there was a 15-14 loss in overtime to Connecticut College. Later that day, a 16-15 defeat by Austin, sealed when the Kangaroos’ Andrew Pope hit a five meter penalty shot with 8 seconds, left gave his team its first NCAA win in program history.
With a roster of dominated by homegrown talent—junior Jesus Aguirre, tied for the team lead with 22 goals, is from Cicero, a suburb of Chicago three hours from Monmouth—the Fighting Scots’ success should not yet be measured in wins and losses. A dynamic young coach plus growing interest in DIII water polo—rumors suggest that Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia and Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania are considering adding varsity polo—indicate that the future looks bright for Fighting Scots’ polo.
Monmouth Head Coach Peter Ollis. Photo Courtesy: Greg Bartram/betterImage
Immediately following his team’s loss to the Camels of Connecticut College, Ollis spoke with Swimming World about his team’s burgeoning rivalry with Illinois-based McKendree College as well as plans to expand DIII water polo’s reach both in the American heartland and beyond.
– That was a compelling match against Connecticut. What’s exciting is your guys were playing their hearts out.
Yeah, it was a good fight and a good challenge for us, especially being a DIII team. We play a lot of DIIs, so a good, devoted, Division III tournament [is good]. I wish the result went the other way but it was a good showing.
We’ve got [five] freshmen and we’re very proud of them.
– This tournament is currently just for East Coast schools; what about structuring a national tournament by including West Coast schools such as Pomona-Pitzer and Whittier?
It would be fantastic. I know there’s talk with the men’s and women’s [side]; I think the women’s might be slightly further ahead in an East Coast vs. West Coast championship.
A big thing is the women in the East have a more devoted conference, while the men’s teams—the DIII compete with the DII’s and the DI’s—you know your Hopkins and your MITs that are DIII by institution but DII and DI by play.
It would be fantastic for the growth if it were to happen. The big thing is that exposure is huge—bringing kids from California who don’t know where the middle of Illinois is. For us to get to play some high-profile schools would be fantastic for us.
– There’s a ton of talent on the East Coast; are they finding their way to Monmouth, IL?
If you’re bad it doesn’t matter what your zip code is, you’re bad. If you’re good, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. Our men’s and women’s rosters—the two of them are meshed with East and West Coast [players]. I’m just looking for kids who can play. Chicago’s our lifeblood; our men are three-quarters [of the roster]; our women it’s a little under 50%. There’s great kids out East; one of our starters, Tommy Schneider, is from Pennridge out in Pennsylvania. We’ve got kids from all across; we’ve got some Florida kids—our goalie Kyle Jones is from there. We’ve got Ohio, too—Quentin Bartram.
Fighting Scots GK Kyle Jones with the save against Connecticut College. Photo Courtesy: Greg Bartram/betterImage
It’s fun to fall in love with California but you can get good kids anywhere. And we’re trying to get them from everywhere.
– Austin College launched their men’s program this year. What are your thoughts about the arrival of the Kangaroos on the NCAA varsity polo scene?
They’re in the MPSF for the men. For the women they’re in the CWPA in the West [bracket]; that’s actually the side our women are in as well. Seems like they’re committed to travel—they’re flying plenty for everything.
From what I’ve seen they’ve got a really good squad—especially for a first year they’re doing a great job. Any time a water polo team is added it’s awesome, DIII especially because there are teams that we can play. Adding teams is always going to be exciting—we love it.
– The closest team to you is McKendree. The Bearcats appear to be a natural rival for the Fighting Scots.
In our conference, there’s three Division III teams and four Division IIs and we play in the Mid-Atlantic West—McKendree, Salem, Gannon, Mercyhurst, Connecticut, Washington and Jefferson. Those are the seven team on our side of the conference. So, it’s DII and DIII amalgamation. We used to have La Salle, so we had DI, DII and DIII.
As a local team, we’re able to play them for our senior game at home on a Tuesday. It’s tough for our guys; you want to play a game on Saturday or Sunday, but you don’t want to drive somewhere for eight hours. We’ll go to Lebanon in two weekends and it’s a three hour drive, which for us—we love that. We can do it the day of, making it a lot easier.
Monmouth’s Quentin Bartram shooting against Austin College. Greg Bartram/betterImage
They’re a strong Division II team, which definitely helps us. Any time you get to play extra games it’s awesome.
– How do you look at the sport’s trajectory at both the local and national level.
I’m excited to see more teams. You always hear rumbling; by my estimation 20 teams are being added! You never know what’s actually true and what’s a rumor. The biggest thing for us is it’s exciting to have the men’s team growing.
[We’ll see] how the MPSF and the CWPA will work out. A lot of DIII teams joining are going MPSF, like Austin. For the women I think it’s awesome. Women’s growth is exciting. We’ve got established Division III, established Division II and Division I conferences in the East. The Division II teams compete in the WWPA (Western Water Polo Association).
With the men we’re working towards that. The best thing is that East Coast water polo is really exciting right now. What Harvard’s doing—really, all those Ivies are beating each other up but they’re taking on some of the big guys on the West Coast. We’re pulling for them—even though we’re in Illinois, we consider ourselves an Eastern program.
If we could see a men’s team do what Wagner has done on the women’s side—get to the NCAA tournament and establish themselves—that would be really exciting.
Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Each day through October 26, Swimming World will take you back 50 years to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and will re-tell the stories of those Games through archived meet recaps via the Swimming World Vault.
Read More on the 1968 Olympics
October 19, 1968
Women’s 100 Breast
In the women’s 100 meter breaststroke, Catie Ball, USA, the world record holder, was the second fastest qualifier, tied with teammate Sharon Wichman at 1:16.8 a tenth back of Ava Maria Norbis of Uruguay.
In the finals, Ball stayed underwater at the start but achieved a better start than Galina Prozumenschikova, USSR, who trailed by a meter almost immediately. Uta Frommater, West Germany, took an early lead at 25 meters but Catie took the lead at about 40 meters and turned first at the halfway mark. At this point Norbis and Frommater were a meter back and it was apparent Miss Ball would need a strong kick to hold off their challenges.
Miss Prozumenschikova came up at 75 meters with one of her usual strong finishes, but in lane two, Djurdjica Bjedov, Yugoslavia, started to challenge the leaders and stroked into the lead, with Ball slipping to third . Bjedov maintained her place and held the Russian in second place while Miss Wichman put on a tremendous finish to also pass Catie and take third .
The order of finish was Bjedov, 1:15.8 (Olympic Record , new event), Prozumenschikova, 1:15.9, Wichman, 1:16.1, Frommater, 1:16.2, Ball 1:16.7, Kiyoe Nakagawa, Japan, 1:17.0, Svetlana Babanina, USSR, 1:17.2, and Norbis, 1:17.3 (1:16.7 semi-finals).
Sharon Wichman, Djurdjica Bjedov, Galina Prozumenschikova; Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Miss Bjedov, a university junior said,“I train three days a week in the winter and four or five days in the summer – six to seven thousand meters a day in the summer. This is the first gold medal Yugoslavia has ever won in Olympic swimming and I am very happy. My father helps coach me. I am 21 and plan to swim in the European Championship. I didn’t fear anyone. I never heard of Catie Ball, I just swam my own race to try and win.”
Her previous best was 1:17.3.
Miss Prozumenschikova, 19, commented, “I am sad that I didn’t win as I had expected to, but I am better in the 200. I train very hard.”
Miss Wichman, 17-year old high school junior stated: “I was swimming for first but I never thought I would get a medal. I thought Catie would. I plan to swim two more years. I usually am behind in a race for three quarters and then finish strong. I didn’t think I was going good, I felt awful. I was awfully rushed, I went from the warm up pool to the shower to the pool again. I thought I’d get more rest. It really shook me . I think the times are off because of the flat turns.”
Catie Ball was able to do no better than 1:16.7 for fifth. After the race she was taken to the doctors who found her suffering from fever, swollen glands, and a virus. She was scratched from further Olympic competition, as Coach Chavoor said she had been ill since she arrived in Mexico.
Djurdjica Bjedov, YUG, 1:15.8
GalinaProzumenschikova, URS, 1:15.9
Sharon Wichman, USA, 1:16.1
This was the first time the women’s 100 breast was contested at the Olympics as it was the debut of six new women’s events. The 100 breast, 200 free, 800 free, 200 back, 200 fly and 200 IM made their Olympic debuts in 1968.
Bjedov won Yugoslavia’s first and only gold medal in swimming.
American Cathy Carr won Team USA’s first gold medal in this event in the next Olympiad in 1972.
The Americans have three gold medals in this event, while East Germany has two.
The Soviet Union won the first four silver medals in this event as Prozumenschikova won the silver in 1972.
The Russians picked up their first gold medal in this event in 1992 with the likes of Yelena Rudkovskaya winning for the Unified Team in Barcelona.
Men’s 100 Breast
The Russians were favored in the men’s breaststrokes and in the 100 meter event they qualified all three swimmers, Vladimir Kosinsky, 1:07.9 (first), Nickolay Ivanovich Pankin, 1:08.1 (tie for second), and Eugeny Mikhailov, 1:08.8 (fifth). Their only threat was from Don McKenzie, USA, who tied Pankin with 1:08.1 in qualifying.
In the finals McKenzie, with his long, slow stroke, moved ahead easily, but was hard pressed by Pankin and Kosinsky and lost the lead with about 20 meters to go. At that point McKenzie put down his head and gave it everything he had to win over the Soviets in the last few meters. What a Cinderella finish for a boy who had never won a national title.
McKenzie, 21, recorded 1:07.7 to win (Olympic record, new event) over Kosinsky, 1:08.0 and Pankin, third, also 1:08.0. Jose Sylvio Fiolo, Brazil, was fourth 1:08.1, followed by Mikhailov, USSR, 1:08.4, lan O’Brien, Australia, 1:08.6 (O’Brien was the last qualifier, 1:09.0, edging out Dave Perkowski, USA, by four hundredths of a second), Alberto Foreli Lopez, Argentina , 1:08.7 and Egon Henninger, East Germany, 1:09.7.
Don McKenzie on top of the podium; Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
“My strategy was to go as hard as l could toward the end,” McKenzie said, “and I figured whoever could go the hardest the last 10 meters was going to win. I didn’t expect to win a gold medal before I came here, but after the prelims and semi-finals I felt l had a chance.” McKenzie added, “l didn’t know I’d won, because l was swimming with my eyes closed. I looked up into the stands and some people held up one finger and I couldn’t believe I’d won. I was shocked.”
Pankin, a 21-year-old transportation engineering student, said: “I never thought I would lose, Never! After setting the world record this year? This is the first time l’ve ever seen or heard of McKenzie, but I congratulate him.”
“It was a bad coincidence for me, but luck was on McKenzie’s side this time,” commented Kosinsky, a first year medical student in Russia.
The Soviet swimmer was obviously shocked, as he wept behind the stand and only joined the winners at the victory stand.
Don McKenzie, USA, 1:07.7
Vladimir Kosinsky, URS, 1:08.0
Nickolay Pankin, URS, 1:08.0
This was the first time this event had been contested at the Olympics as it was one of three new events to the men’s program. The 100 fly and 200 IM were the other two.
The Russians have yet to win the men’s 100 breast gold medal at the Olympics.
The Americans have the most gold medals in the men’s 100 breast with four, but have not won since 1992 when Nelson Diebel won the gold medal. Japan and Great Britain each have three gold medals in the event.
Women’s 100 Free
The women’s 100 meter freestyle saw a United States sweep as Jan Henne, 21, upset Sue Pedersen, 15, who had beaten Jan in both the U.S. Nationals and Olympic Trials, and Linda Gustavson, 18. Jan posted 1:00.0 to win with Sue second, and Linda third, both at 1:00.3.
Finishing behind the Americans was Marion Lay, Canada, 1:00.5, Martina Grunnert, East Germany, 1:01.0, Alexandra Jackson, Great Britain, 1:01.0, Mirjana Segrt, Yugoslavia, 1:01.5 and Judit Turoczi, Hungary, 1:01.6. Pedersen led by a touch at the turn, but a strong finish by Henne gave her the gold by a hand-length .
“It feels fantastic to win. I felt I had a chance to win but I thought any of us (Americans) could have won, along with the girl from Great Britain (Jackson), and the one from Hungary (Turoczi). It was really anybody’s race, I thought we could all win it,” said Miss Henne.
“Sherm just told us to ‘bust out’ and to really go hard. I didn’t know I’d won and then Susie Pedersen told me to look up at the little red dot (signifying the winner on the scoreboard) and I knew it was me. I’m going to continue one more year. We started tapering about a week ago and started getting lots of rest so the day of the race we could really go. My strategy was to make the first 50 really relaxed so when I reached the 75 I could pour it on,” said Henne, who was sick earlier with a chest cold and was removed from the U.S. medley relay prelim team.
Sue spoke about the race in terms of being ready. “I was healthy and I swam my very best and as hard as I could and I lost to a very good person so I don’t feel too bad, but I wanted to win this one really bad because I like this race and my other races will be tougher to win. So, I guess I’ll keep swimming for four more years to try and win it.”
“I think the altitude and prior heats might have affected my race,” said Miss Gustavson. “I was a little tired. I tried to rest, but I think l could have done better with one day’s rest. I was surprised it went so slow,” commented the American swimmer.
Jan Henne, USA, 1:00.0
Susan Pedersen, USA, 1:00.3
Linda Gustavson, USA, 1:00.3
This was the fourth sweep to happen in the women’s 100 free at the Olympics. The United States did it in 1920 and 1924 and Australia did it in 1956. East Germany would be the last to do so in 1980.
Henne was the fifth American to win the 100 free gold medal as the Americans have won the event three times since.
Men’s 100 Free
A world record was achieved in the 100 meter freestyle in a surprising win by Australian Michael Wenden, who clocked 52.2 to chop four tenths off Ken Walsh and Zac Zorn’s (both USA) 52.6 mark.
Zorn blasted off of the blocks and in three or four strokes had almost a half body length lead over the field. He turned first a good three feet ahead of the field, but 20 meters from home, faded and the entire field raced by him. Wenden came home in an amazing finish to win by a full length.
Walsh, 23, finished second in 52.8, with Mark Spitz, USA, third, 53.0, Bobby McGregor, Great Britain, fourth, 53.5, Leonid Ilyichev, USSR, fifth, 53.8, Georgy Kulikov, USSR, sixth 53.8, Luis Yanuzzi Nicolao, Argentina, seventh, 53.9 and Zorn, eighth, 53.9.
Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
The exuberant Wenden, 18, used his head to win. “I figured I’d have to go out hard because Zorn is a notorious fast first 50 meter swimmer, I thought if I could be a yard or so behind at the 50, maybe with him at 60 or catch him at 75 meters, that would be just right. I just hoped I could catch him, but I expected him to be half a body length ahead of me going out. It’s doubtful whether I could go faster at sea level because the altitude didn’t affect me much. I improved (he was 53.7 coming into the trials) because of my good coach (Vic Arnal), the right conditions , and a bit of luck. It won’t be too many years before they go under 50 seconds – I’ll predict four. I started thinking of winning in 1964. I’m giving up swimming for my studies now.”
Walsh said: “l knew Mike would be fast. I was swimming on my own with a bum lane in lane one. I knew Zac would go out fast and that Mike would come back fast, so I just swam my own race, swam as hard as l could coming home because I was breathing on the wall and I looked when I finished and knew I had medaled, but didn’t know I’d gotten second. I wasn’t surprised at Zac’s performance. He hasn’t been well since we’ve been here and he’s been in better condition.”
“I’m pretty happy with the way it came out,” said bronze medalist Spitz, “I tried my hardest and it’s my best time. I was going to go as hard as I could tonight and I had a feeling I would be either the first or second American. I didn’t think I’d win it because of Wenden and llyichev.”
Zorn, who tied the former world record of 52.6 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, spoke of his performance: “Well, first of all they didn’t let us in the big pool to warmup so we warmed up in the small pool (25 meters) and I didn’t get my pace down and when you go out as fast as I do it’s fairly important, and obviously, I just got out too fast (U.S. Olympic Coach Don Gambril caught Zac going out in 23.6 hand touch, 24.3 foot touch, but Zorn faded at 80 meters and finished last.) I had nothing left coming home. I may just hang it up after this.”
The loss by Spitz cost him a placing on the freestyle leg of the medley relay, though he still could place on it if he could win the 100 meter butterfly.
Michael Wenden, AUS, 52.2 (WR)
Ken Walsh, USA, 52.8
Mark Spitz, USA, 53.0
Spitz would go on to break Wenden’s world record with a 51.94 at the 1970 AAU Championships and would win the 1972 Olympics with a 51.22, also a new world record.
The first man to break 50 seconds didn’t happen until eight years down the line, despite Wenden’s prediction. Jim Montgomery swam a 49.99 to win the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
Wenden became just the third Australian to win the gold medal in this event, joining Jon Hendricks (1956) and John Devitt (1960). Australia did not win another gold medal in the 100 free until Kyle Chalmers in 2016.
Two-time Olympian and five-time Olympic Champion Missy Franklinhas been announced as one of the inductees to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame for 2019.
According to the Denver Post, Franklin highlights a list of six inductees including Olympic silver medalist Todd Lodwick, football player Daniel Graham, wrestling coach Bob Smith, Colorado School of Mines coach Marvin Kay and multi-sport athlete Tom Southall.
Photo Courtesy: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Franklin grew up swimming for the Colorado Stars and graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado in 2013. Along with sixteen World Championship medals between 2011 and 2015, Franklin earned four gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“To honor, by public acknowledgment or commemoration, those individuals who merit recognition and distinction for their exploits, accomplishments and leadership in sports and athletic endeavors in the state of Colorado. Equally, to build and make available programs and support for youth in our state, to cultivate character and citizenship as they grow toward leadership in our state and throughout the Nation.”
Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien
Athletes are nominated for the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame by the public and selected by an independent selection committee comprised of media members from around Colorado. The ceremony will occur at the Hilton Denver City Center on April 3, 2019.