USA Men Advance to Gold Medal Final at FINA Intercontinental Water Polo Tournament

The USA Men’s National Team punched their ticket to the 2017 FINA World League Super Final and earned a berth in the gold medal match of the FINA Intercontinental Tournament following a 20-6 win over New Zealand. Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) scored six goals and Zack Rhodes (Palm Desert, CA/Pepperdine/Waves WPF) recorded 10 saves in net in the victory. Team USA advances to meet Australia in the final on Sunday, with the time difference the game is at 10pm et/7pm pt TONIGHT. To watch live streaming of this game, click here. To watch a replay of the USA-New Zealand match, click here.

United States of America eased into the final against Australia with a comfortable win over the Kiwis. USA managed to steal at will, pressing hard at all times, inflicting pain when wanted. This was evident in the third period when USA went on counter for four straight goals  in 90 seconds — three of them to scoring sensation Johnathan Hooper to bring his tally to five. New Zealand actually opened the scoring through captain Mathew Small, who is making a big impact here.

USA then scored seven of the next eight goals for 7-2 in the second quarter. Matthew Bryant sent in his second goal from downtown for the Kiwis for 7-3. It went out to 9-3 with Anton Sunde pulling one back only for Maxwell Irving to whip in a penalty goal to close the half at 10-4. Hooper netted four times in the third quarter to bring up six goals for the second time this week (also against China) and have his team 15-4 in front by the last break. New Zealand tightened up its defence somewhat in the final quasrter and after Hannes Daube let fly with a fiver-metre shot that appeared to be a double take, captain Small converted extra. USA did what it has done best here all week with conversions of extra-man attack to take the lead to 17-5.

The Kiwis were not without chances, one counter by Sunde screaming over the bar. Tiredness had well and truly hit and USA breezed home 20-6. That last goal went to Liam Paterson on counter when New Zealand had a two on one 10 seconds from time.

Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/LA Water Polo) added four goals in the win. Team USA went 9/13 on power plays and 1/1 on penalty shots while New Zealand was 3/7 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.

“The game against New Zealand gave us another opportunity to give our guys off the bench more minutes in the water and just another chance to play together and work together. I think the first two games of this tournament, in particular, we were a bit nervous, but we’ve begun to build over the days and grow in confidence. We only have two Olympians on the roster right now, so our younger guys, in particular, were able to get some quality game time. It’s been enjoyable to see us taking advantage of the playing time and experience.  We have four high schoolers on this team and they are getting some great minutes. We made some huge mistakes against the Aussies — some match-up issues, so we need to clean that up defensively. We would like to be able to slow them down more. I think again our younger guys were a little nervous and hopefully tomorrow they’ll be a lot calmer.” Alex Rodriguez, Team USA Assistant Coach.

Scoring
USA 20 (5, 5, 5, 5) J. Hooper 6, M. Iriving 4, A. Roelse 3, H. Daube 2, A. Molthen 2, N. Carniglia 1, N. McConnell 1, J. Ehrhardt 1
NZL 6 (2, 2, 0, 2)
Saves – USA – Z. Rhodes 10
6×5 – USA – 9/13 – NZL – 3/7
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – NZL – 0/0

 

USA 8 Australia 12 – April 28

The USA Men’s National Team suffered their first loss at the FINA Intercontinental Tournament dropping a 12-8 decision to Australia. Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) and Hannes Daube (Long Beach, CA/Orange Lutheran/North Irvine WPC) each scored two goals while Alex Wolf (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Bruin) recorded four saves in net.

From 2-5 down three minutes into the second quarter, the Aussie Sharks struck back with a vengeance, led by the hulk of a captain Joe Kayes. The former New Zealander who honed his trade in Hungary, Kayes was an inspiration, especially with his second goal at 0:35 in the third, gaining the ball on counter, taking the 5m shot and scoring and then remonstrating with his defender. It was a match that Australia owned and fellow Olympian Jarrod Gilchrist and goalkeeper Ed Slade were the stars of a team that shone all night.

USA had the better of the start after Australia led through Olympian Jarrod Gilchrist, such a standout player this week. Hannes Daube reversed the lead before Kayes equalised with a centre-forward backhand late in the period. Daube fired in his second in a three-goal spurt for USA with captain Alexander Obert clambering for a goal over slow defenders for 4-2. Johnathan Hooper, a leading goal-scorer this week, scored on counter and USA was safe at 5-2.

It all changed in the next five minutes as James Fannon and Gilchrist on extra; Lachlan Hollis from the left brought the match level. Nathan Power, who so cruelly had to withdraw from the Rio Olympic team with injury, gained the ball from Kayes to take the 6-5 lead by halftime.  Gilchrist and Kayes took it to 8-5 in the third and Ashworth Molthen responded for 8-6. Kayes took the ball on extra and scored off a five-metre shot at 0:02 for the 9-6 three-quarter advantage. Luke Pavillard made it a four-goal lead on extra from deep right.

USA awoke and started to get on the road train with two quick goals from Matthew De Trane cross-cage and Marko Vavic from outside. Australian Olympian Johnno Cotterill made the trip up from Sydney for his first match and was kept busy all over the field. He had the honour of scoring a 4:44 penalty goal for 11-8. USA peppered the Aussie goal to no effect and went to a timeout at 2:36, still enough time to level the match. Nothing came of that while Kayes netted his fourth with an unrushed goal from two metres on extra at 0:30 to settle the encounter in the Sharks’ favour. Team USA went 1/3 on power plays with Australia going 4/5 and neither side attempting a penalty shot.

“We came out with a lot of energy and we knew it would be a tough game. We scrimmaged with them last week so we had an idea of what they were going to do. They came into our zone and we pressed the ball hard. I think we just had some slight mistakes that can be easily fixed. We were alert but relaxed after the early lead. If we meet them in the final we will probably keep it similar and fix the little things.” – Hannes Daube

Scoring:

USA 8 (2, 3, 1, 2) J. Hooper 2, H. Daube 2, A. Obert 1, M. Vavic 1, M. De Trane 1, A. Molthen 1

AUS 12 (2, 4, 3, 3)
Saves – USA – A. Wolf 4
6×5 – USA – 1/3 – AUS 4/5
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – AUS – 0/0

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Nathan Adrian Victorious at Day 2 of 2017 TYR Fran Crippen SMOC

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Day two of the 2017 TYR Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions was highlighted by wins from Olympians Nathan Adrian and Tom Shields.

The women’s 100 free was highlighted by a race between Canyon Aquatics’ Amanda Kendall and Cal’s Amanda Weitzeil. Kendall jumped to an early lead and never looked back, out-swimming the competition the entire race. She claimed first with a 55.34, followed closely by Weitzeil’s 55.88. Mission Viejo’s Ella Ristic grabbed third with a 56.54.

Olympian Nathan Adrian powered ahead of the competition in the men’s 100 free, delivering a 48.74 for first. New Zealand’s Daniel Hunter picked up second with a time of 50.78, while teammate Matt Stanley was third with a 50.89.

New Zealand continued to throw down fast times with a top showing in the women’s 200 fly. Helena Gasson turned in a 2:12.64 to finish more than two seconds ahead of the competition. CITI’s Jasmine Margetts grabbed second overall with a 2:15.10, just ahead of ITESM’s Laura Sofia Arroyo Cuara and her time of 2:16.08.

2016 Olympian Tom Shields posted the only sub-two minute swim in the men’s 200 fly at a 1:58.05, claiming victory by over two seconds, while Ramiro Ramirez Juarez of ITESM took second overall with a 2:00.41. Grant Shoults, swimming unattached, touched third with a 2:01.86.

Taylor McCoy of GMSC led a trio of 2:16 swims to the podium in the women’s 200 back. McCoy was first overall with a 2:16.07, while Samantha Pearson, swimming unattached, finished second with a 2:16.35. New Zealand’s Kelsi Boocock took third with a 2:16.73.

Patrick Conaton, swimming unattached, delivered a top showing of 2:01.17, followed by Abrahm DeVine’s 2:02.23. Curtis Ogren rounded out the podium with a 2:04.76.

Hayley McIntosh grabbed another win for New Zealand with a top time in the women’s 400 free. McIntosh held off the competition with a time of 4:15.43, while Mission Viejo’s Ella Ristic took second wit ha 4:19.71. Liberty Williams, the 800 free winner, turned in a third place finish of 4:20.18.

Liam Egan blasted ahead of the competition in the men’s 400 free, ending the night with a strong 3:53.25 for first. Grant Shoults added another medal to his name with a silver medal finish of 3:57.04, while New Zealand’s Bradlee Ashby was third with a 3:58.51.

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Ryan Lochte Returns, 15 National Records Taken Down on Day One at USMS Spring Nationals

Photo Courtesy: David Rieder

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte had not competed since last year’s Olympics in Rio, as he is currently suspended for his role in an outside-the-pool incident in Brazil, but he competed for the first time at U.S. Masters Nationals in Riverside, Calif., competing in the 100 breast and 200 IM on the first full day of competition.

In the 30-34 age group, Lochte finished second behind Mike Alexandrov in the 100 breast. Alexandrov finished in 53.55, just off Ed Moses’ national record of 53.44 and four tenths ahead of Lochte (53.95).

Lochte later dominated the 200 IM, finishing in 1:44.21. That’s well off Darian Townsend’s national record of 1:42.03, and Lochte has actually been as quick as 1:40.08, ranked third all-time in the event.

The first national record of the meet actually came during distance Thursday as Maurine Kornfeld broke the national record in the 95-99 women’s 1000 free. She posted a time of 23:57.82, an amazing 27 minutes quicker than the previous national record, Annie Dunivin’s 50:44.12.

Rick Colella took down the first national record of the Friday action his 1:02.75 in the 65-69 men’s 100 breast, obliterating Robert Strand’s previous national record of 1:07.35. Also breaking a record in the 100 breast was Steve West, who posted a 56.30 in the 45-49 age group to surpass Todd Torres (56.83).

In the women’s 100 breast, Charlotte Davis broke the 65-69 national record with her time of 1:20.27, while Kathleen Lewis (1:23.53) also beat Joann Leilich’s old mark of 1:23.95. In the 55-59 age group, Caroline Krattli posted a time of 1:10.55 to beat Chris Wenzel’s national record of 1:13.76.

Three records went down in the women’s 200 back. Diann Uustal posted a time of 2:47.52 in the 70-74 age group, almost 10 seconds ahead of Joy Ward’s record of 2:57.22. In the 65-69 age group, Laura Val broke her four-month-old record of 2:28.21 with a time of 2:27.76.

Finally, in the 55-59 age group, Karlyn Pipes took down Jill Hernandez, 2:11.29 to 2:12.87, both crushing Bonnie Blitch’s national record of 2:19.94.

Jeff Natalizio touched out Mario Marshall to win the 35-39 men’s 50 fly, both of them going under Josh Davis’ national record of 22.26.

Uustal broke her second record of the day in the 70-74 women’s 50 fly, her time of 32.72 crushing Gail Roper’s old mark of 35.06. In the 35-39 age group, Noriko Inada took one hundredth off her own 2015 record of 25.05, touching in 25.04. And then in the 25-29 age group, Danielle Hermann broke Tanica Jamison’s old record of 24.41, posting a time of 24.19.

Colella became a double record-breaker on the day when he posted a new national mark in the men’s 65-69 200 IM. He touchedi n 2:03.63 to obliterate Larry Day’s previous record of 2:16.17.

Pipes beat Hernandez in the two faced off in the 200 back, but Pipes sat out the 200 IM, leaving Hernandez to take down Pipes’ national record from earlier this month. Hernandez finished in 2:15.70 to beat Pipes’ old record of 2:18.07.

Kornfeld broke another record when she posted a 2:04.52 in the 95-99 women’s 100 free, ten seconds faster than Rita Simonton’s previous record of 2:14.55. Finally, Val wrapped up the day with a 58.21 in the 65-69 women’s 100 free, much faster than her own record of 59.68 from last month.

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MPSF Tournament Central: Catching Up with USC’s Jovan Vavic

USC’s Jovan Vavich, Photo Courtesy: John McGillen/USC Athletics

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

LOS ANGELES, CA. Over the next three days Swimming World will cover the 2017 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s (MPSF) Women’s Water Polo tournament, to be held April 28-30 at UCLA’s Spieker Aquatics Center.

Featuring the country’s top five programs—#1 UCLA, #2 Stanford, #3 USC, #4 Arizona State and #5 (T) Cal—the MPSF Tournament is one of the top non-Olympic tournaments in the world. Four of these teams will almost certainly qualify for the 2017 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament, with the MPSF champs assured of both the tournament’s top seed and a bye into the Final Four.

In Friday’s opening round Stanford will play CSU Bakerfield, USC will face San Jose State and Arizona State plays Cal. The Sun Devils vs. Bears match is perhaps the most important of the tournament; the loser will no longer have a shot at NCAAs while the winner is very much alive for one of the tournament’s three at-large berths.

Last year four MPSF teams made it to NCAAs, and in a year where the competition is as good as at any time in MPSF history, the conference is likely to again send four teams.

Prior to tournament play, Swimming World spoke with Jovan Vavic, head coach for the USC men’s and women’s teams. One of the most decorated coach in NCAA water polo history, in an illustrious career at Southern Cal Vavic has captured a total of 14 NCAA titles—nine men’s and five women’s—while winning National Coach of the Year honors 13 times. From 2008 – 2013 his men’s team captured an unprecedented six-straight NCAA titles, and last fall ended archrival UCLA’s 57-match win streak. Earlier this month his women’s program, defending MPSF and NCAA champs, had its record 52-match winning streak snapped by Stanford.

Coach Vavic spoke about his program’s success, the challenges his current team faces defending their MPSF and NCAA titles, what has been one of the most talented years ever in U.S. women’s varsity water polo, and imagining a future for Trojan polo without the incomparable Stephania Haralabidis and her twin sister Ioanna.

It’s been a memorable year for USC water polo. In the fall your Trojans snapped the Bruins record win streak, and this spring your women fashioned an NCAA-best winning streak of their own—accomplishments that will be remembered long after the season is over.

I always tell people that streaks are nice because you get used to winning. You always try to win as many games as possible but we really don’t talk about it that much.

It’s fun while it lasts but we always prepare that the next game maybe isn’t going to be a great one.

After having your record win streak snapped by Stanford, what do you think your team has learned going into the MPSF Tournament?

I learned way back in February the same thing I learned when we lost in April [to Stanford]. I don’t think my players learned [it] and that is we are giving up too many goals. [Even] in those games that we won [10-9 win over UCLA on February 25 and 10-9 OT win over Stanford the next day] we gave up nine goals. I told the girls that was not going to be good enough, because then we played Hawaii in Honolulu and it’s 8-8 with the last 30 seconds to go [USC won 9-8 to set the all-time win streak for NCAA women’s water polo].

We’ve been trying to fix that the entire season and haven’t been able to do so. If we don’t improve in that area in the next couple of weeks then we have nothing to hope for in the NCAAs.

There are a slew of Olympians playing in the U.S. this year—and seven will be at UCLA for the MPSF tournament. How has that impacted MPSF play this season?

You could have easily added three more from our team; if the Dutch and Greek teams went to the Olympics we would have had [Holland’s Maude Megens and Greece’s Ioanna and Stephania Haralabidis] because they’re members of their national teams.

What it does is it makes U.S.A. stronger—we have the strongest league in the world and that contributes to the success of the national team because if all these players are tested on a regular basis in a strong league with many tough matches then it elevates the level of water polo in general.

I really enjoy it when we have so many strong players to compete against—it impacts everybody.

Is it just the competition or is there something more that attracts so many great foreign players to the U.S.?

I went to college in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and we didn’t have a set-up where your practices and classes were all in one place. Countries like Serbia and Croatia discourage you from going to university so that you can become a professional water polo player.

Here it’s the best of both worlds. [You can] focus on your studies and play water polo at the highest level. In a state like California where there’s so much opportunity, it is the best of everything.

I can understand why so many young people want to experience this—and if somebody pays for your education I’d wonder why wouldn’t you do it.

MPSF newcomers Maddie Musselman of UCLA and Mackenzie Fisher of Stanford had great success in the 2016 Olympics and have made their mark this season on conference play.

I believe that everything starts at home and having great parents is what it takes to raise an athlete and provide then with everything they need to be successful. Both Fischer’s and Musselman’s parents were athletes at the highest level [Jeff Musselman played five years of major league baseball; Erich Fischer was a two-time All-American in water polo at Stanford and played for the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona].

Fortunately they had great coaches in high school and a great coach with the national team. The combination of these things and then having God-given length,  talent and speed doesn’t hurt.

Mussleman_UCLA

Maddie Musselman. Photo Courtesy: UCLA Athletics

Musselman in particular is impressive because she has accomplished so much at such a young age. Given her success—55 goals as a freshman as well as five against your team last week—how do you stop her?

Any great player can be stopped, as long as you know their strengths and weaknesses and really work hard. When you play defense against somebody who’s intelligent and tough you work hard and learn their tendencies before they happen. You have to be focused.

So when she burned us in the last game we basically did the stupidest thing we could have done: we left her open. [My players] were right next to her and could have gotten to her quicker and they just didn’t.

Everyone [has to be] defending the top players and be aware of where they are. You don’t guard somebody like LeBron James with just one person. If you leave him one-on-one he’s going to kill you.

All six players in water polo have to be aware of where that player is.

Of course, you also have an exceptionally talented newcomer: Maud Megens, a freshman from the Netherlands.

megens-usc-04-17

Maud Megens. Photo Courtesy: USC Athletics

It’s very interesting that she also comes from an athletic family. Her mother played water polo in the Olympics and her father was also an athlete. All three of those freshmen we are discussing come from athletic families. She has great experience playing at a high level in Holland and is very capable of doing more than one thing. She’s quick, explosive, strong legs. [Being] 6-2 really helps and she a very intelligent player. Playing for the national team and having so many international games helped her. She was voted second-best player in Europe last year.

You’ll need her to step up because you’ll be losing five seniors in 2017.

We lose five players: the two Greek girls, both of our centers, Brigitta Games, who contributed in the finals last year. Avery Peterson is a senior as well as Nikki Stansfield. So we lose five girls but we have two other freshmen who are actually outstanding. Denise Mammolito, before she’s a senior she’s going to make a name for herself. She’s also about 6-2, similar in the type of player as Maud. She’s younger and needs time but she’s going to going to be outstanding.

Kelsey McIntosh has been injured part of this season but I think she’s an outstanding player. She was the CIF player of the year last year when her high school [Orange Lutheran] won a state title.

I’m almost positive that all three are going to be All-Americans.

And, there’s the incomparable Stephania Haralabidis, now #2 all-time in scoring [260 goals]. How has she impacted your Trojan women’s water polo this season and over the past four years?

haralbidis-usc-apr-17

Stephania Haralabidis Photo Courtesy: USC Athletics

She really was key last season as was her sister, Ioanna, who’s an outstanding defender—our primary two-meter defender. The two of them changed our program last season for the better. They were outstanding as freshmen but they were not mature enough. So their maturity level now is way, way higher and now they are true leaders of our team and they understand what it takes to win.

Sometimes it’s difficult when you come from another country to understand how you need to operate in a system. It’s all about chemistry and hard work.

Where they grew up it’s all about competition—it’s us against the world. So now they’re great teammates, great fighters and they have changed our program for the better.

I’m hoping they will have a great three weeks at the end of the season to finish their careers on a positive note.

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Psych Sheet for arena Pro Swim Atlanta Released; Flooded by Olympians

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The psych sheet for the arena Pro Swim Atlanta was released today and it is a loaded psych sheet as expected. American Olympians Nathan Adrian, Katie Ledecky, Tom Shields, Simone Manuel, Ryan Murphy and Lilly King along with many others are scheduled to swim at Atlanta for that meet May 4 through the 7th.

There are a couple other international well known names in the field. Canada is sending a good portion of its national team to the meet as Penny Oleksiak will be making an appearance. Park Tae Hwan and Ryosuke Irie will also be making appearances at the meet as Irie has moved to Charlotte to train with that group after spending his whole career training in his native Japan. Germany will also be sending a couple of its national team to the meet with Damian Wierling and Alexandra Wenk.

There are a couple of races that stand out off the psych sheet alone. Simone Manuel and Oleksiak will be swimming head to head in the 100 free where they tied for gold in Rio last summer. It will be the first time they have raced since the Olympics. Manuel is coming off a stellar NCAA Championships where she won two individual titles and helped Stanford win its first national title in almost two decades. Oleksiak has already qualified for World Championships as Canada had its National Championships already this year.

Lilly King and Kierra Smith will square off again in the 200 breaststroke. King and Smith went toe to toe at the NCAA Championships in the 200 breast, producing the two fastest SCY 200 breasts ever in the same race. King and Smith have raced numerous times this past season and King has not lost once. But that was yards and this is long course, where King is not as strong.

The Texas men’s team will also be making its first appearance in long course this summer after they torched the record books at the NCAA Championships. It will be interesting to see how Townley Haas, Jack Conger and Clark Smith react to racing in their first meet since the NCAA’s. Will Licon is not entered on the psych sheet and Joseph Schooling is only entered in the 200 butterfly.

Katie Ledecky will also be in her usual lineup with the 100-800 free and the 400 IM. She will not be swimming the 1500 on Thursday night.

The meet will begin May 4 in Atlanta with the usual arena Pro Swim Series event order.

arena Pro Swim Series Atlanta Psych Sheet – Results

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Liberty Williams, Brinegar Top Distance Events at 2017 TYR Fran Crippen Meet of Champions

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

The 2017 TYR Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions splashed into action in Irvine, California with an easy session of distance events.

Liberty Williams grabbed a narrow victory over New Zealand’s Hayley McIntosh in the women’s 800 free. Williams posted a final time of 8:50.50, just ahead of McIntosh’s 8:50.72. McIntosh’s teammate Caitlin Deans delivered an 8:58.75 to pick up third and be the only other athlete beneath the nine-minute mark.

The men’s 1500 free was highlighted by a solid win from Mission Viejo’s Michael Brinegar. Brinegar stopped the clock at a 15:31.63 for first, while True Sweetser, swimming unattached, was second with a 15:36.44. Liam Egan, also swimming unattached, posted a third place finish of 15:41.00.

All results can be found on Meet Mobile – 2017 CA TYR/MVN Fran Crippen Mem SMOC 

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Swim Drill Of The Week: 3 Pulls/3 Strokes

Welcome to the “Swim Drill of the Week”. Swimming World will be bringing you a drill, concept, or tip that you can implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), Drill Of The Week excerpts are meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s drill is 3 Pulls/3 Strokes for breaststroke. This drill works on developing a strong and fast pull while also working on core control and body awareness. To perform the drill, swimmers alternate between 3 full breaststroke pulls with no kick and three full breaststroke strokes.

There are two major things to keep in mind with this drill. First, you want your swimmers to maintain proper body line and body position while doing the 3 pulls without using their legs. There can be a slight dolphin motion with the legs following each pull, but the focus should be on using their core and the “fall forward” after each stroke to maintain a good body position on the surface of the water.

The second focus is to have a smooth transition into the 3 full strokes of breaststroke that alternate with the 3 pulls. Swimmers need to make sure they are engaging their core and driving forward with their pull as they seamlessly add in their kick. Use this drill to find a more powerful and efficient stroke that generates maximum propulsion from the kick and the pull. This is a particularly effective drill to do long course as it will give them plenty of transitions between pulls and full strokes. Happy swimming!

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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FINA Proposes Changes in Olympic Lineup, What Does This Mean?

Photo Courtesy: The Japan Times

By Katie Lafferty, Swimming World College Intern.

At the last long course World Championships, held in Kazan, Russia in 2015, mixed relays were added to the lineup. As coaches and swimmers figured out these new events, they used a number of strategies. Some teams went full force, putting their top swimmers in these mixed relays and other teams were more hesitant when it came to their lineups.

usa-mixed-400-free-relay-lochte-franklin-manuel-adrian-2015

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / Mia Rossiya Segodnaya

FINA recently proposed adding additional swimming events to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. This proposal has created a lot of buzz around the world; both by the swimming community and by the athletic community in general. There have been 10 events that have been proposed to be added.

The events proposed to be added by FINA include:

  • Women’s 1500m freestyle
  • Men’s 800m freestyle
  • Two Mixed relays (4x100m freestyle and the 4x100m medley)
  • 50m of each stroke for both genders
    • 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke

If these events are added to the Olympic line up, what does that mean for American swimmers? What does that mean for the world of swimming? It could mean that more people will be able to achieve their dream of becoming an Olympic swimmer.

If these 10 events get added to the Olympic line up, it is likely that we will see more swimmers from countries who usually only send one or two swimmers of each gender. Adding these events could give more refugees the opportunity to show the world that no matter what is happening in life, you can still find happiness in a sport.

These proposed events could allow the United States to mean that we can further prove its dominance in the sport of swimming. Katie Ledecky could finally be able to break her 1500m freestyle world record at the biggest swim meet a person can attend. Allowing Ledecky to swim yet another dominating race at the Olympic Games would set her up nicely to reach Michael Phelps’, once thought untouchable, record of 28 Olympic medals.

Adding the 50s of stroke would mean that backstroker Ryan Murphy could dive into the 50m backstroke, and yet again, be crowned “King of Sprint Backstroke”.

50free-start-rio-prelims

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does adding 10 new events to the Olympic line up benefit the Americans, but it could benefit the world. Adding these events could open up doors for the athletes who represent the Refugee flag.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016, standout refugee swimmer Yursa Mardini, won her heat in the 100m butterfly. If there was a 50m butterfly at the Rio Olympics, just think about what Mardini could have done in that race. 

Think about the best swimmers in the world. Could we see someone be compared with Pehlps when it comes to the number of butterfly races won? Could Joseph Schooling be that person? Adding the 50m butterfly would give Schooling the opportunity to prove himself that he is just as great as Phelps was during his swimming days.

Adam Peaty, the reigning Olympic Champion in the 100m breast and World Record holder in the 50m breaststroke, could benefit with these changes as well. Adding a 50m breaststroke would allow Peaty to solidify his dominance in the breaststroke events at the biggest event for the swimming world. Could he win both the 50m and 100m breaststroke in Tokyo 2020? If this event proposal goes through, Peaty very well could win both sprint breaststroke events at the next Olympics.

If these events get approved we will see new faces, more world records, and more gold medals.

Although there has not been a set date for when the results of this approval will be announced, the wait is exciting nonetheless. Until then, we sit and speculate what this change could do for our sport.

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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arena Partners with Team England for 2018 Commonwealth Games

Global water instinct brand arena has once again been appointed Official Supplier of Aquatics Wear to the England Commonwealth Games Team for the 21st edition of the Games to be held on Australia’s Gold Coast from 4-15 April, 2018. The agreement includes the supply of the company’s industry-leading product range of competition and training swimsuits, goggles and swim caps, and follows a successful first collaboration at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, where Team England won 28 medals in the pool, including 10 gold, out of 44 total events.

“We’re very pleased to be continuing our partnership with Team England, the overall leading nation from the 2014 Games,” said Luca Belogi, arena’s General Manager of sales. “They demonstrated in Glasgow that they’re a powerhouse in the pool, and we expect they’ll once again be extremely competitive in 2018. The UK, and England in particular, is a strategic market for us, and this partnership is emblematic of our commitment to swimming there, not only at the highest level, but throughout all levels of the sport. We are optimistic that our continued investment will bear fruit for both Team England and arena as we look forward what promises to be an eventful two years.”

“It is great news that we will continue our relationship with arena for the Gold Coast games,” said Team England CEO, Paul Blanchard. “The athletes were delighted with the quality of products and service in Glasgow and this represents another step in Team England’s commitment to provide the best possible environment for our athletes so that we deliver the best ever prepared team.”

arena’s connections with swimming in the UK go back many years. Today, the company’s grassroots initiatives in the UK include sponsorship of The National Arena Swimming League and the Arena Junior Inter-League.

The Commonwealth Games have been held every four years since 1930 (except for 1942 and 1946), and in 2018 is expected to include athletes from 70 nations. Since the first edition, which featured teams from 11 nations competing in six sports, the event has grown into the third-largest multi-sport event in the world (behind the Olympics and Asian Games), with over 6,600 athletes competing in 18 sports and 7 para disciplines. Next year’s edition is the fifth time Australia will play host to the Games, which will feature 50 swimming events in the pool – six more than 2014 – at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

arena is also producing a replica kit collection of Team England’s official kit, which includes racing suits, training suits, and swim caps. The replica kit will be available to Team England fans and consumers from March, 2018.

“We are really pleased to support the renewal of the relationship between arena and Team England, solidifying arena’s position in the UK competitive swim market,” said Debbie Poulson, Marketing Manager for Solo Sports Brands Ltd, arena’s representative in the UK. “We are extremely proud to be associated with Team England and believe that arena can make a material contribution that will complement the hard work and dedication shown by Team England athletes.”

Press release courtesy of arena 

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