Marcel Kittel abandons the 2017 Tour de France on stage 17

The green jersey wearer quits in the Alps after an early crash

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) has abandoned the Tour de France 2017 on stage 17.

The German, who has won five stages in this year’s Tour, crashed early on in the stage before the first climb of the Col d’Ornon, damaging his right shoulder.

Kittel lead the green jersey standings going into stage 17, with a close fought battle ensuing over the points competition with Australian Michael Matthews (Sunweb), with the fight for the classification set to come down to the final two sprint stages on Friday and Sunday.

The green will now pass to Matthews, who was just nine points behind Kittel after taking the intermediate points on stage 17, with second place André Greipel still way back in second place.

More to follow…


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Movistar dismiss rumour that Nairo Quintana could leave in 2018

Stories surfaced in the Colombian press on Wednesday linking the Colombian to Sky or Astana

Nairo Quintana won’t be set for a shock switch to Movistar rivals, Team Sky, says team boss Eusebio Unzue, after it was alleged that he was contemplating his future at the Spanish team.

>>> WorldTour transfer rumours: Aru deciding between Astana and UAE, Contador set to stay at Trek

As reported by Colombian news outlet, RCN Radio, Quintana is eyeing up a move to either Team Sky or Astana after a tough year that has seen him underperform in the Giro d’Italia and now the Tour de France.

“Nairo is with two folders on his desk, an Astana folder and another on Sky. He is studying those two themes that are heating up, because the environment in the Movistar is quite complex” the sports program reported.

The news of the rider’s departure from Movistar won’t come as a surprise after his family publicly came out against the idea to ride both the Giro and the Tour.

“Colombians are protesting because of what they (Movistar) are asking Nairo to do,” Luis Quintana, his father, told Colombian outlet Radio Caracol.

“He shouldn’t have ridden the Giro if they were taking him to the Tour.”

However, Movistar manager, Eusebio Unzue was quick to quash rumours. “It’s not true that Nairo is leaving the team. His contract ends in 2019. He’s a big champion but he’s also human,” he told reporters at the Tour de France.

The Colombian’s performance at this year’s Tour de France has been subject to criticism as he sits 6-16 down on the yellow jersey. Criticism that will sting after a losing out on the Giro d’Italia crown despite having led the race on the last day.

The Tour continues today as rider’s take on stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier.


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FINA World Championships Predictions: Women’s 50 Breast

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Editorial Coverage provided by Suit-extractor-logo

When the women’s 50 breast final comes around on the final day of the FINA World Championships, Lilly King and Yulia Efimova could have already picked up medals in both the 100 and 200-meter distances. Their final go-round will come in the 50.

Efimova ranks second all-time in the 50 breast at 29.52, and she was the World Champion in that event in both 2009 and 2013. King, who calls the 50 breast her favorite event, broke the American record at U.S. Nationals, finishing in 29.66.

With eight finals set for the final day of the World Championships, not a bad way to start things off.

Read below to see what Swimming World’s trio of experts think will happen in Budapest. David RiederJohn Lohn and Andy Ross will each offer their predictions for who will finish on the podium.

Women’s 50 Breast

Current Records:

World Record: Ruta Meilutyte, LTU (2013) — 29.48
Championship Record: Ruta Meilutyte, LTU (2013) — 29.48
American Record: Lilly King (2017) — 29.66

2015 World Champion: Jennie Johansson, SWE — 30.05
2017 World No. 1: Lilly King, USA — 29.66

Swimming World Predictions

David Rieder’s Picks:

Gold: Lilly King, USA
Silver: Yulia Efimova, RUS
Bronze: Katie Meili, USA

John Lohn’s Picks:

Gold: Lilly King, USA
Silver: Yulia Efimova, RUS
Bronze: Ruta Meilutyte, LTU

Andy Ross’ Picks:

Gold: Lilly King, USA
Silver: Yulia Efimova, RUS
Bronze: Jennie Johansson, SWE

Previous Events

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

Day Six:

Day Seven:

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Tennis tips from the top

Feeling inspired by Wimbledon? H&F’s Emma Lewis catches up with tennis gurus Patrick Mouratoglou and Martina Hingis to let you in on the hottest tips so you can hit the court with confidence.

Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach and owner of Mouratoglou Tennis Academy near Cannes in the south of France (mouratoglou.com) has these tactics tips.

  • Think about hitting your balls higher over the net – use topspin (brush the ball with an upwards motion as you hit your shot) to help keep the ball in the court, as using topspin helps it dip back down.
  • Keep hitting the ball cross-court (ie diagonally) most of the time, as this gives you the biggest space in which to hit the ball.
  • Try to make your opponent move east to west and north to south within the court when you get the chance.
  • If you try to control the ball too much, it’s the best way to miss; but you can point your non-racquet hand to where you want the ball to go and hit the ball in that direction.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses if you’re playing in the sun – they’ll keep your eyes more comfortable and less tired and lift the quality of your view. 

    Martina Hingis, recent Wimbledon mixed doubles winner with partner Jamie Murray, helps us improve our technique.

    • Create circles with your racquet as you swing – bring it up and back before you hit the ball, then follow through up and over your shoulder.
    • Hit the ball when it’s just in front of your body to create more power [than if you hit it when it’s beside your body].
    • In a two-handed backhand, make sure your left hand takes the strain – your right hand is just helping to guide the racquet (or vice versa if you’re left handed).
    • Hold the racquet quite loosely when you serve (think 3-4 out of 10 in terms of pressure) so you can snap your wrist at the end of the movement.

       And a few doubles tips:

      • If you’re playing doubles, imagine you and your partner are joined at the hip by an invisible piece of string – if they move, you move with them.
      • If a ball’s hit down the middle of the court, the player whose forehand side it is should hit the ball.
      • Don’t turn to look behind you when you’re in front and the ball is hit towards your partner – you won’t have time to react to the ball if it comes to you next.

        Patrick Mouratoglou and Martina Hingis are ambassadors for polarised Hawaiian sunglasses brand Maui Jim, official eyewear supplier of the ATP World Tour; uk.mauijim.com.

Marcel Kittel and Steve Cummings caught in Tour de France crash on stage 17 (video)

Marcel Kittel caught up in crash as his green jersey gets tattered; British rider Steve Cummings ends up in a field at start of high mountain stage

Marcel Kittel‘s position in the green jersey of points classification leader suffered a setback at the start of stage 17 of the 2017 Tour de France after the German was involved in a crash.

Kittel was one of a number of riders felled in the incident at the back of the peloton after just 20km, which also took down British rider Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) and mountains classification leader Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb).

Kittel suffered scuff and cuts to his right shoulder in the fall, and was left to make his own way back up to the peloton after the incident. Immediately after the crash, his green jersey rival and the previous day’s stage winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) was part of a large 30+ rider escape group.

Television pictures showed that Cummings suffered a rip across the back of his shorts, revealed quite a bit of his lower physique. He later had the rip tidied up with some safety pins.

All riders remounted and got back into the race.

The incident served to shake up the peloton early in the high mountains stage which features four classified climbs, including the category one Col du Télégraphe and hors categorie Col du Galibier.

A battle between the general classification contenders is expected, as well as a fight for both green jersey points and mountains points.


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Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc – What you need to know about Pinarello’s disc brake upgrade

Here’s what you need to know about the Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc, the surprising update from the Italian company

In a surprising move, Italian brand Pinarello has announced that it’ll supply a new Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc bike.

The bike first appeared on the UCI approved bike list, before being confirmed by Pinarello itself in a press release.

The core design of the bike looks to remain the same, keeping that same Pinarello shape but the company has made some minor changes to adopt the new standards.

>>> 2018 Trek Émonda: Wide tyres, disc brakes and a featherweight on the scales

The seat tube of the Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc

Somethings of a surprising turn by the Italian company

Fausto Pinarello has previously announced that the company isn’t interested in disc brakes, believing that a high-end performance bike shouldn’t need them. Such an abrupt u-turn, then, is a little surprising, but it’s for good reasons.

Of course, the most notable being that the market “is becoming mature”, and the time is right for Pinarello to enter it.

Despite the increased aerodynamic drag, aesthetically, it’s very appealing for Pinarello, as discs allow the designers to clean up the front and rear ends, getting rid of the cables.


Watch: Pinarello Dogma F10 review


Elsewhere, the Onda fork has been adapted for the more powerful stoppers and the addition of a 12mm thru-axle, as well as some little “fork flaps” (Pinarello’s words, not ours) which should help increase airflow.

As has become standard on disc brake bikes, the rear end is tied together by a 12x142mm thru-axle.

>>> Tour de France bikes: Chris Froome’s Pinarello Dogma F10 (video)

Everywhere else, the frame appears to be business as usual. It has the same concave down tube, as well as the asymmetric bottom bracket, and flat back seat stays of the original F10. The bottom bracket is also still threaded rather than press fit.

According to the company, the bike will be available from a 44cm through to a 62cm, and in five different colours: Mars Orange, Black on Black, Black Lava, Red Magma and Team Sky.


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‘My legs look tired’: Tour de France rider Pawel Poljanski posts photo of veined limbs

Photo of Bora-Hansgrohe rider Pawel Poljanski’s legs goes viral after he posts it to Instagram after riding Tour de France stage 16

Pawel Poljanski may spend his days working hard as a largely unseen domestique for his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the 2017 Tour de France, but he found fame on Tuesday after posting a photograph of his legs online.

The Polish pro snapped a photograph of his veined legs and posted it on Instagram, saying “After sixteen stages I think my legs look little tired“.

The photo was soon being shared all over social media, with a predictably wide variety of responses from disgust to admiration.

>>> Tour de France 2017: Latest news, reports and race info

“One paper cut and you’re dead,” joked one user.

“Can’t make out if it’s legs or a roadmap?” said another.

“Wow that’s dedication. Looks painful. Keep going, I have been watching every night. Awesome work guys,” was one more supportive remark.

Others were more concerned with his tan lines: “What’s worse, those legs or your farmer tan?”

Poljanski is not alone among professional cyclists in having prominent veins in their legs, a by-product of a vascular system that has to deal with the effort of racing for four to six hours, or more, a day.

Canadian pro rider Antoine Duchesne posted a similar photo of his legs prior to the 2017 Tour, although he was ultimately not selected to ride in the race by his French Direct Energie team.

And in 2014, Polish rider Bartosz Huzarksi caused a similar stir on social media by posting a photo of his veined legs after after stage 18 of that year’s Tour.

Poljanski and his legs now face a tough challenge at the 2017 Tour, with two gruelling mountain stages in the Alps.

The 27-year-old currently lies in 75th place overall, just under two hours adrift of Froome. That makes him the second-placed in his team on general classification after German Emanuel Buchmann in 16th.

The Bora-Hansgrohe team had largely built itself around the points classification aims of world champion Peter Sagan, but had to refocus after Sagan was disqualified on stage four as a result of an incident with Mark Cavendish in the bunch sprint.

The 2017 Tour de France concludes in Paris on Sunday, July 23.


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Chris Froome: These next two days are the biggest of the Tour de France

The defending champion says much of the race will be decided on the slopes of the Col du Galibier and the summit finish to the Col d’Izoard

Chris Froome says the 2017 Tour de France classification men are facing the biggest days so far, Wednesday and Thursday, over the Col du Galibier and the Col d’Izoard summit finishes.

Stage 17 tomorrow climbs to 2,642 metres over the Galibier and descends 28 kilometres down to Serre Chevalier. The 18th stage, for the first time in Tour history, finishes on top of the Col d’Izoard at 2,360 metres.

>>> Alberto Contador uncertain about Tour de France return in 2018

Making the days more intense, only 29 seconds separate the top four. Team Sky’s Froome leads Fabio Aru (Astana) by 18 seconds, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) by 23 and Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac) by 29.

“I believe these next two days are the biggest consecutive days in this Tour de France,” the three-time Tour victor told press after a wind-swept day to Romans-sur-Isère on Tuesday.

The Tour favourites are still locked together by the tightest of margins (Sunada)

“It’s hard to say how selective they are going to be or if it will be the case the four of us within a half minute chasing each others’ shadows, or if it its going to get blown open.”

Aru, Bardet and Urán will want to blow it up or risk losing the Tour on the final testing day on Saturday, the 22.5-kilometre trial in Marseille. That stage suits Froome over the others.

“None of the four of us knows how it’ll go,” Aru said on the rest day. “We are all more or less on the same level in the time trials, so you will be treated to a big show on these mountain days ahead, stages 17 and 18. There will be many attacks.”

In Froome’s favour, his Basque team-mate Mikel Landa sits fifth overall at 1-17 minutes.

“Landa and I are both feeling well,” Froome said. “My goal this season was to be that way in the third week, and I’m looking forward to these next days now in the Alps.

“I think tomorrow is going to be a race for us to control. Our guys are feeling good, we had a great recovery, we didn’t have to do much riding today expect for the final. We are just looking to the next days, especially in the Alps.”

He worries about the 30-year-old Colombian and former Sky rider, Urán. He finished twice already in the Giro d’Italia.


Watch: A guide to the Col d’Izoard


“We are all within 30 seconds, if we all went into the time trial as we are now, Rigoberto Urán would be the most dangerous given he’s the best time triallist in that group, but given that, we have to see how he gets through the next stages.”

Froome survived a hectic stage 16 where winds blew strongly through the Rhône Valley.

Sunweb exploded the race early for a sprint win by Michael Matthews and Sky, with 16 kilometres remaining, initiated a split that caught Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) off guard.

“It was quite a challenging stage, with the selection coming not long after that climb, meant that the GC guys were far up in the front and ready for that split,” Froome added.

“A few guys got caught out, Dan Martin especially because his team-mates were back with Marcel Kittel.”


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Will British players end Birkdale drought? The Open challengers from home and abroad

The Claret Jug outside the Royal Birkdale clubhouse

Let’s set expectation levels early. No golfer from Great Britain or Northern Ireland has ever won The Open at Royal Birkdale.

In nine previous Open Championships on the Southport links, stretching back to 1954, there have been two Australian winners, five Americans and an Irishman.

And there are some fine champions among them. Australian Peter Thomson won the first and last of his five majors there, while Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Jonny Miller have all raised the Claret Jug at “arguably the best Open venue”.

Those are the words of Tommy Fleetwood, the local lad who lived five minutes up the road and “used to sneak on” when he was a boy. He may be a little biased of course but he’s a real contender to become the first Englishman to win The Open since Nick Faldo in 1992.

In fact, since Faldo won the last of his three Open Championships, only Scotland’s Paul Lawrie – at Carnoustie in 1999 – and Northern Irish duo Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014) from these shores have been crowned champion golfer of the year.

So, what hope a home winner this time?

The Fleetwood factor

Tommy Fleetwood signing autographs at Royal Birkdale

Fleetwood is the name on everyone’s lips. The 26-year-old has risen to a career-high 14th in the world rankings, from 188th last September. Four top-10 finishes towards the end of last season began the journey and two victories this year, including the French Open a couple of weeks ago have catapulted him into the limelight.

He also finished fourth at the US Open in June, having being joint leader at halfway. So he is clearly in form.

Fleetwood “grew up on the local municipal” but admitted “I might have bunked on the odd time and hit the odd shot” at Birkdale.

“The fifth was the place that used to be a lot more open but it’s got fences and bushes there now. You can try [sneaking on]. I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a lot tougher these days.”

His first Open experience was as a young spectator at Birkdale when Mark O’Meara won in 1998.

“That was the dream,” he continued. “I’d love to speak to my seven-year-old self and tell him what was going to happen in 20 years.

“To be talked about as having a chance to win The Open is something new to deal with but I’d rather have that than have nobody talk about it. To come back to your home and have a chance to win The Open is special.”

The home challenge

World number four Rory McIlroy has had a year hampered by rib and back problems and although he is now playing pain-free, he conceded: “It is something I am going to have to manage until the end of the year.”

He added: “I am just going to have a nice rest period when I don’t have to touch a club and let it heal. Then hopefully I’ll be 100% for next year.”

The 2014 champion heads to the north-west coast on the back of three missed cuts in his past four events.

The last of those was at the Scottish Open on Friday but the 28-year-old said: “If it gives me a couple of extra days to learn this golf course then I don’t really mind.

“I feel like my game is not far away and I can be ready to go on Thursday.”

Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose

Justin Rose has never bettered his tied-fourth finish as an amateur in his Open debut at Birkdale in 1998, when he chipped in from around 50 yards for a birdie on the last.

He is hoping to regain the “innocence” of that performance to “kind of close the book in a way on my Open Championship story”.

Rose, now 36, added the Olympic title in 2016 to his solitary major – the 2013 US Open – and is ranked 12th in the world, the best of the 12 Englishman in the top 100. Only Paul Casey (16) and Tyrrell Hatton (24) are in the top 25 though.

Ian Poulter,another Englishman to have gone close at Birkdale, finishing second to Padraig Harrington in 2008, was tied for the lead after three rounds of the Scottish Open before falling away in the final round.

If last week’s result is an indicator of form, keep an eye on Callum Shinkwin. The world number 405 would have won the title had he parred the 18th.

And can you ever count out Lee Westwood, teeing it up at his 78th major? Is 2017 finally his year after a record nine top-three finishes in majors without winning one?

Scottish hopes rest with Richie Ramsey, Martin Laird and Russell Knox. Ramsey fared the best in his home tournament at Dundonald Links, being the only one of the three to make the cut.

Laird is playing his first Open since 2013, while Knox is competing in his third.

Sandy Lyle, Open champion in 1985, returns to the scene of two of his less glorious days. He walked off the course midway through his opening round in 2008, having also failed to finish his second round in 1991.

The Spanish charge

Masters champion Sergio Garcia is getting married the weekend after The Open but insists his focus “is where it has to be” as he looks to continue a sparkling run of success for Spain.

Compatriots Jon Rahm and Rafael Cabrera Bello were victorious at the Irish and Scottish Opens respectively in the weeks preceding The Open.

And Garcia, 37, said: “Winning the Masters does give you a little bit of extra confidence and I’ve been having a very solid year.

“I am confident about my possibilities and after winning at Augusta I still want to push hard and get more majors.”

Jon Rahm at the Irish Open

Rahm, 22, only turned professional in June 2016 but he has won on both the PGA and European Tours, with his six-shot victory at Portstewart helping him to seventh in the world rankings.

The Basque-born golfer is the same age as his idol Seve Ballesteros was when he won his first Open, having shot to prominence three years earlier with a runner-up finish at Birkdale in 1976.

“If I could do a quarter of whatever he did, I’d probably be satisfied with my career,” said Rahm. “To whoever compares me to him, I’m never going to be Seve. Seve was so unique, so special.”

He is taking part in his fourth major, having missed the cut at last month’s US Open and finishing tied for 59th on his Open debut last year.

The champion

Henrik Stenson and R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers

Padraig Harrington was the last man to defend the title successfully, winning his second Open at Birkdale in 2008.

And the Irishman is not lacking in confidence this week. “I think I’m a credible contender on any golf course, but bring me to a links golf course and it gives me an advantage for sure,” he said.

However, the past seven majors have all been won by a different name, starting with Jason Day’s victory at the 2015 US PGA Championship.

And Sweden’s Henrik Stenson has admitted that his current unconvincing form means he is only “living in hope” that he can emulate Harrington.

“Looking at my record, it’s always been the Open Championship and the US PGA I’ve performed best in,” said the champion golfer of 2016. “Those are the two we have left this year, so we better get at it.”

The US challenge

World number one Dustin Johnson has three top-10 finishes in his past six Opens, perhaps laying to rest the notion that he does not have the patience to plot his way round a links golf course.

He remains favourite with the bookmakers but, like McIlroy, his season has been dogged by injury. He pulled out of the Masters in April on the first tee and missed the cut at the US Open, the scene of his solitary major win in 2016.

(l-r) Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth had a sensational 2015, winning the first two majors of the year and finishing tied fourth at The Open and second at the US PGA Championship. However, the Texan has failed to reach those heights again since letting slip a five-shot lead at the 2016 Masters.

A victory at last month’s Travelers Championship saw him match Tiger Woods in reaching 10 PGA Tour wins at the age of 23 and the world number three says he feels “fresh and ready to go” after taking “a few weeks’ break”.

Unusually for an American, US Open champion Brooks Koepka began his career on the European Tour, winning his card during the 2013 season before giving it up in 2015. The 27-year-old has a best finish of tied 10th in his three previous Opens.

After finishing in the top five in all four majors in 2014, including tied second at The Open, Rickie Fowler failed to post another top-five until this year’s US Open. He was well placed at both Erin Hills, and Augusta at the Masters, but poor final rounds proved costly.

The 28-year-old has proved he can play links golf, with victory at the 2015 Scottish Open.

And don’t count out last year’s runner-up Phil Mickelson. Winner in 2013, the left-hander had an enthralling battle with Stenson at Troon but ended up second for the 11th time at a major.

He made his Open debut at Birkdale in 1991 and was denied the Silver Medal for being low amateur by Lincolnshire’s Jim Payne, who shot a level-par 70 in the company of Jack Nicklaus.

The global challenge

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama is the form man of the year, having won five titles in the past 12 months to become the first Japanese player to reach number two in the world rankings.

His record in majors over the past year is also excellent. He was joint second at the US Open, having finished 11th at the Masters and fourth at last year’s US PGA Championship, and has one top-10 in four Opens.

Adam Scott and Jason Day are both major winners and the Australians have also contested at Opens, with the former having an excellent run of three top-five finishes from 2011, while the latter was tied fourth a couple of years ago.

South Korea’s Kim Si-woo is ranked 32nd in the world and making his Open debut. In May he became the youngest winner of the Players Championship at the age of 21. He followed that with a decent US Open, only falling away in the final round to finish joint 13th.

The course

Five-time Open champion JH Taylor was instrumental in the layout, which sees the fairways following the valleys between the sand dunes and affords great views for spectators.

The 7,150-yard track plays as a par 70 and first staged The Open in 1954, having originally been scheduled to host in 1940 when the championship was cancelled because of World War Two.

Birkdale was afforded ‘Royal’ status in 1951 and twice hosted the Ryder Cup in the 1960s, the second time being the one at which Jack Nicklaus famously conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin that saw the contest end tied.

Key holes

Players on the par-three seventh at Royal Birkdale

6 – 499 yards, par four

The left-to-right dog-leg was the hardest hole during each of the past two Opens at Birkdale.

Even a decent drive, avoiding the bunkers protecting the fairway, will leave an approach of around 200 yards into a green that sits above the fairway, angles from left to right and is guarded by three bunkers.

12 – 183 yards, par three

The first short hole on the back nine features a green built into a sand dune which is well protected by deep bunkers and banks of rough grass. If the wind blows, finding the green will be tough.

16 – 438 yards, par four

A long, straight drive is required to find a narrow fairway. Another elevated green awaits, protected by five bunkers. The hole is famous for a shot played by the late Arnold Palmer from a bush on the right side of the fairway on the way to winning his first Open in 1961.

17 – 567 yards, par five

One of only two par fives on the course, the 17th played as the easiest hole in 2008 and is a good birdie opportunity. Harrington eagled the hole twice, including in the final round, as he won his second Claret Jug nine years ago.

The weather

BBC weather forecast for Southport

Of course, the weather is a huge factor at any Open Championship. High winds and storms have wrecked many a card over the years.

The BBC forecast suggests a breezy but sunny Thursday, followed by a dry Friday morning, with showers in the afternoon. Saturday and Sunday looks set for a mixture of showers and sunshine.

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5 Thoughts of A Floridian at A New England Swim Meet

Photo Courtesy: Vivian Nguyen

By Maddie Strasen, Swimming World College Intern.

This past weekend, New England swimmers gathered at Brown University for the New England Senior Championships. Growing up in Florida, my championship meet was always Florida Senior Championships or Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, held in Orlando or Coral Springs (two pools I know like the back of my hand).

I was nervous about the new environment and new people that would come with my first New England meet. Although it was a very different experience from Florida swimming, I was thrilled to be able to swim in a new pool, see some fast races from swimmers I had never heard of before, and soak in the team oriented atmosphere.

Here are five thoughts I had as a Floridian at a New England swim meet…

1. Why have I never heard of these people before?

bluefish swim club champions new england

Photo Courtesy: Bluefish Swim Club

New England swimmers are underratedly fast. I found myself wondering why I had never heard of the names of these swimmers who were crushing the competition. I underestimated New England swimming and its capability to produce incredibly dedicated swimmers at such a young age. Even at a senior level meet, there were swimmers under the age of 13 who competed and even made finals.

2.  It’s weird that no one here knows who I am.

Caitlin-Daday-friends

Photo Courtesy: Caitlin Daday

When I was trying to hop in the warm down pool, I heard someone behind me yell, “Maddie, how did you do?” I was fully prepared to turn around and rant about how my 200 freestyle didn’t go as I planned, however, I saw the swimmer who had called my name walk up to one of his teammates and begin talking to her about her swim. How did I expect someone at this meet to know who I was and even address me by name? Lucky for me, not knowing anyone got me out of having to explain how my swims went to anyone who asked (simply because no one asked).

3. How does everyone know each other?

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

New England swimming might have some fast swimmers, but there is no debating that it is a very small environment. Everyone seems to know everyone. My teammates at Vermont discussed the competition before and during the meet, throwing names left and right, and said “hi” to at least 50 people over the course of the weekend.

4. I love these caps.

lin-esther-100-im-2-ncap-invitational-2016

Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

It seems weird for me to think that, but this was a prominent thought in my head every single day of the meet. Every day I found a new swim cap color that I loved. My swim caps in Florida were all black, and from what I remember, almost everyone’s teams at home have the basic colors of black, gray, and red (with a few others thrown into the mix). Throughout the meet, I saw blue, red, pink, yellow, black, white, and orange caps, and I’m probably missing a few. The pool deck looked so colorful and fun.

5. Do we do that in Florida?

morning-long-course-outside-pool

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

I can’t really tell if some of the funny things that happen in New England swimming also happen in Florida swimming. For example, my teammates seemingly knowing everyone on the pool deck might not be as weird as I think it is. Maybe I know more people in the Florida swimming world than I think I do, and they would think the same of me if they had gone to a Florida meet. Furthermore, the New England swimming vibe seemed extremely political and tense. Although there are politics throughout the swimming community, I find myself wondering if Florida swimming can be that way, too.

In the long run, although there are many differences between different groups of USA Swimming. The swimming world is small and close-knit – we can all find solace in sharing a sport that we all love across the country and even across the world.

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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