BMW International: Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson trail leaders by one shot

Sergio Garcia

BMW International second round
-9 J Lagergren (Swe), J Stalter (Fra); -8 S Garcia (Spa), H Stenson (Swe), R Bland (Eng), T Detry (Bel), R Karlberg (Swe)
Selected others: -7 M Southgate (Eng); -6 T Fleetwood (Eng) Full leaderboard

Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson are one shot off the pace after the second round of the BMW International.

Spaniard Garcia, playing his first event in Europe since winning the Masters, shot a two-under 70 on Friday, leaving him eight under par overall.

Sweden’s Stenson, the 2016 winner, carded a three-under 69 in his second round as he continued preparations for a defence of his Open title in July.

The pair are a shot behind Swede Joakim Lagergren and France’s Joel Stalter.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who finished fourth at the US Open on Sunday, is tied for 11th, three strokes adrift of the leaders in Munich.

But compatriot Richard Bland moved level with Garcia and Stenson with a second-round 69.

Fellow Englishman Matthew Southgate was one shot further back on seven under par overall.

“I’m not on top of my game by any means but I think it was a good kind of professional fighting display,” Stenson said.

“We kept it pretty tidy, anyway, and made a couple of birdies when we had the chances and didn’t drop too many. You don’t have to be ashamed of three under I guess around here.”

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Peaty, Martinenghi Amond Record Breakers at Day One of 2017 Sette Colli

Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie

The 2017 Sette Colli International kicked off today in Rome, Italy and runs through Sunday, June 25th. Day one of the meet saw a total of three meet records fall, in addition to a new Italian National Record and a World Junior Record by Nicolo Martinenghi.

Women’s 50 Back

Australia’s Holly Barratt dashed to a top showing in the women’s 50 back, setting a new meet record at 27.57. The previous meet record was a 27.67, set in 2016 by Canada’s Kylie Masse. Barratt’s time moves her to fourth in the 2017 world rankings, just behind the Chinese trio of Yuanhui Fu (27.36), Xueer Wang (27.55), and Xiang Liu (27.56).

Etiene Medeiros of Brazil grabbed second overall with a time of 27.82, followed by Simona Baumrtova (27.89) of the Czech Republic.

Men’s 50 Back

Hungary delivered a 1-2 punch in finals of the men’s 50 back as Richard Bohus and Gabor Balog cruised to the finish. Bohus touched first with a final time of 25.04, followed by Balog’s time of 25.12.

Italy’s Matteo Milli rounded out the top three with a time of 25.21.

Women’s 400 Free

Boglarka Kapas collected another win for Hungary with a strong showing in the women’s 400 free. Kapas took charge of the race around the 200 meter mark and never looked back, holding off the competition to finish first with a time of 4:06.05.

Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey fought her way to the podium after flipping seventh at the 150-meter mark. Harvey overtook the Australian duo of Jessica Ashwood and Kiah Melverton, touching with a final time of 4:09.78.

Ashwood and Melverton were third and fourth with times of 4:10.85 and 4:10.98 respectively.

Men’s 400 Free

Park Tae Hwan of South Korea touched first overall in finals of the men’s 400 free, stopping the clock at a time of 3:44.54. That time sits just off his 2017 best of 2:44.38 from the Atlanta stop of the arena pro Swim Series.

Italian Olympian Gabriele Detti finished second overall with a 3:45.88, but is currently ranked second in the 2017 world rankings with a 3:43.36 from the Italian Championships.

Mack Horton of Australia completed the podium with a time of 3:47.58, a few seconds off his 2017 best of 3:44.18.

Women’s 100 Breast

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain capitalized on a strong back half in the women’s 100 breast to grab a close win over the competition. O’Connor turned third at the 50-meter mark behind fellow countrywoman Sarah Vasey (31.34) and Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen (31.45) with a split of 31.57, but turned up the heat and brought the race home with a final time of 1:07.35.

Italy’s Martin Carraro jumped from fourth at the 50-meter mark to second overall with a final time of 1:07.74, while Vasey faded to third and a 1:07.76

Men’s 100 Breast

World Record holder and British Olympian Adam Peaty dominated the competition in the men’s 100 breast, leading the podium trio beneath the one-minute mark. Peaty stoppced the clock at a 58.72, downing the previous meet record of 59.63 set in 2016 by Lithuania’s Giedrius Titenis.

Italy’s Nicolo’ Martinenghi turned in a second place finish of 59.31, slipping beneath the Italian Record of 59.42. His time also improves his own World Junior Record of 59.46, set this spring at the Italian National Championships.

Titenis finished third overall with a time of 59.69.

Women’s 50 Fly

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands collected her first win of the meet in the women’s 50 fly. Kromowidjojo soared to a final time of 25.59, nearing the meet record of 25.23 set in 2015 by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom.

Australia’s Barratt added a silver medal to her collection with a second place finish of 25.91, while Maaike de Waard of the Netherlands was third with a 26.11.

Men’s 100 Fly

South Africa’s Chad le Clos demolished the meet record in the men’s 100 fly, delivering a top time of 51.65. The previous met record was set in 2008 by Australia’s Andrew Lauterstein at a time of 52.14. Le Clos holds the fastest time of 2017, so far, at a 51.29 from the South African Championships.

The Italian duo of Piero Codia and Matteo Rivolta finished second and third, respectively, with times of 51.93 and 52.30.

Women’s 200 Free

Italy’s Federica Pellegrini and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman battled for gold in finals of the women’s 200 free. Coleman jumped to an early lead in the race, while Pellegrini rebounded from a fourth place turn at the 100-meter mark, steadily gaining on Coleman throughout the next 50 meters. Pellegrini powered to a final time of 1:56.16, just off her 2017 best of 1:55.94 from the Italian Championships.

Coleman settled for second and a time of 1:56.49, finishing off her second-ranked 2017 best of 1:55.64.

Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands delivered a third place finish of 1:56.51.

Men’s 50 Free

The men’s 50 free final played host to multiple sprint Olympians from across the continents. Brazil’s Bruno Fratus splashed to the top of the podium with a 21.86, close to his 2017 best of 21.70.

Second was picked up by Great Britain’s Ben Proud, who currently holds the 2017 fastest time at a 21.32. Proud collected the silver with a final time of 21.95, just ahead of Australia’s Cameron McEvoy and his time of 21.96.

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Nicolo Martinenghi Downs 100 Breast World Junior & Italian Records at Sette Colli

World Junior Record holder Nicolo Martinenghi downed the World Junior and Italian National Records in the men’s 100 breast during finals of the first day of competition at the 2017 Sette Colli International.

The men’s 100 breast featured World Record holder Adam Peaty, former meet record holder Giedrius Titenis, and Fabio Scozzoli, the previous holder of the Italian National Record. Swimming against such a talented field of athletes, it should come as little surprise that Martinenghi improved his previous best time of 59.46 to a 59.31.

Martinenghi’s .15 second improvement cleared Scozzoli’s 2011 record of 59.42, which the young Italian came close to this past April at the Italian National Championships.

Comparable splits:

  • Martinenghi (June 2017): 27.54, 31.77 = 59.31
  • Martinenghi (April 2016): 27.65, 31.81 = 59.46

The meet, which plays host to a multitude of international champions, runs from June 23 – 25.

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Synchronized Swimming Establishes Foothold in New York City

Photo Courtesy: Gotham Syncro

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

New York City, the city that spawned stickball, may seem the least hospitable of venues for an activity like synchronized swimming, remembered here mostly for Martin Short and Harry Shearer’s hilarious send-up on Saturday Night Live. Evidence is growing, though, that the sport’s popularity is on the rise in this hard-core urban setting.

“Water ballet,” as it’s known to some, is an exceptionally elegant pursuit; when properly executed, it’s a delight to watch. But it requires dedicated participants, experienced coaches and—most critical—pool time, ingredients not in plentiful supply in Gotham.

aquacade-june-17

The Aquacade, Photo Courtesy: New York Public Library

Such was not always the case. The Aquacade, an Art Deco 11,000 seat amphitheater in Flushing Meadows park in Queens, hosted the most successful show of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, produced by the legendary Billy Rose and starring the likes of Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe and Gertrude Ederle (the first woman to swim the English Channel) along with newcomer Esther Williams. Times and tastes change, however, and the Aquacade fell on hard times.

But “synchro,” an exhausting athletic pursuit, has experienced an uptick of interest in New York due to the dogged persistence of coach and performer Rowena Mohammed and the recent arrivals of Paola Tirados, a silver medalist for Spain at the 2008 Beijing Games, and Emily Kokernak, formerly a synchro coach in Massachusetts.

Mohammed, with more than 30 years’ experience as a choreographer, coach and swimmer, likens synchro to ice skating or ballroom dancing—with the twist that it’s performed in deep water. She herself is a deep well of information describing the distinctly New York version of an aquatic sport that typically thrives where outdoor pools and comfortable weather are the norm.

Since 2006, her club Gotham Synchro, one of two synchro programs in New York City, has worked with male and female athletes of all ages to develop synchronized swim routines. Gotham has sent swimmers to regional and national tournaments, including Age Group Nationals at the Junior Olympics. As a member of USA Synchro’s regional East Zone, Gotham’s younger athletes compete against 30 teams from the New England and Tri-State (CT, NY, NJ) regions as well as Pennsylvania, Maryland and parts of Ohio.

Because pool time is limited, Gotham practices in Manhattan, Westchester and the Bronx: finding pools and committed athletes are the major challenges Mohammed’s club contends with. “New York City is very expensive, so it increases the cost of the program and limits the budgets and commitments of potential swimmers and coaches,” she wrote in an email.

gotham-synchro-02-june-17

Photo Courtesy: Gotham Synchro

Adding that “Children and adults are overscheduled and don’t always have a commitment level that matches their desired goals,” Mohammed regrets that busy parents with demanding professions make it difficult for their children to succeed.  “Like any other sport or activity, swimmers do better when they receive support and assistance from their family.”

But New York does offer some distinct advantages, including a unique breadth of international talent and experiences. Former Gotham swimmers now compete in Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Mohamad also believes that there will be more support for a sport that other parts of the country have not yet embraced. “New Yorkers respect us as the athletes that we are,” she explained. “No one who has attended one of our practices has questioned the talent and training required to perform our sport.”

Imagine Imports a Winner

While Gotham Synchro must fight to find pool time and participants, Imagine Synchro—part of the Imagine Swimming empire—is surely among the city’s most fortunate aquatics programs. The arrival in 2014 of head coach Paola Tirados, a three-time Spanish Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008), and the support of Imagine co-founder Lars Merseburg promises well for the nascent synchro program.

But Tirados, who hails from the Canary Islands, describes the major challenges on her new island (Manhattan) in much the same terms as Mohammed at Gotham Synchro.

paola-synchro-june-17

Imagine Synchro. Photo Courtesy: M. Randazzo

“[It] started with one girl, then a couple of months later I had two girls, but it was so difficult because synchronized swimming is not very popular here,” she said. “It’s popular in California and Florida but not here, because there aren’t enough pools.”

Luckily, Tirados, who moved to New York City four years ago with her husband and fellow Olympian, Dimas Wood, can take advantage of the infrastructure of the city’s largest youth swim program as she builds a competitive team. According to Kate Pelatti, Imagine’s COO, the Spaniard’s vision for an urban synchro program dovetailed perfectly with Imagine’s approach to competition and—more important—the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

“Synchronized swimming was the perfect fit to our overall approach to aquatics because it is expressive, full of movement, fluid and fun,” Pelatti said. “There is nothing quite like dancing across the surface of the water.”

Imagine Synchro is beginning to make its mark in the relatively small world of Northeastern synchronized swimming. This year, for the first time, Tirados’ charges medaled in East Zone competition, success that their coach hopes will lead to better things. “We won a couple of medals in East Zone this year. Maybe next year we can arrive to the Junior Olympics.”

And for Tirados, as important as success in the pool has been the approval of Imagine Synchro’s parents.

Lourdes Escorial’s daughter Claudia has swum with Imagine the past two years. Inspired by watching synchronized swimming at the 2012 London Olympics, Claudia had been a member of a synchro team in Madrid before her father took a New York City-based posting with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Spain’s second largest bank.

Upon arriving in Brooklyn, Escorial looked for a water polo program for her son—which she found at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights—and synchro for her daughter. She was delighted to discover Imagine’s program: “For us it was very surprising [to find synchro in the city]. It’s very common in Spain and in Europe but not here.”

When asked about the impact of Tirados, Escorial was effusive. “The group loves swimming together,” she said. “They have different performances because there are stronger girls and those who only swim one or two times a week. But all of them love synchronized swimming.”

Daniela Raz’s 14-year-old daughter Una had been swimming with Imagine for a number of years but grew bored with lap swim. When Una found that she could combine swimming and dancing with a group outside of the social demands of middle school, she was delighted, as was her mother.

synchro-02-june-17

Imagine Synchro. Photo Courtesy: M. Randazzo

“It’s surreal,” Raz says of the experience of synchro in New York City, “because it’s both very beautiful, ornate and graceful, but it’s also incredibly athletic. You have these kids who are a combination of both…dance and discipline and expressiveness, but also athleticism.”

As with Escorial, the presence of a qualified and knowledgeable coach has had a profound impact on her daughter’s experience of synchro in the city. “Paola has been tough and supportive of being respectful and working hard, but also incredibly generous and thoughtful,” Raz said.

Adults Can Play Too

Gotham and Imagine are not the only synchro programs looking to make a splash in the New York marketplace. There are other up-and-comers, notably Kokernak, a former Age Group and intermediate coach with the Cambridge [Mass.] Synchro Swans.  In 2015, Kokernak started a coed program focused on adults, based out of the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, which welcomes swimmers of all levels and currently has six core members.

FRIENDS OF + POOL : 2017 SUMMER POOL PARTY

Brooklyn Synchro. Photo Courtesy: Matteo Prandoni

Called the Brooklyn Synchro Club, the program initially focused on local opportunities, with club members occasionally performing at benefits and parties. But Kokernak said that three women new to the sport are planning to compete this October at the USA Synchro Masters Nationals in Clermont, Florida.

“I want to be able to offer the synchro experience everyone dreams about, whether it is competing or just learning for fitness and fun,” she said. Despite, or perhaps because of, formal synchronized swimming training and a reliance on FINA (an international federation administering international competition in water sports) technical rules, Kokernak insists that the classes are fun and dynamic.

“I’d love to see more adults try synchro and encourage men and women and girls and boys to seek out a class—it’s a lifelong sport and insanely fun and addictive,” she said enthusiastically.

In a city populated with individuals devoted to some of the most unusual passions, perhaps the idea of a fun, addictive athletic pursuit that involves water is perhaps not so surprising after all.

With Chip Brenner

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Kevin Cordes, Andrew Seliskar Not Listed on Initial Psych Sheet for U.S. Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Editorial content for the 2017 USA Swimming Nationals is sponsored by TritonWear. Visit TritonWear.com for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check out our event coverage page.

Kevin Cordes, an Olympic finalist in both breaststroke events last summer in Rio, and Andrew Seliskar, this year’s NCAA runner-up in the 400 IM, are both absent from the initial psych sheet for next week’s U.S. National Championships.

Cordes has been a consistent presence on the Arena Pro Swim Series all year, so his absence is especially puzzling, while Seliskar has not competed since the NCAA championships.

Swimming World has reached out to determine the reasons for Cordes and Seliskar being absent and will update this story if there are new developments.

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USA Swimming Aims to Revamp Eating Habits with #swimFASTERfood Campaign

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming

USA Swimming is saying bye-bye to fast-food and hello to FASTER food by rising up against poor concession stand choices and overhauling how concession stands are run.  Promoting healthy options with the new #swimFASTERfood campaign, USA Swimming is teaming up with Chobani® and Milk Life to create awareness and educate USA Swimming’s 400,000 members on fueling for better performance.

“Hot dogs, soda, chips, nachos and candy bars are some of the most popular items in swim team concession stands, so we feel there is a better way,” said Matt Farrell, USA Swimming Chief Marketing Officer. “We want to ‘Take a stand against today’s concession stand’ to improve how swimmers of all ages prepare for an event. We can show them that eating healthy doesn’t have to sacrifice taste, cost or ease of purchase.”

The campaign will include amusing short video clips, attention-grabbing taglines that take on today’s eating habits in graphics and other digital assets, featuring four-time Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers, that challenge swimmers and their parents to take action by making smart choices when it comes to nutrition. In addition, a #swimFASTERfood recipe guide will be available in Splash magazine and on www.swimFASTERfood.com.

Watch the #swimFASTERfood video series called “What to Eat at a Meet.”

“This is a Swim-tervention! We all know feeling your best is the key to a great swim, so why fill up with typical concessions stand foods that don’t make us feel that way? We’re here to change that,” said Grevers. “So trade in your muffins for medals and join us in the #swimFASTERfood revolution to build champions and make concessions stands more health friendly.”

To help parents become advocates for change, the campaign seeks to raise awareness that swim meet concessions contain snacks that aren’t fueling young athletes to deliver their best performances.

New research* from the USA Swimming Concessions Survey shows U.S. parents of youth athletes do want healthier options available for purchase at on-site concessions – less than two in five parents agree that concessions help fuel youth athletes to perform their best. The survey also found that:

  • Parents are more likely to describe concessions as being unhealthy than healthy. Only 1% of parents say concessions are healthy.
  • Unaided, one-fourth (24%) of parents describe concessions in terms of their unhealthiness – whether that’s because they’re not very nutritious, are “junk food,” are sugary or are fattening.
  • 79% believe spectators would appreciate having healthier food and beverage options on-site. The top items parents would like to see available for purchase include fresh fruits (whole or sliced), granola/energy bars, string cheese/cheese cubes, nuts or seeds (e.g. almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds), fresh vegetables, yogurt and milk/chocolate milk.
  • 81% of those who always/frequently purchase concessions agree they personally want to see concessions offer healthier choices.
  • More parents bring their own snacks than buy from concessions because bringing their own is cheaper and healthier. 50% of parents who bring food and beverages from home said they do so because it’s a healthier option than what’s available on-site.

In addition to educating athletes about making smarter nutrition choices at youth sporting events, USA Swimming is making a concerted effort to engage parents, as the survey found that:

  • Of the 42% of parents who run or contribute to stocking concessions, 64% are significantly more likely to purchase from concessions than those who rarely or never work concessions (64% vs. 37%).
  • When parents are buying from concessions, they’re typically getting less-than-healthy options, like hot dogs, soda, chips and nachos, and purchasing these items for themselves or their athlete. Consumers may be buying unhealthy options because this is all that concessions offer.

“While a balanced and nutrient dense diet is essential for all children, it is especially important that swimmers are eating foods to fuel their active bodies and minds while spending long days at meets,” said Kelly Jones, Board Certified Sports Dietitian. “USA Swimming is inspiring change at concessions so kids have convenient options to energize them for multiple races that are spread over many hours. Having healthy recovery foods on site also optimizes the swimmer’s ability to race or train again the next day. By partnering with food brands that provide the proper balance of nutrients for fuel and recovery, swimmers and their parents may include more nutritious options while away from the pool, too.”

Additionally, the campaign will feature user-generated content on social media using the hashtag #swimFASTERfood. The swimming community will be encouraged to show support for the cause by posting healthy recipes or taking a stand against processed, high-calorie concession stand foods on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

For more information on the #swimFASTERfood campaign please visit www.swimFASTERfood.com.

*The USA Swimming Concessions Survey was conducted from June 9-10, 2017. Respondents to the survey were selected from Research Now’s consumer panel to reflect a distribution of adults 18 years or older across the U.S. census regions. At the time of the survey, participants had to have at least one child aged 5 to 17 years old who actively participates in competitive youth sports. Without knowledge of USA Swimming’s sponsorship, 500 respondents completed the survey.

About USA Swimming

As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 400,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org.

Press release courtesy of USA Swimming.

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Andy Murray to play two Wimbledon warm-up matches at Hurlingham

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Britain’s Andy Murray has added two exhibition matches to his Wimbledon preparations after he was knocked out in the first round at Queen’s Club.

The Wimbledon champion, 30, will feature at the Aspall Tennis Classic in London next week.

Murray, who lost to Australia’s Jordan Thompson at Queen’s, will be joined by world number six Milos Raonic.

“It’s a great setting and an ideal opportunity to get grass-court practice,” said the Scot.

The world number one has added the event to his schedule following his defeat by Thompson, ranked 90th, at the Aegon Championships on Tuesday.

Murray, who is likely to play on Tuesday and Friday, last played at Hurlingham in 2014 after he lost in the last 16 at Queen’s.

He will begin his Wimbledon defence with the opening match on Centre Court on 3 July.

Canada’s Raonic, who lost to Murray in last year’s final at the All England Club, is playing after suffering a first-round loss at Queen’s, while France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych will also appear.

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Irish Open 2017: Andrew 'Beef' Johnston booked in for Portstewart tournament

English player Andrew 'Beef' Johnston is renowned for his humour and unassuming demeanour

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston has confirmed he will play in next month’s Irish Open at Portstewart, as will fellow Englishman Ian Poulter and Belgian Thomas Pieters.

Johnston, 28, rose to fame last year by winning the Spanish Open and has since come to be regarded as one of the biggest crowd-pleasers in the game.

Pieters, meanwhile, made a huge impression on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine last year.

Poulter has become one of the greats of the modern Ryder Cup era.

Tournament host Rory McIlroy will return home to defend the title he claimed in style last year, while world number two Hideki Matsuyama will make his regular European Tour debut having finished joint runner-up at last week’s US Open.

“This is certainly one of the strongest fields I’ve ever seen for the Irish Open, if not the strongest. It’s really shaping up for an incredible week,” said four-time major winner McIlroy.

“Everybody knows how special this tournament is to me, and to return to Northern Ireland as defending champion, with my Foundation again hosting the event, is a real honour.

“The Northern Irish fans are renowned the world over for their great support. The last two tournaments here in 2012 and 2015 were both sell-outs and the atmosphere was something else.

“I expect it to be the same this time with a field of this depth and such a great venue at Portstewart.”

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