Swim Poll of the Week: Who Thought That a Man Would Break 1:30 in the 200 Free at the NCAAs?

This is the Swim Poll Of The Week for Wednesday, March 29, 2017, sponsored by Strechcordz Swim Training Products. In our last poll, we wanted to know: Will a Man Break 1:30 in the 200 Free at the NCAA Championships?

The answer turned out to be “No,” as Townley Haas ended up winning the NCAA title in the event in 1:30.65, off his own American record of 1:30.46. But what did everyone think would happen?

Here are the answers:

Yes, Absolutely (48%)

No, But Very Close (48%)

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Riptide’s Regan Smith Commands Indy Sectionals Psych Sheets

Photo Courtesy: Donna Nelson

By Katie Wingert, Swimming World College Intern. 

All eyes will be on fifteen-year-old Regan Smith of Riptide Swim Team this week at the Indianapolis installment of long course Speedo Sectionals. The Indiana University Natatorium, given only a few days to recover from the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, will host some of the fastest young swimmers in the country, including the “Riptide Rocket,” Smith, from March 30 through April 2.

Smith currently owns the top seed in the 100 back (for which she holds the National Age Group Record for ages 13-14, a time of 1:00.26), the 200 back, the 100 butterfly, and the 200 butterfly. The Riptide swimmer is also seeded second in the 200 IM to twenty-year-old Vien Thi Ahn Nguyen, a former Vietnamese Olympian who trains in St. Augustine, Florida. Nguyen, who is swimming unattached at the meet, will enter the 200 and 400 freestyle events, as well as the 400 IM, as top seed. She is seeded second to the University of Cincinnati’s Geraldine Huffner in the 200 breaststroke.

In the sprint events, Mako Swim Team’s Anya Goederswho currently holds the second-fastest 50 freestyle time of all time for 15-and 16-year-olds–will aim to maintain her first seed and break Simone Manuel‘s NAG mark of 24.80. Meanwhile, Grace Ariola of Waves Bloomington will look for victory in the 100.

Other meet highlights include Emma Nordin of Carmel Swim Club, heading up the 800 freestyle entries, Bryn Handley, swimming unattached and leading the field in the 1500, and Jinq En Phee, a Malaysian swimmer who trains at Purdue, competing as the number-one seed in the 100 breast.  

On the men’s side, there are fewer overpowering presences, but the field is nonetheless thick with talent. Sean Lehane of Academy Bullets Swim Club will look to defend his top spots in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes, while Nils Wich-Glasen from the University of South Carolina, swimming unattached, similarly dominates the psych sheets for the men’s 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

The 200 and 400 freestyle specialist of the meet appears to be Felix Auboeck, also swimming unattached from the University of Michigan. Michael Weiss, swimming unattached owns the top spot in two events as well: the 100 freestyle and the 200 IM.Michigan Lakeshore’s Spencer Carl enters the 100 butterfly as the favorite, but he is the second seed in the 200 to Flynn MinuthMichael Seo, swimming unattached, leads the field in the 50 freestyle.

Harrison Homans of Bluefish Aquatics leads the way in the 400 IM, and his teammate, William Barao, does the same in the 800 freestyle. The longest distance event, the 1500, is led by Jack Karofsky of Scarlet Aquatics, who enters the event with a time seven seconds faster than his closest competitor.

The full psych sheet is available here.

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Recon Ride: Tour of Flanders – Podcast

The hype has been building through tune-up race after tune-up race, but the Tour of Flanders is finally here this Sunday. The biggest event on the Flemish cycling calendar, it might as well be a national holiday – and from an exciting racing standpoint, it rarely disappoints.

Defending champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and a seemingly unstoppable Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) are the red-hot favourites for a high-calibre showdown on some of cycling’s most famous Classics climbs, including the Muur van Geraardsbergen, back for the 2017 edition of the race.

The Recon Ride takes a closer look at the route and the start list – with some pro insight from rising star Oliver Naesen of AG2R La Mondiale – ahead of De Ronde.

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Courtney Harnish, Maxwell McHugh Lead 2017 Short Course YMCA Nationals Psych Sheets

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/ProSwimVisuals.com

The 2017 Short Course YMCA National Championships start Monday evening in Greensboro, NC. The meet will likely see a few familiar teams at the top of the rankings and a number of familiar names and national record holders returning to the top of the podium.

Among those swimmers who repeatedly find themselves at the top of the rankings, here are four swimmers to watch next week.

Women

Courtney Harnish

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

York YMCA’s Courtney Harnish has made a notable impact on YMCA swimming. The now senior has her name etched on five short course YMCA National records: the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relays and the 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

Harnish enters this year’s meet as the top seed in four events: the 200, 500, and 1650 freestyle and 200 butterfly. She’s also the second seed in the 1000, only behind her younger teammate Leah Braswell, and is also entered 11th in the 200 backstroke. She’ll have to scratch down to race only four of those events.

The University of Georgia commit‘s closest competition will likely come from Caitlin Tycz in the 200 butterfly. The USC commit from Bath Area is seeded just a second behind Harnish. Tycz took down the 100 butterfly National Record last year and edged Harnish for the title in that event. Tycz returns as the top seed in the 100 butterfly.

Sydney Baker

Greater Spartanburg’s Sydney Baker is in the mix for a National Title in a number of events. The UNC commit is the top seed in the 200 IM and the 200 breaststroke. She’s also entered third in the 400 IM and second in the 100 breaststroke.

Baker is entered just four tenths behind Cheshire’s Brooke Perrotta in the 100 breaststroke. She’s within striking distance of Boise’s Abbey Erwin, and future UNC teammate Mary O Soule (Western North Carolina) in the 400 IM.

Fanwood Scotch Plains Relays

The women from Fanwood Scotch Plains enter the meet with three top relay seeds: the 200 and 400 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

At last year’s meet the team touched third in the 400 freestyle relay, with a team of two 15, a 16, and a 17 year old so that whole team should return in their quest for first. Last year’s 200 medley squad was disqualified while the 400 medley relay team touched tenth.

Men

Maxwell McHugh

Door County YMCA’s Maxwell McHugh heads to Greensboro leading the way in both breaststroke events. He’ll also be a factor in the 200 IM, entering the event with the fourth fastest time.

McHugh set the National record in both breaststrokes last year. He’s already seeded three seconds faster than he went in last year’s 200 IM final where he finished ninth.

While McHugh has solid leads entering both breaststrokes Eau Claire Wisconsin’s Paul DeLakis is second seed to him in both events. DeLakis is also top seed in both IMs.

Grant House

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/ProSwimVisuals.com

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/ProSwimVisuals.com

Countryside Ralph Stolle’s Grant House is also in the mix with McHugh and DeLakis in the breaststroke events. House is also second seed in the 200 IM.

The Arizona State commit is far ahead of the field in the 200 freestyle. House won the event last year. He’s seeded two seconds faster than he went last year and a second under the National Record. After a successful Ohio high school state meet, House should be on track to take down that 1:35.66 mark.

Sarasota Relays

The team from Sarasota has the fastest time in the 400 and 800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. The team has an impressive lead margin in the 400 freestyle relay where nobody is within four seconds of them. In the meet’s longest relay, Sarasota leads the way by eight seconds.

The Sharks set the National Record in the 800 freestyle relay last year and won the 400 medley relay by a slim margin in 2016.

The full psych sheets are available here.

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Penny Oleksiak to Lead Strong Field at Canadian Swimming Trials (Psych Sheets)

Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Swimming Canada has posted the psych sheet for its World Championship Trials, scheduled to take place April 6-9 in Victoria, British Columbia. All of Canada’s individual Olympic medalists from 2016, Penny OleksiakKylie Masse and Hilary Caldwell, are scheduled to attend.

Check out the full psych sheet by clicking here.

Oleksiak is seeded first in both the 100 free and 100 fly, second in the 200 free, fourth in the 50 fly and 13th in the 50 free. Masse is tops in the field in both the 50 and 100 back and is third in the 200 IM and 200 back, and Caldwell is first in the 200 back, third in the 100 back and 10th in the 200 IM.

Sydney PickremKierra Smith and Alexia Zevnik, all runners-up in an an individual event at the women’s NCAA championships, will be competing for a spot on their country’s World Championships Team, but Noemie Thomas, an Olympian last year who swims for Cal, is not entered.

Pickrem (Texas A&M) finished second in the 400 IM in Indianapolis, while Smith (Minnesota) came in just behind Lilly King in the 200 breast. Zevnik (NC State) finished second in the 200 back.

Also not entered is Santo Condorelli, a Canadian national who had a quiet performance at the men’s NCAA meet but was fourth in the 100 free in Rio. In his stead, Yuri Kisil is the top seed in both the 50 (22.23) and 100 free (48.28).

Several notable Canadians have retired since Rio, including distance stars Ryan Cochrane and Brittany MacLean, as well as butterflyer Audrey Lacroix, who has been representing Canada internationally since 2004.

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Derya Buyukuncu Hired as Sprint Coach for Mission Viejo Nadadores

Photo Courtesy: Mission Viejo Nadadores

Derya Buyukuncu has been hired as a new sprint coach at the Mission Viejo Nadadores, according to associate head coach Mark Schubert. Buyukuncu will work primarily with the sprint group but will assist with the coaching of all senior athletes.

Buyukuncu swam in six Olympics for Turkey and won bronze medals at both the World Short Course and European championships in the 100 back in 2000.

“I think this really gives our program a new dimension,” Schubert said. “I’m excited to have someone who’s had a world-class career as a backstroker and sprinter to work with our sprinters. It just gives us a whole new aspect, which we’re excited about.”

Schubert is currently working under Bill Rose at Mission Viejo and will take over as the permanent head coach when Rose retires at the end of 2017. Schubert was previously the head coach at Mission Viejo during the 1970s and 1980s.

Buyukuncu swam at Olympics in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, and he and Sweden’s Lars Frolander are the only men to compete in six different Olympics. Buyukuncu also swam for the University of Michigan from 1994 until 1998, breaking conference records in both backstroke events and twice being named Big Ten swimmer of the year.

He continues to hold the long course Turkish records in both Olympic backstroke events (from 2008) at 55.05 (100 back) and 1:58.82 (200 back).

He has also appeared on popular television shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “Survivor.”

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University of North Dakota Cuts Swimming and Diving Program Amid Budget Cuts

The University of North Dakota has announced that the school will terminate its women’s and men’s swimming and diving program, along with its women’s hockey program, effective at the end of this school year.

Baseball and men’s golf were previously discontinued at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

School President Mark Kennedy had previously announced in October that the school would not be eliminating any athletic programs after swimming and diving had been one of six on the chopping block. But in January, the athletic department announced that it would need to cut a further $1.3 million from the school budget, according to the UND press release.

“This was a difficult decision. It’s a sad day when opportunities for student-athletes are reduced,” athletic director Brian Faison said, according to the release. “The University is going through campus-wide, state-mandated budget cuts. As a part of the University, we need to do what is in the long-term, best interests of the University, as well as the best interests of the athletics department.”

Kennedy also commented on the decision.

“This is a painful step to take for all parties involved, including me, but it is necessary given today’s budget realities,” Kennedy said. “My heart goes out to all those who are disrupted by this change. We are proud of the way they have represented UND.”

The school did announce that all scholarships for athletes on the discontinued teams will be honored.

The College Swim Coaches Association of America was involved in the original efforts to save the team in the fall, and CSCAA executive Joel Shinofield joined alumni, coaches and swimmers at meeting where they fought to save their team, which they thought at the time they had done successfully.

In a comment to Swimming World, Shinofield called North Dakota’s decision “short-sighted.”

“The teams at North Dakota, when tuition revenue and economic impact are taken into account, are economic positives for UND and the state of North Dakota,” Shinofield said. “Dropping these teams will eventually have a negative financial impact to the overall bottom line and eliminate programs that attract the best and brightest to North Dakota.”

Click here to find the full press release from the University of North Dakota.

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‘Physical block’ the only way to stop riders using paths instead of cobbles

Riders have always looked to find away the rough cobbles of the Classics, and organisers are struggling to stop them

Classics organisers must “physically block” cyclists from avoiding the cobbled roads for the smooth shoulders because it “is the only solution,” say teams.

The UCI issued a 200 Swiss Franc fine to each of the 15 cyclists in the lead group, including eventual winner Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors), in the Three Days of De Panne’s first stage on Tuesday. They had avoided the cobbles in favour of the smooth sidewalk ahead of the Berendries.

>>> Let’s end confusion over the interpretation of road racing’s rules

In another incident, Marco Haller (Katusha) cut through the inside of a curve in Geraardsbergen ahead of the Muur. Though he was still riding on cobbles, he nearly ran into a spectator.

“I know, I was a former rider. If the area is open, the riders will take it,” Lotto-Soudal sports director, Frederik Willems told Cycling Weekly.

“It’s up to the UCI and the organisation to block the roads. Besides the Tour of Flanders, the shoulder is never blocked on the climbs. Why do they block it in Flanders and not the other races? We need to physically block them, that is the only solution.”

The UCI introduced new rules for 2014 prohibiting riding “off-road” after several incidents with spectators.

Inconsistency helped give way to confusion and rogue cyclists. In the recent Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, critics bashed the lead group with Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan and Sep Vanmarcke for riding on the pavement instead of the cobbles.

“If they see Greg and Peter on the paths and they don’t get punished, the riders think, why should we not also do it?” added Willems. “There is only one solution, blocking the path next to the cobblestones.”


Watch: How to ride on cobbles


“They give all the men in the breakaway fines yesterday, but then you see the main group doing the same and they are not punished,” said Quick-Step Sports Director Rick Van Slycke. “And there were other incidents gone unpunished, like when riders were pacing behind cars after the Muur to rejoin.

“To control all of it you need many race commissioners on motorbikes, and it becomes impossible to have so many men and to police everything.

“When they go on the sidewalks with people then I think they should be fined because that’s not allowed and it’s not good. Barriers? Yes, but that’s not possible for them to do everywhere.”

Italian Filippo Pozzato (Wilier-Selle Italia) had not realised that the jury fined his colleagues for riding on the sidewalk. Regardless, he said that he does not do so.

“Why do they do it? Because they’re stupid!” he said with a laugh.

“The UCI has its new rule in the last two years says that you can’t ride on sidewalks, but everybody goes on them and they never give a fine, so it serves very little.

“Some go over the roundabout. If you’re going over the roundabout then you need to be disqualified, otherwise the rules serve nothing.”

Trucks carrying racks of barriers rolled westwards down the E40 motorway yesterday evening to prepare for the Three Days of De Panne’s second stage today. It is an “impossible” solution to put them everywhere, however.

“The rider’s they will try to pass anywhere. It’s impossible to put barriers everywhere. Some riders are just stupid and they go anywhere and risk everything all the time,” continued Pozzato.

“The rule has to be followed, otherwise there’s no point having a rule.”


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Miami Open: Johanna Konta beats Simona Halep to reach semi-finals

Johanna Konta

British number one Johanna Konta produced a superb battling display to reach the Miami Open semi-finals with victory over Romania’s Simona Halep.

Tenth seed Konta gave up the only break of the first set but hit back to race into a 3-0 lead early in the second.

Third seed Halep recovered to force a tie-break but Konta dug deep to take it to a decider, which she won at a canter en route to a 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 win.

Konta now faces either Venus Williams or world number one Angelique Kerber.

The other semi-final will be between Caroline Wozniacki and Karolina Pliskova.

Halep, who saved a match point in her win over Sam Stosur in the previous round, edged an even first set thanks to a lone break of the Konta serve, but struggled at the start of the second as Konta took control.

The Briton was just a point away from opening a 4-0 lead but that was the cue for Halep to push again, claiming a vital hold and breaking in the next to get the set back on service.

“I went up to a 3-0 lead and had chances to go 4-0 up, but she’s an incredible player and I knew it wouldn’t be over until we shook hands,” said Konta.

An unpredictable second set was decided in Konta’s favour after a scrappy tie-break, after which a clearly rattled Halep was unable to find her rhythm as Konta eased away to victory in two and a half hours.

“I’m really happy to have come through and am looking forward to the next round,” added Konta. “It’s going to be a tough one.”

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ANA Inspiration 2017: Catriona Matthew aims to keep up as majors begin

Catriona Matthew

Catriona Matthew says “everyone’s upping their game” as the major season begins on Thursday.

Matthew, who won the Women’s British Open in 2009, features at the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, California.

The Scot was impressed with the low scoring in the Kia Classic, which was won by Lee Mi-rim on 13 under par – eight shots ahead of Matthew.

“Women’s golf is on the up, without a doubt,” Matthew told BBC Sport.

“It’s definitely picked up a lot in the last 10 years.

“There’s been some great play, great scoring this year so far. Last week, the scoring usually is not particularly low in that golf course and the course was no different yet the scoring was super low.

“Everyone’s upping their game and I’ll need to keep working away.”

Asked if she was relishing the challenge of keeping up, Matthew replied: “Yeah, absolutely.”

Of Mission Hills, the Scot said: “It’s in great shape but it’s what you expect here.

“The fairways are good, the rough’s thick. It’s not ridiculous, once you get to mid-to-longer irons, it’s a struggle. Obviously, key to try to keep it on the fairways because the greens are only going to get firmer. The greens are perfect.

“I’m very excited. I’ve always enjoyed this course, enjoyed the place here. Very windy yesterday and today and I think, so they say, it’s going to be windy Thursday, Friday so that’ll be a challenge.

“Everyone says you never get windy weather over here but I’ve played in enough wind over here.

“In this kind of wind, these courses are kind of different – not designed for playing in very windy weather so it makes it more challenging. You can’t run the ball up on as many holes as you can, perhaps, at home [in Scotland].”

Catriona Matthew was speaking to Iain Carter

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