Page 1


speedo

ADAPT TO WHAT’S NEXT

Customize your fit with 4 click-in, interchangeable nose bridge sizes.

SPEEDOUSA.COM


NEW!

finis JAMES GUY 2X OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST, WORLD CHAMPION

Discover more at FINISswim.com


SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY | APRIL 2018 | ISSUE #07 FEATURES 030 008

2018 MEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PHOTO GALLERY by Peter H. Bick

020

While Caeleb Dressel is baffling the world with the way he dominates in the pool, there is another kind of longterm domination happening at the NCAA championships. Purdue diver Steele Johnson has been one of the biggest names in diving for years and hasn’t lost a step — even with a broken foot.

BANDANNA, KIDS AND THE DOWNTO-EARTH CAELEB DRESSEL by David Rieder

At the NCAA championships, Florida coach Gregg Troy had a story to tell about Caeleb Dressel. The story wasn’t about any of his American records or crazy heroics in the pool. Instead, it was about Dressel, the person.

022

CAELEB DRESSEL LEADS MYTHICAL MASHING OF RECORDS AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS by David Rieder

In an alternate universe, there was a moment in Minneapolis when breaking records became effortless, when vaunted barriers in the sport of swimming were felled, one after another. NCAA swimming has been transported to that alternate universe, thanks to Caeleb Dressel, the man who has become something of an urban myth.

024

WHEN TEXAS NEEDS HIM, TOWNLEY HAAS COMES UP BIG by David Rieder

032

COLEMAN STEWART STUNS WITH TITLE FROM LANE 1 — AFTER DOUBLE by Dan D'Addona

034

LEGENDARY NCAA CAREER COMPLETE, THE REAL TEST AWAITS CAELEB DRESSEL by David Rieder

For two years, the NCAA swimming community had already been enthralled with Caeleb Dressel. His sophomore and junior years at Florida, Dressel posted mind-numbing, internet-wrecking records at the SEC and NCAA championships...but he was unproven in the only venue that matters past college swimming: long course. With his professional career now starting, Dressel is ready for the challenge.

029

RECORD RELAY JUST THE BEGINNING AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS by Michael J. Stott

North Carolina State’s NCAA/U.S. Open/Championship record in the 800 free relay—the opening event at men’s NCAAs—was a portent of things to come: it would be one of the fastest NCAA gatherings in history.

TEXAS FOUR-PEATS: HOW DID WE FALL FOR IT AGAIN? by Andy Ross

This year’s Texas team didn’t give any indication in the regular season they would be national champions in March...but looks can be deceiving. The Longhorns had what it takes when it mattered most.

038

SHORTEST NIGHT, LONGEST RELAY, INSTANT HISTORY FOR NC STATE, INDIANA’S PIERONI by David Rieder Since moving the 800 free relay at NCAAs in 2016 from the end of the second day of competition to the first day—all by itself—swimmers have been able to take their best shots at bludgeoning relay records as well as the individual mark in the 200 free.

PUBLISHING, CIRCULATION AND ACCOUNTING www.SwimmingWorldMagazine.com Publisher, CEO - Brent T. Rutemiller BrentR@SwimmingWorld.com Operations Manager - Laurie Marchwinski LaurieM@ishof.org Circulation/Membership - Ivonne Schmid ISchmid@ishof.org Accounting - Marcia Meiners Marcia@ishof.org

EDITORIAL, PRODUCTION, MERCHANDISING, MARKETING AND ADVERTISING OFFICE 2744 East Glenrosa Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85016 Toll Free: 800-511-3029 Phone: 602-522-0778 • Fax: 602-522-0744 www.SwimmingWorldMagazine.com

EDITORIAL AND PRODUCTION Editorial@SwimmingWorld.com

040

After a good swim in the 100 butterfly prelims to reach the consolation final, North Carolina State’s Coleman Stewart—the top seed in the 100 back at NCAAs—finished seventh, relegating him to lane one. Not to worry—Stewart managed a late surge that night in finals and stunningly captured his first national title.

026

CSCAA AWARDS: DRESSEL, LOOZE TAKE SWIMMING ACCOLADES by Jason Tillotson

After the jaw-dropping, record-breaking week that was the 2018 Division I men’s NCAA championships, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America awards were released.

Townley Haas and the Texas Longhorns slogged their way through a sub-.500 dual meet season. Even Haas, the NCAA and Olympic champion and individual World Championship medalist, was losing to swimmers with far weaker credentials. But that didn’t bother him: “We knew that when it came to NCAAs, we’d be ready.”

025

STEELE JOHNSON WINS FIFTH NCAA DIVING TITLE — ALL WITH BROKEN FOOT by Dan D'Addona

NCAA ELITE 90 WINNER PJ RANSFORD MODEL OF STUDENTATHLETE by Michael J. Stott

The NCAA’s Elite 90 award is conferred upon “the individual reaching the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level while achieving the highest academic standard among peers.” For the second straight year, the honor for men’s swimming and diving was presented to senior Michigan distance swimmer PJ Ransford.

Senior Editor - Bob Ingram BobI@SwimmingWorld.com Managing Editor - Dan D’Addona DanD@SwimmingWorld.com Assistant Managing Editor - Annie Grevers AnnieG@SwimmingWorld.com Design Director - Joseph Johnson Historian - Bruce Wigo Staff Writers - Michael J. Stott, David Rieder

042

044

HOW THEY TRAIN: CLAIRE BECKER by Michael J. Stott PARTING SHOT

Fitness Trainer - J.R. Rosania Chief Photographer - Peter H. Bick SwimmingWorldMagazine.com WebMaster: WebMaster@SwimmingWorld.com

MARKETING AND ADVERTISING Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com Marketing Assistant - Meg Keller-Marvin Meg@SwimmingWorld.com

INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS Africa: Chaker Belhadj (TUN) Australia: Wayne Goldsmith, Ian Hanson Europe: Norbert Agh (HUN), Camilo Cametti (ITA), Oene Rusticus (NED), Rokur Jakupsstovu (FAR) Japan: Hideki Mochizuki Middle East: Baruch “Buky” Chass, Ph.D. (ISR) South Africa: Neville Smith (RSA) South America: Jorge Aguado (ARG)

PHOTOGRAPHERS/SWTV

ON THE COVER: CAELEB DRESSEL PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK

4

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

David Rieder (SWTV Host) davidr@swimmingworld.com Joe Johnson (SWTV Producer) Peter H. Bick, USA Today Sports Images, Reuters, Getty Images


RYAN LOCHTE 12x Olympic Medalist 65x World Championship Medalist World Record Holder

HYDROSPHERE TEC HN OLOGY

®

S P E E D D RY FA B R I C AT I O N

SUPERSONIC FLEX BONDING

V E N O M AVA I L A B L E

N O W


agon


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ] [ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> CAELEB DRESSEL

2018 MEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP

PHOTO GALLERY

PHOTOS BY PETER H. BICK - ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BY DAN D'ADDONA 8

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> TOWNLEY HAAS

> RYAN HELD

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

9

[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> JAN SWITKOWSKI

> MARCELO ACOSTA

10

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ] [ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> JUSTIN LYNCH(LEFT) AND BRETT RINGGOLD

> ANDREW SELISKAR SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

11


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> JOSEPH SCHOOLING

12

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY


â„¢


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> IAN FINNERTY

> CAMERON CRAIG

14

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ]

> MICHAEL HIXON

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

15


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> SERGIO LOPEZ

16

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> TRUE SWEETSER

> VINI LANZA

18

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> HUGO GONZALES

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

19


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ]

BANDANNA, KIDS AND THE DOWN-TO-EARTH CAELEB DRESSEL BY DAVID RIEDER

A

t the NCAA championships, Florida coach Gregg Troy had a story to tell about Caeleb Dressel. The story wasn’t about any of his American records or crazy heroics in the pool. It didn’t even have anything to do with any of Dressel’s swimming. In the pool, of course, Dressel has been somewhat of a viral sensation this week, earning rousing ovations in Minneapolis and plenty of gawking from fans around the country. That’s Dressel, but it’s not the entire story behind the man Troy has gotten to know over the past four years. “Everyone wants to talk about Caeleb’s performances,” Troy said. “Some of the things they miss is, his work ethic is amazing. He’s coming back from every success and taken everything up a level, whether it’s the volume, the intensity, what we’re looking at. But more than anything, what he brings to the table is the person.” Who is Dressel the person? Someone who won’t forget from where he came and someone who will do all he can to honor those who have meant something to him. All week, he has draped his head in a blue bandanna before his races—a bandanna that carries special meaning because of its previous owner: one of his high school teachers, Claire McCool, who died of cancer in November. 20

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

“It’s Ms. McCool’s bandanna,” Dressel said. “It was given to me as a gift from her husband. She wore it when she had chemo. It’s the most important thing in my life for a physical object. It’s just nice to carry her behind the blocks in a physical form. She’s with me every race, and it will be until I finish my career. You can get used to that bandanna for a while.” Actions reveal character, and the story Troy had in mind was something simple yet powerful. The scene took place at this season’s SEC championships, minutes after the Gator men and their coaches had taken the celebratory plunge to recognize their sixth straight conference title. After he dried himself off, Troy walked down a mostly-empty pool deck towards the Florida team section. He spotted three of his swimmers and the world’s best male swimmer leading them in what some would consider a menial task. “There’s three of our guys down there, with Caeleb leading them and participating, cleaning up the team area and taking everything out,” Troy said. “That type of thing doesn’t happen in today’s world with athletes at that level very often.” Troy brought up the 100 fly final at NCAAs, when Dressel’s face lit up not at the sight of his new American and NCAA record but at the sight of the “2” next to the name of Jan Switkowski, his Florida teammate and roommate.


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ] [ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> DRESSEL WITH CLAIRE MCCOOL’S BANDANNA

“I didn’t care about my time at that point. I looked to see what I got, and I forgot what lane Jan was in. I was looking for Switkowski, and I saw it, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Dressel said. “He’s a dirty dog.” At the end of the meet’s final prelims session, Dressel swam on Florida’s 4×100 free relay team with two of his teammates that wouldn’t be on the evening relay, Christoph Margotti and Maxime Rooney. Troy explained that Dressel was engaged with that foursome and congratulated them on their swims. Yes, that’s what you would expect from a good teammate— but sometimes the best swimmers in the world aren’t always the best teammates, the most respected of their peers. Dressel is just another one of the guys. “I think the thing that’s pretty unique, we’ve tried to treat him like he’s everyone else on the team, and he handles it exactly that way,” Troy said. Earlier in the meet, Dressel was waiting behind the blocks before he would swim the breaststroke leg on Florida’s 4×100 medley relay. Only minutes remained before his team of Gators would get in the pool, but Dressel wasn’t in a laserfocused mood, so he joked around with a few of the children

> DRESSEL WITH JAN SWITKOWSKI (LEFT)

volunteering on deck. “I think the only moment I really need is when I’m up on the actual block. What is five minutes before the meet going to do for me besides get nervous. I met some new friends, met some 5-year-olds—I don’t know how old they are, super young, super adorable, too,” Dressel said. “Super cool kids. They kept me calm. Nice to meet them.” To Dressel, no big deal. For those kids, chatting with the meet’s superstar meant the world. But before Caeleb Dressel was elite in the pool, he was a goofy, respectful, humble and unassuming young man—and he still is. “My main goal in life isn’t just to be the best swimmer I can be,” Dressel said. “I just want to be a better man every day, and from there, the swimming will come.” If you need more proof of Dressel’s priorities, keep an eye on him next time he races. You will probably notice one particular blue bandanna. ◀ SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

21


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ]

CAELEB DRESSEL LEADS MYTHICAL MASHING OF RECORDS AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS BY DAVID RIEDER

I

n an alternate universe, there was a moment in Minneapolis when breaking records became effortless, when vaunted barriers in the sport of swimming were felled, one after another. It’s a world where man cannot only break but crush 18 seconds in the 50 free, 1:30 in the 200 free and 50 seconds in the 100 breast. In that world, perhaps, records cease to exist, with the assumption that however fast one goes, another will surpass it. NCAA swimming has been transported to that alternate universe. All those following the meet from afar have marveled at the times they have seen, and those of us watching in person barely believe what we’re seeing, either. The man who started it all has become something of an urban myth. First for Caeleb Dressel were the 50s, the 17.81 relay leadoff and then the 17.63, each simply jaw-dropping. The morning after, his 17.30 anchor leg on Florida’s 4×50 medley relay seemed almost funny—as were the suggestions that, when he anchored the relay in finals, he could possibly split 16. But before that came his 100 fly, the event in which Dressel shocked Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling last season. Back then, when the duo swam respective times of 43.58 and 43.75, it seemed implausible that two men had swum that far under 44 seconds, a barrier that took almost a decade to crack. Lo and behold, Dressel swam a 42.80. No, that’s not a typo. He just bulldozed right through 43 seconds altogether. How in the world did he do that? 22

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

“I wish I had answers,” Dressel said. “A good quote I’ve learned over the years is, ‘I don’t know.’ I really don’t. I just try to do what I’m told.” Before Dressel’s NCAA championship rampage began, he sat out the Wednesday night session, home to only the 4×200 free relay. In that race, he watched as his Olympic teammate Blake Pieroni laid down a time of 1:29.63 in the 200 free, eight tenths faster than any man had ever swum. At the 2016 championships, fans seemed almost disappointed when nobody could crack 1:30 or even come close. But after Pieroni got there first, there was one annoyed Olympic gold medalist and two-time defending champion looking for some payback. The man most figured would be the first to swim a 1:29 was Townley Haas, who posted a stunning 1:30.46 in the event his freshman year. Haas, too, led off his team’s relay Wednesday night, and he swam a lifetime-best time of 1:30.41—and Pieroni dusted him. Not this time. Haas determined before the race that he would not be beat to the 100, and if he could get out fast, he figured, no one was going to catch him. “I think it’s worked out pretty well for me in the past,” Haas said of his strategy. “Before I got in for warm-up, I said. ‘I’m just going to go for it.’ That’s what I did freshman year, and I ended up going 1:30. I decided beforehand that I was going to get out there and hang on. It worked out pretty well.” Haas flipped at the halfway point in 43.12, and no one was going to catch him. He touched the wall in 1:29.50, seven tenths ahead of Pieroni and fast enough to reclaim the American record for his own.


HOW THEY TRAIN:

[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

“I’ve wanted to go under 1:30 since pretty much right after freshman year,” Haas said. “For Blake to do it first, it kind of hit me hard. Obviously it was a great swim. I can’t say anything bad about it—it was incredible. To be able to come back a few days later, have a better swim, better turns, I felt better in the water. It means everything.”

nicco velasquez BY MICHAEL J. STOTT

recovering young man, much less as a swimmer, was in doubt. Miraculously, he made a full recovery in a little more than three months returning to the > IAN FINNERTY Surely, the record purge could take one event off—right? water The and swimming with a new perspective and vigor. Says Hansen, “With his late start to training for the 2015 long course American and NCAA marks in the 100 breast belonged to, summer, I adjusted expectations and continued to focus on making sure he of all people, Dressel. Jumping into an off-event at the SEC stayed mentally positive and focused and on long-term development. However, international medalist, before this year, he’d never even championships last month, Dressel clipped the American every time we competed, he got faster and stronger, ending with a great made an impact on the NCAA level. But in the Friday night summer championship and some spectacular time results. Even better was record with a time of 50.03. The previous mark had belonged record-breaking bonanza, Finnerty had just of asracing. central a role his overall understanding of the training process and essentials to Kevin Cordes, a four-time NCAA champion in the event as the others. “As we turned into the next season, Nicco stepped into a leadership role in and an Olympian in his own right. our pre-national program, demonstrating a great work ethic and dedication. One of the“It most common testFinnerty sets we run through is 30x100 oach Brendan Hansen and 15-year-old Austin Swim was crazy,” said. “Starting outbest theaverage night with Cordes spent years stalking the 50-second barrier. Dressel (10 on 1:30, 10 on 1:20, 10 on 1:40). The first time we did the set in September Club athlete Nicco Velasquez share the common Dressel going under 43, that got everybody excited. The team took his Neither could getand there—but Indiana junior 2016, Nicco was 1:02, 1:05, 1:02. Two months later, he tested at 1:02, 1:04, 1:00. traitsone of shot. swimming excellence a capacity for race is exciting. It’s just helping everybody swim faster, Ian Finnerty could. And smashed it. The last time through—just before he moved to our national group in March and reinvention. Hansen hashe morphed remarkably well from be 59, part1:02, of 58. it is surreal at this point.” 2017—he to swam outstanding athlete to excellent coach. Velasquez has bodyyears badly battered from Finnerty a skiing accident In hisrebuilt first atwo at Indiana, never asgot to the“Nicco has a perspective and understanding of hard work that few15a 13-year-old to a swimmer on the rise. year-olds possess,” says Hansen. “Since his ***accident, beyond his time level of Inmaking an impact on a national level as he battled March 2016, Velasquez was hospitalized for an improvements, Nicco has been one of the hardest working and coachable injuries, including broken ribs broken his freshman But I have had the pleasure of coaching. I am excited to see what the extended period.three He had numerous bones inyear. athletes And then, a Dressel encore. his back, pelvis,striving ribs and to a bruised as to a joinfuture he never stopped be on lung. that His elitefuture level, the holds for him in the water and out!” Alas, his anchor split on the final

***

C

likes of training partners Lilly King and Cody Miller. PROGRESSION OF TIMES

“Ian desperately wanted to join it,2016 and Lilly and Cody were SCY As of March LC- 2017 2017 LC- 2018 trying to help him join 2015 it,” Indiana SCY coach Ray Looze said. SCY “They wanted that for(Joins him.ASC) They’re really, really good kids. It starts with people that23.66 trust the process and work hard and 50 Free 23.06 23.02 are really, really confident and competitive and wants to be 100 Free best swimmers.” 51.20 48.78 48.16 one of the world’s 200 Free

1:46.57

1:42.19

Free — Finnerty 500/400 dominated the NCAA final4:53.84 of the 1004:54.70 breast, and Back of 49.69, 1:05.67 he swam a100 time more than1:00.95 three tenths58.83 faster than 100 Breast 1:09.98 1:06.46 1:00.26 Dressel’s record. 100 Fly

59.38

54.94

54.87

200 IM 2:05.27 2:02.13 “I just do pullouts, so it 2:14.39 was super cool to see a breaststroker actually do it,” Dressel quipped. Unlike Dressel or Haas, Finnerty is not an Olympian or an

relay was merely a 17.37. Pretty incredible that it almost qualifies as a disappointment. LC

As of March

2016 LC-2017

2017 LC-2018

100 Free

1:03.31

57.23

54.96

200 Free

2:20.29

2:02.77

1:59.32

100 Breast

1:28.64

1:21.13

100 Fly

1:13.64

1:06.63

1:02.36

On the meet’s final day, shot at yet 2015Dressel will SCY take hisSCY another event where (Joins no one stands a chance of beating him: ASC) the 100 free. That was the race where, last season, he rocketed 50 Free 29.14 26.34 26.22 to a 40-flat that sent the IUPUI Natatorium into a frenzy. Oh, but that was before Minneapolis, before records turned 500/400 Free — — 4:15.32 into flimsy sticks that seemingly crack with a howl of the 100 Back 1:16.47 wind. Before 17 and 42, before 1:29 —and 49. 1:08.74 It’s almost inevitable that Dressel will deliver the first IM — 2:14.91 39-second 200 performance in the 100—free. Some have even suggested that he could swim a 38—and in this new alternate universe, that doesn’t sound so crazy, does it? ◀

SWIM MART 䜀伀䰀䐀 䴀䔀䐀䄀䰀 倀䔀刀䘀伀刀䴀䄀一䌀䔀 匀吀䄀刀吀匀 圀䤀吀䠀 刀䔀匀䤀匀吀䄀一䌀䔀 吀刀䄀䤀一䤀一䜀

䤀一 圀䄀吀䔀刀 刀䔀匀䤀匀吀䄀一䌀䔀  吀刀䄀䤀一䤀一䜀 䜀䔀䄀刀 䤀渀挀爀攀愀猀攀 猀琀愀洀椀渀愀 ☀ 猀瀀攀攀搀 簀 儀甀椀挀欀攀爀 䄀挀挀攀氀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀 

一娀䌀漀爀搀稀⸀挀漀洀 簀 㠀  ⸀㠀㠀㘀⸀㘀㘀㈀㄀

一娀䌀漀爀搀稀⸀挀漀洀 㠀  ⸀㠀㠀㘀⸀㘀㘀㈀㄀ SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

23


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

WHEN TEXAS NEEDS HIM, TOWNLEY HAAS COMES UP BIG BY DAVID RIEDER

T

as I can, so that’s what I did,” Haas said. “It’s nothing too complicated—just going out and staying in front of them.”

Haas never let any of it get to him. He knew what he was made of and that, come championship time, it would show.

With that performance, Haas moved up from seventh to fourth on the all-time list, passing Jean Basson and the legendary Tom Dolan. But most importantly, he got the job done for Texas. He and fellow 500 finalist Sam Pomajevich were the only individual finalists for the Longhorns on day one of the meet, and the team also missed qualifying its 4×100 medley relay for the A-final.

ownley Haas and the Texas Longhorns slogged their way through a sub-.500 dual meet season. The veteran Texas Longhorn, NCAA and Olympic champion and individual World Championship medalist was routinely swimming no faster than 1:37 or 1:38 in the 200-yard free, and swimmers with far weaker credentials were routinely beating him soundly.

“It didn’t bother me,” he said. “We know how hard we worked, and we know with hard work comes maybe not the best dual meets. We knew that when it came down to NCAAs, we’d be ready.” Through the first two days of the meet, Haas has held up his end of the bargain. Leading off Texas’ 4×200 free relay Wednesday night, the junior put up a time of 1:30.41, his lifetime best and five hundredths quicker than the landmark American record of 1:30.46 he set back in 2016. The only problem? Blake Pieroni crushed that record, leading off Indiana’s relay in 1:29.63. Haas took it in stride. No, he was not pleased to come lose his record or to not be the first man to break 1:30, which so many people had expected of him. Still, it was a best time, and that set him up for another run in the 500 free, a chance to reclaim the title he won in a stunner as a freshman two years ago. That’s exactly what he did, leading the race wire to wire and coming in at 4:08.60, four tenths faster than runner-up Felix Auböck of Michigan. “My strategy’s always to get out in front and hang on as long 24

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

Still, Haas did his job, and perhaps Texas is right where it needs to be. Indiana, perhaps the most impressive team from the first two days of the meet, has a narrow lead with 169 points, with NC State, Texas, Cal and Florida all within 15. No, Texas hasn’t run away with the title like each of the past three years, but Haas and his teammates are not buried yet. “At Texas, we tend to get better as the meet goes on,” he said. “We take it one session at a time. This morning may not have been our best session, but we get better as each session goes. Almost everyone who swam tonight was better than they swam this morning. We’re going to continue to get better.” Next up for Haas: the individual showdown with Pieroni in the 200 free. Haas knows that he will have to be better than he’s ever been to stand a chance at taking down the man who beat him to the punch of going under 1:30. But Haas has never been the swimmer who gets too high or too low emotionally or spends too much time worrying about what someone else did. And that’s why, when he stands on the blocks next to Pieroni for the 200 free, he has a fighting chance—and that’s why Texas, battered as they may be, still stands a chance to win consecutive national title No. 4. ◀


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

COLEMAN STEWART STUNS WITH TITLE FROM LANE 1 — AFTER DOUBLE BY DAN D'ADDONA

T

he task of executing a double in one night is daunting. Few have the multi-event speed to even attempt it. Even fewer have the mental toughness to embrace it. There is a select group in NCAA history that has been able to score in two events in one night at an NCAA championships, and the list of swimmers winning a national title in that double is even smaller, led by some legendary Cal names like Tom Shields, Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer. That list grew by one on Friday and it happened in unexpected fashion. North Carolina State’s Coleman Stewart came into the NCAA championships as the top seed in the 100 back. But after a good swim in the 100 butterfly prelims to reach the consolation final, he took the seventh seed in the 100 back, putting him all the way in lane one. Somehow, after three other swims already, Stewart managed a late surge and stunningly touched first for his first national title. “(NC State coach) Braden (Holloway) and I talked about making sure we had all the little details right,” Stewart said. “I have kind of been not doing very well at that earlier in the week. But we got it done. Thankfully, it all came together.”

With another morning swim to go, Stewart had to push that behind him and motivate him. It worked. He landed in the A final for the backstroke, then surged to win the consolation final of the butterfly — giving him a little momentum heading into the backstroke despite being in lane one. “Absolutely (gave me momentum),” Stewart said. “Braden said that might have been the best thing for me, not making the A final. I was angry this morning because I messed up my third turn in the 100 fly. That kind of gave me a little extra motivation tonight.” The motivation piggy-backed on Stewart training for this night all season for the Wolfpack. “It is definitely something that I have trained for a lot this year,” he said. “It is pretty tough — I’ll be honest – but after this morning, I was kind of hurting. But we are making sure we get all the recovery done. It takes some extra time but it is definitely worth it. Tonight it paid off. “We train a lot of all-out stuff over and over again. To be able to do that and keep going definitely helped, especially the back half of the races.”

Stewart won the event in 44.58, but just one hundredth of a second over John Shebat of Texas. Stewart’s teammate Andreas Vazaios finished third (44.81).

The back half of the race is where Stewart won the race, being the only one in the field to go sub-23 (22.97) after being fourth at the halfway point (21.61).

The 100 butterfly didn’t fare quite as well for Stewart, especially in the morning, finishing in 45.36 to land in the B final with the 11th seed.

It was just enough for a hundredth-of-a-second national title — from lane one — and a spot in a very exclusive double up club. ◀ SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

25


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

LEGENDARY NCAA CAREER COMPLETE, THE REAL TEST AWAITS CAELEB DRESSEL BY DAVID RIEDER

F

or two years, the NCAA swimming community had already been enthralled with Caeleb Dressel. His sophomore and junior years at Florida, Dressel posted mind-numbing, internetwrecking records at the SEC and NCAA championships: His 18.20 in the 50-yard free, his 40.46 and then 40.00 in the 100 free and, of course, his 17-second relay splits. At that point, the rest of the world saw Dressel as a talent, yes, but an unproven one in the only venue that matters past college swimming: long course. At the 2016 Olympics, he had provided a key leg for a Team USA triumph in the 4×100 free relay and then finished sixth in the 100-meter free final, but he was not a superstar at the level of NCAA Caeleb Dressel. Then came Budapest and the 2017 World Championships— the week where everything changed. On three separate nights, Dressel captivated with world by showing that he could sustain his monumental power over a 50-meter course. On the meet’s first night, Dressel led off the U.S. men’s 4×100 free relay in 47.26, instantly making him the seventhfastest performer of all-time. Four days later, he backed it up and proved he could win one on his own, dominating the 100 free final in 47.17. And then two days after that, Dressel put together one of

26

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

the finest days a swimmer has ever seen, winning three gold medals in the 50 free, 100 fly and mixed 4×100 free relay in one session, posting some of the fastest times in history in all three. He was locked in, the best male swimmer in the world, and everybody watching in Budapest and following the meet around the world knew it. *** After Budapest, Dressel returned to the University of Florida. There was never any serious discussion of turning pro early, not with only one year of collegiate eligibility remaining, but at that point, what was left for him to accomplish in the yards pool? At no point heading into or during the season did the Gators appear to have the depth required to win a national championship, and Dressel had already taken the sprint records in short course yards to unfathomable levels. Along with his 40.00 from the 2017 NCAA championships, there was his 43.58 in the 100 fly from that meet and 18.20 in the 50 free from one year earlier. By the time his conference championship meet rolled around in February, Dressel had the answer: He wanted to be more than just the greatest short course sprinter ever. So he went out and threw down a 1:38.13 in the 200 IM. Before that,


only one man had ever broken 1:40, and David Nolan’s best time had been 1:39.38. That gave Dressel four American and NCAA records, out of 13 events contested in college championships. Two days later, the 21-year-old Floridian added another, swimming a 50.03 in the men’s 100 breast to break Kevin Cordes’ record by one hundredth. That night in College Station, Texas, we wondered: Could Dressel make it a clean sweep of the 100-yard events with the 100 back? (No, he said—he would let high school teammate Ryan Murphy keep that one.) And how about the 200 free? If his 200 IM was that good, one would think he would be able to crush what was then the American record, Townley Haas’ 1:30.46. But Dressel never got his chance in the 200 free. As was the case in previous years, Florida head coach Gregg Troy had him skip the 4×200 free relay on night one of the NCAA championships. Since he returned to his typical 50 free-100 fly-100 free program for NCAAs, Dressel would swim no race longer than 100 yards all week. That was for the good of the team, and Dressel validated that decision with clutch relay swims over the next three days. From an individual perspective, what did Dressel have left to prove this week? Barring some stunner, he was a virtual lock to score either 57 or 60 individual points—20 per win in the 50 and 100 free, plus 20 for a win or 17 for a runner-up finish behind Joseph Schooling in the 100 fly.

test my limits mentally and physically. I knew it was going to hurt really bad, and it did. There’s no shortcuts in this sport, so anyone looking for a shortcut might want to change sports. Another phenomenal, transcendent week, one which earned Dressel his third straight CSCAA Swimmer of the Meet award. But in the grand scheme of the wider world of international swimming—the one Dressel is preparing to enter full-time—he proved nothing. Everyone already knew how talented he was in the yards pool. *** Eddie Reese, coach of the wildly successful Texas men’s program that won a fourth consecutive NCAA title this week in Minneapolis, has a way of throwing out wise words when they are least expected. In January, after his Longhorns were beaten handily at Arizona State, his thoughts drifted to, of all people, Dressel. “When you become a pro, you think that you’re up there and you don’t have to do much to stay there, and that never works unless you’re greatly talented,” Reese said. “Caeleb Dressel came back from Rio, didn’t like the results, and Gregg Troy said he worked harder than anybody could believe the next year, and it paid off. “The sad part? They all have to keep doing that to get better. CONTINUED >>>

All that said, even if the outcome of both the 50 and 100 free was still determined, the world still stood up and watched closely when Dressel dove in for both of those events because of the history on the line—could he break 18 seconds in the 50 and could he crack 40 in the 100? To that first question, the answer was a resounding yes. There was the 17.81 leading off Florida’s 4×50 free relay, and less than an hour after that, a 17.61 in the individual event. Both swims prompted standing ovations. As it turns out, neither Schooling nor anyone else could give Dressel any sort of challenge in the 100 fly, as he roared to a 42.80, seven tenths under his American record from last season and more than a second and a half ahead of anyone else in the field. Finally, Dressel won his ninth and final individual NCAA title in the 100 free. Feeling the fatigue of a long meet, he finished only a tenth under his own American and NCAA record, but that was enough. His time was 39.90, under that vaunted 40-second barrier. “They really like to pack the swims in at this meet, so honestly I was just happy to be under 40,” Dressel said. “It was my 13th swim in three days. I just wanted to get up and SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

27


[ PHOTO COURTESY: THOMAS CAMPBELL/TEXAS A&M ATHLETICS ]

Nowadays, with the athletes we get in the sport, their window of opportunity does not stay open long.” When Dressel returned from Budapest with the world fully convinced of his greatness, he got back to work. He called the year “the best year of training I ever had in my life,” and he insisted that even after winning seven gold medals, matching a feat only Michael Phelps had ever accomplished, he was still hungry for more. At the SEC championships, a few hours after his jaw-dropping American record in the 200 IM, Dressel referenced a quote he had inserted into his high school yearbook: “I want to use up all the talent God gave me.” In swimming, he explained, he wants to empty the tank and become the greatest swimmer he can be. That’s why he would not settle for just being a sprinter, extending his record-holding reign to the 100 breast and 200 IM. It’s why he worked diligently to bring his long course swimming up to par with his short course excellence. And it’s why, with his college career now ending, he won’t rest on the laurels of his seven World titles from last summer. If he needs any reminder of the what-could-go-wrong, he needs only look at the two men who have ever swum quicker than he has in a textile suit in the 100-meter free: Australians Cameron McEvoy and James Magnussen. At Australia’s Olympic Trials in 2012, Magnussen put up a 100 free time of 47.10. Four years later, McEvoy swam even quicker at Trials, with a 47.04. But both men went to the Olympic Games, London for Magnussen and Rio for McEvoy, and swam slower. Neither has ever won an 28

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

individual Olympic gold medal. To most of the swimming world, for whom yards swimming is relatively meaningless, Dressel could still be a one-hit wonder. It’s possible, after all, that he never comes close to repeating his Budapest times. Possible—but unlikely. Why? Because Dressel still has that hunger and the spark he needs. After the World Championships, there was no hint of complacency, and he just reinforced that by swimming faster than ever before this week in Minneapolis. But his chances to prove himself will come on the international stage and in a 50-meter pool: this summer at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, in 2019 at the World Championships in Gwangju and, of course, at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. “Long course is where the big boys come out to play,” Dressel said. “We had a long course focus this whole year. I’m happy with the short course, but we’re still on track for some good long course swimming.” Does he maintain his upward trend in the sprint free and fly races and begin taking down world records? Can he add another event in which he’s elite in long course? What can he do in the 200 free to, at the very least, aid the only U.S. relay that did not win gold at the 2017 World Champs? Dressel will have to prove all this in his professional career, beginning now. It’s time for Caeleb Dressel to empty the tank. “I feel like I’m just getting started in the sport.” ◀


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

RECORD RELAY JUST THE BEGINNING AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS BY MICHAEL J. STOTT

T

he 800 free relay was done and in the books. It was only the third time the event had been swum first, a circumstance appreciated by swimmers and coaches alike. For the record the winning squad was the quartet from third seeded North Carolina State whose 6:05.31 clocking was a NCAA, Open and championship record. It also presaged things to come as many observers predict this gathering will be the fastest NCAA gathering in history. The Wolfpack’s foursome of Andreas Vazaios (1:31.32), Ryan Held (1:31.09), Jacob Molacek (1:32.13) and Justin Ress (1:30.77) operating from lane 3, held off a game Indiana squad (6:06.01). Another contributing factor to the new mark was the impressive reaction times of the winners whose leg 2-4 totals were .44, astonishingly precise for a distance relay. “I’m proud of my four guys staying disciplined in their races all the while racing with heart and a diamond. It was an exciting race in that heat and congrats to all those teams,” said coach Braden Holloway. However, the individual swim of the night belonged to the Hoosiers’ leadoff Olympian Blake Pieroni who became the first swimmer to blast through the long-standing 1:30 barrier. While one coach only half-jested that Florida’s Caeleb Dressel was capable of accomplishing the task, Pieroni’s 1:29.63 settled the issue for all time. This despite a well fought 1:30.41 personal best from Texas and former American record holder Townley Haas in lane 5. Pieroni achieved his historic swim by posting splits of 20.89, 22.64, 22.91, 23.18. The mark had been a long time coming. While some speculated Haas might do it in 2017 his coach Eddie Reese pooh-poohed the idea because of the nature of the Omega walls. Still, the perception has lingered that fast swims were

in the offing particularly because of the NCAA decision, effective in 2016, to move the 800 free relay from the middle of the third day to opening night. “The biggest thing it does is make for faster relays,” says Holloway. “Obviously all of the teams will be a lot fresher so the quality of the event is much better. When the event is later in the meet it takes a toll on sprint type guys who might have a hard time handling it. The move was also smart because all the teams are here anyway,” he said. On a possible record breaker South Carolina coach Mark Bernardino suggested that the swimmer who would finally bust through would be a, ”speed athlete, someone who can go from the 50 to a 200. It’s not going to be a distance athlete. Nobody is coming down to do it. Enter Pieroni. “I think this is going to be a terrific meet. There will be a lot of times that make people open their eyes and say, ‘Wow,’” observed Bernardino. Another benefit of the move said Florida’s Gregg Troy is that the competition can give a good indication of where our athletes are. It doesn’t change the lineup of the other relays much but it may impact their individual events. Another big thing is you’ve gone from 6 to 7 sessions. So the coach’s job is then to monitor athlete enthusiasm, i.e. dialing it up and down. However, it shouldn’t be but so hard given they have already experienced it at conference,” he said. Reese applauded the move. Not only did it make the 800 free relay faster, it has allowed the last day to be better. When asked if he thought the 1:30 mark might fall Reese opined if it did it would come on that first relay. When you get into the meet a lot of 200 guys come out of the 500 (he’s had a bunch including two-time defending champion Haas), so there is a buildup effect of fatigue. Could Haas do it? “He’s trained real hard so it depends if his coach rests him enough. Right now we are winning warmup,” he smiled. Will the Longhorns reign for the fourth straight year? “I’m excited. We have a real good team,” said Reese As for what the Wolfpack victory meant Holloway said “It is a good way to start the meet. We did it last year and it was emotionally hard to recover. I think this year the guys are more emotionally prepared to handle a win. Obviously, it bodes well for the meet and is an exciting way to start. I don’t think it changes a whole lot moving forward. We have to be calm, enjoy the win and recover the right way so we can have a productive week. Putting the relay on the first night you see fast times. It makes it fun. Seeing a 1:29 was pretty cool.” With last night as a harbinger Troy spoke for every coach on deck. “The spectators are going to see some fantastic swimming,” he said. Spoiler alert. They already have. ◀ SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

29


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

STEELE JOHNSON WINS FIFTH NCAA DIVING TITLE — ALL WITH BROKEN FOOT BY DAN D’ADDONA

hile Caeleb Dressel is baffling the world with the way he dominates in the pool, there is another kind of longterm domination happening at the NCAA championships.

W

fact that he has been dealing with a broken bone in his foot for three years — that means he has won all five NCAA titles and made the Olympic team while injured.

Purdue diver Steele Johnson has been one of the biggest names in diving for years and hasn’t lost a step — even with a broken foot.

“We have known I have had a stress fracture in my navicular bone since February of 2015,” he said. “(Doctors) wanted to do surgery — they still want to do surgery. But with that recovery time of 6-8 months, I would have been out of the running for the Olympics.”

Johnson won the NCAA title on the 3-meter board on Friday, repeating in the event and winning his fifth title overall. “It is exciting to win. Coming into this meet, I had low expectations because I have only been training for eight weeks. The other guys have been training for months and months,” Johnson said. “I could have looked at it like I was behind. But I think I have to look at it as God preparing me. No one can dive with a broken foot on will alone and I fully believe there is some supernatural healing going on right there.” Johnson decided to change his final dive at the last second for a higher degree of difficulty.

This year, Johnson and his coaches wanted to make sure it was actually healing, so he sat out much of the season. “We took 12 weeks off and the bone is actually re-growing, it is pretty miraculous,” he said. “I think God has really putting his hand on that. I am still able to walk and still able to dive. I walk with a metal plate in my shoe and don’t have any pain, so I gotta keep going.” It was a short time off, but seemed like a long road to recovery for Johnson.

“It was exciting to walk away with a win,” Johnson said. “I had to change my dive. Even if I had straight 10s on it, it wouldn’t have been enough to win, so I wanted to win and we did the dive that would help me get to that position.”

“We took 12 weeks off where I wasn’t walking. I was on crutches or a scooter — no pressure on the foot,” he said. “Then I walked in a boot for a week, which was hard. Then the week after, I really couldn’t walk, either. It was a fast and painful process, but one I had to be patient through.”

What is more remarkable than all the NCAA trophies is the

He had some help along the way.

30

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

“Those first few weeks were especially hard because my leg was so week I just couldn’t walk,” he said. “The only reason I a was able to deal with it mentally was my wife. She has really been a fighter for me. We live on the third story of our apartment building, so she would actually help carry me up on her shoulder to the third floor — for 12 weeks. She has been a powerhouse for me, believing for healing, praying for healing. A lot of healing has come through. I wouldn’t even be able to be at this competition if it wasn’t for her.” Johnson, a 2016 Olympian, has won NCAA titles in every discipline, earning two on 1-meter, two on 3-meter and one on platform. On Friday, he won 3-meter with 499.15 points. Five titles out of a possible nine in diving is astonishing — and he is just a junior so has one year remaining to add to that total. “I have some inspiration. David Boudia won six NCAA titles. I am just going to be ready to come back next year and try to pass David’s record,” he said. If Johnson is winning titles with a broken foot — what can’t he do? ◀

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

31


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ]

CSCAA AWARDS: DRESSEL, LOOZE TAKE SWIMMING ACCOLADES BY JASON TILLOTSON

A

fter the jaw-dropping, record-breaking week that was the 2018 Division I men’s NCAA championships, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America awards were released. CSCAA Division I Swimmer of the Year Caeleb Dressel, Florida Dressel, to no one’s surprise, earned this award by virtue of his marvelous performance this week. Dressel added a fullslate of brand new accolades with each victory. The Gator senior’s 50 free had it’s own historical significance with it marking Dressel as the first man to ever break 18-seconds in a 50 free, from a flat-start. Dressel’s 42.80 to win the 100 fly would make him the first man to get under 43-seconds in the event, making him the new American and NCAA record holder by a large margin.

competition for the past eight years is no slouch performance. Add the impressive team finish to Ian Finnerty‘s American record and victory in the 100 breast and his win in the 200 distance, along with Blake Peroni‘s relay contributions and runner-up finish in the 200 free and you have team coach by a man who’s worthy of such an award. CSCAA Division I Diver of the Year Colin Zeng, Tennessee Zeng not only won the platform event with a score of 466.35, but he also finished second in the 3-meter event and fourth in the 1-meter event. The Tennessee freshman succeeded in making his mark at the national level by placing himself near elite NCAA divers like Indiana’s Michael Hixon and Purdue’s Steele Johnson.

His 100 free had, at least, equally as much historical significance with him being the first man to swim the event under 40-seconds with his 39.90.

CSCAA Division I Diving Coach of the Year Drew Johansen, Indiana Johansen led the Hoosier divers to scoring major points towards the overall team score.

CSCAA Division I Swimming Coach of the Year Ray Looze, Indiana In his 13th year at Indiana, Looze has guided the men’s team to far past expectations. A third place finish behind the two teams who have traded 1-2 finishes in the NCAA team title

The Hoosiers had three finalists in each the 1-meter (two A-finalists, one B-finalist) and 3-meter events (three A finalists) and one finalist on the platform event. Johansen guided senior Michael Hixon to a win in the 1-meter event with a score of 464.40. ◀

32

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY


(College/University Affiliated Swimming Camp)

2018 CAMP DATES – REGISTER EARLY! WEEK 1 – JUNE 10-14 WEEK 2 – JUNE 17-21 WEEK 3 – JULY 29–AUG 2 WEEK 4 – AUGUST 5-9

WORLD CLASS COACHES:

Not pictured: Kurt Kirner

Hillsdale College Head Coach

Roger Karns

Lewis University Head Coach

CAMP HIGHLIGHTS:

Mike Bottom

Dr. Josh White

Head Coach

US Olympian & Olympic Coach

Gambetta Dryland Training Technique & Intensive Training Options 3 Instructional Sessions Per Day Individual HD Filming & 1:1 Analysis True Colors & Mindset Training Olympians & NCAA All Americans

Sam Wensman Assistant Coach CW Elite Coach

Rick Bishop

Associate Head Coach

Associate Head Coach

Kristy Brager

Jim Richardson

NCAA All-American & National Champion

Assistant Coach Academic All-Big Ten

Contact us at: 734.845.8596 | umswim1@gmail.com

USA National Team Staff Member

Camp Director

2-Time NCAA Coach of the Year

Michigan Swim Camps are open to any and all entrants, limited only by age and specified number of participants

R

(College/University Affiliated Swimming Camp)

®

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

2018 SWIM CAMP

MAY 27 – JUNE 29

LONGHORNS SWIM CAMP 41 Years of Excellence Five one-week sessions from: MAY 27-JUNE 29 For detailed information, contact Longhorns Swim Camp Director: JON ALTER | 512 475 8652 Complete camp information and registration at: LonghornSwimCamp.com Email: longhornswimcamp@athletics.utexas.edu 1994 UTIA swim camp ad_F.indd 1

Per NCAA rules, sports camps and clinics conducted by The University of Texas are open to all entrants. Enrollment is limited only by age, grade level, gender, and capacity restrictions as specified by each camp.

11/6/17 10:29 AM

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

33


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

TEXAS FOUR-PEATS: HOW DID WE FALL FOR IT AGAIN? BY ANDY ROSS

F

or the fourth year in a row, the Texas Longhorns are the kings of men’s swimming. It wasn’t as dominating as it has been the last three years, but the Longhorns were champions once again, this time by 11.5 points. But how did they fool us once again? Texas has always seemed to come into the NCAA Championships vulnerable. Last year they lost to Indiana and NC State in dual meets. This year they lost to Indiana and NC State again, as well as Florida and home state rival Texas A&M in the fall. And again in the spring to Arizona State. But of course what followed in 2017 was one of the greatest performances from a single team in NCAA history. Texas placed at least one person in every single championship final in the swimming pool at the meet in Indianapolis. They won four of the five relays and set three NCAA relay records. The one relay they didn’t win, they set the American Record in a loss to NC State. But that 2017 team was different. It was led by three college swimming legends in Will Licon, Clark Smith and Jack Conger. It had at least one person in every championship final with Licon, Smith, Conger, Townley Haas, Jonathan Roberts, Brett Ringgold, Joseph Schooling and John Shebat all scoring big points in the meet. And again, it had three NCAA records 34

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

in relays alone. The 2018 team wasn’t as stacked at the top with senior points as it was the year prior and it wasn’t as deep as the 2017 team. The team didn’t give any indication in the regular season they would be national champions in March. They lost to Florida. They lost to IU. They lost to Arizona State. They didn’t have a breaststroker. They didn’t have depth. But what did they have? They had one of the most clutch swimmers in the NCAA this decade, Townley Haas. They had a freshman who is destined for big things in the sport, Austin Katz. They had one of the greatest coaches the sport has ever seen, Eddie Reese. And they had diving. The sport is called “swimming AND diving” for a reason. Last year’s Texas team set the standard so high that it almost seems like you need to score 542 points to win an NCAA team title, because we have been so used to Texas dominating the men’s meet. But diving scores points too, and the team capitalized on that this year, proving you don’t need to blow everyone else out of the water to win the meet. “They don’t have a breaststroker.” Well, that didn’t stop David Marsh’s Auburn teams after


Mark Gangloff graduated in 2004. They won three straight titles from 2005-2007 without a premiere breaststroker on their medley relays. Auburn also won all those titles without any dominant distance freestyler or a top three 800 free relay.

Longhorns. They missed the final in the 400 medley relay. John Shebat was pulled at night in favor for Austin Katz in the relay. Joseph Schooling almost didn’t score in the 50, and Jonathan Roberts missed the A-final in the 200 IM.

How? Because the Tigers capitalized on two of the most important events in college swimming: sprint freestyle and diving. So they loaded up on the backs of Fred Bousquet, George Bovell and divers Steven Segerlin and Caesar Garcia throughout the 2000’s decade.

There were positives out of that morning from freshman Sam Pomajevich and junior Townley Haas who reached the A-Final in the 500, the former dropping some eleven seconds off his seed.

The Florida women’s team in 2010 won the national title after only winning one relay. The Texas men’s team in 2010 also only won one relay. What did both those teams have in common?

Haas won the 500 final that night in a very gutsy swim, and then all of a sudden you couldn’t count Texas out. CONTINUED >>>

Diving. It has saved teams in the past, like the 2006 Auburn men, who only won the 200 free relay to begin the meet. They then watched Arizona gain momentum as the team won the rest of the relays in the meet and won individual titles from Simon Burnett and Lyndon Ferns. The Wildcats led by legendary coach Frank Busch were showing signs of dethroning the Tigers, something no team had done since 2002. The meet was tight going into the last day, but it was diver Steven Segerlin who was there to save the day as he won the 10m title on the last night. Auburn won the meet by 40 points. Segerlin scored 52. Flash forward 12 years later, and the NCAA men’s meet was almost a mirror image of itself. A Florida senior (Ryan Lochte, Caeleb Dressel) was throwing up mind boggling times in his final college meet, seven total NCAA records were broken, and the three-time defending NCAA team champions (Auburn, Texas) were in danger of losing the team title, but diving saved the day. Of course no one could predict that what happened in 2006 would happen in 2018. But one could predict that diving could save Texas as they had freshman Jordan Windle, who was fourth in the 10m at the 2016 Olympic Trials. As the 2018 meet started, a four-peat wasn’t looking too promising for the SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

35


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

The aforementioned Windle was also clutch as he placed in the top eight in all three boards, including finishing the meet as runner-up in the 10m. Texas scored 81 points in diving alone, Windle scoring 45 of them. They won the team title for the fourth straight year. They didn’t win any relays. They didn’t score points in breaststroke. How did we think they couldn’t do it? How did we think John Shebat was only as good as his 14th and 31st seeds in his backstroke events? How did we think Townley Haas was actually going to lose the 200 free? How did we think Texas was going to lose this season? We fell for it. Again. Yeah they lost to Florida and Indiana. Yeah they lost to Texas A&M. But when have duel meets ever mattered? Katz had been consistent 1:47’s all season in the 200 back, as he only won one duel meet, when he swam a 1:45 against North Carolina. Haas was consistently 1:37 and 1:38 all season in the 200 free in duel meets, most notably finishing three seconds behind Blake Pieroni and Khader Baqlah in an IU-Florida tri-meet in October. But when it mattered the most, Katz and Haas, as well as the rest of the Texas team, saved their best swims for the last meet. Katz dropped a 1:37 on Saturday’s final and Haas became the second man to break 1:30 on Friday. The Purdue Boilermakers men’s basketball team, my favorite team, defeated Michigan twice this season and yet the Wolverines are in the national title game tonight and Purdue is going to be watching at home. What they did in the regular season doesn’t matter since they couldn’t get it done in March. All this goes to show is that Eddie Reese knows what he is 36

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

doing, saving the best swims for the end of the year. The great ones always figure it out. Caeleb Dressel hasn’t been considered a great duel meet swimmer. Neither has Kevin Cordes. But both of those guys always knew how to put on a show at the NCAA Championships, even if their swims in October were less than impressive. There comes the old adage, “you can’t count out the champs” (or something like that). Just because a team isn’t lights out in the regular season, doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be ready to go when the time comes. Every single NBA season, the narrative is “should we worried about (LeBron James’ team)?” Nope, because they have LeBron. The New England Patriots lost their home opener in 2017. “Should we be worried?” Nope, because they have Tom Brady. And yet, they still made the Super Bowl. Should we ever be worried about Texas? Well, as long as Eddie is in charge, never. The 2018 Texas men’s swimming and diving team moved in to prestigious territory as they became the seventh Division I team to win at least four consecutive men’s NCAA team titles. They joined Michigan (1937-1941), Southern California (1963-1966; 1974-1977), Indiana (1968-1973), Texas (19881991) and Auburn (2003-2007) in the elite category. They have won four straight national titles, and are picking up five star recruits Drew Kibler and Daniel Krueger next year. So when you’re filling out your picks for the 2019 NCAA’s, remember two things: the meet is in Austin, Texas. And second, the Longhorns haven’t lost the NCAA meet since 2014, so nobody on that team knows how to lose in March. ◀


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

> JUSTIN RESS

SHORTEST NIGHT, LONGEST RELAY, INSTANT HISTORY FOR NC STATE, INDIANA’S PIERONI BY ANDY ROSS

T

raditionally, the 4×200 free relay fell at the end of the Friday night session of the NCAA championships. Those who specialized in the 200 free were swimming the race for the third time in one day, and it wasn’t terribly unusual for coaches to opt for their stars to sit out the event for rest. But in 2016, the NCAA made a change, moving that relay to Wednesday night, before the meet otherwise began. That guaranteed that everyone on the relay would be swimming fresh—and swimmers would be able to take their best shots at bludgeoning relay records but also the individual mark in the 200 free. Wednesday evening in Minneapolis, Townley Haas stepped up in the final relay heat to lead off the for the University of Texas men. Two years earlier as a freshman, Haas became the first man to swim under 1:31 in the 200 free. He’s now the two-time defending NCAA champion in the event, and in long course, he won the silver medal in the 200 free at the World Championships. Haas powered his way through his first swim of the meet and touched the wall in 1:30.41, five hundredths faster than his previous American and NCAA record of 1:30.46. One problem: Blake Pieroni was leading off for Indiana two lanes over, and Pieroni made history. Swimming just under Haas’ American-record pace for the entire race, Pieroni came home in 23.18 on the final 50 yards. He finished in 1:29.63, becoming the first human being to

38

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

ever swim under 1:30. The NCAA swimming community had waited two years to see a sub-1:30 performance, ever since Haas hinted that it might be possible, and their patience was rewarded. Pieroni entered the meet with the country’s second-fastest time in the 200 free at 1:31.14, posted when he was sporting a full beard at the Big Ten championships. Fully shaven on Wednesday night, he exploded. “Couldn’t really be happier with it. I’ve been thinking about trying to break 1:30 for over a year,” Pieroni said. “This year, the way that I’ve been pacing more in dual meets made me think that I’d have, obviously a best time, but I didn’t know how far under my previous 1:30.8. 1:29.6, I’m thrilled with it.” Naturally, Pieroni gave his Indiana a substantial lead, and teammates Mohamed Samy and Vini Lanza held it. But NC State was still in range—and Justin Ress would make the Hoosiers pay. Ian Finnerty, the top seed at the NCAA championships in the 100 and 200 breast, was set to anchor for Indiana. He split a valiant 1:32.21, but it wouldn’t be enough, with Ress coming home in 1:30.77. Just like one year ago, when the now-graduated Soren Dahl held off Haas to secure the win for the Wolfpack. “It was very reminiscent of Soren,” Ryan Held said after


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

overall while Texas cruised to its third straight national championship. “Last year, we were like, ‘We’re going to win the meet! This is crazy,’” Held recalled. “But this year, we’re like, ‘It’s just another day. Move on to tomorrow. Never too high, never too low.’” Having momentum after one day is a big deal, but there are still three long days and 20 total events to go. Still, it’s worth appreciating the first night of the meet for what it is: A chance for the teams to put up four swimmers for a fast 200 free. For the third straight year, it took the fastest time in history to win the relay.

> TEAMMATES CONGRATULATE BLAKE PIERONI

splitting 1:31.09 on the second leg. “We were going in neck and neck with another team, and I said the same thing to him as I said to Soren. Right as he’s about to go off, I said, ‘Alright, Justin, remember all those 800 free relay practices. Don’t make them useless. You hated Monday afternoons. This is your time. Let’s go.’” The foursome of Andreas Vazaios, Held, Jacob Molacek and Justin Ress combined to swim a time of 6:05.31, more than a second under the previous American and NCAA record the Wolfpack set last year (6:06.53).

Swimmers who don’t normally swim the 200 free got a chance to throw down fast splits, like Vazaios and Cal’s Andrew Seliskar each posting 1:31-low leadoff splits. And for the first time, the fans inside the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center got to witness a man swim the 200 free in 1:29. Thursday morning, the NCAA weekend grind begins. Pieroni, for instance, has 12 races coming up over the next three days. But before that, there was one 30-minute blast of pure intensity, a spectacle of its own.◀

一娀䌀漀爀搀稀⸀挀漀洀 簀 㠀  ⸀㠀㠀㘀⸀㘀㘀㈀㄀ 

“Last year, 6:06, I thought that record was untouchable,” Held said. “I thought no one was going to break that. And we just went 6:05? We had guy who literally swam one 200 free this year and has never swum on that relay before, Jacob. It was like, ‘How did we do that with us four scrubs thrown together?’” The team competition is worth considering quickly: The NC State won after being seeded third, Indiana fell from first to second, and Texas jumped up from the fifth seed to third place. Those are swings of plus-eight, minus-eight and plussix, respectively. Is that significant? Well, maybe, but there’s a long way to go. The entire NC State team would be the first to admit it. Last season, the Wolfpack posted a big win over Texas in the meet-opening relay but could not sustain their momentum over the next four days. That team ended up falling to fourth

吀栀攀 伀刀䤀䜀䤀一䄀䰀 刀攀猀椀猀椀琀愀渀挀攀 匀眀椀洀 吀攀愀洀 吀爀愀椀渀椀渀最 䜀攀愀爀 唀匀䔀䐀 䈀夀 䄀吀䠀䰀䔀吀䔀匀 圀伀刀䰀䐀圀䤀䐀䔀

䐀刀夀 䰀䄀一䐀 刀䔀匀䤀匀吀䄀一䌀䔀 吀刀䄀䤀一䤀一䜀 䜀䔀䄀刀

䤀洀瀀爀漀瘀攀 䘀漀爀洀 ☀ 䤀䴀 琀椀洀攀 簀 䔀渀栀愀渀挀攀 攀渀搀甀爀愀渀挀攀 簀 吀爀愀椀渀 愀渀礀眀栀攀爀攀 SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

39


[ PHOTO COURTESY: DAN D'ADDONA ]

NCAA ELITE 90 WINNER PJ RANSFORD MODEL OF STUDENT-ATHLETE BY MICHAEL J. STOTT

S

everal years ago, the PGA embarked upon its “These Guys are Good” campaign, promulgating the talent of its membership. The NCAA has a similar award called the Elite 90. It is conferred upon “the individual reaching the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level while achieving the highest academic standard among peers. The winner is the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.” For the second straight year, the honor for men’s swimming and diving was presented to senior Michigan distance swimmer PJ Ransford. The Pittsford, New York, senior team captain is a five-time All-American with a 4.0 GPA currently pursuing a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering. First awarded in 2009-10 Ransford joins Brent Sterling of Tennessee and Tynan Stewart of Georgia as the only twotime winners. A member of the U.S. national team and possessor of lifetime short course bests of 4:14.27 in the 500 free, 14.32.35 in the 1650 (his best event) and 3:46.20 in the 400 IM Ransford wasn’t always as accomplished. “Coming into college I was really aggressive. I’d go out and just try to hang on,” he says. “I learned from training that it’s best for me if I don’t do 40

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

that and take a little off the front end, get into the race and keep getting faster and faster.” The fruits of that training paid off at 2017 World Championship Trials where he finished a heartbreaking third in the 1500, dropping eight seconds to clock a 15.01.82. Architect of the new and improved Ransford has been Josh White, Michigan’s associate head coach and main distance guru. “PJ is an incredible student and a great person. He’s come in every year, worked hard, made improvements and always found ways to get better,” White said. “He’s always been a pretty good short-course trainer, but we also do a lot of long-course training at Michigan. Freshman year we worked on building out the 25. He’s got an incredible kick and is now using that as a weapon.” A prime example was at World Trials where Ransford’s final 100 in the 1500 (57.37) was faster than his final 100 in the 400 (57.50). “PJ loves to win,” White said, “and he’s driven and willing to take risks, an admirable characteristic that most champions seem to possess.” Ransford’s honor is, “symbolic of the hard work the team does as a whole to be great in the classroom. The team really values people who are academically successful. It makes such a big


[ PHOTO COURTESY: PETER H. BICK ]

difference in the culture to have it reinforced by members of the team. When people are successful academically it is easy to pass it off as they are really smart and talented. “What I love about PJ,” says White, “is he doesn’t feel shy about saying, ‘It is really hard to be able to balance school and have a 4.0 in mechanical engineering.’ Either one of those things is hard on its own. Pushing both together speaks well about how hard he works to balance those things. Talent and intelligence can only get you so far.”

A TRI-CAPTAIN

Those around him will tell you he’s come a long way as a team leader. “Being a team captain has been awesome, a lot of fun and a lot of work,” says Ransford. “I love every person on the team. I know they support me. I lead by example mostly. I am not good at yelling at people. I just try and keep everyone moving in the right direction. If someone is having a bad day in practice I put my arms around them and try and get them to smile.

and an outstanding academic support staff. As a freshman I was able to benefit from all of that and succeed. One thing that helps is that the team has a lot of engineers (about 30 percent), especially mechanical engineers. I got to take a lot of classes with teammates. It was nice to start a class and have someone you knew and cared about.” Saturday afternoon Ransford, seeded 23rd of 41 entrants, is matter of fact in his approach to his final college 1650. “I just have to swim my own race, build through and have a great finish. In the past couple of years, I have done that, but it probably didn’t look like it.” Such approaches included going for the lead, crushing the middle 500 and starting a finishing kick only to be overtaken in 2017 by the fastest field in event history (he finished sixth in his best time ever 14.32.35). “Last year, I tried to pick it up too early and paid for it the last 300, so hopefully this year I won’t make that same mistake and stay strong the whole time.” White said, “We just want a good race. His most recent shave and taper long course was his best in terms of the overall race. That’s what we are hoping for. He’s trained incredibly well this year with more consistency and faster training than ever before. He just needs to go out and put together what he’s trained for.” What’s next? “I graduate in December. I’m still not sure about swimming. I’m keeping my options open,” says Ransford. Sounds like an intelligent man. ◀

“We’ve made great strides in team culture and team performance,” he says. Part of that has come as a result of getting a team chock full of underclassmen on the same page. Ten of Michigan’s 14 individual NCAA qualifiers are freshmen and sophomore shooting for a top eight finish after placings of 12th and 17th at NCAAs the last two years. The effort seems to be working. Of particular pride is the second place showing at this year’s Big Ten’s where the Wolverines scored 1617.5, just 40.5 points behind Indiana — and 235.5 more than last year. Ransford is modest about the Elite 90 award. “It’s a testament to what support Michigan has given us. Coming into school I had so much support,” he says citing, among other things, an athletic-only building SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

41


HOW THEY TRAIN

CLAIRE BECKER BY MICHAEL J. STOTT

PROGRESSION OF TIMES SCY 200 Free

C

laire Becker is a 5-foot dynamo who has swum for the Missoula YMCA swim team since she was 5 years old. She is a multi-sport athlete, president of her junior class at Hellgate High School, swim team captain for both Hellgate and MYST and a recent senior sectional qualifier in the 500 and 1000 yard freestyles. At the 2018 Montana High School AA Swimming and Diving State Championships, Becker notched a third in the 500 and fourth in the 200 yard freestyles. Coach Kirby Beierle was one of Becker’s first coaches, and she remembers her as a very athletic lover of the water whose understanding of the dolphin kick led to her mastering butterfly before freestyle. “She easily qualified and swam well at the state meet as an 8-andunder,” says Beierle. “Although swimming comes naturally to her, going fast hasn’t always been her No. 1 priority—so we’ve had to work on that. Throughout middle school and the first year of high school, she remained a really solid swimmer. Ultimately, her work ethic and intensity grew, and she achieved cuts for regional meets. “At the start of her sophomore year, her increased confidence and love for the sport led to more training intensity, expanded expectations and higher goals. She continued that momentum into the long course season and even averaged three swim training days a week during her fall soccer season. “Becoming a MYST captain has forced Claire to grow in her leadership skills,” adds Beierle. “She is very coachable, works hard and, as captain, has grown to lead her team verbally in ways more than just cheering. She has a heart of gold and is incredibly approachable to every single one of her teammates from age 5 to 18. “At five feet of pure muscle and personality, she is hilarious and always has her team doubled over in laughter. Her approach to life is so light-hearted and warm that I often find myself wondering what it would be like to spend a day in her brain. “She has the ability to be very critical of herself without being over the top or disappearing into her head when overwhelmed. She makes being dedicated, having goals and striving for them obtainable to her teammates,” says her coach. A two-year member of the Montana Zones team, Becker is currently one of two Junior Athlete Representatives for Montana Swimming. She was invited to attend the 2017 USA Swimming convention and plans to attend the 2018 USA Swimming Leadership Summit this spring.

42

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

2014

2015

2016

2017

This Season

2:07.76

2:06.53

2:05.64

1:58.66

500 Free

5:46.02

5:38.15

5:28.63

5:15.41

5:09.41

1000 Free

12:33.47

11:47.30

11:32.18

10:58.94

10:46.95

1650 Free

20:55.56

19:51.95

18:40.03

18:32.15

200 IM

2:40.28

2:31.49

2:25.14

2:17.74

400 IM

5:11.29

4:56.08

4:47.17

4:43.57

SAMPLE SETS MID-SEASON MID-DISTANCE/DISTANCE RACE PACE SET (with comments from Coach Beierle) • 10 x 50 free 500 pace on :45 (hold 31s or under) “Focus on consistency going in and out of turns. Hit the same spot on breakout, taking same number of dolphin kicks off wall and stroke count.” • 500 free with fins and snorkel on the 7:00 “Shoot for under 5:15. Focus on high-elbow catch and relaxed recovery with a kick-dominant stroke.” • 20 x 50 free end with flip on 15 seconds rest (hold 31s or faster) “Maintain the exact stroke count, dolphin kick count, breakout point and breathing.” • Minus-a-minute 500 “All on 500 race pace.” • 25/10 seconds rest, 50/10 seconds rest, 50/10 seconds rest, 75/10 seconds rest, 75/10 seconds rest, 125/10 seconds rest, and 100 “Becker tracks her rest intervals, drops a minute from her total elapsed time to determine her broken 500 time.” 

“At five feet of pure muscle and personality, Claire is hilarious and always has her team doubled over in laughter. Her approach to life is so light-hearted and warm that I often find myself wondering what it would be like to spend a day in her brain.” —Coach Kirby Beierle


This year you trained hard

Track·Learn·Improve Learn more at tritonwear.com

Next year train smart SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

43


BRETT RINGGOLD OF TEXAS GIVES THE "HORNS" PRIOR TO HIS SWIM AT THE 2018 MEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS.

[ PHOTO COURTESY: ANDY RINGGOLD / ARINGO PHOTOS ]

44

SWIMMING WORLD BIWEEKLY

Swimming World Biweekly - April 6, 2018  

ON THE COVER: Caeleb Dressel - Fast as Fast Can Be! Three records set. Three barriers broken. Did Caeleb Dressel just have the greatest col...

Swimming World Biweekly - April 6, 2018  

ON THE COVER: Caeleb Dressel - Fast as Fast Can Be! Three records set. Three barriers broken. Did Caeleb Dressel just have the greatest col...