One issue with swimming is the immense amount of meets, events, and sheer number of superstars. You’d think having lots of fast swimmers would be a good thing but it isn’t if you don’t market them properly. This makes it painfully difficult for fans of the sport to keep up with it — let alone non-swimming fans. While Caeleb Dressel was being spotted on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, I noticed that even my fellow collegiate swimming buddies weren’t naming names…any names actually…
“He went a 42.80 in the 100 fly too.”
“Yea I saw…dude is filthy.”
“U see that dude from Indiana broke 50 in the hundred breast?”
“Yea I saw that. And a second guy went under 1:30 in the 200 free, won with a 1:29.50.”
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: the sport must dedicate more focus and attention on raising the status of our athletes. USA Swimming needs to market all the top athletes much, much better. Pictures of them only in caps and goggles don’t help. Viewers need to be able to put a name to a face. Speaking of…Yahoo Sports wrote an article yesterday with a picture suggesting it was Katie Ledecky yet it was clearly not Katie Ledecky. These might seem like small, insignificant things but we must build the brand around our athletes. Even the people inside the sport don’t know the names and faces of its superstars. Get Townley Haas in front of the camera — he’s hilarious.
With all that being said, here are some additional random thoughts…
Katie Ledecky is going pro two years early. Good for her, bad for the NCAA. We might never see her swim the 1650 shaved and tapered ever again, and thus, the discussion on whether or not she will break 15:00 will likely become a mute point. She’s got bigger fish to fry as she goes back to focusing on LCM and winning additional Gold medals at the Olympics. She’s got a target on her back and Li Bingjie is coming for her.
Caeleb Dressel is the most mind boggling swimming specimen. What he has accomplish is difficult to comprehend. The craziest thing is that he continues to improve. I recently read an article that converted his SCY times to LCM but we all know that doesn’t fly. Converting from SCY to SCM, though, is far more accurate. So…
50 Free: 19.56 (WR sits at 20.26 by Florent Manaudou)
100 Free: 44.28 (WR sits at 44.94 by Amaury Leveaux
100 Fly: 47.50 (WR sits at 48.08 by Chad Le Clos)
200 IM: 1:48.92 (WR sits at 1:49.63 by Ryan Lochte)
Gregg Parini of Denison (CSCAA Men’s Coach of the Year) and Jon Howell of Emory (CSCAA Women’s Coach of the Year) have shown outstanding leadership and dominance in D3. The Denison men’s team has won 4 or the last 8 national championships. The Emory women have won the last 9 national championships. That is astounding!
Jessica Hardy and Dom Meichtry just introduced their baby girl to the world. She will certainly be blessed with good swimming genes, right? That’s what you hear all the time, “Oh wow, that’s going to be one fast baby!” Only time will tell but it is fun and interesting to see superstar swimmers children grow up and become superstars themselves. Look no further than Gus Borges at Michigan and Alberto Mestre Jr. of Stanford. Both swimmers fathers were big time swimmers back in the day for Brazil and Venezuela, respectively.
Auburn’s women’s team was 16th at NCAA’s this year. The men’s team placed 12th. That’s a far cry from the domination they showed in the early and mid 2000’s under Dave Marsh. It seems some alumni are not happy with what has transpired.
As an @AuburnSwimDive Alumn I believe in honesty and truthfulness without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellowmen. I continue to live by the creed @AGreeneIV, this season was a failure please consider making changes to our program #AlumniCare #WarEagle
— Justin Youtsey (@jyoutz) March 25, 2018
Not every swimmer is going to be a good fit for every program but the results attained from several former Auburn swimmers is undeniably nuts. Lauren Neidigh dropped 5 seconds in the her 500 Free 8 months after graduating from Auburn. Zane Grothe nearly quit swimming before destroying the 500 and 1650 Freestyle records. Jacob Molacek transferred from Auburn to NC State and did things last weekend that were unbelievable, including winning two national relay titles.
Eastern Michigan University just cut the Men’s swimming program, though, they are not going quietly into the night. This just goes to show that winning championships and developing outstanding young people doesn’t mean jack to athletic departments. The only thing that matters is money. So, next time your alma mater calls you, don’t forget to give generously…to the swim team. Explicitly make sure the money is going to the swim team. And then share that on your Facebook page.
Big ups to Delaney Duncan of EMU for her 4th place finish at NCAA’s in the 100 Breast. And, big ups to Jack Saunderson of Towson, who scored in Consols in both the 100 and 200 Fly. We love small schools doing big things.
We also love podcasts. Big, big fans. Roland Schoeman was just recently interviewed by Allistair McCaw and it is chuck full of nuggets, stories, and insight. He talks about his time swimming in college and turning down millions of dollars to swim for Qatar. It’s excellent and worth the listen.