The Vortex, April 18-24 – Australia Set To Host Its 1st World Short-Course Champs As Talks With FINA Near Deal After Russia Stripped Of Rights

2022-04-23 Reading Time: 25 minutes
Cate Campbell
Cate Campbell is taking a break this northern summer to recharge her batteries but she and teammates may soon be able to look forward to the first World s/c Champs Down Under in an Aussie summer - photo by Patrick B. Kraemer

The Vortex is our weekly day-by-day digest of swimnews, views, top picks and links to the best coverage of swimming and related issues from around the swim world. This week marks the start of a writing retreat for this author and a break in our wider coverage. After a special feature to be published later today, we will continue to bring you our weekly Vortex round-up at a time when key focus will be on long-term work.

Saturday April 23

Australia is close to a deal with FINA to host the World Short-Course Championships at the end of the year after Russia was stripped of hosting rights and Putin stripped of the FINA Order over his bloody war on Ukraine.

On a day when Putin’s troops continued to murder civilians across Ukraine, including a mother and her three-month old daughter born just before the Russian invasion of a sovereign country, the sports events that Russia would have hosted as part of its sportswashing culture under Putin’s leadership are being picked up by other nations.

High-level talks are still continuing but the Sunday Telegraph and reporter Julian Linden have confirmed in an exclusive report that Australia will host the World short-course championships that would have been staged in Kazan before FINA pulled the plug in response to Putin and Russia’s brutality.

Russian athletes and standard officials are barred from the World long-course championships in Budapest in June but there is no official word yet about whether Russians would be welcome in Australia come December. It looks unlikely.

Linden reports: “It is understood that Russia and Belarus will both be banned from competing at the short-course world titles in Australia although individual athletes can apply on a case-by-case basis.”

Just who would judge one athlete’s suitability against another’s and what criteria would be used for a thumbs up or thumbs down remains to be seen.

As things stand and given the direction of travel, the likelihood is that there will be no Russians representing their country in international sport for the foreseeable future, including the Paris 2024b Olympic Games, given the strong possibility that other nations would boycott if sports organisers fail to exclude the aggressor nations in the war on Ukraine.

Australia has never hosted the World 25m showcase and the move to host any events Russia would have staged, writes Linden, “will infuriate the Kremlin”.

As the world moves on with our Russia in the standard run of economies and sport, Russia’s exclusion from sport is forcing a rethink in the way sports events are funded. If sports washing is now a long accepted part of sport that is turning toxic for event organisers an d federations granting hosting rights, so too is the turning of blind eyes to inflated budgets and perks that do not have to be justified to taxpayers in some parts of the world.

Meanwhile, neither FINA or Swimming Australia has made any formal announcement about the event but when asked by The Sunday Telegraph, FINA did confirm that talks had already begun.

“FINA is pleased to confirm that it is in advanced, exclusive discussions with Swimming Australia to host the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in December 2022,” FINA said.

“Both FINA and Swimming Australia expect to announce more details on the exact location and dates of the event in short order.”

Read the report in full at the Australian Telegraph, News Corp.

Kristóf Milák On 51.03 For 100 ‘Fly Title As Hungarian Nationals Conclude

Kristof Milak – by Aniko Kovacs / DeepBlueMedia

Kristóf Milák produced a 51.03 win in the 100m butterfly in the curtain-closing session at Hungarian nationals in Debrecen.

With no need to get anywhere near the sizzling 49.68 European records that granted him Olympic silver in a challenge to American Caeleb Dressel in Tokyo last year, Milák was out in 23.68 and home in 27.35 to add the 100m title to his 200m crown claimed in 1:53 (see further down in this weekly roundup).

Hubert Kós was closest, on 51.88, the bronze to 50m winner Szebasztián Szabó in 52.06 ahead of Milák’s Budapesti Honvéd training partner Richárd Márton, on 52.39.

The meet will contribute to selection for the home World Championships in Budapest in June.

Kós, of Újpesti Torna Egylet, had earlier collected his own title for the day. A four-way tussle in the men’s 200m backstroke ended with his getting his hand to the wall on 1:57.64 0.06sec ahead of Benedek Kovács, with Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zheltyakov just 0.14sec adrift on 1:57.84. Ádam Telegdy, on 1:58.61, and Ádám Jászó, on 1:59.11, completed the sub-2min club, while 15-year-old Alex Kováts clocked 02:00.29 for sixth.

In the women’s 200m backstroke, just 09.01sec seperated Katalin Burián, FTC, and Dóra Molnár, Budafóka XXII. SE at the helm of pace on 2:09.33 and .34. Eszter Szabó-Feltóthy was third in 2:10.29.

It’s been a fine week of training for Olympic marathon silver medallist Kristóf
, Balaton ÚK Veszprém, who completed nationals by adding the 800m free title to his 400m and 1500m wins in 7:52.77. The women’s 800m free title also went to the 400 and 1500m winner, Anja Késely, BVSC-Zugló, on 8:35.74.

Danielle Hill Closes Irish Nationals Campaign With Sixth Crown

Danielle Hill, courtesy of Swim Ireland

Swim Ireland’s Irish Open Swimming Championships ended at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre today with several swimmers adding to medal hauls, Swim Ireland writes. Across the five days, two Irish Senior and two Irish Junior Records were broken as well as five Championship Records.

Danielle Hill has impressed all week and closed out the Championships with a sixth title in the 50m Backstroke, adding to 50m and 200m Backstroke, 50m and 100m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly titles. Ireland’s fastest ever female swimmer, already selected for the European Championships and Commonwealth Games this Summer, touched in 28.66 ahead of Swim Belfast’s Lottie Cullen (29.04) and UCD’s Jena Macdougald (29.74).

The Men’s 50m Freestyle Final saw Max McCusker take his fourth National Title of the Championships. McCusker had already won the 50m and 100m Butterfly Finals and the 100m Freestyle Final, breaking the Irish record in the 50m Butterfly and achieving a consideration time for the European Championships in the 100m Freestyle. In tonight’s 50m Freestyle the Dolphin swimmer touched in 22.59, behind Tom Fannon in 22.32, who received commemorative gold and set a new Championship record. In 7th place, Larne’s Thomas Leggett was under the consideration time for the European Junior Championships in 23.46.

Eoin Corby claimed a fourth National Title in winning the 200m Individual Medley. Corby, who had won gold in all three breaststroke events, showed his versatility claiming the National Title in 2:03.56 ahead of National Centre Limerick team-mate Cadan McCarthy (2:06.59). In third place, Evan Bailey, who has swum multiple consideration times for European Juniors this week, took Bronze in 2:06.72.

National Centre Dublin’s Niamh Coyne followed in Corby’s footsteps winning the Breaststroke triple. Having won the 50m and 100m titles earlier in the week, Coyne dominated from start to finish touching in 2:27.40 and earned a second consideration time for the European Championships in Rome in August.

Victoria Catterson, who had won 100m Freestyle silver on Wednesday, cruised to gold in the 200m Freestyle Final. Catterson clocked 2:01.13 ahead of National Centre Limerick’s Maria Godden (2:05.35) and Banbridge’s Julia Knox (2:06.04).

Sundays Well swimmer Liam Custer closed the competition by winning the Men’s 1500m Freestyle Final in 15:41.17. Custer has made a real impression this week with three national titles (800m, 1500m Freestyle, 400m IM), two Irish Junior Records (800m Freestyle, 400m IM) and several consideration times for the European Junior Championships.

Commenting on the Championships, Swim Ireland National Performance Director Jon Rudd said, “The five days of competition here in Dublin have provided us with a great return to the business end of our sport with some strong and highly promising racing noted in every session. Following the Olympic Games, we had nine athletes pre-selected to our National Teams for the summer benchmark meets this season and for many, training into the summer rather than competing at this time was their preferred option. Alongside those pre-selected, we have an additional eleven athletes that have put themselves into a position where they can be nominated for selection for individual events for one or more of our National Teams in July and August, alongside a further group of athletes who can be considered for Irish relays. Congratulations and a huge thanks to all of the coaches and teams that have prepared their athletes for this event, and we wish you all success for the summer ahead – whether that be on an Irish National Team or into the Irish Summer National Championships.”

Day 5 Results

Women 200m Freestyle Final: 1st V Catterson National Centre Ulster 2:01.13 2nd M Godden National Centre Limerick 2:05.35 3rd J Knox Banbridge 2:06.04

Men 200m IM Finals: 1st E Corby National Centre Limerick 2:03.56 2nd C McCarthy National Centre Limerick 2:06.59 3rd E Bailey New Ross 2:06.72

Women 200m Breaststroke Final: 1st N Coyne National Centre Dublin 2:27.40 2nd M Mayne Templeogue 2:29.50 3rd E McCartney National Centre Ulster 2:31.54

Men 50m Freestyle Final: 1sT Fannon National Centre Dublin 22.32 (commemorative) 1stM McCusker Dolphin 22.59 2nd C Bain Cookstown 22.63 3rd D Sutton National Centre Limerick 22.97

Women 50m Backstroke Final: 1st D Hill Larne 28.66 2nd L Cullen Swim Belfast 29.04 3rdJ Macdougald UCD 29.74

Men 1500m Freestyle Final: 1st L Custer Sundays Well 15:41.17 2nd J Cummings-Candal Ards 16:41.01 3rd R Fahey Trojan 16:44.15

Friday April 22

Nándor Németh Pips Kristóf Milák In 1:47s Hungarian 200 Free Tussle As Katinka Hosszú Makes It Record 132nd Sub-4:40 For 400IM Crown

Nándor Németh - courtesy of Hungarian Swimming Federation
Nándor Németh – courtesy of Hungarian Swimming Federation

Nándor Németh overhauled Budapesti Honvéd teammates Kristóf Milák and Richárd Márton down the last of four lengths to take the 200m freestyle crown in 1:47.51 on day 3 at Hungarian nationals in Debrecen.

All three were stroke for stroke going into the last turn, Milák in the lead on 1:20.54,. Márton 0.17sec back and Németh a further 0.07s adrift before he struck for home like Thunderball.

Coached by Zsolt Plagányi at BVSC-Zugló, Németh came home in 26.73, to 27.24 for Milák, on 1:47.78, and 27.93 for Márton, one 1:48.64. Next home and in line for selection to the 4x200m free at a home World Championships in Budapest in June, Dániel Mészáros, the teenager racing for FTC, clocked 1:49.28 for fourth.

A relay reserve will be available in the shape of Olympic marathon silver medallist Kristóf Rasovszky, on 1:49.82 after he produced the closest to the speed of the winner down the home lap, on 27.21. Rasovszky claimed the 1500m crown yesterday just inside 15mins (see lower in our weekly Vortex).

Milák had another silver lining on his score a little later in the session when Szebasztián Szabó took the 50 ‘fly title ahead of him, 23.08 to 23.56. Szabó, racing for Győri Úszó Sportegyesület, was 0.18sec shy of his national record.

Katinka Hosszú Takes 400IM Title With A Record 132nd Sub-4:40 Effort

Katinka Hosszú - courtesy of the Hungarian Swimming Federation
Katinka Hosszú – courtesy of the Hungarian Swimming Federation

Triple Olympic champion on 2016, Katinka Hosszú, Iron Swim SE, was a class apart in the women’s 400IM, her 4:38.89 delivering a victory almost 10sec clear of next home.

That was the rival who pipped Hosszú by 0.01sec in the 200m medley on day 1 in Debrecen. Today, Dalma Sebesteyén felt the heat of a swimmer with more sub-4:40s on her career record than anyone else in the history of the event among women, namely 132.

Sebesteyén took silver in 4:48.05, the bronze to Vivien Jackl, 13, on 4:50.47.

In the men’s 400m medley, battle came down to the last swing of arms, Balázs Holló taking the win over Hubert Kós 4:13.15 to 4:13.50, with Márk Török third in 4:17.42 ahead of former champion Dávid Verrasztó, on 4:19.98.

Holló, Egri Úszó Klub, and Kós, Újpesti Torna Egylet, exchanged the lead throughout: Holló on 57.14 1.33 ahead on ‘fly; Kós on 2:01.93, 1.75 ahead after backstroke and then Kós win 3:14.20, 1.68 ahead after breaststroke. Holló struck back on freestyle with splits of 29.53 and 27.74, over Kós’ 30.17 and 29.13.

The women’s 200m freestyle crown went to rising star Nikolett Pádár, 16 this year and on 1:57.91. Coached by Gábor Gellért and Zsolt Táczi at Szegedi Úszó Egylet, Pádár had the edge on her rivals throughout splits of 27.71, 57.70, 1:27.59 and a homecoming 30.32.

The podium was completed by 400-1500m winner Ajna Késely, 1:58.78, and Lilla Ábrahám, also 16 this year, on 1:59.92. Bettina Fábián finished fourth in 2:00.80, while Hungary can also turn to national record holder Katinka Hosszú and her 1:55.41 best, for 4x200m duty at the home World titles in June.

In other action, the men’s 200m breaststroke final was far shy of the spectacular days of Dániel Gyurta and others who have made Hungarian breaststroke a title tilt at the highest levels. Even so, the race was on: the title took a tie: Dávid Horváth, Kőbánya Sport Club, and Gábor Zombori, Újpesti Torna Egylet, snapped on 2:13.58 after Zombori charged back into contention down the last length with a 34.29 split that chopped back a deficit to Horváth of almost a second at the last turn.

Eszter Békési, Egri Úszó Klub, took the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:28.07 and Dominika Varga and Iron Swim SE teammate Lora Komoróczy, 16 this year, topped the women’s 50m butterfly on 27.07 and 27.189 respectively.

Evgeny Rylov Banned For Nine Months For Role In Putin’s Pro-War ‘Z’ Rally As Ukraine Burned

Evgeny Rylov, second left, at the Putin propaganda rally on Friday, March 18, 2022 – there is no telling quite what is going through the hearts and minds of the athletes in a snap shot but it is fair to say that at the moment of the snap, there were significant differences between the moods of the athletes about to be paraded as symbols of nationalistic pride at a time when Ukraine is bathing in blood and destruction – Twitter

Russian Olympic 100 and 200m backstroke champion Evgeny Rylov has been suspended for nine months by FINA after attending a rally in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the pro-war Z symbol stitched on his sports kit.

When images of Rylov’s appearance at the rally first appeared, the swimmer was stripped of his Speedo sponsorship with immediate effect.

Rylov, 25, had already been barred from defending the World 200m backstroke title in Budapest in June, not only because of his suspension but because all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, barring those in the IOC and FINA governance, were banned from the showcase by FINA in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

As Ukrainians came under fire and murder was the order of the day from the Kremlin to Russian troops, a number of athletes attended or were rounded up to attend the Putin Z rally at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in March.

It is not known whether Rylov, 25 and a police officer in a suburb of Moscow, attended the rally of his own volition or whether, in common with other public-sector workers, he was bussed in as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to bolster Putin’s propaganda.

FINA, which has stripped Putin of the FINA Order, noted that it was banning Rylov “from all competitions and activities organized or sanctioned by Fina” following his “attendance and conduct” at the event. His suspension took effect from 20 April.

In effect, Rylov’s personal suspension will last only 20 days until 20 January 2023 because he was already barred from major competition, though it remains to be seen how long Russians will be persona non grata in international sport.

Just as German and Japanese athletes were barred from London 1948, there have been calls for Russia to be barred from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games at a time when there is no sign of Putin ending his bloody and illegal invasion of a sovereign country.

Fifth Irish Title For Danielle Hill

Danielle Hill, courtesy of Swim Ireland

Danielle Hill continued to add to her medal haul, picking up her fifth National Title, on the penultimate day of racing at the Irish Open Swimming Championships in Dublin, Swim Ireland writes.

Hill had already won the 50m and 100m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly and 200m Backstroke and added 100m Backstroke gold in 1:00.87, just off her Irish Record of 1:00.18. The Larne swimmer has already been selected for both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships this summer and will go for a sixth title tomorrow in the 50m Backstroke.

Eoin Corby claimed his third national title and completed the Breaststroke triple as he won the 200m Final. The National Centre Limerick swimmer was home in 2:12.81 ahead of Uiseann Cooke (2:13.54) and Darragh Greene (2:15.81).

Rising distance star Grace Hodgins also claimed her third national title this evening. The 17-year-old, already under consideration for European Juniors, claimed 400m and 1500m Freestyle gold earlier in the week. Tonight, the Trojan swimmer cruised to 800m Freestyle gold in 8:56.44, the only swimmer under the 9-minute-mark.

In the women’s 200m Individual Medley Final, Molly Mayne impressed with a time of 2:16.59 for gold ahead of Ards’ Grace Davison in 2:18.88, both swimmers posted consideration times for the European Junior Championships.

Tokyo Olympian Jack McMillan was the clear winner of the Men’s 200m Freestyle Final. The Bangor swimmer lead from start to finish clocking 1:47.93, with his Tokyo team-mate Finn McGeever second in 1:50.43 and National Centre Dublin’s Robbie Powell third in 1:51.63. In fifth place Evan Bailey, already under consideration for European Juniors, claimed another consideration time in 1:53.29.

In the Men’s 100m Backstroke Final National Centre Ulster’s Conor Ferguson lead from the start to take gold in 55.40 seconds ahead of Paddy Johnston (56.26) and Adam Barnes (57.96).

16-year-old Alana Burns-Atkin impressed in the 200m Butterfly. The Banbridge swimmer powered through the final fifty metres to overtake leader Sharon Semchiy of Sunday’s Well. Burns-Atkin finished in a personal best of 2:20.90 for her first national title with Semchiy claiming silver in 2:22.23.

Competition continues tomorrow.

Day 4 Results

Women 200m IM Final: 1st M Mayne Templeogue 2:16.59 2nd G Davison Ards 2:18.88 3rd J Knox Banbridge 2:20.59

Men 200m Freestyle Final: 1st J McMillan Bangor 1:47.93 2nd F McGeever National Centre Limerick 1:50.43 3rd R Powell National Centre Dublin 1:51.63

Women 100m Backstroke Final: 1st D Hill Larne 1:00.87 2nd M Godden National Centre Limerick 1:03.36 3rd L Cullen Swim Belfast 1:03.93

Men 100m Backstroke Final: 1st C Ferguson National Centre Ulster 55.40 2nd P Johnston Ards 56.26 3rd A Barnes Ards 57.96

Women 200m Butterfly Final: 1st A Burns-Atkin Banbridge 2:20.90 2nd S Semchiy Sundays Well 2:22.23 3rd H O’Shea Dolphin 2:22.78

Men 200m Breaststroke Final: 1st E Corby National Centre Limerick 2:12.81 2nd U Cooke Tuam 2:13.54 3rd D Greene National Centre Dublin 2:15.81

Women 1500m Freestyle Final: 1st G Hodgins Trojan 8:56.44 2nd A Kane Ards 9:08.02 3rdE Carroll National Centre Limerick 9:14.55

Andrew Wilson Announces Retirement

Andrew Wilson, who claimed Olympic gold for his role in the American 4x100m medley relay in Tokyo last year, has announced his retirement at 28 years of age.

A man who loves his numbers, a mathematician at Oxford, Wilson made his first big international podium in swimming in 2017 when he claimed double gold in the 100 and 200m breaststroke at the World Student Games (Universiade) in Taipei. A year later, there was gold for his role ion the USA 4x00m medley relay at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, that year ending with gold in the same relay at World short-course titles in Hangzhou.

Pre-pandemic, at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Wilson celebrated silver with USA teammates in the Men’s and Mixed 4x100m medley relays behind British quartets.

In a fine letter posted online, In which he thanked the key people who had helped him achieve some of his goals in the pool, Wilson focussed on five things that made him proud.

Well worth a read.

Fare well – and congratulations, Andrew Wilson.

Thursday April 21

Kristóf Milák Lays Down 1:53.8 Marker For Hungarian 200 ‘Fly Crown (Video) On Way To Home World-Title Defence

Kristof Milak – by Patrick B. Kraemer

Olympic champion and World record holder Kristóf Milák laid down a 1:53.88 marker at Hungarian nationals in Debrecen this evening on his way to the defence of the 200m butterfly title at home in Budapest in June.

Coached at Budapesti Honvéd by Balázs Virth and Ferenc Kovácshegyi, Milák was cruising throughout, with plenty left in the tank at the end of a race that had a clear arrow shape to it by the first turn. Milák led from go to gold through splits of (24.86; 53.93; 1:24.24 and a last lap of 29.64 that left him clear of Tamas Kenderesi, on 1:55.01 and also Budapest 2022 bound, and Richárd Márton, on 1:56.23.

Although only 11 other men have ever swum faster, Milák’s winning time is the 25th best effort of his career – and 55th on the all-time performances list. The Hungarian holds the World record at a scorching 1:50.73, the time in which he claimed the World title in Gwangju, South Korea, in 2019.

Milák was back in action within the hour for second place in the 50m freestyle. On 21.99, Szebasztián Szabó, Győri Úszó Sportegyesület, got the better of the fly ace by 0.2sec, Milák’s 22.19 getting the touch over Nándor Németh by 0.01sec.

In a European scrum in 2021: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), near, stroke for stroke, breath for breath, with Florian Wellbrock (GER), Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) in the middle of them in the midst of battle – . and Florian Wellbrock (GER) Photo © Agnes Kovacs/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

At the other end of the distance spectrum, Kristóf Rasovszky, the Balaton ÚK Veszprém open water ace who took silver behind Germany’s Florian Wellbrock in the Olympic marathon on Tokyo last year, clocked 14:59.17 for the 1500m freestyle title at a pace just under a second per 100m fastest than the closest man to him, training partner Dávid Betlehem, on 15:13.85.

Third place went to László … no, not that master of multi eventing … László Gálicz, on 15:15.38.

In the women’s 30-length fight, Anja Késely, BVSC-Zugló, took the crown in 16:22.89, 12sec clear at Bettina Fábián, on 16:34.82.

Other winners on the day included Katinka Hosszú, of Iron Swim SE, on 2:09.38 in the 200m butterfly ahead of Blanka Berencz and Zsuzsanna Jakabos, on 2:10.51 and 2:10.81 respectively.

Benedek Kovács, BVSC-Zugló, took the 100m backstroke in 54.18; and a 1:00.83 was good for gold in the women’s 100m backstroke, the title to Dóra Molnár, Budafóka XXII. SE. The women’s 50m free crown went to Petra Senánszky, of the local Debreceni Sports club, on 25.24.

Danielle Hill Cracks 100 Free Mark In 1st Irish Sub-55, On 54.87

Danielle Hill – courtesy of Swim Ireland

Tokyo Olympian Danielle Hill picked up her third and fourth national titles and set a new Irish Record and two Championship Records as the Irish Open Swimming Championships continued in Dublin today, writes Swim Ireland.

Hill, competing for Larne Swimming Club, smashed through 55 seconds for the first time in tonight’s 100m Freestyle Final touching in 54.87 and knocking almost half a second off the previous record of 55.33 she had held for the past year. The 23-year-old also broke the championship record of 55.06 held by three-time Olympic Champion Katinka Hosszu since 2013.

Just an hour later, Hill went on to set a new Championship Record in the 50m Butterfly, her time of 26.84 was a personal best and her first-time sub 27 seconds.

Also continuing his record-breaking form, 18-year-old Liam Custer, who set a 400m IM Irish Junior Record on Tuesday, set another new standard in the 800m Freestyle to take the gold medal in 8:06.17. The previous record was held by Tokyo Olympian Daniel Wiffen in 8:13.72 from 2019. Sunday’s Wells’ Custer also broke the Championship Record of 8:12.13 held by US swimmer Brendan Driscoll.

Dolphins Max McCusker, who broke the 50m Butterfly Irish Record yesterday, came close to the 100m record this evening. McCusker was .11 off Brendan Hylands Irish record of 52.52 and Championship Record of 52.62, winning gold in 52.63.

Both Niamh Coyne and Eoin Corby added 50m Breaststroke to their 100m Breaststroke Titles from earlier in the week. Coyne clocked 32.37 while Corby won in 27.99.

Julia Knox won her first national title in the 400m Individual Medley, the Banbridge swimmer touched in 4:52.43 ahead of Templeogue’s Molly Mayne (4:53.33) and Ards’ Amelia Kane (4:57.47).

Competition continues tomorrow through to Saturday.

Day 3 Results

Women 400m IM Final: 1st J Knox Banbridge 4:52.43 2nd M Mayne Templeogue 4:53.33 3rd A Kane Ards 4:57.47

Men 50m Breaststroke Final: 1st E Corby National Centre Limerick 27.99 2nd D Greene National Centre Dublin 28.22 3rd U Cooke Tuam 28.73

Women 100m Freestyle Final: 1st D Hill Larne 54.87 ISR MR 2nd V Catterson National Centre Ulster 55.41 3rd E Riordan National Centre Dublin 56.61

Men 100m Butterfly Final: 1st M McCusker Dolphin 52.63 MR 2nd P Johnston Ards 53.29 3rd E Bailey New Ross 54.76

Women 50m Breaststroke Final: 1st N Coyne National Centre Dublin 32.37 2nd M Mayne Templeogue 32.71 3rd E Doyle National Centre Limerick 32.82

Men 800m Freestyle Final: 1st L Custer Sundays Well 8:06.17 IJR CR 2nd N Wiffen Larne 8:20.28 3rd J Fleming Lisburn 8:30.77

Women 50m Butterfly Final: 1st D Hill Larne 26.84 CR 2nd J Macdougald UCD 28.02 3rd K McCaw Larne 28.29

Wednesday April 20

Kristóf Milák Takes Hungarian 100 Free Title In 48.8 As Nationals Start In Debrecen

Kristóf Milák – Photo MÚSZ/Derencsényi István – courtesy of the Hungarian Swimming Federation

Olympic 200m butterfly Kristóf Milák took the Hungarian 100m freestyle title in 48.71 head of national record holder Nándor Németh on the opening day of action at Open Championships in Debrecen.

The two are now in line for the event at a home World Championships in Budapest from June 18. Németh came home in 48.87 ahead of Szebasztián Szabó, 49.07 after turning first in 23.29, and Dániel Mészáros, 19 this year and on 49.51. Milák, now coached at Budapesti Honvéd by Balázs Virth and Ferenc Kovácshegyi, turned third in 23.57 before putting in the swiftest homecoming effort, of 25.14.

The Hungarians are racing largely unrested this week and that may well explain the upset in the 200m medley final that saw Dalma Sebestyén, of Győri Úszó Sportegyesület, take the win in 2:12.20, 0.1sec ahead of World record holder (2:06.12, 2015), Katinka Hosszú, the 2016 triple Olympic champion who turns 33 this year.

Hosszú was 2sec ahead at half way, 0.9sec ahead at the last turn but then her 31.66 last lap compared to 30.80 for Sebestyén, adding up to victory for the 25-year-old by 0.01sec.

Hubert Kós, Újpesti Torna Egylet, looks set to keep up the Hungarian medley tradition. His 1:57.64 over 200m today was good for victory by a comfortable margin over three 1:59 efforts. On 1:59.02, Dominik Török was second home ahead of a 1:59.11 from Balázs Holló, and a 1:59.57 from Dániel Sós.

In the 400m freestyle, open water ace Kristóf Rasovsky, Balaton ÚK Veszprém, pipped Vietnam’s Huy Hoang Nguyen, 3:49.01 to 3:49.06. The women’s final produced a similar tight battle, the crown going to Anja Késely, coached by former international Peter Bernék at BVSC-Zugló, in 4:07.74, 0.7sec ahead of Bettina Fábián.

Others winners included 15-year-old Nikolett Pádár, Szegedi Úszó Egylet, on 54.85 in the 100m free; Austrian visitor Valentin Bayer, on 1:01.06 in the 100m breaststroke; and, in 1:09.31, Aliz Kalmár, Szombathelyi Sportközpont, in the 100m breaststroke 0.49sec ahead of Sebestyén.

Faster Than Ervin, Hall & Hoogie 2000, Swifter Than Henry, Peirsol & Kitajima 2004: The Golden Pace Of Paris 2024 Olympic ‘A’ Cuts

Anthony Ervin - by Patrick B. Kramer
Anthony Ervin – by Patrick B. Kramer

The A cut times for qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games have been set at around the pace it took to make the podium, or in several cases gold, at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Among stark reminders of just how speedy the cuts are:

Aaron Peirsol at the Montreal 2005 World Championships (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)
  • 50m free, at 53.61, faster than Jodie Henry‘s victory at Athens 2004
  • 100m backstroke, at 59.99, good for gold at all Games up to and including Natalie Coughlin‘s first win, at Athens 2004
  • 50m free, at 21.96, faster than the 21.98 in which Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall Jr tied for gold at Sydney 2000
  • 100m free, at 48.34, faster than Pieter Van Hoogenband‘s first win, at Sydney 2000 and faster than Alex Popov ever swam in Olympic waters
  • 100m back, at 53.74, faster than Aaron Peirsol‘s first win, at Athens 2004
  • 100m breaststroke, at 59.45, faster than any gold in history up to an including Kosuke Kitajima‘s first win at Athens 2004
  • 100m butterfly, at 51.67, just 0.47sec shy of Michael Phelps‘ first victory, at Athens 2004, and not far shy of the 51.22 world 100m free record set by Mark Spitz for 1972 gold on freestyle

And so on and so forth. Just to make the A cut. Many nations qualify swimmers on B cuts, of course, while some leading swim countries set their standards higher than FINA ‘A’ cut. Do they need to this time round?

Not all the standards relate to the state of prevailing swimming speed deep down the ranks. For example, the women’s 200m butterfly A cut time of 2:08.43 for Paris was cleared by just three swimmers at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, when only 16 women took part. A straight heats to final would have been the sensible choice but organisers pressed ahead with a rerun of heats in two semis on the way to a final in which all but one swimmer raced inside what’s now the A cut for Paris.

The 2021 season ended with 20 women inside the time that is now Paris A cut. Almost half of them did not race in the Tokyo 202one 200 ‘fly, while relay swimmers at the Games who applied to race the 200m butterfly on the strength of a B cut were denied according to coaches who had wanted their athlete to be given the chance to race a solo event while at the Games. Such decisions were, at leats in part, related to Covid rules in place in Tokyo that included rosters of sending athletes home after they had completed the events they were originally selected for.

The same conditions and encouragements are not applied across the spectrum of events on swimming’s ever-growing program. Fort example, 73 men raced the 50m freestyle in Tokyo: just 38 made the B cut, while only 17 made the A cut. That’s 56 men who swam at the Olympic Games in conditions that were not applied to the women’s 200m butterfly.

The raising of the B standard to levels very close to the A standard is likely to render semi-finals pointless, for the same reason holding semis of the women’s 200m butterfly in Tokyo was pointless, unless the IOC now wants the Games to be a time trial and training moment not the ultimate showcase of Olympic sports supposedly open to the very best in the world.

Max McCusker Tops Bill At Irish Championships With 49.6 100 Free

Swim Ireland’s Irish Open Championships continued in Dublin today with two new Irish Records and six new names added to the consideration list for International Teams this Summer, writes Swim Ireland.

Max McCusker was the undoubted star of the day as he won two National Titles, set a new Irish Record, and achieved a consideration time for the European Championships in Rome in August. The Dolphin swimmer won the 100m Freestyle in 49.67 having qualified as the fastest swimmer from the heats in 49.42, a time good enough for Europeans consideration. Later in the evening, the 23-year-old won the 50m Butterfly in a new Irish Record of 23.44, breaking Barry Murphy’s 2013 record of 23.65 and the 2018 Irish Open Meet Record, also 23.65. McCusker returns to the pool tomorrow for the 100m Butterfly.

Also, in the Men’s 100m Freestyle New Ross’ Evan Bailey (51.38) achieved the consideration time for European Juniors while Splashworld’s Conor Fitzgerald (51.83) was under the time needed for the European Youth Olympic Festival.

Sunday’s Well’s Liam Custer set his first Irish Junior Record while winning his first National Title in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley Final. Custer and Cadan McCarthy were neck and neck coming into the home straight, but it was Custer who touched first in 4:24.50, breaking a 1-month-old record held by Jack Cassin of 4:26.21.

National Centre Dublin’s Niamh Coyne debuted at this Irish Open with a win in the 100m Breaststroke and a consideration time for the European Championships in 1:07.83. Second place Molly Mayne of Templeogue clocked 1:10.29 and a consideration time for European Juniors while Ellie McCartney also added her name to the European Juniors list in 1:11.59.

Danielle Hill doubled up on national titles, adding 200m Backstroke gold to the 50m Freestyle gold she won on Tuesday. Hill battled with National Centre Limerick’s Maria Godden over the four lengths, eventually coming out on top in 2:14.35, Godden claimed silver in 2:15.45. In the Men’s 200m Backstroke Final Nathan Wiffen dominated from start to finish, taking the National Title in 2:05.11.

Grace Hodgins closed out the day winning the 1500m Freestyle in 17:09.89, it was a second gold for the Trojan swimmer who won the 400m Freestyle yesterday. The 17-year-old also met a second consideration time for the European Junior Championships.

Competition continues tomorrow through to Saturday.

Day 2 Results

Men 400m IM Final: 1st L Custer Sundays Well 4:24.50 2nd C McCarthy National Centre Limerick 4:25.82 3rd A Wilson Banbridge 4:42.22

Women 200m Backstroke Final: 1st D Hill Larne 2:14.35 2nd M Godden National Centre Limerick 2:15.45 3rd L Cullen Sundays Well 2:19.29

Men 100m Freestyle Final: 1st M McCusker Dolphin 49.67 2nd C Bain Cookstown 50.05 3rd J Sloan National Centre Ulster 50.40

Women 100m Breaststroke Final: 1st N Coyne National Centre Dublin 1:07.83 2nd M Mayne Templeogue 1:10.29 3rd E Doyle National Centre Limerick 1:10.45

Men 200m Backstroke Finals: 1st N Wiffen Larne 2:05.11 2nd B Bliss Sundays Well 2:08.08 3rd N Irwin National Centre Limerick 2:08.66

Women 1500m Freestyle Final: 1st G Hodgins Trojan 17:09.89 2nd E Carroll National Centre Limerick 17:44.64 3rd G Cochrane Lurgan 18:08.13

Men 50m Butterfly Final: 1st M McCusker Dolphin 23.44 ISR MR 2nd C Fitzgerald Splashworld 25.35 3rd S Winston Aer Lingus 25.39

The Duel In The Pool Is Back With A Twist At AUS Vs USA Olympic & Paralympic Clash In Sydney This August

Focus on Katie Ledecky Vs Ariarne Titmus at the heart of the USA Vs Australia duel that unfolded in the Tokyo Olympics pool – image: ragout of the Australian Telegraph and the double-page spread by Julian Linden

Australia and the United States of America will reignite the Duel in The Pool from August 19-21 in Sydney in an Aussie winter, with some innovation in the mix. Each country will have a team of 30 Olympic, Paralympic and National Team athletes for pool competition at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC) and an Open Water event at Bondi.

The Video of the announcement in Sydney

Swimming Australia also noted: “Following the Duel in the Pool, Swimming Australia will host the Sydney Sprints at SOPAC, an event which will also incorporate the Australian Short Course Championships and be open to a number of competing nations from around the world, marking the first major international swim meet to be hosted in Australia since the COVID-19 Pandemic. The week will then conclude with the annual Swimming Australia Awards.”

The U.S. Vs AUS duel picked up steam at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, clashes between Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel and Kyle Chalmers providing some of the highlights of the Games in Japan.

The format is yet to be divulged, while the event’s success will rely on the strength of team selections in a year that has seen the International Swimming League postpone its series at a time when Ukrainian founder and funder Konstantin Grigorishin has bigger fish to fry, his country fighting a bloody and illegal war waged by Vladimir Putin and a Russian regime.

Russians and Belarusians have been barred from the World Championships in Budapest in June and the European Championships in Rome in August while Putin has been stripped of the Olympic Order and the FINA Order, which was granted to him in 2014 on the cusp of the biggest doping scandal in sport since the days of the GDR without official objection from the world’s leading swimming nations, Australia and the United States.

Commentary – Why Integrity Unit Must Have Retrospective Powers

Tuesday, April 19

Swim Ireland Championships Get Underway In Dublin

Swim Ireland’s Irish Open Swimming Championships got underway today at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre in Dublin, the first such Championships since 2019. The 5-day event see’s almost four hundred swimmers from seventy-four clubs compete for national titles in thirty-four individual events and places on seven Irish National Teams.

A number of Ireland’s up and coming swimmers impressed on the opening day with qualification times met for the European Junior Championships and the European Youth Olympic Festival while Danielle Hill continued her dominance as Ireland’s fastest ever female swimmer.

Grace Hodgins and Robbie Powell took the first national titles of the week in the 400m Freestyle. 17-year-old Hodgins of Trojan Swimming Club impressed in her maiden win, meeting the consideration standard for the European Junior Championships on her way to the gold medal in 4:24.40. Ards’ Grace Davison, who finished fourth in the final, met a consideration time for the European Youth Olympic Festival in this morning’s heats. Powell clocked 3:59.02 in the men’s final, a personal best for the National Centre Dublin swimmer, and was the only one to break the four-minute mark.

For the first time in 10 years Ireland had a new champion in the 200m Butterfly. Since 2013 Tokyo Olympian Brendan Hyland has won both the 100m and 200m Butterfly national titles. Today, 21-year-old Paddy Johnston, topped the podium in 2 minutes flat for his first national title, and just minutes later, the Ards swimmer won 50m Backstroke Gold in 26.06. In that 200m Butterfly Final Sunday’s Wells’ Liam Custer claimed silver in a consideration time of 2:01.09 for the European Junior Championships.

Danielle Hill continues her reign as Ireland’s fastest ever female swimmer after she won the 50m Freestyle in a new meet record of 25.30. The Tokyo Olympian was just .11 off her Irish Record of 25.19 and knocked .24 off the 2018 meet record of 25.54 held by Mona McSharry.

In the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, there was a battle between Eoin Corby, Uiseann Cooke and Darragh Greene for Gold. National Centre Limerick’s Corby was the victor in 1:01.53, Cooke claimed silver in 1:01.83 while Greene, returning from a prolonged break after the Olympic Games, was third in 1:02.08.

Templeogue Swim Teams Molly Mayne won her first national title in the 100m Butterfly. Mayne powered through in the final fifty metres touching the wall in 1:01.96 ahead of Sharon Semchiy (1:03.07) of Sundays Well and National Centre Ulster’s Ellie McKibbin (1:03.40).

Competition continues tomorrow through to Saturday.

Day 1 Results

Men 400m Freestyle Final: 1st R Powell Athlone 3:59.02 2nd N Wiffen Larne 4:00.81 3rd J Fleming Lisburn 4:04.13

Women 400m Freestyle Final: 1st G Hodgins Trojan 4:24.40 2nd A Kane Ards 4:26.43 3rd Ella Carroll National Centre Limerick 4:27.56.

Men 100m Breaststroke Final: 1st E Corby National Centre Limerick 1:01.53 2nd U Cooke Tuam 1:01.89 3rd D Greene National Centre Dublin 1:02.08

Women 100m Butterfly Final: 1st M Mayne Templeogue 1:01.96 2nd S Semchiy Sundays Well 1:03.07 3rd E McKibbin National Centre Ulster 1:03.40

Men 200m Butterfly Final: 1st P Johnston Ards 2:00.00 2nd L Custer Sundays Well 2:01.09 3rd E Hansen Trojan 2:01.64

Women 50m Freestyle Final: 1st D Hill Larne 25.30 MR 2nd E Riordan National Centre Dublin 25.59 3rd G Davison Ards 26.97

Men 50m Backstroke Final: 1st P Johnston Ards 26.06 2nd M Walsh Hussey NAC 27.31 3rd J Shortt BlueFin 27.44

Birmingham Launches 2022 Commonwealth Pool

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Pool

Construction at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre has been completed 100 days before the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in England.

Merve Tuncel Warns Up For Summer With Freestyle 200-1500 Sweep At Turkish Trials

TUNCEL Merve TUR swimming 800m Freestyle Women, nuoto LEN European Junior Swimming Championships 2021 Rome 2177 Stadio Del Nuoto Foro Italico Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Merve Tuncel, of Turkey – Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto, couretesy of LEN

Merve Tuncel, the Turkish teenager who claimed triple gold in distance freestyle events at the European Junior Championships last year, topped the 200, 400, 800 and 1500m free at the Open National Team Selection meet in Edirne in respective times of 2:00.97, 4:07.75, 8:29.31 and 16:19.56.

Tuncel’s 400m time is not far shy of the 4:06.25 Turkish record she set for the European junior title in Rome last year. Over the longer distance, she was a little further shy of best times set in Rome in early July, namely 8:21.91 over 800m and 15:55.23 over 1500m.

Later that same month, Tuncel, coached by Gjon Shyti in Ankara, made her Olympic debut, finishing 11th in the 1500m on 16:00.51, 12th in the 800m in 8:25.62 and 19th in the 400m in 4:11.06.

The meet in Edirne also witnessed a 58.32sec win in the 100m butterfly for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar and a win for Deniz Ertan in the 400m medley, on 4:40.45, along with second-place finishes in the 400m and 800m freestyle on time of 4:09.38 and 8:32.14.

Among men, the top performances came from Emir Batur Albayrak, on 15:18.49 in the 1500m freestyle ahead of a 15:26.37 effort from 15-year-old Kuzey Tuncelli, 19-year-old Venezuelan Jorge Hernandez, on 52.27 in the 100m butterfly, and Berkay Oegretir, on 2:13.56 in the 200m breaststroke.

There were also two wins for Emre Sakci, on 27.49 and 1:00.30 in the 50 and 100m breaststroke, and 49.97 in the 100m freestyle.

Danish Open: Köbrich On 16:16.39 As Ribeiro Takes Down Portuguese 100 ‘Fly Shiny Suit Mark

Chilean 35-year-old Kristel Köbrich clocked 16:16.39 in the curtain-closing session at the Danish Open, a meet held over the Easter break and lacking many of the big names that have previously made the Open part of their race-preparation tour. Many swimmers and coaches are having to make different plans this year as a consequence of an altered and somewhat chaotic international competition calendar.

The Danish Open witnessed a Portuguese national record isn the men’s 100m butterfly, when Diogo Ribeiro, 17, topped the final in 52.31 ahead of teammate Miguel Nascimento, 16, on 52.96. The national standard had stood at 52.42 to Diogo Carvalho since the Portuguese Spring Championships in Lisbon back in March 2009 at the height of the shiny suits circus.

Nascimento, meanwhile, pipped Ribeiro 22.20 to 22.44 in the 50m freestyle, the winning time just 0.04sec shy of Nascimento’s 22.16 national record set in December 2020 and equalled at the Portuguese Championships in Coimbra on April 1 this year. Ribeiro and Nascimento also topped the 100m free at the Danish Open in 49.16 and 49.55 respectively.

The Canadian Challenge Of Ryan Mallette After Ben Titley’s Departure

Ryan Mallette is undoubtedly the busiest person at the pool in Victoria this week as the national trials continue, writes CBS. He’s trying to get up to speed with all the tasks that come with now being the interim head coach of Canada’s swimming team.

In what can only be described as an abrupt and unexpected end to Ben Titley’s tenure as head coach for a decade after his contract wasn’t renewed at the beginning of March, Mallette is getting acquainted with the top role.

“I feel like I’ve adjusted well. It was unexpected so it’s been a lot of work for sure,” Mallette told CBC Sports in an interview and feature that looks ta the impact the departure of coach Ben Titley, now in Spain.

Hugo Gonzalez Warms Up

At the Pacific Swimming Senior Open, Spanish ace and Cal redshirt senior Hugo Gonzalez easily topped the 100 (54.11) and 200 backstroke and 200 medley (1:59.12) in the absence of any serious competition.

Monday, April 18

Appeal To Help Fund Ukraine Para Swimmers Stranded in Turkey Since February

A team of Ukrainian para swimmers and their three coaches, have been stranded in Turkey since February. CNN reports:

A gofundme campaign has been started to help support the swimmers and their coaches.

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