Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Observations from #BCN2013

Now that World Championships are finished (even though I'm still on hiatus technically), I thought I would summarize my thoughts on World Championships.

  1. HOW MANY world records were broken!?!??! I could not believe watching Katie Ledecky break the world record in the 1500FR and dipping under 4min in the 400. It was unbelievable to see Ruta Meilutyte break the 100BR world record in the Semi-Finals. And then Rikke Moeller-Pedersen from Denmark broke the 200BR world record, going 2:19.11(Russia’s Yulia Efimova was a 2:19.85, making her just the third woman to ever break 2:20)... what the heck was going on??? Didn't anyone tell these guys that this is an "off year"?? World Championships isn't usually this fast the year after the Olympics, but thank goodness it was. World Records and exciting races (Yang-Cochrane barn burner 1500FR) kept sports services airing the championships and talking about it. Thankfully, no other junior meets were going on at the time so swimmers had a chance to watch their peers. I think this was the perfect storm of factors that, coupled with social media, made for quite a buzz. I think this summer's World Championships and the performances of everyone (Canadians especially) will help the sport, going forward.
  2. Damn you, Ryan Lochte! Okay, I don't often say this, but congrats to Ryan Lochte. I am silenced by his performances at #BCN2013 and cannot believe that he swam as well as he did. I am humbled and sheepish-ed by his performances... aaaaand then he said this and I was back to work questioning what goes on in his head. Look, I'm no genius, but when something is working for you, don't change it. Gregg Troy's program in Florida is doing Ryan very well... I'm not sure that moving to Australia is going to make Ryan Lochte any better.
  3. I Love Randy Bennett! I had an argument with another coach (who will remain nameless) about Randy Bennett back in February. I argued that he was a great coach and doing great things at VAS. The other coach argued belligerently to the contrary. I think Barcelona settled that argument nicely. Between Ryan Cochrane & Hilary Caldwell, all 3 of Canada's medals (+ an extra Open Water Medal) came from swimmers that train with Randy Bennett at VAS. I am extremely happy for Randy and want to know more about what's going on out west. It is clearly working well. Congrats!
  4. Hilary Caldwell had an okay meet! Canadian Hilary Caldwell did awesome, picking up a Bronze medal in 200BK and breaking Sinnead Russell's Canadian Record 3 times in the meet (Sinnead Russel, for her part, did finish top 8 in the final). Remarkable breakout performance by Caldwell!
  5. Changes to rules in the sport... And some changes that will not be made... Just before the championships, Swimming World News released this story approving a backstroke start ledge and Mixed relays. Most notably, though, was what they declined to change - the dolphin kick rule & the use of underwater cameras to enforce the rule. More on this coming in an upcoming podcast.
  6. How Did Canada Do? Canadians actually faired about the same as we did at the last World Championships. We lost a heavy hitter (Brent Hayden) and gained an interesting new prospect (Caldwell) while Cochrane remained consistent. Also, Eric Hedlin won a medal in the 5km open water race, while Olympic Medalist, Richard Weinberger, made  a "fatal error" and likely would have medalled otherwise. Also, Canada had a number of athletes in their first Major Games who finished top 16. Valuable experience in the first year of a new quadrennial. This has to be exciting news. We pulled in more medals than Great Britain & Italy, who are rivals of ours - which has to be considered a victory. 
I would like to think that I am not taking these championships to mean more than they did; I mean with all of the fast swimming and World Records, the rest of the world had to take it seriously too, right..? My question for now is - how much faster will Pan Pacific Championships be, how fast with Commonwealth Games be and can Canada increase it's depth across the board to make our domestic meets this exciting? Your move swimmers and coaches.