Thursday, 25 April 2013

2013 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championship

The Australian World Championship trials get under way tomorrow (April 26) in Adelaide, South Australia.

Amid a backdrop of wholesale changes in Swimming Australia, the never-ending Stilnox saga and news that Alicia Coutts considered quitting the sport following alleged bullying from Matt Targett; Australia's finest will reconvene in Adelaide to determine the make-up of the next national team.

Start Times
World Champs Selection Policy

Rather than focusing on the negative stories swirling around, let's take a look at some of the exciting talent coming through the ranks in Australia.

Names to watch out for this week

Jordan Harrison - A distance freestyle star in the making under the tutelage of Dennis Cotterell. Just 17 years old and has already been a world class 3:48 in the 400 free this year.

Kyle Chalmers - Not an immediate threat to the naughty national teamers, but the 14 year old's 50.86 time in the 100 free made the swimming world sit up and take notice.

Remy Fairweather - The 16 year old is right in contention for a spot on the team having been 8:29 and 4:08 this time last year in the 800 and 400 free. She is an intriguing prospect behind the favourites Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt in the 400, while the 800 could be wide open.

Alexander Graham - 17 year old who has been 49.11 (100 free) and 1:47.70 (200 free) already this year. A relay spot looks like a very real possibility in the 4x200 free. Versatile swimmer will also swim the 100 back and 100 fly.

Ami Matsuo - Remarkably the 16 year old has been at an elite level for 2 years after clocking 55.26 as a 14 year old. In 2013 she has been 25.57 (50 free), 54.76 (100 free) and 1:58.22 (200 free). Women's freestyle strength in Australia is among the deepest in the world, but this could be the year that Matsuo breaks through into the national team.

Shayna Jack - The 14 year old was a star of the recent Australia Age Championships with her times of 25.41 (50 free) and 55.36 (100 free).

Cameron McEvoy - He swam the heats of the 4x100 free relay in London last year and is still a month away from turning 19. He's still plenty young enough to make major leaps forward in the sprint freestyle events where his best times from last year were an impressive 22.26 (50 free) and 48.58 (100 free).

Jenna Strauch - 16 year old with a chance of making the team in both the 100 and 200 breast. Her times of 1:08.90 and 2:27.55 this year rank her 5th amongst Australians in the 100 breast and 3rd in the 200 breast. She will need to find a second in the 100 and two seconds in the 200 to make the cut for Barcelona, but that's not outside the realms of possibility for a 16 year old.

Mack Horton - 17 year old goes into the competition ranked fastest in the 1500 freestyle. Will need to drop his time of 15:04 from the Australian Age Championships down to a 14:58 to make the team.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

This Aussie Stilnox Story Just Won't Quit

h/t Swimmers Daily

When it rains, it pours for the Aussie 4 x 100 Freestyle relay team

Checklist of Shame

- Let down all of Australia in the relay final
- Busted for having a Stilnox pill party
- Woke up team mates in the middle of the night
- Bullied younger swimmer on the team
- Peer intimidation, hazing
- Binge drinking
- Shameful televised press conference admitting their mistakes
- Fined
- Suspended sentences

Now there appears to be video evidence from the flight home from London showing the fellas taking Stilnox. Brutal.

«Iron Lady» Katinka Hosszu: "I can still get tougher"

MACHINE: Katinka Hosszu was dubbed "the machine" in Bergen following her hectic
schedule at the Alexander Dale Oen Memorial. (Photo: Kjell Eirik Irgens Henanger, BSF)
Katinka Hosszu dived in the water an astonishing total of 36 times during the Bergen Swim Festival - Alexander Dale Oen memorial.

She was entered in 15 events, made the final in all of them, and with the 50 meter dashes being arranged as skins the races really added up for the girl dubbed swimming's «Iron Lady». For the skins she only miscalculated in the first heat of the 50 meters butterfly, otherwise she made the final event for those too.

She wasn't taking it easy either setting a total of seven meet records along the way.

The Hungarian swim ace is well known for her toughness in terms of swimming a lot of races. She did the Swim Festival in Norway jetlagged the weekend after racing the Grand Prix-meets in Mesa, USA. There she swam nine events, and eight finals.

Her nickname seems to be well deserved, but she does deliver a warning to those who think shes pushing herself to the limit.

"I felt pretty good about being called the Iron Lady when I first heard it", admits Katinka Hosszu in the interview I did with her for Norwegian TV 2.

"But I feel like I still could be tougher. Sometimes I start to feel like I'm really tired and I don't really want to do it or push it any more. I have it in me to be tougher."

You can watch the full interview here.

If you want further proof that this girl is special, here's a treat:

Speed Endurance-writer Sander Englund Smørdal
interviews Katinka Hosszu for TV 2 following the meet.
She won best performance of the short course meet following her 2.07,47 in the 200 IM. That was her 30th(!) race of the weekend and just minutes after a 400 freestyle (which was one of the few events she controlled an easy victory in 4.22,19).

That is a world class time in any circumstances, and in Sentralbadet with a shallow end its just plain out impressive, even though her PB is in the 2.04s.

"To do a 2.07 right now, and after a few events, is pretty good", says the humble 23 year old.

The intensive racing schedule has a two-sided effect. In Bergen she walked away with a total price money payout of 37.500 Norwegian kroner (around 6.500$ or 4200£), in addition its a great workout.

"Its all together [price money and training], I guess. It's really good for training and I like doing it during season cause when I go to a big championship meet I feel it is really easy to just swim one event. Its definitely a good preparation for a bigger meet, and I like to do it a lot. I like to race, and its really fun to do it" says Hosszu.

Hosszu was not happy with the 2012-Olympics, changed coaches and moved back to Hungary.

So far that seems to be a successful move with great success on the World Cup Circuit and in the World Short Course Championships. The 23 year old is optimistic going into the final months of preparation, but will not set a specific target - in public.

"I don't really like to talk about my goals in public, but I definitely have goal times in my mind. What I want to reach and if I reach those times I will probably be on the podium" predicts Hosszu.

You can watch the full interview here.

Furthermore she discusses the Bergen Swim Festival, her relationship with Alexander Dale Oen and her general happiness with her own performance.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Swim stars promise to return to Bergen Swim Festival

Winners of the best performance awards at Bergen Swim Festival: Rikke Møller Pedersen (DEN), Daniel Gyurta (HUN), Katinka Hosszu (HUN), Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), Michael Jamieson (GBR), Jeanette Ottesen (DEN).
(Photo: Kjell Eirik Irgens Henanger, BSF)
The Bergen Swim Festival was particularly star studded this year, due to it being the Alexander Dale Oen memorial.

A short course meet in late april is not ideal, but the swim stars were unanimous: They want to come back to Bergen.

Whether or not they were influenced by the emphatic crowd in the old pool that facilitates the BSF is hard to say, but most of the stars expressed a desire to return the next time the competition is arranged - even if by then it will not be a memorial meet.

The meet, established in 2007, will make the highly anticipated transition into a long course meet during the next year or so, as the City of Bergen (approx. 250.000 inhabitants) gets its first long course pool.

"Its not ideal with a short course meet now, as it is long course season basically" said Katinka Hosszu who used the meet as an intense training session swimming all 15 events - prelims and finals.

"When they get the long course pool here, this will be an ideal preparation for the upcoming summer-championship," said frequent guest Cameron van der Burgh swimming his fourth Bergen Swim Festival.

Photo: Kjell Eirik Irgens Henanger
Alexander Dale Oen will probably be close to the action although the meet will no longer bear his name. Whispers about the pool bearing Norways first, and only, long course world champions name are getting stronger.

This year, as it normally is at BSF, the mens 100 meters breaststroke was the main attraction. Cameron van der Burgh won in a meet record of 57,82, ahead of Daniel Gyurta.

"It was a tough and emotional race for me, but its nice to get a chance to honor Alexander by racing guys like Daniel Gyurta and Michael Jamieson. Not so much competing with them, but racing together in Alex's spirit", said van der Burgh immideately after the race.

See Norwegian TV 2s interview with him directly after the final here.

One of the things that makes the meet attractive is the Festival's festive setting for the finals session. With the pool being brought to complete darkness a smoke, and light show is put on while an announcer presents the swimmers. At the same time the public goes mad. This is what attracts the swimmers.

"Stefan Nystrand once said to me that noone else makes meets like these ones" said international liaison Jan Allers.

He confirmed that most international competitors had signaled a desire to return to the meet.

"Its not often you get to feel like a boxer preparing for a swim. It makes it a bit more exciting", said van der Burgh.

The meet organizers have lofty ambitions for the meet as they enter into the brand new national arena.

"We want to put Bergen on the international swimming map. In the long term we want it to be the biggest swim meet in Europe" said head of the organizing comittee Gjert Dahl.

A total of 19 meet records were set during the three days of competition. In addition Estonian backstroker Ralf Tribuntsov set three national records. One in the 50 backstroke (24,33) and two on the double distance (52,33 and 51,97).

Friday, 19 April 2013

Katinka Hosszu kicks off Bergen Swim Festival with two meet records

 Katinka Hosszu at Bergen Swim Festival. Photo: Kjell Erik Irgens Henanger

Katinka Hosszu impressed the audience setting two meet records during day one of the Bergen Swim Festival - Alexander Dale Oen memorial in Bergen, Norway. The competition is being swum in short course metres.

Despite it being prelims, and the fact she led both events by a country mile, the Hungarian swim princess went at it with all guns blazing setting a meet record in the 100 meters breaststroke (1:08.98) and the 200 meter freestyle (1:55.35).

She also qualified first for the 50 meters freestyle and the 100 meters backstroke finals, while she was second in the sprint butterfly behind Jeanette Ottesen. Hosszu is going to swim all 15 events this meet, and you would forgive her if she did not go all-out in all races.

Undoubtedly the danish breaststroke ace Rikke Møller Pedersen will give Hosszu more of a fight in the breaststroke final tomorrow. Pedersen's 1:10 Friday effort did not look too hard on her.....

Alexander Dale Oen Memorial.
Photo: Kjell Erik Irgens Henanger
In other races the favourites all qualified for the mens 100 meters breaststroke-event which will be the highlight of the meet in terms of quality across the field. Martti Ajland (EST) with the best time in the first session 1.00,77, narrowly edging Cameron van der Burgh. Also in that field: Daniel Gyurta, Michael Jamieson and Andrew Willis.

"I think I can do a 57 in the final", says van der Burgh who left the South-African Championships to participate in the memorial meet.

The best Norwegian finished tenth in the prelims, an event in which Norway is suffering in after losing Alexander Dale Oen, and Aleksander Hetland going into retirement.

The meet features some swimmers, like Hosszu and the breaststrokers, which really shows Norwegian swimmers where the international level is. It's quite a stretch for some.

See all results and livetiming at

The meet continues at 8 AM GMT Saturday with finals commencing at 4 PM GMT.

Several media reports leading up to the meet has been focusing on the swim stars, and the breaststrokers in particular, and their relationships with Alexander Dale Oen.

TV 2 made a story from when Cameron van der Burgh visited Dale Oens grave. 

They also made a clip from when van der Burgh, Daniel Gyurta and Michael Jamieson visited their studio.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Green Pool Not A Good Look For South African Swimming

St Patrick's day was weeks ago...

This comes after a day in which this happened...

South African swimming came out of London 2012 smelling of roses off the back of golds from Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos, but less than a year later it is struggling through a severe financial crisis that is forcing their athletes to pay for their own flights to the World Championships in Barcelona.