Friday, December 28, 2012

Swimming's Top 10 In 2012

To close out 2012, I had the fortune to appear on Coach Mike Thompson's podcast on December 21st to discuss the year that was in swimming outlining the Top 10 swimming moments of 2012.

For your reading pleasure, here is the list and I also strongly recommend you go listen to the show available HERE!

The TOP 10 swimming moments of 2012...

10.  USA Swimming Goes Viral With 'Call Me Maybe' Video
Kathleen Hersey and her American Olympic swim team buddies hit the mainstream big-time putting together a fun video to one of the hit songs of the summer and it was a total win for everyone involved.  10+ million views later... wait... don't gloss over that fact... 10+ million views.  Bananas.

9.  Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte Wins Gold In Olympic 100BR
The closest thing to a hometown gold in the pool in London, Meilutyte goes to school locally in the UK and her rise from relative obscurity to Olympic gold was quite the story.  Throw in a giant smile and an enthusiastic victory celebration, Meilutyte was a star in London.

8.  Biggest Upset In London - Flourent Manaudou Wins Gold In 50FR
The dirty no-so-secret of the London Olympics was the immense popularity of the local sports books.  Gambling was big business in London during the summer and the most notable big win of in the pool of London was France's Flourent Manaudou measuring in at 25:1 to win Olympic gold in the 50FR and sure enough Manaudou delivered with the three swim performance of his life and upset some gigantic names in game of sprinting.

7.  Ryan Lochte Stars In Istanbul To Kick Off New Quadrennial
Lochte struck gold in London on day 1 in the 400IM but following that win over Phelps, Lochte's Olympic experience bordered on under-whelming. Coming out of the Games, the first major International meet were the World Short Course champs in Istanbul where Lochte furthered his reputation as the best short course swimmer in the history of the sport scoring 8 medals -- 6 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze.  Yeah.. he's still really good.

6.  Missy Franklin! 2:04.06 200BK Gold & Star Making Moment
The pressure was on the rising teenage sensation Missy Franklin coming into London.  Four years previously another American teenager was put into a similar pressure-cooker but in Beijing Katie Hoff failed to live up to impossible expectations, leaving one to wonder if Franklin would crumble under similar pressure.  Franklin did not crumble.  Sure, Franklin was in deep against some tough freestyle fields but when the 200BK came about and Franklin was supposed to deliver the goods, Franklin delivered. Big time.  Taking down 2x defending Olympic gold medalist in the 200BK Kirsty Coventry and in the process smashing the world record in the 200BK with a 2:04.06.  Not bad at just 17 years of age.

5.  Sun Yang's False Start That Wasn't
Prior to the men's 1500FR there was a tense moment when China's world record holder in the 1500FR Sun Yang dove into the water before the gun.  The rest of Sun's heat stood on the blocks as a stunned Sun waited for a verdict on his fate while swimming back to the wall.  Without much of an explanation, Sun got back on the blocks, the race re-started, and the Chinese miler lived up to the hype winning the gold in dominating fashion and breaking the world record (14:31.02).  The false start?  Not so much, attributed to crowd noise... but for a minute or so the tension as to whether Sun Yang would even get the opportunity to swim the 1500FR was most definitely in doubt.

4.  Tragic Passing Of Alexandre Dale Oen
On April 30th, 2012 the swimming community was rocked when 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 100BR and defending World Champion in the 100BR was reported dead in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Details would reveal that Dale Oen succumbed to coronary heart disease.  Horribly tragic.

3.  Ian Thorpe Fails To Qualify For London
What a bummer.  The star of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Australian swimming icon finished 12th in the semi-Final of the 200FR at Aussie Trials ending his attempt to qualify for the 2012 London games.  How did this happen? Thorpe never failed back in the day...  however, everyone's "day" comes to an end and in 2012, Thorpe did not have the goods to get to London.

2.  Michael Phelps
22 Olympics medals.  18 Gold!  In London, Phelps won the 200IM & 100FL to become 1st male to become a 3-peat Olympic Champion (the only others to 3-peat are Dawn Fraser & Krisztina Egerszegi).  Phelps is really F'n good... that's all.

1.  Chad le Clos Wins 200FL In London
South Africa's Chad le Clos has been on quite the rise over the last couple of years, but on July 31st, 2012 Chad le Close became the MAN by beating the MAN with a .05 victory over Michael Phelps in the 200FL.  The 200FL was supposed to be a slam dunk for Phelps, it was to be his first 3-peat victory, the one where he could not miss.... someone forgot to tell le Clos.  1:52.96 to 1:53.01... le Clos came from behind to out-touch Phelps and in that moment Chad le Clos will be a name the swimming community can never forget.