WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
September 15, 2012
Florida State junior Tiffany Oliver won her heats during Friday’s exhibition at the Morcom Aquatics Center in Tallahassee.
Oliver won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.86 and 200-yard freestyle in 1:52.97 as the men’s and women’s swim teams opened the season with a pentathlon at their home pool.
Sophomores Kaitlyn Dressel and Juan Sequera were the top scorers for each of the two teams over the course of five events. Dressel won three events and Sequera went four-for-five.
“I was very pleased with the performance of the team,” said Seminoles head coach Neil Harper. “We’ve really been hitting it hard in the weight room and with dryland as well as in the pool, so it’s very early in the season but the times were very good today.
“There were a lot of winning times that I was encouraged by that stood out and were impressive. They are performing them even when they are beat up and tired.”
Former local swimmer Ashley Hicks tied the pentathlon record in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.15. She also won her heat in the 100-yard butterfly in 58.37.
“As a whole, I was pleasantly surprised and it was a great way to get the pre-season started,” Harper said. “Now we can focus on getting kids in some of their prime events for the Garnet vs. Gold Meet next weekend. It will be a true test after another hard week of work, but today was a good start.”
The Seminoles second exhibition is Friday at 3 p.m. when Garnet competes against Gold.
USAS Convention Winds Down
USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus was upbeat while re-charging coaches and swimmers during the 2012 State of the Sport Address Saturday morning at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Greensboro, N.C. that SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson, General Chairman of the Florida Gold Coast, participated in.
Wielgus reviewed the U.S. national team’s golden performance at the 2012 London Olympics and couldn’t help but mention the team’s “Call Me Maybe” video that was released during the team’s pre-Olympic training camp and has already been seen by 12 million viewers.
Wielgus praised Michael Phelps and the all-time greatest Olympian’s affect on swimming. Phelps received the Athlete Appreciation Award and received a standing ovation even though he was not in attendance.
“Michael always said that he wanted to change the sport of swimming and he has done that,” Wielgus said. “Our increased television coverage, our membership growth and increase in boys being drawn to the sport are just some of the direct results of Michael’s influence, exposing the world to swimming.”
USA Swimming now has 2,880-member clubs. Individual memberships grew to 362,700 which includes an increase in year-round athlete members of 17 percent over the past four years.
More than 800 clubs around the country hosted Splash Bash recruiting parties attracting more than 75,000 people to these local club programs and the momentum is expected to continue over the next four years leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The biggest news was USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program which is a proactive wide-ranging program that has stepped up training and enhanced background checks for nearly 36,000 coaches, officials and volunteers. Two years after a sexual abuse scandal rocked the sport, USA Swimming has sanctioned 24 people including banning sixteen for life in the sport.
USA Swimming also plans to host the first Safe Sport Leadership Conference at Colorado Springs in January.
One of the most discussed proposals was voted down by the House of Delegates after a lengthy discussion about adult swim coaches and adult swimmers dating and having romantic relationships when the coach has a coaching responsibility or other position of authority over the swimmer. Several coaches argued that it led to favoritism and animosity within the team.
Another proposal was tweaked but approved. Instead of a blanket ban across all USA Swimming-sanctioned events, meet hosts must declare up front in their meet announcement whether deck changing will be strongly discouraged or prohibited.
USA Swimming’s Board of Directors reversed its decision and has now agreed to pay funding for open water coaches for the FINA World Cup Series.
Fifteen-year-old Katie Ledecky earned the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year after winning Olympic gold in the 800-meter freestyle breaking Janet Evans’ American record in 8:14.63. Among other awards, Haley Anderson and Alex Meyer were named Open Water Swimmers of the Year.
The U.S. Olympic swim team visited the White House on Friday. The President and First Lady made it a point to shake each Olympian’s hand and thirteen members of Team USA blogged about it including Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, Claire Donahue and Jessica Hardy….Olympian Eric Shanteau celebrated his four-year anniversary of being cancer-free on Saturday…Missy Franklin’s first recruiting trip was to Cal-Berkeley where she confirmed her decision about foregoing millions to pursue a college degree and swimming career. America’s darling after winning five Olympic medals including four gold has an estimated worth of $10 million in endorsement deals her first year if she had gone pro. “I know that the teammates I have in college are going to be my bridesmaids in my wedding,” she told reporters. “I would love to swim professionally one day, but I know right now swimming in college is what my heart really wants to do.” She has other trips scheduled for Georgia, Texas and Southern California. Franklin missed the White House visit because “I have school and I didn’t want to miss it,” she said. Franklin will serve as grand marshal of the 42nd Fiesta Bowl Parade on Dec. 29th in Phoenix. She also served as the Denver Broncos’ honorary team captain during the pre-game coin toss for last weekend’s Denver-Pittsburgh NFL game…Michael Phelps along with his model girlfriend Morgan Rossee visited the Under Armour global headquarters in Baltimore where they took cement imprints of Phelps’ Size 13 Under Armour Spine shoes. Phelps and his gal pal also dined in New York during Fashion Week and while at a rooftop lounge was toasted by patrons. He requested songs from DJ Kieran Taylor and Lil Wayne. Phelps, an avid golfer, is getting ready for his Sept 25th Celebrity Ryder Cup debut in Illinois. Phelps will compete against Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, George Lopez and former NBA great Scottie Pippen of Fort Lauderdale. Phelps has been perfecting his swing with Hank Haney for the reality show The Haney Project which is set to air in February 2013 on The Golf Channel…Brazilian four-time Olympian Gustavo Borges (1992-95) was inducted into the University of Michigan’s Athletics Hall of Honor. He is already a member of Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame inducted in May 2012. Borges is a 24-time All-American and 10-time NCAA champion…Brazilian Cesar Cielo has withdrawn from the Short Course World Championships to rehab his aching knees…Olympic relay champion Clement Lefert of France has quit swimming to return to school. He said he wasn’t able to make a living out of the sport and decided to focus on his studies. “I am not Camille Lacourt, Yannick Agnel or Laure Manaudou,” said Lefert of French swimmers who have been able to land lucrative advertising contracts for more than $1 million…Even NBC’s own Bob Costas is ripping his network over the coverage of the Summer Olympics. NBC was criticized for its various gaffes, editing decisions and delayed broadcasts during the 2012 London Games.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com