Grant Hackett, the two-time Olympic 1,500m freestyle champion remained undefeated in the 1500 meter for six years…
Let’s take a look at the days that Hackett ruled the pools…A tribute to a legend
The Hackett File
Name: Grant Hackett
Date of Birth: May 9, 1980
Height: 6-5 1/2 (197 cm)
Weight: 198 pounds (90 kg)
Club: Miami, Queensland
Coach: Denis Cotterell
Parents: Neville and Margaret
Pet: German Shepherd (Blade)
School: Merrimac State High School
University: Bond University (Gold Coast)
Sponsors: Audi, Pierre Cardin, Speedo, Uncle Toby’s and Westpac Bank
This is a tribute to America’s Swimming’s Rising Stars in the early 2000’s. Today: Kara Lynn Joyce
A world away in the frozen tundra of Michigan, Club Wolverine’s premier sprinter was getting ready to stamp her name on a few national records. At the Michigan high school swimming championships in Ypsilanti (held the same weekend in November as the Florida state meets), Ann Arbor Pioneer senior Kara Lynn Joyce put on a virtuoso performance not likely to be rivaled in the near future.
Joyce got the party started during prelims, leading off her school’s 200 freestyle relay in 22.04 (former PR, 22.73), bettering the national mark of 22.39 set by Swindle in 2001. In addition, the relay set a national high school record, finishing in an amazing 1:32.77, demolishing the former standard of 1:34.54 set by Illinois’ St Charles in 1999. The Pioneer girls also set a national public high school record of 3:25.91 in the 400 free relay, again taking down another St. Charles record (3:26.01) from 1999.
“Setting a national record by yourself is one thing, but being able to share it with three other people on a relay makes it even more special. We did something pretty amazing together,” said Joyce. In individual events, she showed her heels to the field, sprinting to a new national mark in the 100 free (48.69), which she would lower even further in finals to 48.59. “I had never been under 49.63 before this meet,” said Joyce. “I was pretty awestruck by it all.”
This post is a tribute to America’s Rising Swimming Stars in the early 2000’s. Today: Christina Swindle
Two hours down the road from where Rhiannon Jeffrey was training in Delray Beach, Christina Swindle is training in Miami with the same dream in mind: “I was almost there in 2000, and I’m definitely looking at 2004.”
At the 2000 Olympic Trials as a 16-year-old, Swindle set national age group records and came within 6-hundredths of making the trip to Sydney as part of the 400 free relay. “I was upset at first, but I realized what an incredible learning experience the Trials were,” says Swindle, “and I’ll be even better prepared this time around because I’ll have a much clearer idea of what to expect.”
It’s been a year of ups and downs for Christina, who kicked off the year 2002 by notching her first-ever senior national title last spring in Minneapolis, winning the 50 meter freestyle in a swift 25.29. “It was really exciting to win and great to see that all the hard work paid off,” said Christina. However, summer nationals in Fort Lauderdale didn’t go as expected.
This post is a tribute to Swimming’s Rising stars in the early 2000’s. Today: Rhiannon Jeffrey
Shortly after setting the pool on fire at the 2000 Olympic Games, the U.S. women’s sprint dynasty was already in serious trouble. Dara Torres, Amy Van Dyken, and Ashley Tappin had announced their retirements, and Jenny Thompson would no longer defer entry into medical school.
Almost instantaneously, the matriarchs of a generation of female sprinters were gone, leaving the future of American women’s sprinting in a precarious position. The Europeans had already taken over: Holland’s Inge De Bruijn reigned as Olympic champion and world record holder; Sweden’s Therese Alshammar held the short course global marks; and Britain’s Alison Sheppard was the fastest 50 meter sprinter on the planet in ’02.
Things were beginning to look even more bleak in the summer of 2002, when a German squad led by a rejuvenated Franzi van Almsick did the unthinkable, breaking the USA’s seemingly untouchable 400 free relay world record set in Sydney. Just a few days later at the Pan Pacific Championships, the U.S. women began to show chinks in their once impregnable armor, losing both the 400 free and medley relays to Australia, despite the imposing presence of Natalie Coughlin and the welcome return of veteran Jenny Thompson. Things were not looking good.
A tribute to a legend: Richard “Tod” Spieker
I know this post is somewhat overdue, but I still would like you to inform you on this great moment. Last year, in 2016, The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) awarded the organization’s Gold Medallion Awards to Richard “Tod” Spieker, the renown swimmer and now a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and real estate investor. The ceremonies took place in Santa Clara, California, on October 29th.
The Gold Medallion is ISHOF’s highest honor and since 1983, the award has been conferred annually upon a person who has contributed competitively to the world of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, or water polo playing. The recipients may also have achieved recognition for their accomplishments in the fields of government, science, education, business, or entertainment, and their lives must be positive role models for youth.
Former recipients of the Gold Medallion Award include, for example, US President Ronald Reagan, H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, US Senator Barry Goldwater, Olympic and Baseball boss Peter Ueberroth, US Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young, entertainer Esther Williams, and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon.
A DOCumentary – a tribute to a legend: Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman
The USMS Short Course Nationals, which were dedicated to the legendary Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman, were a raucous, record-breaking, aging myth-shattering affair. Doc would have loved it. The week of the U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals in April (Indianapolis) was a complete immersion into the world of swimming, both past and present. My college aquatic career was spent at Indiana University, where I trained under the legendary Dr. James “Doc” Counsilman.
The celebration of and memorial to Doc’s extraordinary life had been held the weekend before Masters Nationals in Bloomington, Ind., on the campus of his beloved Indiana University. Anyone whose life had been touched by Doc would need an exceptional reason not to attend. So, faced with the strange scheduling of these two events, I committed to two consecutive weekends in Hoosierland, where I was joined by my former and current teammates, Ken Frost and Bob Olson.
The first weekend was a wonderful time, during which I reconnected with many of the kindred souls who shared a bond with Doc. The weekend was highlighted by a moving tribute to this wonderful man. Over 200 former IU swimmers came back for the event, where we were joined by Doc’s former coaching colleagues and an unlikely assortment of friends, academics, and writers.
An important part of American Swimming History: Michael Phelp’s 2004 Athens Olympics
Just as 1972 will be remembered as Mark Spitz’s Olympics, Athens 2004 will always be “Michael’s Games,” as the 19-year-old won six gold and eight medals overall, equaling the most ever medals won in a single Olympiad.
His face was everywhere you looked: on NBC’s endless promotions for the Games, swimming “laps” for VISA from Greece to the Statue of Libert and back (an idea possibly lifted from the Beatles’ movie, “Help”); on countless other print and TV ads; smiling at you from every conceivable page of every newspaper in the land; on the cover of SI, Time, Parade; and on and on.
He was everywhere!
It was impossible to escape. It didn’t matter if you switched channels on your TV, the local, national and international reporters would be talking about Michael. Turn on your radio and even the sports talk shows, whose hosts are only dimly aware of any sport beyond baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and golf, and it was all Michael. All the time. Not M.J., but M.P.
Michael Collins, head coach of the Irvine Novaquatics Masters, is a guy who can practice what he preaches, he has an illustrious track record as both a coach and an elite athlete.
There’s an old saying about the nature of instruction: “Those who can’t do, teach.”
The implication is that the reason why instructors choose to teach is because they themselves weren’t talented enough to make the grade in their chosen field. However, try running that one past Michael Collins, head coach of the Irvine Novaquatics Masters, and you’re liable to leave the exchange feeling about two inches tall.
On the one hand, Collins has earned a reputation as being one of the country’s foremost authorities on Masters swimming, he’s written a book on the subject and collected an assortment of prestigious coaching awards.
His USMS career has been punctuated by All-American performances, he’s long been a top-ranked triathlete, and he’s the defending amateur world champion in the aquathon, an event which combines swimming and running.
In other words, this is a guy who can practice what he preaches.
Bob Bowman, senior coach at North Baltimore Aquatic Club and coach of Michael Phelps for the many years, chuckled when he was asked, many years ago, if Phelps could extend his arsenal.
Since establishing himself as the globe’s elite flyer over the 200-meter distance, Phelps has spent so many years expanding his range. The proof is present in his world records in both individual medley events and his standing as the second fastest man in the 100 fly.
Still, in his constant search for greatness, the months leading to Athens was revolving around new endeavors. Already the owner of a national championship in each event, Phelps was to continue his maturation process in the 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle.
Additionally, ventures were planned in the 100 and 400 freestyle events.
Of course, everything is by design. In an attempt to guarantee a place on the 400 freestyle relay in Greece, Phelps dedicated enhanced concentration to the 100 free in that year, confident that his performances would land a relay berth.
Mel Goldstein, the man behind the success of YMCA Indy SwimFit, continued to push himself in the water, a sign of his dedication to a healthy lifestyle. A former world and national champion at the Masters level, Goldstein hit the water five days a week for training sessions that feature 3,000-3,500 yards of work.
When he was 65 years old, Goldstein also incorporated three days of running into his weekly schedule, taking to the roads for 32-minute runs on Wednesday and Friday. On Sunday, Goldstein goes for a long run, a workout that stretches up to 80 minutes.
Always looking for variety in his workouts, Goldstein’s favorite set was one that allows for mixing and matching. Following a warm-up swim, Goldstein moved into four rotations of a 400 pull, followed by a 200 stroke, followed by a 100 free (easy) and capped with a 50 (fast). The workout translates into a 3,000-yard practice.
The King Kong of Masters swimming was anything but an overwhelming specimen. At first glance, he’s just another guy, on the smaller side at 5-4. Really, he isn’t the type of individual that attracts all eyes – at least from those who are out of the loop.
Yet, Mel Goldstein was a giant in the swimming world, a walking oxymoron. He’s a little-big man, a major influence on the water world. He was a first-class athlete, widely known for his exploits on the national and international stages of Masters swimming. He was also a top-flight authority on the sport in behind-the-scenes fashion.