Team USA Takeaways from the FINA Short Course Championships

The Short Course FINA World Swimming Championships offered great racing by the Team USA contingent. Star swimmers rose to the occasion and claimed numerous medals against the worlds best. 

Here are three takeaways from the championships last week heading into an elite-swimming filled year-and-a-half. 

Experience and Momentum Heading Towards Summer

Team USA gained valuable momentum heading into the long course championships this summer in South Korea. Despite being a slightly different discipline, any racing against the words best build confidence a few months from another FINA Championships and just over a year from the Olympics.

18 team members didn’t compete at the championships in Budapest two summers ago. Few on the roster were in their first ever international meet, the short course championships opened opportunities to claim medals for the first time. 

A prime example, former Texas A&M Aggie Lisa Bratton, in her first major FINA Championships, claimed a gold medal in the 200 backstroke. She joins an already loaded group of American backstrokers including Kathleen Baker and Reagan Smith who will be in contention to make the Olympic team. This win creates a massive confidence boost.

Team USA Claims FINA Trophy

In its second-best medal performance since the 2004 FINA Championships in Indianapolis, Team USA claimed the FINA Trophy with 1,099 points. The dominant performance, lead by an ever uprising group of recently turned professionals, won a total of 17 gold medals over the course of the week, nine coming in the form of a relay.

The trophy-winning effort came with numerous record being broken. 24 American record fell, featuring many individual swims. Five world records, all as relays, were claimed by Americans in Hangzhou. 

In such an individual sport, winning a trophy might seem like a small accomplishment. For medal winners, it’s a display of a great team effort. More importantly, the non-medal winners have something to call their own, offering a sense of pride following the meet. 

Team USA has controlled the rights to the trophy, at least since the 2004 Championships. This performance continues to establish the team’s dominance and allows the goals to be set on how much they win by and less on actually winning the trophy.

New Leaders Have Risen

As the transition of the staple leaders on the national team continues, the FINA Championships may give a bit of clarity in terms of who could grow into that role. While leaders don’t always need to be the teams best, those with a win at all costs attitude surely help their efforts.

For the men, Caeleb Dressel claimed a meet-leading nine medals over the course of the week. His performance included a touch-out victory over Russia’s Vladimir Morozov on the final day. Without Nathan Adrian at the FINA Championships, Dressel had an opportunity to set up.

On the women’s side, two swimmers performances stood out. There’s no surprise that Kelsi Dahlia would be in the mix. Tieing Dressel with nine medals, Dahlia is one of the more experienced among the championship team at this point. Her value stretches beyond just the performance in the pool. 

Additionally, former Georgia Bulldog Olivia Smoliga had her breakout performance, winning eight gold medals. Her breakout performance, coupled with Olympic experience, makes her a prime candidate to continue on as a staple of the roster.

Heading towards the Olympic next summer, establishing leaders in and out of the pool is a necessity. The stress and pressure of that type of meet takes experience, something only gained through racing the worlds best frequently.

How To Avoid The Post-Swimming Plump

Four hours of cardio per day, intense drylands sessions, all with trainers and coaches watching over you making sure you’re in the best shape of your life for years and then—poof!—you’re on your own. It’s easy to let yourself slip into the post-swimming plump phase, but for those of you who want to stay in solid shape, we’ve got a few tips for you.

Should Swimmers Be Subject To Underwater Officiating?

Officiating has been a growing topic in the sport over the past 10 years as rule changes and advancements in underwater video capabilities have continued. Being disqualified as a kid in a summer league meet is one of the most soul-crushing things a young swimmer can face, but we’re not here to talk about the summer league days… We’re here to talk about the fastest one percent of the sport.

The 200 Freestyle Relay Should Be In The Olympics

For a long time I’ve wondered why one specific event is not contested at the Olympic Games, or at the international level in general. I’m not a huge fan of comparing swimming events to track events, because I don’t believe they perfectly overlap, but in this case I just cant ignore it. 

Swimmers Are Nerds

If you haven’t realized it by now, swimmers are some of the nerdiest athletes in the world of sports. From the sets we do, the counting, the times we go, etc., etc., there’s a lot that goes into becoming a high-level swimmer, and a good portion of it comes down to being just plain nerdy. We’re going to break down the nerdiness of our sport into three categories, counting, data and more data.

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AUSTIN, Texas — February 18, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Big 12 Conference announced that fans can access live and on-demand coverage of the Swimming and Diving Championship on FloSwimming.com, the Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championship on FloTrack.com, the Wrestling Championship on FloWrestling.com, and the Softball Championship on FloSoftball.com.

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At the end of your career, it makes sense to step away from the pool for a bit. If you come back too quickly you might find yourself with your toes curled over the edge staring at the water for a good 10-15 minutes. You might build up the courage to jump back in with no expectations and swim a 25 just get out, like I did, or maybe you’ll just hit the hot tub. 

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