France: Denis Cadon, the French swimming judge who has a reputation for sticking to his guns in the face of official pressure, has been honoured by L'Auvergne region with a Cross of Honour for his services to sport and the Olympic movement. He served as a judge at London 2012 this year. Cadon was the judge who got embroiled in the disqualification of Aaron Peirsol at the 2004 Olympic Games after the American claimed the 200m backstroke crown but was said to have infringed the turn rule by spending too long on his front going into turns.
The paperwork was woeful (I saw it - it would never have stood up in a court of law!). Peirsol was reinstated immediately after some fast footwork from Carol Zaleski, US official, Cornel Marculescu, FINA Director, and others. Cadon, who signed the paperwork that reflected the decisions of Russian judge Felix Mikhailov and Singaporean referee Woon Sui Kut, said at the time: "There was a problem, there was a fault. I did my job; that's what I'm here for." He stood by his decision. He was reprimanded by FINA for allowing the paperwork to stand, albeit temporarily. In some quarters, Cadon was even ridiculed. Had the paperwork been legible, the decision may have stood, at least until the CAS arbitration that would likely have placed the backstroke turn rule under scrutiny. Fate, meanwhile, was kinder to Cadon than the two colleagues he supported: both were told by FINA bosses at the time that they would never work in international swimming again (If only the same determination were applied to the likes of Zhao Ming and others who have perpetrated gross abuse against minors by stuffing them with banned substances).
Cadon, meanwhile, was also in the hot seat as the shiny suits crisis escalated in 2009: chief judge at the championships in Montpellier, he watched Alain Bernard clock 46.96 in the 100m freestyle and allowed the result to stand (the time remains a French record) even though FINA refused to ratify the time as a world record because it had not approved the Arena X-Glide that he was wearing. Later that summer, the suit was approved and was responsible for more victories and records at the circus of suits that was the Rome 2009 world championships that any of the other buoying bodysuits allowed by the international federation before a January 1, 2010 ban came into force.
USA: Ric Nesbit, a seven-time NCAA swimming champion at Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Arlington and a coach for more than 40 years, passed away in his sleep at his Fort Worth home last Friday. He was 67. Beyond his endeavours in the pool, Nesbit was an advocate for crime victims, one of the founders of the Grief Support for Families of Murder Victims after his 15-year-old daughter, Katy and her friend Michael McEachern were killed in August 1995 during a holdup. In a 2009 interview with the local Star-Telegram, Nesbit told the paper: "I knew how to swim before I knew how to walk. She [his mother] would have to tie me to a rock to keep me out of the surf, because I would crawl into the water." He set a national age-group record at 10 and an American record as a sophomore at Highland Park High School. He qualified for two US Olympic trials and after 40 years on the deck was coaching until he died.
Italy: Italian swimming is mourning Severino Rossini, the 68-year-old Legnano former national team coach who passed away after sclerosis confined him to bed for 12 years. In his coaching days, he guided the likes of Paola Biagini to a European Championship final and was mentor to Laura Guardini, the closest domestic rival on medley to Italy's Olympic hero of the 1970s, Novella Calligaris. Rossini also coached the man who now heads Italy's youth programme, Walter Bolognani. Rossini is surveyed by his wife, Carla Grignani, described by Gazzetta dello Sport today as the "saint" who cared for her man to the end of his days.
USA: Olympic 400m medley champion Ryan Lochte is furthering his acting career - he will make a cameo appearance in the TV drama 90210, playing a guest at a resort visited by characters Naomi and Max, played by actors AnnaLynne McCord and Josh Zuckerman.
Australia: Sally Foster accepted a proposal from her Adelaide-based partner, Andrew Hunter, a former professional volleyball player when he got down on one knee near the Kissing Statue at London's St Pancras International Train Station in August. That 'yes' has now prompted a move to the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre and coach Peter Bishop: the 27-year-old Olympic 200m breaststroke finalist had been based at Canberra's Australian Institute of Sport. Foster was in the news this week over plans for her to pen a book comparing her Olympic diary notes with those of her late aunt, Evelyn DeLacy, who raced at the Berlin 1936 Games and kept a record of her experience.
Australia: Caloundra's breaststroke ace Tessa Wallace has been voted the University of the Sunshine Coast's Sportsperson of the Year. Wallace claimed the Aussie 200m breaststroke title at the Olympic trials in Adelaide in March and was a semi-finalist at the London Olympics. The 19-year-old Bachelor of Communications student got there against the odds: overcame a serious knee injury and a bout of Ross River fever that almost forced her to quit the sport.