Loughborough A League Ahead
Feb 24, 2013 - Craig Lord
Great Britain: Loughborough University won the British University championship crown by a dominant margin at Sheffield after three days of racing that ended today. At a time of training there were decent performances from Rebecca Turner, on 1:59.42 over 200m freestyle; Till Gray, on 59.38 and 2:10.99 over 100m and 200m butterfly; Andrew Willis, on 2:14.06 in the 200m breaststroke; Antony James, on 53.54 ahead of a 53.82 for Adam Barrett; and Roberto Pavoni, winner of the 200m butterfly and medley finals in 2:00.11 and 2:02.71 respectively.
The top 5 teams on points:
Main results at a glance:
Japan: At Japanese Short-Course National Championships in Kanagawa today, two national senior records fell, the first to 16-year old Kanako Watanabe in 59.34 in the 100m medley and the second to Aya Terakawa in 26.05 in the 50m backstroke. Terakawa also clocked 55.76 to win the 100m backstroke, the time the second-fastest ever after the 55.48 effort clocked by China's Gao Chang in February 2010. The world record stands to Japan's Shiho Sakai at 55.23 from a time of shiny suits in 2009. In Kanagawa there were also junior national record for Miki Uchida, on 53.61 in the 100m freestyle, Maho Takiguchi, on 1:55.95 in the 200m freestyle, Chihiro Igrashi, on 4:03.80 in the 400m freestyle. The meet also witnessed a swift 2:03.56 effort for world 200m breaststroke record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi, with Yukihiro Takahashi next in line to keep the Kitajima flag flying with a 2:03.70 in the final of the short-course equivalent. Yamaguchi just missed out to Naoya Tomita in the 100m breaststroke, the winner on 57.91, to 58.16. Among other notable swims was a 14:38.13 victory for Hirai Ayatsugu in the 1500m freestyle. Results in full
Australia: James Magnussen, the Olympic silver medal winner over 100m freestyle, told Seven Network's Sunday Night programme Down Under that it was Eamon Sullivan and Matt Targett, his 4x100m free relay teammates, who told the rest of the team that taking Stilnox, the sleeping pill banned by the Australian Olympic Committee before the London 2012 Olympic Games, was a bonding tradition in the sport on Australian swim teams. The claim was rebuffed by medal-winning relay names of the past, Michael Klim, Ashley Callus and Andrew Lauterstein. "While we were at dinner, Eamon and Matt, the two older members of the team, talked about how there was a tradition and how other relay teams had bonded … the tradition had been, and what we did, was to take Stilnox on its own with water," said Magnussen. He added that the teammates had "sincerely wanted to come together as a relay team and bond to do a job for Australia". As things turned out, the relay let themselves and Australia down, finishing fourth in a relay that would have won the Olympic crown had all members swum to form. "Coming out of this experience, I've learned a lot about the repercussions of my behaviour," said Magnussen. "Thinking about decisions before I rush into things. Coming out of that Olympics, I think our relay team in particular has really made an attempt to bring the Australian swim team closer together." That view varies greatly with the opinions of many other teammates, including members of the victorious 4x100m freestyle relay in London.
In a week in which we're likely to hear more from the fallout of two independent reviews Down Under, a widely held view, not only in Australia but in other countries engaged in post-London 2012 flogging, is that the swimmers and coaches take the wrap while far more emphasis should be placed on those running the shop.