Get your weekly news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’ With each edition, we collect personal stories, little known facts and general items of interest from athletes around the world in their non-aquatic habitats, helping us get to know them for more than just an event ranking or time on a board. Read on and learn something new this week.
#1 – Aussie Olympian Neil Brooks Wanted For Fraud
1980 Olympic Games relay medalist Neil Brooks of Australia is being sought by police. A warrant has been issued for his arrest after his wife, Linda Brooks, was already arrested and charged with fraud. The charges reportedly stem from a business deal from back in 2008 worth almost $2 million.
Australian media is reporting that Mrs. Brooks acted as a Director of a sports clothing manufacturing company who, along with other directors, was dishonest about the success of the business in order to induce a buyer to purchase a 50% share in the company.
Brooks is believed to be in Bali.
#2 – Japanese Olympic Champion Rie Kaneto Throws First Pitch
Rie Kaneto, the 2016 Olympic champion in the women’s 200m breaststroke, threw out the first pitch at a Japanese professional baseball game on October 19th. The game took place at Mazda Stadium, home of the Hiroshima Carp, who hosted the Yokohama Bay Stars that night. Kaneto threw the first pitch in front of over 31,000 fans. Yokohama wound up winning the game 6 to 2.
Last year Kaneto was awarded the Citizens Medal of Honor in her home nation of Japan. The 29-year-old opted out of competing for a spot on her nation’s 2017 World Championships team and is still reportedly considering retirement, but nothing has been announced.
#3 – Paralympian Ellie Simmonds Takes On Ambassadorship
22-year-old Ellie Simmonds of Great Britain has taken on a voluntary role as Ambassador for insurance company Vitality. The organization claims to ‘encourage people to improve their personal health by providing rewards and incentives to keep people motivated.’
Of her new role, the 5-time Paralyampic champion said, “I’m proud to be joining Vitality as an ambassador. Health and wellbeing is really important to me and I’m looking forward to helping and inspiring others to make positive lifestyle changes. I truly believe everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthier and happier life so I’m excited to work with Vitality alongside the other influential sporting ambassadors.”
Vitality CEO Neville Koopowitz said, “We are delighted to welcome Ellie as an Ambassador. Ellie is an incredible young talent and already inspires many with her determination and focus. We look forward to working with her and sharing our collective passion for healthy living.”
#4 – Deceased High School Swimmer Honored At Home Invite
17-year-old Josh Church swam for Cats Aquatic Team and Warren Township High School outside of Chicago before his sudden death during practice on November 16, 2016. As we reported at the time, County coroner Robert James termed it “a natural congenital death.”
On-site during her son’s high school’s “Josh Church ‘Race Me’ 2017” home invite last weekend, Church’s mom Alane stated, “Josh was in peak physical condition. This wasn’t visible during standard doctor appointments.
“When Josh died, it didn’t just affect our one club, it affected kids from at least 10 different clubs,” Church said. “They all get to know each other. Swimming is one of those sports where you can race someone, but still high-five them at the end and hit the snack bar together. It’s a very amazing community.”
As part of National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, 700 swimmers from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin convened at the Vernon Hills pool last weekend to compete, with purple hats and t-shirts sold to benefit the Josh Church Scholarship Fund and Max Schewitz Foundation.
“My husband has a hard time being in the building, but I don’t. I know Josh died here, but I love being with kids and I love being with swimmers,” Church said. “This is what Josh loved, and he also loved helping others. Knowing that his life can help others, by spreading this awareness, it’s totally in his M.O. so I’m going to do it.”
The Foundation, named after Max who died of sudden cardiac arrest at age 20, aims to support education, prevention, and research of sudden cardiac death in young people. Part of prevention is subsidizing electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings at local high schools. The organization also supports environmental conservation, a lifelong interest of Max’s. Specifically to support through education and conservation fragile and threatened reptile ecosystems and species.
More information about the foundation can be found at www.heartsmartekg.org.
#5 – British Olympians Get Engaged
World record holder Liam Tancock and two-time Olympian Caitlin McClatchey announced their engagement on Twitter this week. The pair have been together for a number of years, but the official marriage proposal came on October 25th while the couple were in Bali, Indonesia.
McClatchey made her first international squad with Great Britain in 2004 heading to the Athens Game as a member of the 4x200m freestyle relay that finished fifth. A year later she finished third in the 400m freestyle at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal. The 31-year-old Portsmouth native finished 7th in the 200m freestyle in Beijing and was inducted into University of Edinburgh’s Hall of Fame last year.
Tancock is a three-time World Champion, winning the 50 meter backstroke twice in long course (2009 and 2011) and the 100 meter backstroke once in short course (2008). The 32-year-old competed at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games and was a member of the 4x100m Medley relay team that finished fourth at the home Games.
Whilst on holiday in beautiful Bali this happened….? Liam and I got engaged! So happy and excited ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HozkOKdpPp
— Caitlin McClatchey (@CaitMcClatchey) October 25, 2017