It’s March 8th, 2016, and that means your favorite swimming news website has officially turned 4 years old, completing one full Olympic cycle of bringing you the best in aquatic news and entertainment!
The sport has come a long ways in four years and so have we – and by “we,” we truly mean all of us. SwimSwam wouldn’t be what it is today without our hardworking and dedicated staff, but you, the readers and commenters, are an integral part of the SwimSwam experience just the same. So as we all kick off Year 5 together, let’s look back at how far we’ve come.
SwimSwam 2012: The Beginnings
SwimSwam began as the brainchild of its five founders: Gold Medal Mel Stewart, Braden Keith, Tiffany Stewart, Davis Wuolle and Garrett McCaffrey. But for such a small operation, the impact was immediate, with coverage of international, NCAA and age group swimming drawing swimming fans that more than quadrupled the site’s readership within the first five months.
You can check out a cool look back at the early days of the site in this archived page from March 9th, 2012, as well as this one from March 14th.
It’s amazing how much has changed and yet how much has stayed the same. In 2012, headlines included still-relevant names like Phelps (vs.) Lochte, David Marsh and Natalie Coughlin, but also featured some that now sound like throwbacks: Stephanie Rice, Kosuke Kitajima and Ian Thorpe.
In 2012 when SwimSwam was launched, a 1:49 in the 200 breast was still unthinkable, Jason Lezak was still competing and nobody truly knew what the name “Ledecky” would come to mean.
2016: One Olympic Cycle Later
Since then, we’ve expanded significantly, now fielding a full writing staff that works together to cover everything that happens in a pool: every breaking news item we can confirm, every training tip we can get our hands on, every world, American, continental, U.S. Open, NCAA and National Age Group record, every high school state championship meet, every Division I conference championship meet, every major international competition and an ever-growing selection of age group, masters and para-swimming meets, just to name a few.
We’ve grown a robust comment section that combines philosophies, techniques, opinions and ideas from across the globe. It’s a true showcase of swimming’s most passionate fans that leads to some incredibly high-level discussions of the sport – though it’s not without regular appearances from some of our favorite comment-section jokesters. No comment board on the internet is perfect, but SwimSwam’s engaged readership is what truly sets us apart – and on our 4th birthday, we gratefully thank you for that.
As the sport grows, we’ve continued to ramp up our coverage. The combination of the U.S. National Championships, World Championships and Junior World Championships last August brought us nearly 5 million views for the month – a new site record – as swimming fans the world over congregated in one place to watch the fireworks of the world’s fastest swimmers in the sport’s biggest environments.
And we’re far from done. 2016 promises to be the best swimming season yet, with all the drama of the NCAA Championships, various national Olympic Trial meets and of course the Rio Olympics all ahead of us.
And our coverage won’t slow down for a moment. SwimSwam is expanding its reach to the world, with the launches of other-language content in our SwimSwam Deutsch (German) and SwimSwam Español (Spanish) sections.
In addition, we’ve launched SwimSwam Magazine, a beautiful print mag chock full of bonus content that complements – but never duplicates – what you’ll find on the live site.
And that’s just the beginning. Expect more of the comprehensive swimming coverage you’ve come to expect from SwimSwam in 2016. Have a favorite SwimSwam moment, memory, story or comment? Let us know in the comments. Further, if you have ideas for where you’d like to see us expand our coverage in the coming year, leave that below as well.
Exciting times are ahead! We thank you for being a part of SwimSwam’s rise, and we look forward to watching all of 2016’s action alongside you. Onward to Rio!