A few quick hits from the weekend:
In Australia, the sprinting Campbell sisters, who have been mostly quiet as of late, roared back into action this weekend at a Queensland Swimaroo circuit meet. Despite the slew of big-time Australian competitions early this year, this is their first meet of 2012.
Overall it was mixed results for the pair, with older sister Cate Campbell (19) having the most success. She won both the 50 free in 24.86, and the 100 free in 54.44. The 50 ties Therese Alshammar as fastest in the world this year, and the 100 ties for 6th.
The younger Bronte (17) had at least one outstanding swim – a 25.06 in the 50 free that is 6th in the world. Her 100 of 55.60 was strong, though not mind-blowing. Her 50 fly of 31.31 was an experiment gone wrong, but with such a limited sprint event schedule, can’t fault her for giving the race a go.
Capping off an exciting few days, Virginia sophomore Jan Daniec passed his citizenship test and earned his American Citizenship today. With that, he intends to change his sporting nationality and compete at this summer’s Olympic Trials. While he’s still young (only 19), Daniec has some potential as an international-level swimmer: he placed 2nd at this weekend’s ACC Championships in the 500 free.
Daniec was born in Poland, but at 12 he moved to the United States with his family, and specifically to Orange Country to pursue training with Mission Viejo. He’s much closer to making the Polish Olympic Team, but said he preferred to be in the atmosphere of Omaha.
USA Olympic HOF Nominations
Three American legends (one an individual, one a relay) have been nominated for the United States Olympic Committee’s U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Gary Hall, Jr. is a legend both for his swimming and his larger-than-life personality. He is the holder of 10 Olympic medals (including 5 gold), and won back-to-back titles in the 50 free in 2000 and 2004. He was also known to show up behind the block in a robe and shadow-box pre-race, endearing himself to the public with a “this is supposed to be fun, for the love of the sport” pre-race attitude.
Jenny Thompson has a total of 12 Olympic medals to her name, 8 of which are relay gold medals. That included as a member of back-to-back-to-back titles in the 400 free relay. The sprint freestyler was the 1998 World Swimmer of the Year and held four different World Records during an illustrious career.
And finally, the 400 free relay quartet of Kim Peyton, Jill Sterkel, Shirley Babashoff, and Wendy Boglioli were nomianted for their gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. At that Olympic Games, while the American men won all but one of the gold medals, the American women struggled. Due to the domination of the East German women (who broke seven World Records and three Olympic Records in the 13 event schedule), the Americans earned only one victory, and that was in this relay with a new World Record of 3:44.82.
At the time, that dropped four seconds off of the World Record (and 11 seconds off of the previous Olympic Record. This nomination, however, is as much of a statement about the ability to upset what we now know to be the steroid-fueled East German women’s sporting regime. They stood up to cheaters and took them down, and the nation roared in approval.
Among other big-name non-swimming nominees on this year’s ballet include soccer player Kristine Lilly, women’s hockey pioneer Cammi Granato, runners Gail Devers and Dan O’Brien, and Paralympian Jim Mastro – a man who had been blind since a teenager, competed on 6 Paralympic teams, and was a champion in wrestling, judo, shot put, discus, and goal ball (and was an alternate for the 1976 Olympic Team in Greco-Roman wrestling).
Voting is open through April 9th, and can be done here.