NCAA approves sprint medley, synchronized diving

On Thursday, the NCAA announced five new rule changes for the 2015-16 men’s and women’s collegiate swimming and diving seasons.

You can read the full story at, but here’s a quick rundown on the major changes;

  • Synchronized diving approved for dual and invitational meets to replace any springboard or platform event.
  • Backstroke starting wedges approved
  • 100 IM approved for inclusion at conference championship meets
  • Removing requirement to separate hands before taking dolphin kick on breaststroke pullout
  • Requirement for allowing strobe lights for deaf or hearing-impaired swimmers.


BI divers wrap up competitive season

The Bainbridge Island Dive Club finished the 2015 competitive club season at the USA Diving National Preliminary Zone E Championships June 10-12. The zone meet drew in divers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah and Nebraska.

Bainbridge’s Bryn Tiernan finished 18th in the 1-meter and 3-meter events with scores of 113.80 and 113.50, respectively. Tiernan competed in the 11 to 12-year-old division.

In the boys 12-13 division, Henry Sauermann, also of Bainbridge, placed 15th in the 1M and 3M with scores of 151.90 and 163.45.

Adrian wins 50 free in ‘absurd field’

Nathan Adrian
Nathan Adrian

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian won the 50-meter freestyle at the Arena Pro Swim Series event in Santa Clara, California, Saturday.
Adrian’s time of 21.97 was an in-season best and moved him to eighth place in the world rankings for this year. He held off Bruno Fratus of Brazil, who was the top seed, in 22.02. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov was third in 22.27.
Adrian said with such a phenomenal field, he was happy to get his hand on the wall first.
“Any time you pop under-22 (seconds), it’s good,” he said.
Adrian is slated to swim in the 100 free Sunday. He is the defending champion in that event.

Also, check out this video of Nathan talking about 50 free field and the 100 free Sunday.

Adrian, swim elite headed to Santa Clara

Nathan Adrian of Bremerton is seeded second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free for the upcoming Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara, California. (Rafael Domeyko,
Nathan Adrian of Bremerton is seeded second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free for the upcoming Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara, California.
(Rafael Domeyko,

Nathan Adrian of Bremerton is slated to swim in the Arena Pro Swim Series event later this week in Santa Clara, California. The meet begins Thursday with a timed-final distance session. Friday-Sunday prelims begin at 9 a.m. followed by finals at 5 p.m.

Also expected to swim are gold medalists Natalie Coughlin, Anthony Ervin, Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Matt Grevers and Allison Schmitt.

Adrian, the defending Olympic champion in the 100 freestyle, is seeded second in that event with a time of 47.84 seconds. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov is the top seed with a time of 47.62. The 100 free is Sunday.

Adrian is also swimming the 50 freestyle. He’s the third seed with a time of 21.47. Bruno Fratus of Brazil is the top seed in 21.41 followed by Ervin in 21.42. Ervin and Adrian are teammates at California Aquatics.

The meet is being televised at Universal Sports Network. A webcast of the meet can be found at


Opalka, Sauermann earn gold at Provincial diving meet

Two members of the Bainbridge Island Dive Club, Zora Opalka and Henry Sauermann, won events at the BC Summer Provincials Dive Meet last weekend in Victoria, B.C., Canada.

Opalka, of Bainbridge, had a score of 391.65 on the 3-meter springboard in the 16-18 year-old division. She also placed seventh on the 1-meter (322.15).

Sauermann, of Bainbridge, won the 3-meter with a score of 203.55 and also earned a silver medal on the 1-meter with a score of 176.20.

BIDC teammate Cammie Rouser, of Kingston, earned silver in the 3-meter (331.15) and ninth on the 1-meter (278.40).

Poulsbo’s Jackie Hellmers, competing in the 14-15 year-old division, finished second on the 3-meter with a score of 240.95 and fourth on the 1-meter (235.20). In the 11-12 division, Bryn Tiernan of Bainbridge earned a bronze on both the 1-meter (162.30) and 3-meter (140.25).

Both Sauermann and Tiernan qualified for the USA Diving National Preliminary Zone E Championships in Beaverton, Oregon, June 9-12.

Nathan Adrian, USA Swimming join forces for second year of Make A Splash Initiative

Nathan AdrianMug.jpg
Nathan Adrian

Bremerton’s four-time Olympic medalist and 2012 freestyle champion Nathan Adrian is teaming up with USA Swimming Foundation for a second year to promote its Make A Splash Initiative.

Adrian joins Cullen Jones, Jessica Hardy and Jason Lezak as ambassadors. The initiative has provided swimming lessons and education to children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. Since 2007, and with the help of its 725 providers, the program has helped more than 3.3 million children, according to USA Swimming.

Also, through the foundation’s Building Champions campaign, USA Swimming supports national team athletes and coaches through subsidies to help them achieve their athletic and personal goals.

Here are some stats provided by USA Swimming on drowning

  • Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with nearly 25 percent children younger than 14
  • 70 percent of African-American and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim, according to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis
  • Only 13 percent of kids who come from a non-swimming household will ever learn to swim, the USA Swimming Foundation found
  • African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports
  • Drowning is a silent killer—most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time, according to the Present P. Child Drowning study


Playing catch up on the blog with this and that

I’ve been a bit busy covering high school sports this week as we head to the playoffs, but I wanted to take a moment to post some links on the Arena Pro Swim in Charlotte last weekend.

Coming off his third-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle, Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian won the 100 free in 48.85 seconds.

“That’s a good starting point,” the 2012 Olympic champion said. “I came here trying to shake a little rust loose, and I think I did a solid job of it. Anytime you dip under 49, you can’t be displeased with it.”

It looks like Nathan’s next meet will be at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara June 18-21.

Now on to the national scene.

Associated Press columnist Paul Newberry (one of my favorites) wrote this story on USA Swimming and Michael Phelps. In other words, let Phelps swim at Worlds. They won’t regret it…

Column: Phelps should be at world championships this summer
PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — When the world’s top swimmers head to Russia this summer for the biggest meet outside the Olympics, one important name will be missing from the U.S. team.

Michael Phelps has been relegated to a backup meet in Texas.

“Is it frustrating? Of course,” Phelps said Friday night after swimming at the Arena Pro Series meet.

He brought this on himself, of course. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history received a six-month suspension following his drunken-driving arrest last September, an appropriate punishment given it was Phelps’ second DUI and he could’ve killed someone with his reckless actions.

USA Swimming tacked on an additional punishment, barring him from the FINA world championships in Kazan, the most important competition leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

That’s where the governing body went too far.

It’s not too late to change course, but USA Swimming has given no indication it will grant Phelps a reprieve, even though he owned up to his actions, went through a treatment program and has, from all indications, maintained his sobriety since the arrest.

So, he’ll settle for San Antonio in early August, competing at the U.S. national championships against swimmers who didn’t qualify for worlds.

“He’d love to have one more world championships,” said his coach, Bob Bowman. “I think that’s hurt him a little bit, hurt his motivation a little bit.”

FINA wants Phelps in Kazan so bad it would be willing to bend the rule book to get him there.

Executive director Cornel Marculescu, who essentially runs the organization as a one-man fiefdom, went so far as to say he would create an extra spot for Phelps, so the U.S. wouldn’t have to kick another swimmer off its team to make room for him.

“It’s important for us to have Phelps there in any way because he’s our pope,” Marculescu told The Associated Press on Friday, while traveling to Kazan for meetings with local organizers.

But he said USA Swimming is sticking to its guns, refusing to scale back the sanctions against Phelps.

“We contacted them,” Marculescu said. “There has been correspondence but no feedback. We told them it’s very important to have Michael Phelps. But they have their own rules.”

Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming, has acknowledged holding some preliminary discussions with Phelps’ representatives about allowing him to compete at worlds.

But those discussions apparently fizzled, and both Bowman and officials from USA Swimming say they’ve passed the point of no return.

“I can tell you we’re going to San Antonio, and that’s where he’s going to swim,” Bowman said. “And that’s it.”

It doesn’t have to be. It’s not too late to make this right.

According to FINA rules, there’s a June 15 deadline for each country to submit its entry list — still a full month away. There’s another potential stumbling block — a preliminary deadline of March 2, in which countries submitted the total number of swimmers they would take to Russia — but Marculescu could waive that rule with the stroke of a pen.

“I’m pretty Cornel would let me swim for any country I wanted to,” Phelps said, chuckling loudly. “But I’m going to respect the decision that was made.”

Jessica Hardy, who missed the 2008 Olympics while serving a one-year suspension for a doping violation, said USA Swimming is sending an important message by sticking to its original penalties: No one is bigger than the sport.

Not even Phelps.

“Consistency is important,” she told the AP. “Having gone through a suspension myself, I think it’s important to be fair across the board.”

For those who only pay attention to swimming at the Olympics, Phelps has turned in some of his greatest performances at the world championships.

€” In 2003 at Barcelona, Phelps set world records in two different events about an hour apart.

€” In 2007 at Melbourne, Australia, he matched Mark Spitz’s performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics by winning seven gold medals, a tantalizing preview of the record eight golds he would claim a year later at the Beijing Olympics.

€” In 2009 at Rome, during the height of the rubberized suit era, rival Milorad Cavic taunted Phelps for sticking with a supposedly inferior model, only to be edged at the wall in an epic 100-meter butterfly that set off perhaps the most raucous celebration of Phelps’ career.

While Phelps is best known for the 18 golds and 22 medals overall that he’s won at the Olympics, his world championship haul is even greater: 26 golds, six silvers and one bronze.

“As a fan, I’d love to see him try it again,” Bowman said. “But that’s just not in the cards.”

While we admire Wielgus for taking a tough stand against DUI, and we’re not in any way justifying Phelps’ conduct that September night, the initial six-month suspension was sufficient.

Now, it’s time for common sense to prevail.

The world’s best swimmers will be in Russia this summer.

The greatest of them all should be there, too.

AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at or on Twitter at

Also, if you weren’t aware, Bob Bowman is leaving NBAC to coach in the Pac-12, which is great news for the conference and I hope will somehow have a trickle down effect as universities add swimming programs (ahem, Washington?).

Of course, that also meant that Phelps will continue to train with Bowman and will make the move to Tempe, Arizona. You can read more about that here.

BIDC divers qualify for zones

Bryn Tiernan and Henry Sauerman of the Bainbridge Island Dive Club advanced to the USA Diving Zone D Championships in June in Beaverton, Oregon, after qualifying at the Junior Region 10 Championships last weekend in Beaverton.

Tiernan and Sauerman each advanced to the zone meet in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards.

Tiernan placed 10th in the 3M with a score of 123.70 and 12th in the 1M (110.80) in the 11-and-under division. Sauerman, competing in the 12-13 division, was seventh in both the 1M (152.5) and 3M (152.85).

In the girls 14-15, Jackie Hellmers, of Poulsbo, placed 19th in the 1M (162.85) and 19th in the 3M (195.65). Zora Opalka, Bainbridge, was 32nd in the IM (166.10) and 24th in the 3M (325.6) in the 16-18 division. Cammie Rouser, Kingston, finished 33rd in the 3M (295.60) and 42nd in the 1M (132.90).

The regional meet featured divers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, California, Nevada, Texas and Hawaii. BIDC, which includes divers from Kingston, Poulsbo and the island, will travel to a meet in Victoria, B.C., Canada in May and the the zone meet, June 19-24.

Locals shine at Dick LaFave meet

Olympic Aquatic Club placed third overall at the Dick LaFave meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way this week.

OAC finished with 353 points as 18 swimmers participated. Bellevue Club Swim Team, with 151 swimmers, won the meet with 634 points. Pacific Dragons Swim Team, with 48, finished with 505.5 points.

Poulsbo Piranhas Swim Team finished sixth (28, 206 points) while Bremerton YMCA Swim team (9, 41 points) was 17th to round out local clubs.

Individually, OAC’s Diddle Devine won the girls 10&U 50-meter butterfly in 36.62 seconds and the 200 individual medley (2:55.04), 100 fly (1:26.96). Devine was also second in the 100 breaststroke. Kira Ashmore of OAC won the 13-14 100 breast (1:21.31), the 200 breast (2:55.96) and 400 IM (5:32.09).

OAC’s Kira Crane won the 15 and over 50 freestyle in 29.37.

On the boys side, Brendan Kerns of the Bremerton Y won the 10&U 100 free in 1:14.11 while Ian Stefanski, Poulsbo Piranhas, won the 400 free in 5:48.20. OAC’s Ross Burchell won the 13-14 year old 100 free in 59.60, the 200 free (2:08.99), 400 free (4:34.34) and the 400 IM (13-14 division) in 5:15.01.

Poulsbo Piranhas’ Tim Gallagher won the 100 back (1:08.62), 200 back (2:25.15) while teammate Ethan Fox won the 100 breast (1:16.82) as the Piranhas swept the top three spots in that event (Stefanski was second and Nathan Ramey third). Ramey won the 200 breast in 2:48.78 (and Fox was second and Stefanski was third).

OAC’s Nathan Rubie won the 100 fly in 1:02.04, setting a meet record. The old record was 1:03.90 by Gabe Florsheim in 2012. Rubie also won the 200 fly in a meet record 2:22.93. The old record was 2:24.39 in 2012 by Jeffrey Li. Rubie also won the 200 IM in 2:29.74.

OAC sending nine to Far Westerns

Olympic Aquatic Club qualified nine swimmers to the Speedo Short Course Far Westerns this week in Morgan Hill, California. The meet is from April 9-12.

OAC’s qualifiers are Kira Ashmore, Amanda Ashmore, Ross Burchell, Kira Crane, Mason Heaman, Eleanor Hebard, Elizabeth Helmer, Andrew Renninger, and Nathan Rubie.

I don’t know of any other local club swimmers who qualified for the meet, but if you do feel free to let me know and I’ll add their names to the list and report results next week. Contact me at