Tag Archives: Swim

Dressel, Ledecky romp to wins at US Olympic swim trials

Ledecky locked up her fourth event Saturday night with a dominant win in the 800-meter freestyle.

OMAHA, Neb. — The stars shined brightly on the next-to-last night of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Caeleb Dressel added another event to his Tokyo program, powering to a dominating victory in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday.

Katie Ledecky blew away the field in the 800 freestyle, winning by more than 5 seconds in a race where the runner-up spot provided the only drama.

Ledecky locked up her fourth individual race at the Olympics with a time of 8 minutes, 14.62, adding to her victories in the 200, 400 and 1,500 free.

Fifteen-year-old Katie Grimes outraced veteran Haley Anderson for the expected second spot at the Olympics, knocking more than 11 seconds off her personal best to touch second in 8:20.36.

Anderson, who already made the team in marathon swimming, just missed out on a race at the Olympic pool. She finished third, 15-hundredths of a second behind the youngster.

No one was even close to Dressel as he finished the fly in 49.87 — just off his world record of 49.50 set two years ago at the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Tom Shields claimed the expected second spot on the U.S. team by touching next in 51.19. Shields was an Olympian in 2016, taking gold as part of the 4×100 medley relay.

Dressel, who already made the Olympic team with a victory in the 100 freestyle, made it 2-for-2 on the night when he returned a short time later to win his heat in the semifinals of the 50 free.

Dressel is hoping to swim three individuals events in Tokyo and perhaps all four relays, giving him a chance to join Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi as the only swimmers to win seven swimming medals at the Olympics.

At the last world championships, Dressel became only the second swimmer after Phelps to win eight medals at a major international competition.

The 24-year-old Floridian captured six gold medals and two silvers, though two of those were in non-Olympic events.

With Phelps now retired, Dressel and Ledecky are expected to join ie Ledecky as the biggest American swimming stars at the Olympics.

There was a surprise in the women’s 200 backstroke. Favorite Regan Smith, who has already won the 100 back, faded to third in the longer race to miss out on a second individual event in Tokyo.

Rhyan White took the victory in 2:05.73, with Phoebe Bacon claiming the likely second spot in 2:06.46.

Smith finished third in 2:06.79, more than 3 seconds off her personal best.

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Olympic champ Tony Ervin fails to advance at US swim trials

Ervin made history in 2016 as the oldest individual swimming champion in Olympic history.

OMAHA, Neb. — Reigning Olympic champion Tony Ervin failed to advance from the preliminaries of the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. swimming trials Saturday.

Ervin, who went by Anthony when he won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, returned for one more trials at age 40 knowing he had little chance of earning a spot on the team.

He merely wanted to get as far as the final, with hopes of passing the baton to the next generation of sprinters. But Ervin managed only the 23rd-fastest time in the morning heats at 22.61 seconds — 1.21 off his winning time five years ago.

The top 16 advanced to the evening semifinals.

Ervin was a two-time gold medalist in the 50 free, tying for the top spot at the 2000 Sydney Games before improbably returning 16 years later to claim another gold at 35 — the oldest individual swimming champion in Olympic history.

Caeleb Dressel was top qualifier at 21.29, while eight-time Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian shook off a disappointing performance in the 100 free to post the third-fastest time (21.85).

The 32-year-old Adrian must finish in the top two of the 50 to make his fourth Olympics team.

In another bounce-back performance, Simone Manuel was second-fastest in the preliminaries of the women’s 50 free at 24.56.

The 2016 Olympic champion in the 100 free stunningly failed to make it past the semifinals in that event, revealing afterward that she had been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome.

Like Adrian, Manuel’s only hope of making it back to the Olympics is to finish in the top two of the 50.

Abbey Weitzeil, who won the 100 free Friday night, was fastest in the 50 free prelims at 24.50.

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Tokyo bound: Kalisz claims 1st spot on US Olympic swim team

Chase Kalisz is heading back to the Olympics after winning the 400-meter individual medley on the opening night of the U.S. swimming trials in Omaha.

OMAHA, Neb — With Michael Phelps cheering on his former training partner, Chase Kalisz claimed another trip to the Olympics by winning the 400-meter individual medley on the opening night of the U.S. swimming trials Sunday.

The Americans got some new blood on women’s side: 19-year-old Emma Weyant, in her first trials, held off three Olympic veterans to win a thrilling 400 IM.

Another Olympic rookie, Kieran Smith, shaved nearly 3 seconds off his previous personal best to win the 400 freestyle and claim his spot for Tokyo.

Kalisz trailed top qualifier Carson Foster at the midway point of the race after the butterfly and backstroke legs.

But Kalisz surged to the lead on the breaststroke and held it to the end through the freestyle, winning in 4 minutes, 9.09 seconds.

“I know where I need to be to make my move off the breaststroke,” the 27-year-old said.

As Kalisz climbed out of the temporary pool, a masked-up Phelps was there to greet him with an embrace.

The two were once training partners at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

“His back half was great,” Phelps told The Associated Press. “I thought maybe he would go a touch faster. But he’s right there. He took care of what he needed to do.”

Phelps, the retired in 2016 after winning a record 23 gold medals at the Olympics, said everyone at the trials should get a boost from racing before fans.

USA Swimming allowed roughly 50% capacity in the 14,000-seat arena, with cardboard cutouts occupying many of the empty seats.

Still, after more than a year without any fans in the stands, the atmosphere was a welcome change for the swimmers.

“You get that electricity from the fans,” Phelps said. “I got goose bumps when I walked into the arena tonight.”

Another 2016 Olympian, Jay Litherland, tracked down Foster over the final 25 meters to claim the expected second spot on the Olympic team in 4:10.33.

Foster settled for third — out of the Olympics — in 4:10.86.

That ensured a couple of veterans were the first swimmers to claim spots on the squad that will head to the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games with high expectations.

Kalisz took the silver in the 400 IM at the Rio Olympics, while Litherland finished fifth in that event.

Kalisz swam over to give Litherland a hug after seeing they finished 1-2. They both attended the University of Georgia.

“It means the world to have my training partner with me,” Kalisz said.

The pandemic-delayed Olympics turned out to be a blessing for Kalisz, who didn’t even qualify for the final of the 400 IM at the 2019 world championships. He was battling a shoulder injury and clearly not at full strength.

An extra year of training was just what he needed before taking on the grueling 400 IM at the trials.

“I would definitely say so,” Kalisz said. “I don’t want to say I wasn’t prepared last year, because I was. But I’m 27 now. My body needs rest a lot more than it ever has.”

With the top four virtually in sync on the final lap of the women’s 400 IM, Weyant touched first in 4:33.81.

Hali Flickinger claimed the likely second spot for Tokyo in 4:33.96, while Melanie Margalis (4:34.08) and Leah Smith (4:34.55) just missed out.

They posted the four fastest times in the world this year, a sign of America’s strength and depth on the women’s side.

Weyant said her strategy was “stick to my race plan and not worry about everyone around me. Stick to my strengths and always taking it home on freestyle.”

Flickinger, Margalis and Smith were members of the U.S. Olympic team in 2016, but Weyant bested them all.

“I’m not going to lie,” the teenager said. “I was really nervous, so I tried to get that out of my system (in the morning preliminaries). The plan tonight was just to race.”

Kieran Smith’s Olympic debut will also mark the first time he’s on the national team.

He won in 3:44.86 but knows he’ll need to go even faster to have a shot at a medal — especially against a powerful Australian squad.

Defending Olympic champion Mack Horton posted a faster time than Smith at his country’s trials, and it wasn’t even good enough to make the Aussie team.

“I’m really excited with that swim,” said Smith, whose previous best was 3:47.71. “I look forward to hopefully improving on that swim and being competitive with the rest of the world.”

Jake Mitchell was far back in second at 3:48.17.

Also Sunday, Michael Andrew set a pair of American records in the 100 breaststroke, going 58.19 in the morning prelims and even faster — 58.14 — in the evening semifinals.

He’ll be the clear favorite in Monday’s final.

“There’s a lot left in the tank,” Andrew said. “Maybe with the lights and cameras, I tried too hard going home. Hopefully I can fix that tomorrow.”

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Woman overcomes chronic ME to swim Oceans Seven in new Sky documentary

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed


Beth overcame ME to swim Oceans Seven (Image: Nyla Sammons)

As wild swimming gains ever more fans due to lockdown, a new documentary film Against The Tides follows Beth’s attempt to be the first person to swim the world’s seven most dangerous straits – known as the Oceans Seven – in a single year. “One of the things that surprises me is the ability of the body to endure,” says Beth. “It is not what drives you forward, but what is holding you back, which stops you from doing things.” The film shows the Briton go from Hawaii to Ireland, New Zealand to Gibraltar in her quest – some would call it foolhardy – to prove she could do it. 

And while the swimming is all very fascinating – at one point she’s swimming with a dangerous shark, at other times avoiding jellyfish, rocks and hyperthermia – it is the complex and extraordinarily strong woman at the heart of the story which makes the Sky documentary so compelling.

From the start you question what drives her; and whether the actions are inspiring or selfish. Even her own mother isn’t convinced, admitting: “I am not her number one supporter when it comes to her swimming.

“She is the single parent to a small child and I don’t like the idea of her swimming against tides or through shoals of jellyfish because I don’t want her to get hurt.”

But then the backstory comes out. Beth, now 43, from Somerset, is battling both the demons from her past and the challenges of her present. Pushing herself to the limit is one of the few ways she can take control.

Aged ten, a popular, sporty and academic child she had a painless bout of glandular fever. She then started getting strange pains in her limbs and an exhaustion would overcome her. Weeks would go by and she would be fine, but then the illness would take hold again until she spent more of her time feeling ill than well. 

“No one could explain what or why this was happening to me,” she recalls as we talk over Zoom. “All through my adolescence I would have these complete crashes where my glands would come up, I would feel so sick and the pain was so bad – in different places – that it felt like I had molten lava running through my veins.


Covid has kept Beth away from the sea but she’s relaxing in a bathtub on her patio full of icy water (Image: NC)

“I got to the stage where I couldn’t even lift my hand up to brush my own hair.

“Sometimes I’d be fine for three months – I’d be completely well. And then I would crash for six months. And the hardest thing was not knowing what was wrong with me. The blood tests came back fine; there was nothing wrong with me as far as the doctors were concerned.

“It obviously led to mental health issues; I started self-harming, I became bulimic. I couldn’t trust my body. The doctors said it was all in my head when I knew it was my body.

“Aged 17 I couldn’t even sit up, let alone stand up and I was in a wheelchair. I didn’t even have the energy to brush my teeth or scratch an itch. All my muscles ached all the time.”

One of the only things that seemed to help was water.

The family farm had a pond and her father enlarged it; she would lie in it for hours, the weightlessness of being in the water provided a brief respite from real life.

At 17, after seven years of countless visits to different doctors, she received a diagnosis of ME or chronic fatigue syndrome. The downside was, there was no cure. 

“It was a relief to get a diagnosis, because my mental state was so fragile after everyone saying there was nothing wrong with me but being told there was no cure made me feel like my life was over,” she says.


Cold water helps to soothe Beth’s physical symptoms of ME (Image: David Leyland)

“But I still had some fight in me and that was to rebel against myself, against this extreme lethargy. It became a compulsion to push myself as much as I could.”

Beth started listening to her body, learned to recognise her triggers. She refused to continue her education, knowing that the stress was making her ill. She would move when she could and kept pushing her body and, slowly, she began to recover.

“Recovery is an odd word because I still get the symptoms sometimes,” she says.

“My immune system is really bad and when I overdo things, I get this heavy feeling, but I’ve learned how to listen closely to my body. But at the same time, I felt like I had to prove myself and prove not only that I could do what others do, but to be almost superhuman.”

When she felt well enough, after years of being cooped up in her bedroom, she made a bucket list of things she wanted to do.

One of the first was flying to Hawaii. She initially went for a brief two-week holiday, but didn’t return to England for seven years; first training as a massage therapist in Hawaii before, briefly, becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand where she was given lodgings at a monastery in exchange for English lessons. She willed herself to wellness.

Coming back to England, she met a man, fell in love and had her son, Dylan, but was left a single mother when they split up; a new challenge for someone who had already been through so much.

When Dylan, now 11, started school, she was forced to face yet more problems.

“I always saw Dylan as delightfully kooky,” she recalls. “He was outgoing and adventurous. But when he went to school, everything changed. They described a child I didn’t know – he would hide underneath tables and he would bite and scratch.

“Dylan just couldn’t cope. It was horrendous, he was six years old and he started talking about wanting to kill himself. So I took him out of school, took him away from all the things that triggered him and started home-schooling.”

One day a week her mother would look after Dylan, who has since been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, OCD, sensory issues, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and Beth, who works as a part-time masseur, started going to the local swimming pool for respite.

While there she decided to undertake a Channel swim challenge – swimming the length of the Channel in a month.

She did it in just a few days. It felt so amazing that she booked an organisation to help her swim the real Channel two years later. She knew she needed more time than normal to prepare her body, but she was hooked on the challenge.

Now Beth admits her reasons for swimming are complicated. “No one can hear me scream in the water,” she says, quietly. “I could swim it all out. It was a way of calming my body and my mind down. I needed to push myself because I was constantly feeling like I was on the verge of feeling like a failure.

“I had all these questions of guilt.

“And when your child has special needs you feel so alone the whole time. Swimming was a way of chasing the demons in my head. The best thing for me was the meditative calm which comes at the end of a good long swim.”

Dylan was always part of her challenges. 


Beth, with Dylan, says her son is involved in the training for her challenges (Image: David Leyland)

They’d go down to the sea and she’d put him in a wetsuit and life jacket in a small dinghy attached to her leg. “He had a little gun and would squirt me in the face if he wanted to talk to me. He would point which way down the coast he wanted to go and I went swimming with him.”

As for the impact on Beth’s body, she says the actual swimming aspect has always been the easiest part: “You can train your mind to push through so many barriers and achieve what you want.” The tough bit was on land.

By the time the documentary was filmed two years ago, Dylan was nine and not as malleable as he was as a toddler. It features scenes of him terrified at the thought of her being attacked by sharks. The team she travelled with for each of the challenges – which cost more than £80,000 – also included a childminder for Dylan but he increasingly recoiled at being left with them.

Towards the end of the film, as Beth attempts her fifth swim, in Northern Japan, Dylan hides her swimming costume. She is forced to do some tough soul searching about what she was doing the swim for.

“Yes, there are people who criticised me for swimming when I had Dylan but others also said, ‘you are going to be such a great role model,'” she ponders. “No one can say how you should do this thing called motherhood; this is just my version of it.”

Her decision, which viewers will see, is an emotional surprise.

Since doing the challenge, Covid has kept Beth away from the sea but she and Dylan have been planning adventures for when the world opens up again. In the meantime, she has been forced to take her aquatic solace in a bathtub in her garden. “I am missing swimming so much, I miss the sea,” she sighs.

“The closest I get to the feeling I get from swimming is jumping into an icy bathtub on the patio. When I am feeling stuck or stressed or lethargic or depressed, I jump in cold water and it is an instant reset.

“You can’t be anywhere but in the present because there is an overwhelming sensation which gives you an endorphin high. It’s insane.”

Against the Tides can be seen on Sky Documentary and is also available for digital download

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Ben Affleck Is Such A Doting Dad As He Takes Son Samuel, 9, To Swim Practice — See Pic

Now that Ben Affleck is done shooting his movie, the 45-year-old actor is back in Los Angeles with his children. That means he could take his son Samuel to swim practice, where they were photographed together.

Ben Affleck has been all over the place, from shooting on movie sets in Massachusetts to taking his son to swim practices in Los Angeles! On April 16, the 45-year-old actor was occupied with the latter duty. Ben could be seen with his son Samuel, 9, as they got out of a vehicle outside of Samuel’s swim team practice in Los Angeles. Samuel was geared up for practice, while Ben hid his recently-shaved face behind a medical face mask.

Ben Affleck, Samuel Affleck
Ben Affleck is seen with Samuel Affleck outside his son’s swim practice in Los Angeles on April 16, 2021. [BACKGRID]

Despite the mask, some stubble could be seen. Ben can let his beard grow out now if he pleases too, since the actor finished shooting his latest movie called The Tender Bar. On April 14, Ben could be seen sharing a celebratory hug with his director, fellow famous actor George Clooney, as they wrapped up filming for the movie about a “a boy growing up on Long Island” who “seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle’s bar,” per the film’s description on IMDb. The movie is an on-screen adaptation of the memoir of the same name written by J. R. Moehringer.
Filming took place in Massachusetts, which required Ben to spend time away from Los Angeles where his kids Samuel, Seraphina, 12, and Violet, 15, live along with their mom (Ben’s ex-wife), Jennifer Garner, 49. Ben’s facial hair took a wild journey amid shooting: at first, he sported a very grown-out beard while filming on the East Coat in the middle of March. It eventually vanished, and Ben looked years younger as he was seen playing softball beard-free with George on April 7.

Ben Affleck
A one-month-old throwback: Ben Affleck is seen here with his movie beard while filming The Tender Bar in Massachusetts on March 12, 2021. [BACKGRID]

Ben still flew back to LA amid filming, though. He was even seen picking up his son, Samuel, from swim practice in LA on March 26. Ben really is a devoted father: he can act on a big-budget movie while still doing regular dad duties! This is nothing new, though. Before the pandemic, Ben was always spotted picking up his three kids from school.
Jade Boren

This article originally appeared on Hollywood Life