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Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

Sunday night in Indianapolis the NCAA announced Nkolika “Nicky” Anosike 2008 Woman of the Year.  Anosike led the Lady Vols of Tennessee to back-to-back Women’s Basketball National Championships.  Being an avid watcher of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and regular season play, I could not be happier with the NCAA’s decision!  Not only is Anosike a household name, at least in my house, but a woman with tremendous talent, who carries herself with such pride and confidence!

Anosike’s success spans across much more than the basketball court.  Anosike has many noteworthy achievements.  Her academic and athletic success combined is incomparable to most, and I do not think anyone will disagree on how deserving she is of this award.

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a triple major in political science, legal studies and sociology. SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2005-08. ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American second-team, 2007-08. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship winner for Tennessee, 2008.

The recipe for determining the winner: “The annual Woman of the Year award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, leadership and service. A committee composed of representatives from NCAA member schools and conferences selected the top 30 – 10 from each division – from 130 conference and independent nominees. From the 30 honorees, nine finalists – three from each division – were chosen.”

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selected Anosike from nine finalists:

“1.  Susan Ackermann, Salisbury (lacrosse), Capital Athletic Conference
2.  Nkolika Anosike, Tennessee (basketball),Southeastern Conference
3.  Jennifer Artichuk, Delta State (swimming and diving), Independent
4.  Shanti Freitas, Smith (swimming and diving), New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference
5.  Arianna Lambie, Stanford (cross country, track and field), Pacific-10 Conference
6.  Samantha Mitchell, Mount Olive (volleyball, track and field), Conference Carolinas
7.  Lindsey Ozimek, Charlotte (soccer), Atlantic 10 Conference
8.  Sarah Schettle, Wisconsin-Oshkosh (track and field, cross country, swimming), Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
9.  Heather Walker, Georgian Court (volleyball, softball), Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference”

I think that this is an amazing award and a great way to showcase female athletes.  Only ONE winner of this award has been a Division III Athlete.  EVERY other winner competed at the Division I level.  Now, I understand Division I is the highest level of competition, thus you are going to find the most successful and talented women competing for Divisioin I.  HOWEVER, having been a: 4 year varsity athlete, 2 time NCAA All-American, team captain, 4 time All-Conference, and a 4 time NCAA qualifier, in Division III swimming, something is to be said for the Division III student-athlete.  Where is the recognition for non-scholarship athletes?  The athletes that compete simply for the love of the game.

The athlete that gets out of bed every morning at 5:30am for swim practice, goes to class all morning, comes back to the pool to swim again, and then hits the weightroom, just to go home, eat dinner, do some homework, and wake up to do it all again.  All the meanwhile, maintaining a 3.95, still finding time to volunteer for various activities and programs, not to mention being a darn talented swimmer!!  This swimmer I am referring to was one of the 30 finalists in attendance Sunday night, Michelle Coombs.  Coombs, a 2008 graduate of SUNY New Paltz, was the 2007 NCAA Division III National Champion for Women’s Swimming in the 100 freestyle, and the first female National Champion at SUNY New Paltz.  As an assistant coach at SUNY New Paltz, I had the pleasure of coaching Coombs for the 2007-2008 swim season!  Much like all of the candidates for Woman of the Year, Coombs excels in academics, athletics, and in the area of service and leadership.  Congratulations to Coombs and all of the other finalists on their amazing honor to be nominated.  Most importantly, congratulations to Anosike for winning the title of Woman of the Year, and best of luck as you all go forward in your lives and look to excel outside of your specific sports arenas.

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Only two things can get 150 U.S. Olympic stars in one city at one time: the actual Olympics, and, of course, the most powerful woman in the world: Oprah.

Oprah’s season premier couldn’t have been staged any better as she called for the country’s greatest athletes together for a “welcome home” celebration on her show in Chicago. Supposedly, the spectacle drew a crowd that stretched around nearly six city blocks.

Accourding to Pretty Tough, Oprah welcomed gold medalists Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and members of the gold medal Women’s Basketball Team, cyclist Kristin Armstrong and fencer Mariel Zagunis. Also, silver medalist Jennie Finch & members of the Women’s Olympic Softball Team, the silver medal Women’s Water Polo Team, and more.

The show is said to air on Monday.

Check out this AP story for more information:

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Dara Torres clinched the silver medal in the 50m freestyle event on Sunday, losing by 0.1 seconds to Britta Steffen of Germany. “Holy crap” is the only thing that came to mind when I saw that finish. She exited the pool with watery eyes. She deserves nothing but congratulations for her efforts this year, and she was successful in her efforts to steal earned attention internationally as the oldest woman to compete in the Olympics. She brought home three three medals from Beijing.

In the semifinals, Torres showed great sportsmanship as she held the race when Sweden’s Therese Alshammar tried to rectify her torn swimsuit. Torres warned officials to wait. I guess wisdom really does come with age and experience. I wonder how many other Olympic athletes would hold the race for a competitor.

Also, I read this morning on Women Play Sports that our U.S. Women’s soccer team is headed to the finals after beating Japan, 4-2.

The US will be facing Brazil, who beat Germany earlier today by a score of 4-1.

“The US has a chance to win their third gold medal ever in women’s soccer. They’ve had much success here in the Olympics, only losing one gold medal final. The US has a chance to show their soccer dominance to the rest of the world, once again,” Andrew said.

It’s going to be exciting to watch that game. It will be broadcast live on NBC at 9am on Thursday.

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Last night, according to ESPN, Dara Torres won the 50m freestyle heat with ease, finishing at the wall with a time of time of 24.27 – 0.15 better than anyone else.

Swimming is hard enough, especially the 50 meter freestyle. An all-out sprint, the 50m requires explosive power and speed, two traits that are supposed to dwindle over the years.

But Dara Torres is proving that wrong, and she’s catching a lot of attention because of her ability to overcome that inevitable obstacle that we all must face: age.  That, and – of course – guys think she’s hot.

Torres is making history – in more ways than one.

USA Today says,

“Dara Torres is doubling up her duties in her run at history on Sunday.”

This is because, in addition to seeking her 11th Olympic medal in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle, the 41-year-old mom will swim the anchor leg of the women’s 4×100 medley relay about 40 minutes later.

Winning two medals on Sunday would tie Torres with Jenny Thompson at 12 medals (Thompson represented the US in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics). If this happens, two stars would share the title of most decorated U.S. woman swimmer in history. Torres already is the oldest female swimmer in Olympic history.

But one of the greatest impacts Torres is having on our culture is that she is inspiring older women to get fit. Check out this article from The Huffington Post which explains how this is happening and why.

Also last night, Kirsty Coventry from  Zimbabwe grabbed a gold in the 200-meter back stroke, defeating Margaret Hoelzer’s previous world-record time.

In distance, Britain’s Rebecca Adlington clinched the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle event with a time of 8 minutes, 14.10 seconds, shattering Janet Evans’ 19-year-old world record of 8:16.22. It has been said that Adlington is the “Michael Phelps of Britain”, and is setting a said to be setting a precedent for the next summer games in London.

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I have to admit it – I think swimming is my favorite event of the Beijing Olympics.

I know it seems like I’m “jumping on the bandwagon,” but it was SO exciting last night to watch the women’s 200-m breaststroke event, as American Rebecca Soni came from behind to beat world record-holder Leisel (a.k.a “Lethal Jones”) and set a new world record, 2 minutes, 20.22 seconds.

She was losing up until the last 50 meters, when she “busted it” off the wall and kicked it into overdrive to beat Liesel by almost an entire body length.

What is up with the world records this year? It’s like every event someone smashes another record! Maybe it’s the new style of swimsuits?

Whatever it is, it’s awesome.

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According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, today, American Natalie Coughlin became the first woman to repeat as Olympic champion in the 100-meter backstroke. She set a USA record with 58.96 seconds.

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An exciting weekend in international sports as Beijing gets started. It’s only been just over three days and we’ve already seen some incredible performances. Below are some highlights of what’s happened for the women over the weekend, broken down by sport.

I thoroughly enjoy the positive impact that Wikipedia has made on my life, as well as to the quality and access of information available. Therefore, trusting the online contributors, I took what’s there and compiled a list of updates on women’s performances from the weekend. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments field at the bottom of this post.

Friday, 8/8

Soccer:

Norway beat defending champion United States 2–0 in group G for soccer (women’s football).

Norwegian striker Leni Larsen Kaurin‘s second-minute goal was the fastest-ever goal in the women’s Olympic football tournament.[2] Meanwhile, reigning World Cup champion Germany drew 0–0 with Brazil in group F.[3] Host China won its opening game by beating Sweden 2–1 in group E.[4]

Saturday, 8/9

Archery:

South Korea set an Olympic record in the ranking round of women’s team archery.

Weight lifting:

Chen Xiexia of China won the Women’s 48 kilogram (that’s 105 lbs) Weightlifting competition, successfully completing all her attempts winning the gold with 95kg (209 lbs) in the snatch and 117kg (257.4 lbs) in the Clean and Jerk for a total of 212kg (466.4 lbs) a new Olympic Record.

Fencing:

The United States swept the medals in the women’s sabre event, the first U.S. podium sweep of a fencing event since 1904. Mariel Zagunis took gold.

Soccer:

Norway qualifies for the quarterfinals of the women’s football tournament with a 1–0 win over New Zealand.

Air Rifle:

Kateřina Emmons of the Czech Republic wins the first gold medal of the games, setting an Olympic record for both the qualifying (with a perfect 400) and final scores, in the women’s 10 m air rifle.

Sunday, August 10

Archery:

South Korea set a world record for a 24-arrow team match, in their victory over Italy in the quarter finals of the women’s team archery event.

Air Pistol:

Guo Wenjun of China wins gold in women’s 10 metre air pistol and sets a new Olympic record for final score with 492.3 points, after Natalia Paderina of Russia had bettered the Olympic qualification record to 391.

During the medal ceremony, Pederina and bronze medalist Nino Salukvadze of Georgia shared a symbolic embrace as their two countries continued to war; the two had been friends since they both competed for the Soviet Union. (see picture to the right)

Swimming:

Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice sets a new world record in women’s 400 m individual medley, winning Australia’s 400th Summer Olympics medal. Second place Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe also finished below the previous world record.

The Netherlands team wins women’s 4 x 100 m freestyle relay final with a new Olympic record of 3:33.76.

Darra Torres won the silver in the 400m Free Relay.

Weight lifting:

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand wins gold in women’s 53 kg weightlifting and sets a new Olympic record for clean and jerk. This is Thailand’s first medal in the 2008 games

Cycling:

Nicole Cooke of Great Britan took the gold medal in the Women’s Road race.

Women’s Springboard:

Guo Jingjing and Wu Minxia of China took the gold medal in the women’s synchronized springboard competition.

Judo:

Xian Dongmei of China took the women’s Judo gold medal.

Swimming:

Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo,Femke Heemskerk, Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands took the gold medal in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

… and much more to come later.

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