TIME swimming

Swimming: Ledecky Leaves Her Mark in Australia

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky of the U.S. smiles as she poses with her gold medal after she set a new world record in her women's 1500-m freestyle final at the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Gold Coast, Australia, on Aug. 24, 2014 Rick Rycroft—AP

And she's still in high school

(GOLD COAST, Australia) — The long, deep breaths were a sign: Elation, satisfaction, relief. And just a touch of exhaustion.

Katie Ledecky had just wiped almost six seconds off her own world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle to win her fifth gold medal of the Pan Pacific championships, rounding off a phenomenal season of competition.

She now owns the world records in the 400- — she lowered her own mark at that distance the previous night — the 800- and the 1,500-meter freestyle events and is the world champion in all three.

And she’s still in high school.

Before the Pan Pacific championships, the bulk of the attention focused on the return to international competition of Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all time. Ledecky’s performances made sure Phelps had to share the spotlight.

Phelps, who won eight Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and retired after lifting his tally to 18 golds by the end of the London Games in 2012, was frequently asked about his 17-year-old teammate.

“She’s a stud. It’s unbelievable,” Phelps said of Ledecky after she lowered her record in the 400, describing her reaction to all the fuss over her times as “so nonchalant.”

“Watching her swim is remarkable,” he said. “She throws it on the line — she’s very talented, she works hard, and it shows.”

Ledecky enjoys swimming the 1,500, but it’s not an Olympic event for women so it’s not a big part of her longer-term plans beyond the world championships next year. She likes the challenge of it. Her reaction to winning the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle golds were fairly subdued and self-effacing.

Although she said it was “kind of cool” to be the first to set a world record at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre’s new outdoor pool, she said she also loved playing a role in a winning 4×200 freestyle relay for the Americans.

All of her records came in some pretty difficult weather conditions — steady rain and a cold wind off the nearby Pacific Ocean during most of the sessions. It was a final, and uncharacteristic, blast of the last few weeks of the southern hemisphere winter in this part of Australia.

After completing the 30 laps in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds — her third world record in 15 days — she really let her emotions show, slapping the water in delight after an intense final lap when she pushed harder and harder to the wall.

“That was probably one of my most painful races,” Ledecky said. “But it paid off in the end. I figured pretty early on in the race that I was on world-record pace. I wasn’t sure about the middle if I fell off too much, because it did really hurt. I was pretty sure I had it, but breaking it by six seconds was pretty surprising.”

It was the third time in 13 months she’s set the mark in the 1,500, and the second within three months since her 15:34.23 in June.

“The 1,500 is not a huge priority of mine because it’s not an Olympic event — (but) it’s certainly one of my favorite events,” she said. “It was the last day of the meet — last time I broke it, it was the first day of the meet — so pretty different.”

Now, for a change, the 2012 Olympic 800-meter champion will get a well-earned break from competition before training picks up again for the 2015 world championships.

TIME animals

This Corgi Swimming in a Pond Is the Definition of Delightful

Looks like it's having the best summer ever

+ READ ARTICLE

What’s this? Oh, just a long-haired corgi going for a nice swim in Japan. Watch as it flaps its stubby little legs and struggles to keep its adorable, giant head above water. None of us will ever know joy like this.

To see more of this awesome pooch, check out its blog.

TIME Photos

Feel Good Friday: 14 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From inflatable toads to Taiwanese "frog men," here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME society

These Awesome Photos of People Emerging From a Water Slide Capture the Essence of Summer

Krista Long

Simply titled “I Love Summer,” this series of high-speed photographs focuses on the specific — and, it turns out, highly captivating — experience of bursting out of a water slide.

Krista Long, a clinical social worker from Des Moines, Iowa, came up with the idea for the series last summer after spending time with her kids at a local pool. She found herself entertained for hours watching people emerge from the water slide, one by one, each with comically distinct facial expressions and body contortions. As a photography enthusiast, she began to think, Hey, this would be a great subject.

“I love how people’s emotion right before they splash down is either total excitement or fear or cringing,” Long says. “So I just really wanted to capture that moment.”

Capturing that moment, however, took a healthy dose of trial and error. After plenty of goof ups, Long eventually learned how to get her framing and timing just right. She also learned how to use Photoshop to add a black background, making the subjects and the water droplets stand out.

Ultimately, what Long says she hopes to convey here is that fun, carefree feeling so many of us enjoy in the longer, lazier days of summer.

“We just came off of the worst winter, and I know in many areas of the United States it was horrendous,” Long says. “It was so cold, it was so frozen, it lasted forever. I just thought, you know what, this really does capture just how wonderful it is to be enjoying summertime.”

Below are some of our favorite shots. Head over to Flickr to see more.

Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long

 

TIME swimming

Australian Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay

FILE - Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Reveals He Is Gay On An Interview With Michael Parkinson On Australian Television
Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Quinn Rooney—Getty Images

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," he revealed after years of denials

Australian swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe announced he was gay this weekend after years of denials, in a tell-interview that aired in Australia Sunday night.

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man,” he told British interviewer Michael Parkinson on Australia’s Channel Ten, the ABC reports. “And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”

Thorpe, whose swimming success earned him the nickname “the Thorpedo,” had earlier denied being gay in his 2012 autobiography. “For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight,” he wrote.

Thorpe now says he had wanted to come out for a long time but “didn’t have the strength,” and was concerned about reactions from friends and family, who were surprised by his news but have been very supportive.

“I’m not straight, and this is only something that very recently — we’re talking in the past two weeks — I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe said keeping his sexuality a secret contributed to the depression he battled, sometimes by abusing alcohol, since he was a teenager. He said he decided to come out because “the lie had become so big” and he “didn’t want people to question my integrity.”

“A part of me didn’t know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay,” Thorpe said, The Guardian reports. “I am telling not only Australia, I’m telling the world that I am and I hope this makes it easier for others now.”

TIME Photos

Feel Good Friday: 12 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From World Cup craziness to prenatal yoga, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME animals

Five-Star Resort for Dogs Opens in Spain Complete With a Canine Swimming Pool

177595196
Getty Images

For the pooch who wants to keep cool while also keeping classy

No longer will your dog have to stand for the injustice of being forced to swim in dirty creeks and shabby inflatable backyard pools. Instead, you can send him to Spain’s Resort Canino Can Jane, where he can enjoy a new world-class swimming pool complete with slides and fountains — all designed specifically for dogs.

This canine resort, situated about a half hour north of Barcelona, was dreamt up by dog lover named Federico Cano, International Business Times reports. He probably realized that dogs are generally much better than people and building a resort for them was a better use of his time than building a normal resort for humans.

Here’s a taste of what your pup can expect:

If that video is to be believed, when your dog visits this pool, he’ll spend his time just cavorting around listening to “Happy” by Pharrell (because dogs don’t get sick of that song) along with charmingly whimsical Spanish tunes, and then you’ll be jealous because his life is a lot better than yours.

TIME fitness

Almost Half of America Can’t Swim, Survey Says

Most Americans think they can swim just fine, but a new survey reveals that 44% don't know basic water-safety skills

Only 56 percent of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills, a recent survey conducted on behalf of the American Red Cross said.

The steps, also known as “water competency,” include jumping or stepping into water over one’s head, returning to the surface to tread water or float for one minute, circling around and identifying an exit, swimming 25 yards to that point and then exiting the water.

The Red Cross said Tuesday that it plans to instruct 50,000 people across 19 states how to swim properly, part of a new campaign to reduce the drowning rate in 50 cities by 50 percent during the next three to five years.

An average of 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It turns out that Americans also think they are more skilled in the water than they are: 86 percent of the respondents to the same survey claimed they knew how to swim. Only 46 percent of those surveyed said they have experienced a situation in which they thought they might drown, and nearly a fifth said they knew somebody who drowned.

“We’re asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer,” Red Cross Centennial Initiative director Connie Harvey said in a statement.

TIME swimming

Michael Phelps Will Compete Once Again

Michael Phelps comes out of retirement
Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps waves to the spectators during a 2013-2014 NBA preseason game between Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, Oct. 18, 2013. Eugene Hoshiko—AP

The 28-year-old Olympian, who retired from competitive swimming in 2012, will compete at an event in Mesa, Ariz. on April 24-26. His trainer said Phelps hasn't yet decided if he'll participate in the U.S. national championship

American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement to compete for the first time since 2012’s London Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old Olympian who retired from competitive swimming in 2012 will compete at an event in Mesa, Ariz. on April 24-26.

“I think he’s just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes,” Phelp’s trainer, Bob Bowman, told the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged comeback.”

Bowman said Phelps hasn’t yet decided if he’ll compete in the U.S. national championship if he qualifies. Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, has previously said he wouldn’t compete past age 30.

“He’s really doing this because he wants to — there’s no outside pressure at all,” Bowman said.

[AP]

TIME Accident

Woman Killed in Australia Shark Attack

Australia Shark Attack
A shark killed Armstrong, 63, Thursday, April 3, 2014, as she swam with a group of swimmers off a popular Australian east coast beach, police said. NSW Police—Associated Press

A 63-year-old swimmer was taken and killed by a shark on her daily morning swim off a popular beach close to Sydney on Wednesday. It could be the second shark attack in a week, after the body of a missing diver was found with shark bites on it

An Australian woman was killed by a shark Wednesday while she was swimming off the country’s east coast, in what could be the second such attack in less than a week.

The woman, 63-year-old Christine Armstrong, was taken by the shark as she was swimming from the wharf to the popular beach of Tathra village, 210 miles (340 kilometers) south of Sydney, with a group of swimmers. Local police have deployed a helicopter and a boat to search for her remains, the Associated Press reports.

Armstrong has been swimming at the beach every morning for 14 years with a group of locals, a statement released by her family said.

“Swimming brought her much joy and many friends,” her family said. “She will be sadly missed by all who loved her, especially by Rob, her husband of 44 years.”

Also on Wednesday, the body of a 38-year-old man who had gone missing while diving with friends off Australia’s west coast on Saturday was found with shark bites in it, the Guardian reports. It was unclear whether the shark bites had caused the man’s death.

In recent decades, there have been fewer than two fatal shark attacks per year in Australia.

[AP]

 

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