World Junior Champs: Minna Atherton May Share WJR But Gold Is her’s Alone

Minna Atherton, a standout in a school of Aussie talent [courtesy of Swimming Australia]

World Junior Swimming Championships, Singapore – Day 2 Finals : nine podiums to chase, the competition close after a first day of speedy efforts in the junior ranks at the start end of a long journey with no guarantees; live updates, reports and rankings as the action unfolds

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World Junior Swimming Championships, Singapore – Day 2 Finals : nine podiums to chase, the competition close after a first day of speedy efforts in the junior ranks at the start end of a long journey with no guarantees; live updates, reports and rankings as the action unfolds



Well that must have been a disappointing evening for Michael Andrew.
4th 100 back, missed the 100 fly finals and now 4th on the 100 breast…

We can’t all be MP unfortunately, and this real talent of a kid has learnt that now I am sure.

I really hope to see him bounce back after what I thought would be a suicide night for his performances


Maybe he took this meet more as a test. I dont know, just speculating.


The MA team should have been more careful with his schedule this afternoon. All his 100s were slover than in prelims/semis. He did not have anything left in tank for the 200im. His morning time would have won gold in the final. I personally do not see point to have such loaded schedule. But I guess they wanted to try and they have my respect.
Looking at all the events he is able to swim at top level I still cannot see the one where he can make the US team for Rio (IMO).


Great relay split by Kyle Chalmers 47.68.. I hope he swims a PB in the 100m free individual final


A real disaster for Michael Andrew. I don’t know who chose this schedule but it was so foolish and he walked away with nothing but a bronze medal in the mixed relay.
The Andrew camp needs to take a big dose of reality.


I’ve steered clear of commenting on the Michael Andrew schedule issue and I will leave it at this.

If he & and his entourage are responsible for this schedule, then one hopes that the lessons in humility & physical limitations are fully digested by all concerned.

Whilst there’s little doubting his potential; at this meet he’s stepped beyond US domestic competition and interfacing with international competitors, some of whom are as big as him, older than him & some with experience on the world level. Hopefully, that message will get through.

US Swimming also has a few questions to answer as to why they’ve allowed/signed off on this as there ARE other swimmers who could’ve been competitive in a number of these events being deprived of opportunities.

To other swims, whilst Atherton is still most likely to be “locked out” of Rio selection next year by Seebohm & Wilson; they may not have it all their own way given the way Atherton has attacked her races. I wouldn’t mind a small wager on her for the 50 at this meet.

I’ve thought Cook may be potentially in the frame for the 2nd W400spot for Rio; given Neale’s less than stellar Kazan showings & Barratt’s seemingly terminal decline into “tourist status; but her 200fly does spark a little interest for next year.

Throssell showed well in Kazan whereas Groves is showing worrying signs of being unable to replicate domestic swims internationally. Cook probably still needs to drop another 1.5sec to be a factor for selection but she’s at least heading in the right direction.

An interesting F-M-M-F strategy from RUS but one that worked with all four legs performing well. The “padding” provided by their middle legs was more than enough despite Chalmers’ 47.60 which took AUS from nowhere to 2nd.

Craig Lord

Or rather, Commonwombat, took him from 6th past 3 women to silver. Personally, can’t get excited about that kind of stuff, nor the supposed strategy involved – just looks like a man ploughing past lots of women, which is to be expected and isn’t fun to watch, my view of course.


Preaching to the choir here, Craig … fun events but not in favour of them being placed on Championship schedules until they specify a set order as is the case with Nordic sports where mixed relays in X-country & biathlon have became legitimately great races.

Craig Lord

🙂 commonwombat… if they must be there at all, I agree with the set order – makes it far more meaningful in terms of direct competition


@commonwombat: I absolutely think you’re correct when you suggest a large part of the blame for the Michael Andrew fiasco US fans are witnessing in Singapore falls on the shoulders of US coaching! I understand that MA qualified for all those events for the meet, but the head coach should have sat down with MA and his coach/father and told them in no uncertain terms that this schedule was suicidal. While he had earned the “right” to swim all those races, the coaches should have said that unless he dropped a few he would not be selected for any US relays. Michael has clearly trained hard and was in shape to swim fast at the meet (as evidenced by his pb in the 200 IM during prelims), and at 16 you can’t blame him too much for having eyes too big for his stomach; however, there were other US athletes who would have benefited from this international experience, not to mention the fact that Michael could have contributed to the US medal tally if a more sensible plan had been created. Ugh!

Mr. Lord: I am hoping along with you that there was no plan by coaching to teach MA a lesson at this meet. It would be cruel to embarrass him at a meet on this level!


wombat (happy 30th) Cook will be in Rio for the 400, Atherton to get beaten in 50 by the defending champ who’s 100 fails in comparison & Michael Andrew……you gift Australia a Gold. Not what world champs is about.

Craig Lord

Indeed to all that, Danjohnrob

paolo rubbiani

I think that Commonwombat is a bit too conservative in his previews.
With youngsters all can happen very quickly, and with youngsters so talented like Atherton I would never bet against her, also with tremendous opponents like Seebohm and Wilson.
Surely, next years 100 back at aussie trials will be an impressive race and is another proof that swimming two per nation rule is absurd. A potential olympic medal can be out of the Olympycs. So no medal and neither participation. Absurd.

Danjohnrob’s wisdom is remarkable.
In the Usa staff – both at these Junior Champs and at last Worlds in Kazan, with those choices for the 4×100 free the first morning of races – I suppose that would have been very useful.

Garry COx

Mixed relays are just stupid- it is like comparing apples and oranges.
It would only make sense to me if you had 8 swimmers per team (M and W of each stroke).
On the Andrew fiasco, what adult sets a kid up to fail on the World stage so spectacularly? It was beyond sad watching that 200IM.


Paolo, my caution (or as you phrase it conservatism) is a product both of 40 years close observation of this sport & many years involvement on the organisational side of other high level sports.

In essence, I’ve witnessed many a young teenage “shooting star” post amazing times & be built up as “the next XYZ”. Sadly, the majority of these comets prove to be just that; shooting stars for a short period but for whatever reasons (often physical) they fail to sustain momentum and “fizzle out”.

Swimming used to have 3 per nation but there were always grumbles when USA used to have numerous “sweeps” or on occaision AUS. The DDR near “shutouts” were the last straw. I’m fine with 2 per nation; there will be a few unlucky close 3rds in non-relay events at Trials for the major nations but there ARE always going to be disappointments in whatever endeavour.

Dan; I’m not sure where exactly “the buck stops” with the MA schedule issue. One would think it would be the US Swimming officials but what is the attitude of the MA “entourage” ? Have the officials been reluctant to say “take it or leave it” to someone seen as a major talent (does he have claims on RSA citizenship ?) OR risk the public mess of legal proceedings if they do so ?


USAS used to have language in its international team selection manuals about reserving the right to limit swims in events athletes have otherwise qualified for if the coaching staff felt like there was an “impossible double” that did not allow enough rest time for a swimmer to perform at their best in both events.

IMO, time to put that language back into the team selection process for better success for the team as a whole.


@Paolo Rubbiani: Thanks for the compliment! I think if US coaches had said, “Pick either the 100 back OR 100 breast on Day 1 and we’ll reward you by giving you a berth on the 4×100. Swim either the 100 fly or 200 IM on Day 2 and we’ll put you in the Mixed Medley, etc.

There are indications that the coaches actually PREVENTED Michael from dropping any of his 100 stroke races because if he did they would remove him from the 50 stroke races later in the meet (per MA on Twitter), and since 4/5 Olympic distance races that he qualified for were scheduled in the first 2 days of this meet, that would mean he wouldn’t have any individual swims other than the 50 free on days 3-6. Bad luck for Michael, poor coaching (if this is true) by the US’s “experienced leadership” staff who are supposed to be shepherding this Team to it’s best possible performance!

@commonwombat: Like you, I’m not sure where the “buck stops” with the “MA Entourage” (well phrased, by the way), but in truth he isn’t exactly a big money earner YET. He just recently got an Adidas contract, but prior to that I think his pro career was pretty much at a subsistence level. I have watched many interviews with he and his father and read/heard comments made by numerous people who have made their acquaintance, and by all impressions he is a nice kid (confident but humble) from a loving if overly involved (VERY RELIGIOUS) family. It seems out of character to me that he or his father/coach would make demands from the US coaching staff. If the coaches had said, “Michael, this is what we feel is in the best interests of you and Team USA…”, I feel certain MA would have listened.

Indeed, MA does have dual citizenship with RSA, but he insists that he intends to swim for the US, and actually by competing at this meet he has (as I understand it) essentially given up any chance of representing RSA in ’16. That’s significant, since it is EXTREMELY unlikely that he will qualify for the US Team going to Rio, yet might have been able to qualify to represent RSA in that competition.

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