As the first man in nearly 100 years to win Olympic medals in the 200, 400, and 1500 freestyle events, which he achieved in Atlanta in 1996, Daniel Kowalski is one of the greatest mid-distance / distance swimmers ever.
A star in swimming-crazed Australia, in perhaps the golden era of Australia’s rich swimming history, it would be easy to think that after he won gold on the 4x200m relay at the Sydney Olympics that Daniel Kowalski would retire from swimming with zero regrets. But Daniel Kowalski battled depression as he struggled with a feeling of failure for his silver medal in the 1500 in Atlanta, developed an eating disorder, and endured the life of a closeted gay man still years away from coming out.
In the years since, he’s been able to oust that negativity and is involved in swimming as a member of the Australian Olympic Committee and World Aquatics Athlete Commission where he serves the betterment of the sport and its athletes.
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Cal Swim Stars Destin Lasco and Hugo Gonzalez ready for the International stage
1:01:16The Cal Bears rolled through NCAA Swimming Championships once again this year and we caught up with two of their biggest point scorers, 200 backstroke champion Destin Lasco and the 2022 400 IM champ Hugo Gonzalez. Life is changing a bit for the training partners, as Hugo Gonzalez has finished his collegiate eligibility and will now split time between training environments in Berkeley and his native Spain. Destin Lasco comes off yet another ridiculous short course season, having estabilshed himself as arguably the second best swimmer at the meet behind Leon Marchand, and turns to the long course pool where his event schedule may look entirely different. How is it that two training partners who both race the short course 200 IM and 200 backstroke swim completely different events in long course? Listen and find out!
Is Gretchen Walsh about to dominate women’s swimming?
52:02At some point in time, the great swimmers cease competing against the field and ascend to a level where their performances are works of art, solely focused on what they can make their bodies do in the water. At 2023 NCAAs, we witnessed the transcendence of Gretchen Walsh. She became the fastest 100 yard backstroker ever, by a wide margin, with her ridiculous 48.26. Even her sister Alex (Olympian, World Champion) said she didn’t think that time was possible. Gretchen Walsh also nearly took down Simone Manuel’s 100 free record which hasn’t had anyone come near it since it was set in 2017. We caught up with Gretchen and share lots of laughs in this very casual hangout episode. Enjoy!
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2023 Men’s NCAA Swimming Championships Battle with Kos, Jett & Burns
1:02:282nd Annual Men’s NCAA Championship Recap Show featuring Gabriel Jett (Cal), Brendan Burns (Indiana), and Hubert Kós (Arizona State). The dust settled after Cal’s successful title defense in the storied Minnesota pool, and some of the highest point scorers in the NCAA sat down for a cross-team chat about the meet and about college swimming. They dished on their coaches, talked about life in general, and we laughed. Brendan Burns scored 46 individual points, highlighted by his ridiculous 43.61 win in the 100 backstroke. That’s two years in a row the Hoosier Junior has won a NCAA title - in different events and strokes! Gabriel Jett also scored 46 individual points, a byproduct of making 3 A-finals and finishing 2nd, 3rd, and 6th as a Sophomore for the defending champion Golden Bears. Hubert (Hubi) Kós arrived at Arizona State mid-year as quite a weapon. The 19 year old Freshman walked on deck as the defending European champ in the 200IM and he backed up his reputation with 37 points at his first NCAA Championship meet and was one of many Sun Devils that delivered BIG for 2nd place ASU, the highest finish in school history!
World champion Trenton Julian has always been on a mission for greatness.
58:58Most good swimmers get asked the same questions: How tall are your parents? Do you play basketball/volleyball? Were your parents athletes? In Trenton Julian’s case, he has quite the validating answer: yes, my parents were both world-class swimmers. His mom Kristine (Quance) Julian was one of the best swimmers in the world in the 90s, a multi time Olympian and gold medalist, and his dad, Jeff Julian, an All-American and Pac10 conference champion (a 200 butterfly title that Trenton himself would replicate 24 years later). Now it’s Trenton’s turn. He’s a world-class butterflier and freestyler known for going out quickly and holding on. Trenton Julian is a veteran of Team USA relays and a key component to the US hopes of recapturing Olympic gold in the 4x200 in Paris. With many lessons to learn from his mom’s Olympic Trials experiences, Trenton can lean on her wisdom and his own experiences as he shoots his shot a the highest-pressure meet in the world next summer in Indianapolis.
Tom Dean is intent on defending his Olympic 200 Free crown
54:48No one has ever repeated as Olympic champion in the 200 free. Will Tom Dean be the first? Even if Ariarne Titmus defends her title, the men’s 200 final happens before the women’s. To accomplish a feat not even the likes of greats like Ian Thorpe, Katie Ledecky, nor Michael Phelps has done, Tom Dean will need to fend off some serious challengers like super phenom David Popovici, the current 100 meter freestyle world record holder, and British countryman Duncan Scott, among many others. But swimming fast in an Olympic final is something few people know how to do, and Tom Dean has proven he is one of those people, so you better believe that come 200 freestyle day in Paris, we’ll order up some Bangers & Mash and have a few pints to cheer on this jolly good fellow. Until then, we’ll keep up with him on his podcast, The Weekly Freestyle. Cheerio. (They do say that, right?) Enjoy!
Ben Proud is the reigning World, European and Commonwealth Champion in the LCM 50m Freestyle.
56:41On the heels of the best season of his career, World and Commonwealth 50m Freestyle swim champ Ben Proud is getting his mind and body right for the next 18 months before the push to Paris. What better place to do that than immersed in the ohana of Hawaii, with Aloha Aquatica sprint guru Elliot Ptasnik? Ben, Elliot, and 2x Olympic Champ Anthony Ervin spend their days on Oahu sprinting 8-15 meters at a time, nothing more, and building feel for the water and reducing load on their bodies by swimming in the ocean. Now, that’s the ultimate sprinter life, and we are SO here for it. Enjoy!
Never Count Out Olympic Champion Roland Schoeman
1:05:10In the mid 2000s, Olympic Swimming Champion Roland Schoeman was on top of his game, winning several world titles, breaking world records, and being the first person to legitimately scare the iconic 50m freestyle world record of the great Alexander Popov. Roland Schoeman made a lengthy career as an elite sprinter, and changed the game for many others with his legendary start, a skill we go into in depth in this conversation. Roland Schoeman also tells the story of what led to the South Africans dominating win in the 4x100 freestyle relay at the Athens Olympic Games, one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. He may not be finished yet, as he recently swam 19.2 in a 50 yard freestyle at the age of 42! Enjoy!
World Championship Silver Medalist Phoebe Bacon Is Hungrier Than Ever
56:56Olympian and World Championship Silver Medalist Backstoker Phoebe Bacon is after those marginal gains to win medals as one of the world’s best backstrokers. Phoebe Bacon represented the USA at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing 5th in the 200 backstroke, then turned around the next year and nearly won a World Championship title in the same event but was barely touched out for gold, still 1.5 seconds faster than her Olympic swim. J ust a junior in college, Phoebe Bacon is shining under the tutelage of legendary coach Yuri Suguiyama, known for developing Katie Ledecky into an Olympic champion. No surprise to see Phoebe’s success and we expect more is on the way. Oh, by the way… too many national teamers said we should talk to Phoebe because she’s just awesome, and they were right! Enjoy!
Olympic Champion Lilly King Thrives Under Pressure
53:22Not many swimmers, or athletes for that matter, are willing to speak their mind publicly. Olympic Champion Lilly King, however, has generated headlines for years, and not just based on her insane resume of swimming accomplishments as one of the best breaststrokers of all time. Lilly has spoken openly against performance-enhancing drugs and competitors who have tested positive, unafraid of the spotlight her comments would bring upon her, and the subsequent pressure to perform well. See, Lilly King is a straight shooter, and she thrives in the highest-pressure situations. What might faze others seems to bring out the best in Lilly King. This is one of our favorite conversations ever on the podcast. Enjoy!
Auburn Swimming Is Coming with Aidan and Nate Stoffle
56:34In the late 90s and 2000s, the road to an NCAA title went through Auburn. From 2003-2007, Auburn men and women won 9 out of 10 possible team championships. While that dominant era seems like the distant past, this year’s team, led by Aidan and Nate Stoffle, is out to prove Auburn is headed back to the promised land - ahead of schedule. Enter Ryan Wochomurka. In year two at the helm of his alma mater, Ryan’s Auburn Tiger men jumped from a 6th place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships in 2022 to a solid 2nd place finish this year behind perennial winner Florida. Aidan and Nate Stoffle are prime examples of just how Auburn is rebuilding - developing solid, but not superstar-level, prospects into consistent finalists in multiple events and contributing to top-3 relays. The Stoffle brothers say Auburn is coming. Get your popcorn ready. Enjoy!