Australia: Alicia Coutts, winner of five medals, including 4x100m free gold, at London 2012, and fellow Olympic relay champion Melanie Schlanger dominated the titles count at the Victorian Open swimming championships that ended at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre Sunday evening. Coutts, 25, claimed the 50 and 100m 'fly (59.23), the 200m medley (2:13.41), the 50m backstroke, while Schlanger claimed the 50, 100 (54.76 ) and 200m (1:59.10) freestyle crowns. In other action, Matt Targett, on 22.22 in the 50m free, and Ben Treffers, on 54.80, in the 100m backstroke, produced the best performances among men. The meet served as final race preparation for the Aquatic Super Series in Perth next week. Coutts said: “I’ve had a really good couple of days and I’m happy with where I’m at. After having eight weeks off, it was nice to come back and compete at the Victorian Open Championships which is always a fun event. Head coach to the Dolphins, Leigh Nugent, looked forward to the clash with China and South Africa in Perth, stating: “The Super Series is an opportunity to pull the group together for what will be a great team experience. This event is all about scoring points for your team which will be a fantastic competition experience for the athletes. It also provides a tough hit out for swimmers ahead of the trials later in year,” said Nugent. Results in full
France: At the first round of the Golden Lanes circuit at Sarcelles, Olympic champions Yannick Agnel and Camille Muffat, of Nice, clocked respective 200m freestyle times of 1:47.30 and 1:59.32 in their first long-course appearances - and victories - of the year. Agnel's closest rival was 2001 world 100m backstroke champion Jérémy Stravius, of Amiens, on 1:50.23. Stravius clocked 54.04 to win the 100m backstroke on Saturday and then took the backstroke dash in 25.58 and the 200m medley in 2:04.11 on Sunday. Muffat kept training partner Charlotte Bonnet at bay by 0.38sec in the 200m free. In other action, Lotte Friis (DEN), now based at the Nice programme of coach Fabrice Pellerin, took the 1500m free in 16:24.46, and Hungarian visitor David Verratzo claimed the 400m medley in 4:21.69. Results in full
Australia: "Saving lives in his lunchtime" is how the media Down Under put it when revealing the secret weapon of Thomas Fraser-Holmes on his way to Rio 2016. The 21-year-old has taken on a casual job as a lifeguard on the Gold Coast to help fund his career in the pool. "It fits in well with my training and just having that three or four shifts a week just gets your mind off swimming 24-7,'' Fraser-Holmes tells Todd Balym at The Courier-Mail. "I was roof tiling and gutter cleaning, that was really tough especially when it's a 30 degree day and you work on a roof that is almost twice as hot as that. It was a good experience to get a bit of money and get the mind away from the pool I guess. When I finish swimming I want to work with the community, that is where I see my career. Working as a lifeguard or I eventually want to join the fire brigade or even the Westpac (helicopter rescue service). My passion is for helping people in situations like that."
USA: Olympic champion Katie Ledecky took the 800m free at the CeraVe Invitational, Berkeley Aquatic Club's Annual Winter Long Course Meet, at Picasaway, New Jersey, in 8:29.47, in a battle with Gillian Ryan, on 8:30.24. Over 200m, Ryan, 17, got the touch over Ledecky, 15, 2:01.33 to 2:01.77. Results in full
Slovenia: At the Star 2013 long-course meet in Kranj, Slovenia, Chinese visitors Sun Ye and Ji Liping topped the 100m breaststroke in 1:11.22 and 1:11.54. The Shanghai swimmers are in the midst of a training camp with their new overseas base away from coach Dave Lyles' group back home: the DLP Project is being run by German coach Dirk Lange and is based at Graz, Austria. Anja Klinar took the 200m free (2:03) 200m medley (2:18) and the 100 and 200m butterfly (2:13). Results in full
Cayman Islands: British Olympic team members Liam Tancock and Caitlin McClatchey and Connor Dwyer, the American Olympian and medal winner at the world s/c championships last month, took part in a sea swim off the Cayman coast at the weekend as part of efforts to raise awareness of and standards in swimming. The three Olympic swimmers are visiting coach Ian Armiger not just to train but to take part in a skills & drills swim clinic. The bonus beyond brunch on the beach: local resident Iggy Pop showed up to say hello. We trust everyone knew who he was: the Brit swim team was once invited to Gary Hall's place in Arizona for a BBQ and when someone pointed out neighbour Stevie Nicks on a photo on the wall, someone else said "Stevie who?" Sacrilege!
Portugal: the federation (FPN) has a new man at the helm after delegates broke a 19-19 tie in December vote for with a 20-17 re-vote in favour of António José Silva over incumbent president Paulo Frischknecht, member of the FINA Bureau and Portuguese Olympic Committee. The vote flew in the face of a petition from 40 leading athletes who backed Frischknecht.