Cullen Jones

Getty Images

Cullen Jones, last link to magic relay, wonders whether to swim on

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — Cullen Jones swam at one meet in the last year and none since April. Is the four-time Olympic medalist retired?

“I haven’t made a decision,” Jones said Monday at the Golden Goggle Awards, where he interviewed athletes for USA Swimming. “I know what I have to do to make the team, to give it another go. I feel great. It’s just whether I want to put in that effort again.”

At 34, Jones is older than all but one person who swam at the U.S. Championships in June. Anthony Ervin, 37, won the 50m freestyle at the 2000 and 2016 Olympics and wants to compete through 2020.

Jones is best known for being part of the U.S. 4x100m freestyle relay team that stunned France for gold in Beijing, behind Jason Lezak‘s anchor leg, and for earning 50m freestyle silver at London 2012. Jones is the only man from that 2008 relay who hasn’t retired.

He hasn’t made an Olympic or world championships team since the London Games, missing by one spot in the 50m freestyle for the 2015 Worlds, 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds. Jones, who nearly drowned after an amusement park water slide ride at age 5, is putting more effort into starting a swim school in North Carolina.

He turns 36 in 2020 and will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic male swimmer in an individual event since 1904. In Jones’ favor is his specialty, the sprint freestyles, which can favor experience.

There is Ervin, who in Rio became the oldest Olympic swimming gold medalist. Lezak snuck onto the 2012 Olympic team at age 36 as the last member of the 4x100m free relay (swimming just the preliminary heat). Dara Torres memorably came out of a second retirement to earn three silver medals, including in the 50m free, at age 41 at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Jones has time. Since the 2019 World Championships team was decided this summer, there is no major international meet for him to target until the Olympics.

“If I get the swim school up, and I feel content, I have time to make the decision to get ready again,” he said. “It usually only takes me about seven to eight months to be where I need to be. I know I’m a little older, so maybe I’ll give it nine. I’ll come to that decision when I need to.

“My finger is on the button.”

MORE: Katie Ledecky on her new suit, challenges for Tokyo 2020

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Katinka Hosszu wins 2 events again at Charlotte Grand Prix

Katinka Hosszu
Leave a comment

Is there any doubt who is the world’s greatest all-around female swimmer?

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, the world champion in both individual medleys, won two finals in a 35-minute span at the Charlotte Grand Prix on Saturday. She also took two titles on Friday.

Hosszu started by winning the 200m butterfly by nearly two seconds in 2:09.66 at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. She captured the 100m backstroke by nearly two seconds in 59.64 a half-hour later, coming from behind at the 50m turn to win in the fourth fastest time of 2014.

Hosszu, 25, is a three-time Olympian and known as the Iron Lady of swimming. She debuted at Athens 2004 at 15, finishing 31st in the 200m free. She was fourth, eighth and ninth in three events at London 2012. She’s preparing for what’s sure to be a busy schedule at the European Championships in August.

She attempted to win a third race in a 55-minute stretch but ran out of gas and finished last in the 400m freestyle. The 400m free winner was five-time 2012 Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt, who prevailed in 4:08.65. Schmitt surprisingly failed to make last year’s World Championships team.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot in the past year,” Schmitt said on Universal Sports. “I’m more motivated right now.”

World bronze medalist Connor Jaeger bagged the men’s 400m free in 3:48.89 over world 200m free silver medalist Conor Dwyer.

Two-time Bahamian Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace won the women’s 50m free in 24.65. U.S. veteran Jessica Hardy was third. American Josh Schneider took the men’s race in 22.17 ahead of Brazil’s second-best sprinter, Bruno Fratus. U.S. Olympic medalists Anthony Ervin and Cullen Jones were fourth and fifth.

Micah Lawrence, who was sixth in the 2012 Olympic 200m breaststroke, won the event Saturday in 2:24.68. Anton McKee, the Iceland Olympian who swims for the University of Alabama, won the men’s 200m breast in 2:13.06.

Three-time Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin, who is trying to find a new country to represent, took the men’s 100m backstroke in 53.81.

Andrew Seliskar, 17, came from behind to win the men’s 200m butterfly in 1:57.4.

Phelps back on top, tough swimming next