Your 2017 Guide to Blaming Teri McKeever For Everything

Ho hum. Another year goes by, another top two finish at the NCAA Championship for Teri McKeever's Cal squad. McKeever, who had to weather being snubbed for the Olympic staff followed by Missy Franklin's decision to train with Cal men managed another stellar year.

Despite her obvious success, McKeever does not receive the adulation and hero worship of her male peers. Instead, she is battered by whisper campaigns that seek to undermine her success. As a result, McKeever has largely eschewed any media engagement the last few years. Why engage when it seems the world is set against you?

To that end, here are some things that Teri McKeever is sure to take blame for in 2017, regardless of whether she had anything to do with it.

Missy Franklin's double shoulder surgery- Surely the physical breakdown of Franklin, the 2012 Olympic darling, has something to do with her time training with McKeever. There is no possible way that Todd Schmitz, who trained her in the lead up to the Olympics and said of her poor performance "I truly don't think it was physical".

Abbey Weitzeil's disappointing NCAAs- Weitzel was expected by many to challenge Simone Manuel in the sprint events at NCAAs. Instead she only finaled in both. If Weitzeil bounces back it will probably be due to the coaching the Coley Stickels provided her prior to coming to Cal. McKeever has zero history of helping talented swimmers come back from disappointing results. 

Kathleen Baker not going 48 in the 100 back- Kathleen Baker, who had an outstanding freshmen season, followed up with Olympic silver, and then dominated at the NCAA Championships, definitely would have swum better with a different coach. 

Cierra Runge adding time in the 500 free- Cierra Runge swam 4:31 in the 500 free her freshmen year at Cal in 2015. She transferred to Wisconsin and swam 4:41 in the 500 free at NCAAs this year. This had nothing to do with Runge or her coaches at Wisconsin and is obviously a residual effect from her time at Cal.

Donald Trump- Many people are blaming Donald Trump for stuff. What they are missing is that Teri McKeever, in cooperation with Russian intelligence, single handedly swung the election in Trump's favor. So, stop pointing the finger at Trump and blame McKeever

You not liking this blog- If you don't like this blog post or are taking the above points seriously, it is because Teri McKeever has used her psychic powers to invade your brain and destroy your sense of humor. 

Chris DeSantis takes swimming very seriously even if he doesn't always take life very seriously. If you are serious about improving your swimming, write him. 


Why College Swimming Always Improves Yet Loses

College swimming gets faster every year. While you may be able to find some events in this years NCAA Championships across all three divisions and genders that didn't take a leap forward this year, you will find many that have. The improvement is so dramatic that I wouldn't believe if the times weren't sitting right there.

Take this day three results of the 2003 NCAA Championship, David Marsh' first at Auburn just fourteen years ago. Look at the winning times! Some would be borderline for qualifying for the meet now, we have already seen a d2 swimmer and  expect to see a d3 swimmerl blow away 2003 BRENDAN HANSEN in the breaststrokes. 

These championships represent some of the best things about our sport, as well as it's unique strengths. Whereas there is a huge gap in play between the NCAA Divisions in some other sports, swimming remains competitive. 

Yet simultaneous to this amazing display, there are programs fighting for their lives. When I began coaching and writing about swimming, one of the first people to reach out to me was someone who was extremely passionate about the sport. He said his dream was to coach his alma mater. We exchanged e-mails for a while and lost touch.

A few years later, he realized that dream, and I was always happy when I got reminded of what he was doing. Then, this winter, I read this. That person, Joel Blesh, was unceremoniously cut from the job at his alma mater that he was so passionate about.

What was his crime? Doing the right thing, sticking up and fighting for the survival of his team. Chances are Blesh is not alone, that while we're all celebrating the amazing fastness of Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and others this next week that behind closes doors college swim teams are fighting for survival. What follows will be a grim spring tradition of programs hanging in the balance.

I don't want to be a party pooper. I will enjoy these meets. In fact, I write because I need to throw some cold water on my own face to stop from being overly optimistic at times like these. I have, at several junctures, imagined that the circumstances beyond a swimming programs control would actually benefit us. They never do.

When I began my coaching career at Penn, I was shocked to immediately find out that the school fundraised a significant part of their operating budget on a yearly basis. At my next stop Georgia Tech, the late 2000s financial crisis and some drunk college kids was used as justification to unceremoniously defund all scholarship money that we hadn't already endowed. 

But if the economic crisis was the reason for the cut, surely as the stock market turned around the scholarships would come back? No. Georgia Tech only regained their "full funding" through donors. 

When colleges were allowed to expand their scholarships to cover cost of living expenses, and momentum started to build towards actually paying athletes in revenue sports, I allowed myself to fantasize that this would be good for swimming. If schools actually had to compensate revenue athletes, then finally their "advantage" would end?

Wrong. If schools began to see a significant bite into their profits from "revenue" sports, they would for sure look down the line to programs like swimming to cut financial weight. And that sucks. It is not fair. But such is the tension: NCAA Swimming is awesome, but unless we throw our own resources behind ensuring it remains funded, it will be taken from us.

So while you are watching your favorite team these next couple weeks (or already did last week), consider cutting a check for their endowment. Or ask if they accept venmo, it's 2017 after all.