Saturday, October 18, will be one of the busiest and exciting days at the Delaware Investments U.S. Open in Philadelphia, at Drexel University.
Five Signature Series events—including the Annual Assembly, the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame induction, World Squash Federation Annual Meeting, the Men’s and Women’s Finals, and the Champions Reception—will run from 9am until 10pm in the evening, and very appropriately falls on the same day as World Squash Day.
World Squash Day, founded by Alan Thatcher in 2002, annually aims to bring the international community of squash lovers together in a united effort to raise awareness and heighten support, particularly for the continuing Olympic bid, for the game of squash. US Squash is committed to increased exposure for and access to the game, and the U.S. Open is the perfect vehicle on World Squash Day to reach that goal.
Have you ever wondered how hard the top players actually hit the ball? Together with World Squash Day, US Squash is sponsoring a radar gun challenge to find out. John White, former No. 1 and now Drexel head coach, once held the record with 171mph, but Cameron Pilley, world No. 22, displaced the legendary hard-hitter with a score of 176mph. Top players will challenge themselves to best those records on the day of the semifinals in the 2014 U.S. Open.
Tonight three players challenged themselves to best the world record for hardest hit–176mph by Cameron Pilley–among them, John White, Cameron Pilley, Australia’s No. 1 and current record holder, and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, world No. 17.
Pilley’s advice to his radar challenge opponents: “Just swing as hard as you can,” he said, laughing.
Perry was up first, taking a few practice shots and bouncing the ball before taking her three attempts: 140mph, 129mph, and then reaching her best at 144mph.
Long-locked White broke his strings on his first hit (136mph), but managed to hit a high of 154mph on his third try.
Pilley did not beat his record (reached at Bishop’s Strotford, England, two months ago), but grabbed the hardest of the night at 163mph on his second attempt.