Thursday, December 31, 2009

As 2009 Comes to a Close...

2009 has been a memorable year in the sport of swimming, highlighted by some major ups and down and overshadowed by a huge controversy which some claimed was destroying the sport, while the sport continued to grow and increase in popularity, leading to no less than four appearances on NBC (not including NCAA coverage).

Records were set, and plenty of them: 140 world records were set, along with seven times better than the world record but disallowed to stand as global standards. 83 American records were set (not including world records set by Americans), of which 16 were disallowed because of a change in USA Swimming rules. Below is a full list of records set, with the most recent on top:

World records set by American swimmers are in the world record list only, not the American record list as well. Disallowed records are in italics. For world records set by Americans after October 1, the country code or name is in italics to represent that these marks do not stand as American records.

World Records:
• Russia (Stanislav Donets, Sergey Geybel, Evgeny Korotyshkin, Danila Izotov), M 4x100m Medley Relay (SCM), 3:19.16, 12/20/09
United States (Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Garrett Weber-Gale, Michael Phelps), M 4x100m Free Relay, 3:03.30, 12/19/09
• Julia Smit (USA), W 200m IM (SCM), 2:04.60 , 12/19/09
• Rebecca Soni (USA), W 100m Breast (SCM), 1:02.70, 12/19/09
• Rebecca Soni (USA), W 200m Breast (SCM), 2:14.57, 12/18/09
• Julia Smit (USA), W 400m IM (SCM), 4:21.04, 12/18/09
United States (Nick Thoman, Mark Gangloff, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian), M 4x100m Medley Relay, 3:20.71, 12/18/09
• Nick Thoman (USA), M 100m Back (SCM), 48.94r, 12/18/09
United States (Margaret Hoelzer, Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer, Amanda Weir), W 4x100m Medley Relay (SCM), 3:47.97, 12/18/09
• Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA), M 50m Free (SCM), 20.91, 12/18/09
• Stanislav Donets (RUS), M 100m Back (SCM), =48.97, 12/13/09
• Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS), M 100m Back (SCM), =48.97, 12/13/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 200m Free (SCM), 1:51.17, 12/13/09
• Daniel Gyurta (HUN), M 200m Breast (SCM), 2:00.67, 12/13/09
• Sanja Jovanovic (CRO), W 50m Back (SCM), 25.70, 12/12/09
• Diane Bui Duyet (FRA), W 100m Fly (SCM), 55.05sf, 12/12/09
• Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS), M 100m Back (SCM), 49.17sf, 12/12/09
• Peter Mankoc (SLO), M 100m IM (SCM), 50.76sf, 12/12/09
• Laszlo Cseh (HUN), M 400m IM (SCM), 3:57.27, 12/11/09
• Evelyn Verraszto (HUN), W 200m IM (SCM), 2:04.64, 12/10/09
• Lotte Friis (DEN), W 1,500m Free (SCM), 15:28.65, 11/28/09
• Therese Alshammar (SWE), W 50m Fly (SCM), 24.38, 11/22/09
• Peter Marshall (USA), M 50m Back (SCM), 22.61, 11/22/09
• Kathryn Meaklim (RSA), W 400m IM (SCM), 4:22.88, 11/22/09
• Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS), M 200m Back (SCM), 1:46.11, 11/15/09
• Hinkelien Schreuder (NED), W 100m IM (SCM), 57.74, 11/15/09
• Leisel Jones (AUS), W 200m Breast (SCM), 2:15.42, 11/15/09
• Darian Townsend (RSA), M 200m IM (SCM), 1:51.55, 11/15/09
• Liu Zige (CHN), W 200m Fly (SCM), 2:00.78, 11/15/09
• Shiho Sakai (JPN), W 100m Back (SCM), 55.23, 11/15/09
• Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS), M 100m Fly (SCM), 48.48, 11/15/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 100m Breast (SCM), 55.61, 11/15/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (SCM), 28.80, 11/15/09
• Paul Biedermann (GER), M 200m Free (SCM), 1:39.37, 11/15/09
• Steffen Deibler (GER), M 50m Fly (SCM), 21.80, 11/14/09
• Shiho Sakai (JPN), W 200m Back (SCM), 2:00.18, 11/14/09
• Paul Biedermann (GER), M 400m Free (SCM), 3:32.77 , 11/14/09
• Leisel Jones (AUS), W 100m Breast (SCM), 1:03.00, 11/14/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 50m Breast (SCM), 25.25, 11/14/09
• Sergey Fesikov (RUS), M 100m IM (SCM), 50.95p, 11/14/09
• Therese Alshammar (SWE), W 50m Fly (SCM), 24.46, 11/11/09
• Zhao Jing (CNH), W 100m IM (SCM), 58.40, 11/11/09
• Liu Zige (CHN), W 200m Fly (SCM), 2:02.50, 11/11/09
• Peter Marshall (USA), M 50m Back (SCM), 22.73, 11/11/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (SCM), 28.96p, 11/11/09
• Kaio Almeida (BRA), M 200m Fly (SCM), 1:49.11, 11/10/09
• Zhao Jing (CHN), W 50m Back (SCM), 25.82, 11/10/09
• Felicity Galvez (AUS), W 100m Fly (SCM), 55.46, 11/10/09
• Zhao Jing (CHN), W 50m Back (SCM), 26.08p, 11/10/09
• George du Rand (RSA), M 200m Back (SCM), 1:47.08, 11/7/09
• Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS), M 100m Fly (SCM), 48.99, 11/7/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (SCM), 29.36, 11/6/09
• Evelyn Verraszto (HUN), W 200m IM (SCM), 2:06.01, 11/6/09
• Marieke Guehrer (AUS), W 50m Back (SCM), 26.17, 11/6/09
• Steffen Deibler (GER), M 50m Fly (SCM), 22.06, 10/25/09
• Liu Zige (CHN), W 200m Fly (LCM), 2:01.81, 10/21/09
• Therese Alshammar (SWE), W 50m Fly (SCM), 24.75, 10/17/09
• Peter Marshall (USA), M 50m Back (SCM), 22.75, 10/17/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (SCM), 29.45, 10/17/09
• Therese Alshammar (SWE), W 100m IM (SCM), 58.51p, 10/17/09
• Jessicah Schipper (AUS), W 100m Fly (SCM), 55.68, 8/12/09
• Emily Seebohm (AUS), W 100m IM (SCM), 58.54, 8/10/09
• Christian Sprenger (AUS), M 200m Breast (SCM), 2:01.98, 8/10/09
• Libby Trickett (AUS), W 100m Free (SCM), 51.01, 8/10/09
• Canada (Katy Murdoch, Annamay Pierse, Audrey Lacroix, Victoria Poon), W 4x100m Medley Relay (SCM), 3:49.95, 8/9/09
• Canada (Jake Tapp, Paul Kornfeld, Joe Bartoch, Brent Hayden), M 4x100m Medley Relay (SCM), 3:23.33, 8/9/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 100m Breast (SCM), 55.99, 8/9/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 50m Breast (SCM), 25.43, 8/8/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 100m Breast (SCM), 56.39sf, 8/8/09
• Joanne Jackson (GBR), W 400m Free (SCM), 3:54.92, 8/8/09
• Roland Schoeman (RSA), M 50m Free (SCM), 20.30p, 8/8/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 100m Breast (LCM), 1:04.45, 8/7/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (LCM), 29.80s3, 8/7/09
• Canada (Colin Russell, Stefan Herniak, Brent Hayden, Joel Greenshields), M 4x200m Free Relay (SCM), 6:51.05, 8/7/09
• Annamay Pierse (CAN), W 200m Breast (SCM), 2:16.83, 8/7/09
• Jessica Hardy (USA), W 50m Breast (LCM), 29.95s3tt, 8/6/09
• United States (Aaron Peirsol, Eric Shanteau, Michael Phelps, David Walters), M 4x100m Medley Relay, 3:27.28, 8/2/09
• Britta Steffen (GER), W 50m Free (LCM), 23.73, 8/2/09
• Yuliya Efimova (RUS), W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.09, 8/2/09
• Liam Tancock (GBR), M 50m Back (LCM), 24.04, 8/2/09
• China (Zhao Jing, Chen Huijia, Jiao Liuyang, Li Zhesi), W 4x100m Medley Relay (LCM), 3:52.19, 8/1/09
• Liam Tancock (GBR), M 50m Back (LCM), 24.08sf, 8/1/09
• Michael Phelps (USA), M 100m Fly (LCM), 49.82, 8/1/09
• Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), W 200m Back (LCM), 2:04.81, 8/1/09
• United States (Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, David Walters, Ryan Lochte), M 4x200m Free Relay (LCM), 6:58.55, 7/31/09
• Milorad Cavic (SRB), M 100m Fly (LCM), 50.01sf, 7/31/09
• Therese Alshammar (SWE), W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.07sf, 7/31/09
• Marleen Veldhuis (NED), W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.28sf, 7/31/09
• Aaron Peirsol (USA), M 200m Back (LCM), 1:51.92, 7/31/09
• Britta Steffen (GER), W 100m Free (LCM), 52.07, 7/31/09
• China (Yang Yu, Zhu Qian Wei, Liu Jing, Pang Jiaying), W 4x200m Free Relay (LCM), 7:42.08, 7/30/09
• Zhao Jing (CHN), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.08, 7/30/09
• Christian Sprenger (AUS), M 200m Breast (LCM), 2:07.31sf, 7/30/09
• Jessicah Schipper (AUS), W 200m Fly (LCM), 2:03.41, 7/30/09
• Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA), M 100m Free (LCM), 46.91, 7/30/09
• Annamay Pierse (CAN), W 200m Breast (LCM), 2:20.12sf, 7/30/09
• Ryan Lochte (USA), M 200m IM (LCM), 1:54.10, 7/30/09
• Zhang Lin (CHN), M 800m Free (LCM), 7:32.12, 7/29/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 50m Breast (LCM), 26.67, 7/29/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 200m Free (LCM), 1:52.98, 7/29/09
• Michael Phelps (USA), M 200m Fly (LCM), 1:51.51, 7/29/09
• Anastasia Zueva (RUS), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.38sf, 7/29/09
• Daniela Samukski (GER), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.39sf, 7/29/09
• Mary Descenza (USA), W 200m Fly (LCM), 2:04.14p, 7/29/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 200m Free (LCM), 1:53.67sf, 7/28/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 50m Breast (LCM), 26.74sf, 7/28/09
• Gemma Spofforth (GBR), W 100m Back (LCM), 58.12, 7/28/09
• Paul Biedermann (GER), M 200m Free (LCM), 1:42.00, 7/28/09
• Ariana Kukors (USA), W 200m IM (LCM), 2:06.15, 7/27/09
• Anastasia Zueva (RUS), W 100m Back (LCM), 58.48sf, 7/27/09
• Rebecca Soni (USA), W 100m Breast (LCM), 1:04.84sf, 7/27/09
• Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), W 100m Fly (LCM), 56.06, 7/27/09
• Brenton Rickard (AUS), M 100m Breast (LCM), 58.58, 7/27/09
• Netherlands (Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk, Marleen Veldhuis), W 4x100m Free Relay (LCM), 3:31.72, 7/26/09
• Britta Steffen (GER), W 100m Free (LCM), 52.22r, 7/26/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 400m Free (LCM), 3:59.15, 7/26/09
• Ariana Kukors (USA), W 200m IM (LCM), 2:07.03sf, 7/26/09
• Paul Biedermann (GER), M 400m Free (LCM), 3:40.07p, 7/26/09
• Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), W 100m Fly (LCM), 56.44, 7/26/09
• Aaron Peirsol (USA), M 200m Back (LCM), 1:53.08, 7/11/09
• Michael Phelps (USA), M 100m Fly (LCM), 50.22, 7/9/09
• Amanda Reason (CAN), W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.23, 7/8/09
• Aaron Peirsol (USA), M 100m Back (LCM), 51.94, 7/8/09
• Aschwin Wildeboer Faber (ESP), M 100m Back (LCM), 52.38, 7/1/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 400m Free (LCM), 4:00.41, 6/27/09
• Britta Steffen (GER), W 100m Free (LCM), 52.56, 6/27/09
• Daniela Samulski (GER), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.61, 6/26/09
• Britta Steffen (GER), W 100m Free (LCM), 52.85p, 6/25/09
• Igor Borysik (UKR), M 100m Breast (LCM), 58.67tt, 6/13/09
• Ryosuke Irie (JPN), M 200m Back (LCM), 1:52.86, 5/10/09
• Felipe Silva (BRA), M 50m Breast (LCM), 26.89p, 5/8/09
• Anastasia Zueva (RUS), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.48, 4/28/09
• Yuliya Efimova (RUS), W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.05, 4/28/09
• Anastasia Zueva (RUS), W 50m Back (LCM), 27.47sf, 4/28/09
• Yuliya Efimova (RUS), W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.23p, 4/28/09
• Frederick Bousquet (FRA), M 50m Free (LCM), 20.94, 4/26/09
• Alain Bernard (FRA), M 100m Free (LCM), 46.94, 4/23/09
• Marleen Veldhuis (NED), W 50m Free (LCM), 23.96, 4/19/09
• Marleen Veldhuis (NED), W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.33, 4/19/09
• Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), M 50m Breast (LCM), 27.08sf, 4/18/09
• Zhao Jing (CHN), W 50m Back (LCM), =27.67, 4/9/09
• Rafael Munoz Perez (ESP), M 50m Fly (LCM), 22.43sf, 4/5/09
• Joanne Jackson (GBR), W 400m Free (LCM), 4:00.66, 3/16/09
• Annamay Pierse (CAN), W 200m Breast (SCM), 2:17.50, 3/14/09
• Federica Pellegrini (ITA), W 200m Free (LCM), 1:54.47, 3/8/09
• Shiho Sakai (JPN), W 100m Back (SCM), 56.15, 2/22/09
• Nikolay Skvortsov (RUS), M 200m Fly (SCM), 1:50.53, 2/12/09

New American Records 2009
Nathan Adrian, M 100m Free (SCM), 45.08r, 12/19/09
• United States (Missy Franklin, Christine Magnuson, Amanda Weir, Dana Vollmer), W 4x100m Free Relay (SCM), 3:28.89, 12/19/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 50m Free (SCM), 20.71, 12/19/09
• Mike Alexandrov, M 100m Breast (SCM), 57.16, 12/19/09
• Peter Vanderkaay, M 200m Free (SCM), 1:42.17, 12/19/09
• Allison Schmitt, W 200m Free (SCM), 1:51.67, 12/19/2009
• Chad LaTourette, M 800m Free (SCM), 7:33.94, 12/19/09
• Allison Schmitt, W 400m Free (SCM), 3:55.89, 12/18/09
• Christine Magnuson, W 100m Fly (SCM), 55.81, 12/18/09
• Margaret Hoelzer, W 200m Back (SCM), 2:02.72, 12/18/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 100m Free (SCM), 45.42, 12/18/09
• Dana Vollmer, W 100m Free (SCM), 52.16, 12/18/09
• Tyler Clary, M 400 IM (SCM), 4:02.02, 12/18/09
• Whitney Myers, W 100m IM (SCM), 58.75, 11/22/09
• Whitney Myers, W 200m IM (SCM), 2:06.20, 11/21/09
• Lara Jackson, W 50m Fly (SCM), 25.17, 11/15/09
• Lara Jackson, W 50m Fly (SCM), 25.61p, 11/15/09
• Sabir Muhammad, M 50m Free (SCM), 21.07p, 11/15/09
• Michael Phelps, M 200m Fly (SCM), 1:52.26, 11/14/09
• Jessica Hardy, W 100m Breast (SCM), 1:03.30, 11/14/09
• Peter Marshall, M 100m Back (SCM), 49.29, 11/10/09
• Jessica Hardy, W 100m Breast (SCM), 1:03.75, 11/6/09
• Peter Marshall, M 100m Back (SCM), 49.40, 10/16/09
• Jessica Hardy, W 100m Breast (SCM), 1:04.12, 10/16/09
• Rebecca Soni, W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.11, 8/2/09
• Kasey Carlson, W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.34p, 8/1/09
• Cullen Jones, M 50m Free (LCM), 21.40sf, 7/31/09
• United States (Dana Vollmer, Lacey Nymeyer, Ariana Kukors, Allison Schmitt), W 4x200m Free Relay, 7:42.56, 7/30/09
• Eric Shanteau, M 200m Breast (LCM), 2:07.42sf, 7/30/09
• David Walters, M 100m Free (LCM), 47.33, 7/30/09
• Amanda Weir, W 100m Free (LCM), 53.02sf, 7/30/09
• Amanda Weir, W 100m Free (LCM), 53.20p, 7/30/09
• Mark Gangloff, M 50m Breast (LCM), 26.86, 7/29/09
• Allison Schmitt, W 200m Free (LCM), 1:54.96, 7/29/09
• Dana Vollmer, W 200m Free (LCM), 1:55.29sf, 7/28/09
• Dana Vollmer, W 100m Fly (LCM), 56.94, 7/27/09
• Eric Shanteau, M 100m Breast (LCM), 58.96sf, 7/26/09
• Ariana Kukors, W 200m IM (LCM), 2:08.53p, 7/26/09
• Megan Jendrick, W 50m Breast (LCM), 30.40s2, 7/25/09
• Bryan Lundquist, M 50m Fly (LCM), 22.91s1, 7/18/09
• Dara Torres, W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.50tt, 7/11/09
• Eric Shanteau, M 200m Breast (LCM), 2:08.01, 7/11/09
• Cullen Jones, M 50m Free (LCM), 21.41so, 7/11/09
• Eric Shanteau, M 200m Breast (LCM), 2:08.43p, 7/11/09
• Kevin Swander, M 50m Breast (LCM), 27.14, 7/10/09
• Rebecca Soni, W 100m Breast (LCM), 1:05.34, 7/9/09
• Mark Gangloff, M 50m Breast (LCM), 27.34tt, 7/8/09
• Mark Gangloff, M 100m Breast (LCM), 59.01, 7/7/09
• Julia Smit, W 200m IM (LCM), 2:09.34, 7/7/09
• Dara Torres, W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.72, 4/22/09
• Dara Torres, W 50m Fly (LCM), 25.84p, 4/22/09
• Texas (Jimmy Feigen, Ricky Berens, Peter Jameson, David Walters), M 4x100y Free (SCY), 2:47.02, 3/28/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 100y Free (SCY), 41.08, 3/28/2009
• Texas (David Walters, Ricky Berens, Scott Jostes, Michael Kleuh), M 4x200y Free (SCY), 6:10.16, 3/27/09
• David Walters, M 200y Free (SCY), 1:41.72r, 3/27/09
• Austin Staab, M 100y Fly (SCY), 44.18, 3/27/09
• Tyler Clary, M 400y IM (SCY), 3:35.98, 3/27/09
• Texas (Scott Jostes, Agustin Magruder, Hill Taylor, Jimmy Feigen), M 4x50y Medley (SCY), 1:23.97, 3/27/09
• Tyler McGill, M 100y Fly (SCY), 44.67p, 3/27/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 50y Free (SCY), 18.71, 3/26/09
• Texas (David Walters, Jimmy Feigen, Scott Jostes, Ben Vanroekel), M 4x50y Free (SCY), 1:15.90, 3/26/09
• Stanford (Eugene Godsoe, Paul Kornfeld, Austin Staab, Alex Coville), M 4x100y Medley Relay (SCY), 3:01.91, 3/26/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 50y Free (SCY), 18.76r 3/26/09
• Alex Righi, M 50y Free (SCY), =18.82p, 3/26/09
• Texas (David Walters, Jimmy Feigen, Scott Jostes, Ben Vanroekel), M 4x50y Free (SCY), 1:16.22p, 3/26/09
• Stanford (Kate Dwelley, Samantha Woodward, Elaine Breeden, Julia Smit), W 4x100y Free (SCY), 3:11.14, 3/21/09
• Julia Smit, W 400y IM (SCY), 4:00.56, 3/20/09
• Arizona (Ana Agy, Annie Chandler, Lara Jackson, Justine Schluntz), W 4x100y Medley (SCY), 3:28.31, 3/19/09
• Julia Smit, W 200y IM (SCY), 1:52.79, 3/19/09
• Arizona (Lara Jackson, Lindsey Kelly, Justine Schluntz, Taylor Baughman), W 4x50y Free (SCY), 1:26.20, 3/19/09
• Lara Jackson, W 50y Free (SCY), 21.27r, 3/19/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 100y Free (SCY), 41.43r, 3/7/09
• Austin Staab, M 100y Fly (SCY), 44.69, 3/6/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 50y Free (SCY), =18.82r, 3/5/09
• Nathan Adrian, M 50y Free (SCY), 18.82, 3/5/09
• Texas (David Walters, Ben Vanroekel, Jimmy Feigen, Ryan Verlatti), M 4x100y Free Relay (SCY), 2:49.17, 2/28/09
• Elaine Breeden, W 200y Fly (SCY), 1:49.92, 2/28/09
• Rebecca Soni, W 200y Breast (SCY), 2:04.75, 2/28/09
• Julia Smit, W 200y IM (SCY), 1:53.11, 2/26/09
• Dana Vollmer, W 200y Free (SCY), 1:41.53r, 2/25/09
• Peter Vanderkaay, M 400m Free (SCM), 3:34.81, 2/22/09
• Auburn (Ava Ohlgren, Caitlin Geary, Melissa Marik, Maggie Bird), W 4x200y Free Relay (SCY), 6:54.02, 2/18/09
• Mary Descenza, W 200y Fly (SCY), 1:51.28, 1/17/09

1 Set as split from 1st 50m of 100m Fly
2 Set as split from 1st 50 of 200m Breast
3 Set as split from 1st 50 of 100m Breast

Bring on 2010!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Duel in the Pool

In the past two days, one of the most interesting meets in 2009 took place: the Duel in the Pool. It is one of the best concept meets in swimming, and while it was extremely exciting still, there were some key problems with this version of the meet. Hopefully meet directors will note some of the things I mention below and keep them in consideration as future events are planned.

The Bad

1. Suits - As many of you know, I have been adamant that the high-tech suits should not be allowed in the Duel. (Originally, it was supposed to be swum with 2010-approved suits, but that policy went out the door when Italy came into the meet, with Jaked (Italy's sponsor) having no 2010-approved suits.) It honestly seems like many of America's top swimmers wasted a taper on a meet that was effectively a fun meet and would mean nothing in the big picture in the coming years. Many swimmers wore the suits to set records that would last for a long time, but as we now know, USA Swimming will not allow American records set in high-tech suits past October 1st to stand, which will impact 15 American record-setters over the course of the World Cup and Duel in the Pool. However, this blog is not about the suit controversy, so I will leave the suits behind for now.

2. Team Selection - The USA dumped the Duel in the Pool with Australia because they were winning by too much each time out. When the USA vs. E-Stars from Britain, France, and Russia (the top three swimming powers in Europe) was planned, the hope was to have a points battle. With Germany and Italy joining Britain in the final meet, European hope dimmed. When they lost their biggest stars (Steffen, Pellegrini, Biedermann), it was an impossibility. With the US winning more than double the points of their European counterparts, the meet lost some of its excitement. How to correct this: make it a true Ryder Cup-style event, USA vs. all of Europe! Disagreements and political issues have prevented and most likely will continue to prevent something of the sort from happening, but steps must be taken to ensure that a points difference of this caliber doesn't happen again.

The Good

1. The Course - Originally I was concerned about having the meet short course meters. I thought it would seem less important since it was not the Olympic distance. Not so. It was more exciting in short course because it would be easier to chase world records! Same reasons that World Cup is short course. SCM is the ideal format for a fun meet because of the different format with the excitement of a short course meet along with the prospect of world records and international ranking.

2. The Meet - One team vs. another, similar to college swimming but with a much higher profile since you're representing either your country (USA) or continent (Europe). Every swimmer who talked about it was really excited about having a fun meet to race against swimmers from around the world with very little pressure. That kind of format is always exciting and conductive to fast swimming, even with very little rest between events.

3. The Venue
Rock concert or swim meet?
This makes it even more exciting!
On TV, this will be something special!

Some individual highlights:

1. Rebecca Soni - Breaking both short course meters breaststroke world records is an achievement under any circumstances, especially since they were set about a month ago on the World Cup by her biggest rival, Leisel Jones, when she was wearing effectively the same suit. (I am positive; I was watching.) She has posted some really good times lately, both with the high-tech suits and without, yards and meters. Even with Jones back in the picture, Soni is out to prove she is still the world's best breaststroker.

2. Nathan Adrian - I really think this guy is one of the very best sprinters in the world right now. I'm not sure I can say the best, especially after Cielo's blast past Bousquet, but he is right up there. His 100 free relay lead-off time was 45.08, the second fastest swim in history, and converts to 46.43 long course, a half second under Cielo's world record! His 50 time of 20.71 a half hour earlier goes to a 21.33 long course. And we've already seen Adrian have a superb showing at short course Nationals in a 2010-compliant suit. Doubters out there: don't be fooled by the high-tech suit he was wearing today: this guy will be going for gold, in whatever suit, in London 2012!

3. Nick Thoman - Here's another guy whose here to stay. Thoman broke his first two (and almost a third) world records of his career at the Duel, with an out-of-this-world 48.94 100 back relay lead-off, on the way to a relay world record. Had it not been for a DQ because his underwaters were "too good," he could have claimed a victory over the gold and silver medalist from the Olympics. He will be good in textile too: 45.60 at short course Nationals, with almost no rest. Watch out for him this summer.

4. Chad LaTourette - The consistently rising star of American distance swimming, the Stanford sophomore broke his first American record today, taking a more than nine seconds off of Jeff Kostoff's American record from 1983 in the 800 free. But then, USA Swimming decided to start another mess by announcing 30 some-odd American records were invalid, including his. LaTourette deserves a shout-out because he could have broken that record in any suit he wanted to, and it marks a huge swim.

5. Rebecca Adlington, Michael Phelps, Liam Tancock, Ariana Kukors, Katie Hoff, and perhaps others (I don't know because the BBC won't let non-British viewers watch the races and NBC's coverage is more than a week tape delayed) - Shout-out for wearing textile, 2010-legal suits. You sacrificed results so you could wear a suit that doesn't affect your swimming and get ready for the future. In the long run, you guys are the winners.

And now, my highlight of the day: the Men's 400 Free Relay! Even after the Americans' complete domination of the meet, I wondered if they could take this over a strong E-Stars team. Leading from start to finish, the relay included Nathan Adrian's inspiring 45.08 lead-off; a blazing 44.68 split from Matt Grevers, concluding an awesome weekend for him; Garrett Weber-Gale holding his end up with a 47.43; and then Michael Phelps anchoring. Phelps' split of 46.11 in a textile jammer (converted to 47.49 long course!) was perhaps the most impressive swim of the weekend. All of his times were strong (compared to his World Cup performances), especially his 100s, but this was the best. A fitting end to a great year for him and all of the Americans. Oh yeah, and it crushed the French world record by nearly two seconds!

Not much video available until next week when it airs on NBC; some video of the 100 flys though: women's and men's. Can't see much, but perfect for reference on how to run a swim meet! Shout-out to YouTube user "Otterswim" for putting them up.

Also want to give shout-outs to the Kast-A-Way blog, the Race Club, and The Swim Channel for referencing my Twitter as a place to go for live coverage of the Duel. (As of the publication of this blog, I have 11 new followers!)

Duel in the Pool will be on NBC Sunday, December 27 from 2-4 eastern. STRONGLY recommend watching (and if possible, recording it and keeping it for a few years).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Short Course Nationals

This weekend is short course nationals in Federal Way, Washington. Top swimmers such as Rebecca Soni, Eric Shanteau, and Katie Hoff will be there, along Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, and also several collegiate programs such as Michigan (men) and Cal. There promise to be some interesting races in Washington, but it is not the only big meet next weekend. Most college programs are in action at various invitational meets around the country (all short course yards), the most notable being the Texas Invite. The competition this weekend will give us a good idea where the world's swimmers stand going into not only NCAAs in the spring, but also long course Nationals next summer.

It should be noted that all suits worn this weekend will conform to 2010 standards, as required by both USA Swimming and the NCAA. Thus, times in each event from around the country will be comparable and should clearly tell who is the best. However, various swimmers will be at different stages of their training, so that opens another can of worms...

With all of this said, here are my predictions for Short Course Nationals (no relays):

Women's 500 Free:
1 - Katie Hoff, FAST
2 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.
3 - Sara Isokovic, Cal/Slovenia

Men's 500 Free:
1 - Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine
2 - Dan Madwed, Michigan
3 - Charlie Houchin, Michigan

Women's 200 IM:
1 - Ariana Kukors, FAST
2 - Katinka Hosszu, Southern California/Hungary
3 - Katie Hoff, FAST

Men's 200 IM:
1 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
2 - Tyler Clary, Michigan
3 - Hidemasa Sano, Trojan Swim Club/Japan

Women's 50 Free:
1 - Amanda Weir, Swim Atlanta
2 - Kara Lynn Joyce, Unattached
3 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan Swim Club

Men's 50 Free:
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Cullen Jones, SwimMAC Carolina
3 - William Copeland, California Aquatics

Women's 400 IM
1 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.
2 - Katinka Hosszu, Southern California/Hungary
3 - Katie Hoff, FAST

Men's 400 IM
1 - Tyler Clary, Michigan
2 - Thiago Pereira, Trojan Swim Club/Brazil
3 - Hidemasa Sano, Trojan Swim Club/Japan

Women's 100 Fly
1 - Dana Vollmer, California Aquatics
2 - Amanda Sims, Cal

Men's 100 Fly
1 - Jason Dunford, Unattached/Kenya
2 - Chris Brady, Michigan

Women's 200 Free
1 - Katie Hoff, FAST
2 - Dana Vollmer, California Aquatics
3 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.

Men's 200 Free
1 - Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine
2 - Dan Madwed, Michigan
3 - Charlie Houchin, Michigan

Women's 100 Breast
1 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan Swim Club
2 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan Swim Club
3 - Annamay Pierse, UCB Dolphins/Canada
*Also watch Katy Freeman, Kasey Carlson, and 2000 Olympic champ Megan Jendrick.

Men's 100 Breast
1 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
2 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan Swim Club/Japan
3 - Matthew Lowe, Longhorn

Women's 100 Back
1 - Kate Fesenko, Indiana/Ukraine
2 - Margaret Hoelzer, FAST
3 - Cindy Tran, West Coast Swimming

Men's 100 Back
1 - Nick Thoman, SwimMAC Carolina
2 - David Russell, California Aquatics
3 - Guy Barnea, Cal/Israel

Women's 1,650 Free
1 - Lauren Boyle, Cal
2 - Haley Anderson, Southern California
3 - Jessica White, Indiana

Men's 1,650 Free
1 - William Freeman, Swim Atlanta
2 - Tom Koucheravy, Trojan Swim Club
3 - Adam DeJong, Michigan

Women's 200 Back
1 - Kate Fesenko, Indiana
2 - Margaret Hoelzer, FAST
3 - Katie Hoff, FAST

Men's 200 Back
1 - Tyler Clary, Michigan
2 - David Russell, California Aquatics
3 - Patrick Schirk, Unattached

Women's 100 Free
1 - Dana Vollmer, California Aquatics
2 - Amanda Weir, Swim Atlanta
3 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.

Men's 100 Free
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Garrett Weber-Gale, Longhorn
3 - William Copeland, California Aquatics

Women's 200 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan Swim Club
2 - Annamay Pierse, UCB Dolphins/Canada
3 - Megan Jendrick, King

Men's 200 Breast
1 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
2 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan Swim Club/Japan
3 - Sean Mahoney, California Aquatics

Women's 200 Fly
1 - Katinka Hosszu, Southern California/Hungary
2 - Amanda Sims, Cal
3 - Lyndsay DePaul, Southern California

Men's 200 Fly
1 - Dan Madwed, Michigan
2 - Hidemasa Sano, Trojan Swim Club/Japan

Click here to view the psych sheet for nationals.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Meaning of 24.81

Today at the Eindhoven Cup in the Netherlands, American Randall Bal swam a 24.81 in the 50 back (long course). While the time only ties him for 14th in the world in 2009, under the circumstances, it was an outstanding swim considering one major detail: he wore a 2010-legal suit.

The Eindhoven Cup is notable because, in addition to only allowing suits that will be legal next year, it offers a monetary prize for eclipsing the world record in textile (i.e., whatever the record was on January 1, 2008). For the 50 back, that mark belongs to Thomas Rupprath, a 24.80 from 2003. Thus, Bal has come the closest of any swimmer to eclipsing what is considered at this meet a "world record."

For five years, Rupprath's mark was a magic standard. No one could touch it until the first generation of performance enhancing suits came out, when Liam Tancock obliterated it. The record has changed hands a couple of times since then, and a total of 15 swimmers (including Rupprath himself) have gone under that time. Many credited the suits, but maybe there was more to it.

While Bal's swim would be the male performance of the meet so far, on the women's side, that title would belong to Ranomi Kromowidjojo. She was timed in the 100 free on Friday in 53.95, just off her best time of 53.31 from the worlds when she wore a LZR. With a 53.95 at this point in the season, the 19-year old can certainly eclipse the textile "world record," which officially belongs Britta Steffen (53.30).

The same can be said for Cate Campbell, the 17-year old Aussie who swam a 53.03 on Friday while wearing her Adidas Hydrofoil. The lack of a fast suit will not stop her from getting back down to this time at the next major meet.

The swimming world isn't going to stop without the suits. On the contrary, the suits may have been the momentum to get everyone going again. Once magical standards such as those of Steffen and Rupprath are no longer such. Once a swimmer has gone a time, the clock cannot be turned back. There is the reason world records must not be adjusted.

So what is the meaning of 24.81 (and 53.95)? The swimmers are catching up to the suits, so don't turn back the clock.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Golden Goggles: Should vs. Will

The U.S. National Team has assembled Beverly Hills for the Golden Goggles to recognize the top performances this year. Every year, some awards are given out to the right swimmers, while some are messed up, based on USA Swimming biases. For each award, there is someone who clearly should win, but the eventual winner is not always the same person. Without further ado, here are the categories.

Breakout Performer of the Year:
Kasey Carlson
Tyler Clary
Andrew Gemmell
Eric Shanteau

Should: Clary
Comes from (not really) nowhere to be ranked in the top 5 all-time in 3 events, a silver at the World Champs, and one of the only guys who has ever broken a Phelps record. Duh!

Will: Shanteau
See below.

Perseverance Award:
Fran Crippen
Ariana Kukors
Dana Vollmer
Amanda Weir

Should: Eric Shanteau
Oh come on! He should be nominated for Perseverance, not Breakout! But he won this one last year (because of USA Swimming bias), which I'm sure they not regret! So...

Should: Vollmer
Actually, all of these nominees would be great recipients, all classic cases of perseverance, but Vollmer had the complete bounce-back package, and showed remarkable consistency last year, from Pac-10s to NCAAs to Santa Clara to Nationals to Worlds, never letting up, and the come-back anyone wants to have.

Will: Kukors
She has two thing the others don't: a world title and a world record. People know her name. This one's her's.

Coach of the Year:
Bob Bowman
Sean Hutchison
Eddie Reese
Dave Salo
Gregg Troy

Should: Reese
Was behind the remarkable years of Shanteau, Berens, Walters, and Peirsol, and also got Garrett Weber-Gale and Jackson Wilcox on the team. Wow!

Will: Bowman
He's Phelps' coach. There's the USA Swimming bias kicking in.

Relay Performance of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Men’s 400 Free Relay (Phelps, Lochte, Grevers, Adrian)
Men’s 800 Free Relay (Phelps, Berens, Walters, Lochte)
Men’s 400 Medley Relay (Peirsol, Shanteau, Phelps, Walters)

Should: 400 Medley
They all were solid swims and showed the complete dominance of the American men, but the medley was all-around the best effort.

Will: 400 Free
They won the re-match with France, but that was mostly because the French flunked.

Female Race of the Year:
Jessica Hardy – 100 Breaststroke (2009 U.S. Open)
Ariana Kukors – 200 Individual Medley (2009 World Championships)
Rebecca Soni – 100 Breaststroke (2009 World Championships)

Should: Kukors 200 IM
Even with her Jaked, if you drop over 2 seconds off a world record and over 4 off your best time. that's a pretty good swim!

Will: Kukors
Even though her semi-final swim was more impressive than her final swim.

Male Race of the Year (all from the 2009 World Championships):
Ryan Lochte – 200 Individual Medley
Aaron Peirsol – 200 Backstroke
Michael Phelps – 100 Butterfly
Michael Phelps – 200 Butterfly

Should: Peirsol 200 Back
1:51? Wasn't his best time 1:54 a month before that? Remember, he never wore anything more than leggings, so you can't give it all to the suit. The awesomest swim this year by a long way. No question.

Will: Phelps 100 Fly
Problem is, everyone's obsessed with Phelps taking down Cavic in the 100 fly. But was anyone actually surprised with the time (49.8)? That's been coming for a long time. Seems like Phelps won a great race with Cavic, but it wasn't nearly as amazing of a swim as Peirsol's. Peirsol's non-attendance (he's at the World Cup in Singapore) may hurt his chances as well.

Female Athlete of the Year:
Ariana Kukors
Rebecca Soni
Dana Vollmer

Should: Soni
All three had great years, but Soni gets the nod I think because of her top times in multiple events. It would be much more clear cut if that 200 had gone a bit better...

Will: Soni
Doubt she loses this one.

Male Athlete of the Year:
Ryan Lochte
Aaron Peirsol
Michael Phelps

Should: Phelps
Six months off, some controversy, and he's still the best swimmer in the world. Any questions?

Will: Phelps
Even though I have heard some whispers that Lochte may get the nod, does anyone actually see Phelps losing this one?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Split Time

If you read my last post, you know what I thought about World Cup this past week: fast and crazy! Sunday was the fastest of all. For the past three seasons, Berlin has consistently been the fastest stop on the World Cup, but 16 world records is something else! After swimming was finished in Berlin, I talked to Garrett McCaffrey at SwimmingWorld.TV to talk about the past week of crazy swimming in Europe on the World Cup. Check out my Split Time!



World Cup concludes this weekend in Singapore, featuring the stars from previous stops of the series, such as Americans Jessica Hardy and Peter Marshall, South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh and Roland Schoeman, and Aussie superstar Leisel Jones, as well as Aaron Peirsol of the U.S., the greatest backstroker of all time, as well as most of the Australian national team.

For any kind of swimming media (blogs, interviews, etc.), check out SwimmingWorld.TV. A lot of discussion right now about some fast swimming without the suits. Good stuff!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

World Cup Berlin

Already six world records have fallen on the first day in Berlin, and there could be many more tomorrow. Some thoughts:

- Today was the first time Leisel Jones ditched her LZR to wear a Jaked. She suddenly dropped seven tenths off her world record. She proved two big points: 1) if everyone's wearing the same suit, she's the best, and 2) the suits have an effect. A big one.

- Same with Brent Hayden. He suddenly dumped his LZR, put on an X-Glide, and took a lot of time off his best in the 100 free.

- The French sprinters: Amaury Leveaux, 48.49, 33rd; Gregory Mallet, 48.55, 34th; Fabien Gilot, 50.00, 71st; William Meynard, 51.31, 87th: These results from today in Berlin are not encouraging. These guys are world-beaters with their suits, but the world record-holder Leveaux can't even manage the top 30 with jammers. Even Phelps did better than that! It's looking more and more like the days of complete French depth in the sprints are waning.

- Biedermann: did anyone see his "streamlines?" Non-existent. Doesn't matter with the suits. 1:38 in the 200 tomorrow. (His current world record is 1:40.83.)

- Phelps: the man's had a total of ONE good swim all week, the 100 IM in Stockholm. That 200 fly today was not good at all. You could mention the suits, which is a reason he's not winning, but he should be going faster than that, plain and simple. He shouldn't be losing the 200 IM and 200 fly by that much (if at all). He definitely should be making the 100 fly finals! Expect him to miss the 200 free (and 200 back) final tomorrow.

- I'm not looking forward to seeing no world records on next year's World Cup, BUT...

- It's sure gonna be nice when we don't have to talk about suits anymore!

I will leave you with evidence of what the Germans think about the Biedermann-Phelps re-match (which most likely won't take place) tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

2010 NCAA Predictions

I wrote down some predictions about who I think will take home the hardware from NCAAs. Mostly I took into account results from last year and best times. I've only predicted individual events, since relays won't shape up until the conference meets.

Women:
500 Free:
Gold: Allison Schmitt, Georgia
Silver: Wendy Trott, Georgia
Bronze: Sara Isokovic, California

200 IM:
Gold: Julia Smit, Stanford
Silver: Katinka Hosszu, Southern California
Bronze: Kathleen Hersey, Texas

50 Free:
Gold: Michelle King, Tennessee
Silver: Anne-Marie Botek, Georgia
Bronze: Triin Aljand, Texas A&M

400 IM:
Gold: Katinka Hosszu, Southern California
Silver: Julia Smit, Stanford
Bronze: Kathleen Hersey, Texas

100 Fly:
Gold: Elaine Breeden, Stanford
Silver: Amanda Sims, California
Bronze: Hannah Wilson, California

200 Free:
Gold: Allison Schmitt, Georgia
Silver: Sara Isokovic, California
Bronze: Morgan Scroggy, Georgia

100 Breast:
Gold: Jillian Tyler, Minnesota
Silver: Ann Chandler, Arizona

100 Back:
Gold: Gemma Spofforth, Florida
Silver: Kate Zubkova, Indiana

1,650 Free:
Gold: Wendy Trott, Georgia
Silver: Emily Brunemann, Michigan

200 Back:
Gold: Gemma Spofforth, Florida
Silver: Teresa Crippen, Florida
Bronze: Kate Zubkova, Indiana

100 Free:
Gold: Julia Smit, Stanford
Silver: Kate Dwelley, Stanford
Bronze: Caitlin Geary, Auburn

200 Breast:
Gold: Alia Atkinson, Texas A&M

200 Fly:
Gold: Kathleen Hersey, Texas
Silver: Katinka Hosszu, Southern California
Bronze: Elaine Breeden, Stanford

Overall Team Winner: Georgia

Men:
500 Free:
Gold: Dan Madwed, Michigan
Silver: Matt McLean, Virginia
Bronze: Chad LaTourette, Stanford

200 IM:
Gold: Tyler Clary, Michigan
Silver: Ricky Berens, Texas

50 Free:
Gold: Nathan Adrian, California
Silver: Jimmy Feigen, Texas
Bronze: Gideon Louw, Auburn

400 IM:
Gold: Tyler Clary, Michigan
Silver: Gal Nevo, Georgia Tech
Bronze: Jack Brown, Arizona

100 Fly:
Gold: Austin Staab, Stanford
Silver: Tyler McGill, Auburn
Bronze: Chris Brady, Michigan

200 Free:
Gold: David Walters, Texas
Silver: Shaune Fraser, Florida
Bronze: Ricky Berens, Texas

100 Breast:
Gold: Damir Dugonjic, California
Silver: Scott Spann, Texas
Bronze: Adam Klein, Auburn

100 Back:
Gold: Pascal Wollach, Auburn
Silver: David Russell, California
Bronze: Cole Craigin, Texas

1,650 Free:
Gold: Chad LaTourette, Stanford
Silver: Troy Prinsloo, Georgia
Bronze: Jackson Wilcox, Texas

200 Back:
Gold: Tyler Clary, Michigan

200 Breast:
Gold: Scott Spann, Texas
Silver: Adam Klein, Auburn

200 Fly:
Gold: Mark Dylla, Georgia
Silver: Dan Madwed, Michigan
Bronze: Shaune Fraser, Florida

Overall Team Winner: Texas

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Email to USA Swimming Regarding Duel in the Pool

Originally, the Duel in the Pool in December was supposed to be swum in textile, knee-length suits which would be legal in 2010. Over the past few weeks, I have heard rumors, mainly from ReachForTheWall.com, that any suit legal in 2009 could be used at the Duel. This came from the replacement of France and Russia with Italy and Germany; Italy, whose sponsor Jaked, well-known for its full polyurethane Jaked 01 suit, had not come out with a 2010-legal suit, pressed for these rules. Without France and Russia's backing, USA Swimming could not hang onto its position of only 2010-legal suits.

Two main problems: 1) it was already enough of a mess this summer at Worlds! (I'm assuming you all know the story!) 2) Star American swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff (and possibly/hopefully others) will no longer wear polyurethane suits.

Imagine Phelps getting beat (while wearing his textile jammer) by Great Britain's Michael Rock (in a Jaked) in the 200 fly. With the way things are going, I'm scared to say it could happen.

I sent an email to USA Swimming today about the topic and my suggestions. This is the text of that email:

This email is directed towards Mike Unger and the organizers of this year's Duel in the Pool in Manchester in December.

While neither USA Swimming nor British Swimming has confirmed anything, ReachForTheWall.com's Amy Shipley has reported that nontextile bodysuits that caused so much controversy this summer over exaggerated fast times and world/national records, will be used the British Gas/Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool in December.


I know that USA Swimming and British Swimming had originally intended to use only knee-length textile suits that had been approved by FINA for use in 2010, but Shipley has reported that this changed when France and Russia withdrew from the meet and Italy entered.

I understand that USA Swimming has done its best to ensure fair play at the meet with the 2010 suits, but Italy has gotten its way, and 100% polyurethane suits will still be worn.

However, these suits have become more important than the swimmers themselves, and the Duel in the Pool, as stands, will only furthur that sad reality. Moreover, many of USA Swimming's top swimmers (including Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, and possibly Ryan Lochte) plan on continuing to wear their 2010-FINA-approved suits for the Duel, risking prize money and valuable points. In addition, the Duel will not raise the profile of swimming in America is our top swimmers are losing races because of their choice of swimwear.

This must change immediately. If not, USA Swimming should immediately withdraw all swimmers from the Duel and cancel the meet.

It is sad that suits so detract from what is a great concept meet and what could be an amazing annual (or bi-annual) tradition.

I look forward to future Duels in 2010 or 2011 and beyond where swimwear is no longer an issue.

Thank you for considering my comments!

David Rieder
SwimDR549.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2009 World Cup Durban

Okay, I know I haven't been the most regular blogger. I've been really busy, but it won't get much better for a while. I've been planning a big coming-out party for a while, but the Viking beat me to it. Trust me, it's coming (eventually)!

For now, I wanted to give a few predictions for the Durban World Cup meet. Expect Jessica Hardy's comeback to the world stage, as well as the continued suit contraversy to highlight the meet.

Day 1:

Women's 800 Free
Gold: Kathryn Meaklim (RSA)
Silver: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)

Men's 100 Free
Gold: Stefan Nystrand (SWE)
Silver: Lyndon Ferns (RSA)
Bronze: Roland Schoeman (RSA)

Women's 200 Free
Gold: Felicity Galvez (AUS)

Men's 50 Breast
Gold: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 25.23 WR
Silver: Hendrik Feldwehr (GER)
Bronze: Gerhard Zandberg (RSA)

Women's 100 Breast
Gold: Jessica Hardy (USA) 1:03.71 WR
Silver: Nadja Higl (SRB)
Bronze: Joline Hostman (SWE)

Men's 400 IM
Gold: Riaan Schoeman (RSA)
Silver: Jay-Cee Thompson (RSA)

Women's 100 Fly
Gold: Sarah Sjostrum (SWE)
Silver: Felicity Galvez (AUS)
Bronze: Inge Dekker (NED)

Men's 100 Back
Gold: Peter Marshall (USA)
Silver: Stanislav Donets (RUS)
Bronze: Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS)
*Also watch Markus Rogan (AUT) and Ashley Delaney (AUS)

Women's 50 Back
Gold: Fabiola Molina (BRA)
Silver: Hinkelien Schreuder (NED)
Bronze: Marieke Guehrer (AUS)

Men's 200 Fly
Gold: Maxim Ganikhin (RUS)

Women's 200 IM
Gold: Whitney Myers (USA)
Silver: Kathryn Meaklim (RSA)
Bronze: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)

Men's 400 Free
Gold: Jay-Cee Thompson (RSA)
Silver: Domink Meichtry (SUI)
Bronze: Heerden Herman (RSA)

Women's 50 Free
Gold: Therese Alshammar (SWE)
Silver: Hinkelien Schreuder (NED)
Bronze: Jessica Hardy (USA)

Men's 200 Breast
Gold: Neil Versfeld (RSA)
Silver: William Diering (RSA)
Bronze: Terence Parkin (RSA)
*Note: Parkin is a deaf swimmer who took the silver in this event in the 2000 Olympics.

Men's 100 IM
Gold: Darian Townsend (RSA)
Silver: Markus Rogan (AUT)
Bronze: Gerhard Zandberg (RSA)

Women's 200 Back
Gold: Amanda Loots (RSA)
Silver: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)
Bronze: Fabiola Molina (BRA)

Men's 50 Fly
Gold: Roland Schoeman (RSA)
Silver: Lyndon Ferns (RSA)
Bronze: Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS)
*Watch Amaury Leveaux's world record of 22.18.
*Also in the field is 33-year old Sabir Muhammad of the USA

Day 2:

Men's 1,500 Free
Gold: Riaan Schoeman (RSA)
Silver: Heerden Herman (RSA)

Women's 100 Free
Gold: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED)
Silver: Felicity Galvez (AUS)
Bronze: Marieke Guehrer (AUS)

Men's 200 Free
Gold: Dominik Meichtry (SUI)
Silver: Darian Townsend (RSA)
Bronze: Jan Venter (RSA)

Women's 50 Breast
Gold: Jessica Hardy (USA) 29.31 WR

Men's 100 Breast
Gold: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 55.86 WR
Silver: Hendrik Feldwehr (GER)
Bronze: Neil Versfeld (RSA)

Women's 400 IM
Gold: Kathryn Meaklim (RSA)
Silver: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)

Men's 100 Fly
Gold: Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS)
Silver: Lyndon Ferns (RSA)

Women's 100 Back
Gold: Fabiola Molina (BRA)

Men's 50 Back
Gold: Peter Marshall (USA) 22.72 WR
Silver: Gerhard Zandberg (RSA)
Bronze: Stanislav Donets (RUS)

Women's 200 Fly
Gold: Felicity Galvez (AUS)
Silver: Amanda Loots (RSA)
Bronze: Kathryn Meaklim (RSA)

Men's 200 IM
Gold: Darian Townsend (RSA)
Silver: Riaan Schoeman (RSA)
Bronze: Markus Rogan (AUT)

Women's 400 Free
Gold: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)

Men's 50 Free
Gold: Roland Schoeman (RSA) 20.22 WR
Silver: Stefan Nystrand (SWE)
Bronze: Sabir Muhammad (USA)
*Note: Muhammad's entry time is 20.90, which is well under Nick Brunelli's current American record of 21.18. I assume it is either a converted time or not correct. Please let me know if I am wrong.

Women's 200 Breast
Gold: Nadja Higl (SRB)
Silver: Kathryn Meaklim (RSA)
Bronze: Jessica Pengelly (RSA)

Women's 100 IM
Gold: Hinkelien Schreuder (NED)
Silver: Fabiola Molina (BRA)
Bronze: Whitney Myers (USA)

Men's 200 Back
Gold: Stanislav Donets (RUS)
Silver: Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS)
Bronze: Ashley Delaney (AUS)

Women's 50 Fly
Gold: Therese Alshammar (SWE) 24.67 WR
Silver: Marieke Guehrer (AUS) 24.73
Bronze: Hinkelien Schreuder (NED)
*Note: The two rivals from last year's world cup continue their back-and-forth battle. Expect both to be under Guehrer's world record of 24.99.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicago 2016

I want a home Olympics. Desperately! Good luck to President Obama and all the U.S. delegation in Copenhagen tomorrow. For now...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Commonwealth Games Predix

Priyant of Behind the Blocks has made some Earlybird Commonwealth Games Predictions, and I felt the best way to show him the ones I disagree with would be with my own blog. So here goes:

Men's
50 Free
Both: George Bovell, Trinidad and Tobago

100 Free:
Priyant: Lyndon Ferns, South Africa
David: Brent Hayden, Canada

200 Free:
Both: Jean Basson, South Africa

400 Free:
Both: Ryan Cochrane, Canada

1,500 Free:
Priyant: David Davies, Wales
David: Ryan Cochrane, Canada

50 Back:
Both: Liam Tancock, Scotland

100 Back:
Both: Liam Tancock, Scotland

200 Back:
Priyant: James Goddard, England
David: Ashley Delaney, Australia

50 Breast:
Priyant: James Gibson, England
David: Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa

100 Breast:
Both: Brenton Rickard, Australia

200 Breast:
Both: Brenton Rickard, Australia

50 Fly:
Both: Matt Targett, Australia

100 Fly:
Priyant: Ryan Pini, Papua New Guinea
David: Andrew Lauterstein, Australia

200 Fly:
Both: Michael Rock, England

200 IM:
Both: James Goddard, England

400 IM:
Both: Thomas Haffield, Wales

4x100 Free Relay:
Both: Australia

4x200 Free Relay:
Priyant: England
David: Australia

4x100 Medley Relay:
Both: Australia

Women's:
50 Free:
Priyant: Fran Halsall, England
David: Cate Campbell, Australia

100 Free:
Both: Fran Halsall, England

200 Free:
Priyant: Caitlin McClatchey, Scotland
David: Joanne Jackson, England

400 Free:
Priyant: Joanne Jackson, England
David: Rebecca Adlington, England

800 Free:
Priyant: Joanne Jackson, England
David: Rebecca Adlington, England

50 Back:
Priyant: Emily Seebohm, Australia
David: Sophie Edington, Australia

100 Back:
Both: Emily Seebohm, Australia

200 Back:
Priyant: Elizabeth Simmons, England
David: Gemma Spofforth, England

50 Breast:
Both: Leisel Jones

100 Breast:
Both: Leisel Jones

200 Breast:
Both: Leisel Jones

50 Fly:
Priyant: Jessicah Schipper, Australia
David: Marieke Guehrer, Australia

100 Fly:
Both: Jessicah Schipper, Australia

200 Fly:
Both: Jessicah Schipper, Australia

200 IM:
Both: Stephanie Rice, Australia

400 IM:
Both: Hannah Miley, England

4x100 Free Relay:
Both: Australia

4x200 Free Relay:
Both: England

4x100 Medley Relay:
Both: Australia

I know I stopped disagreeing with him completely at the end! Probably, though, neither of us will get half the predix right! It's how it works!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poll: Records and Recognition

The 2009 championships season has come and gone, and the sport of swimming is in the middle of a transition away from performance-enhancing suits while swimmers around the world are trying to get last cracks at some of the few world records that remain on the books from before the tech suit revolution.

As we transition into 2010, the question is: how many world records will fall? Assuming high-tech suits are allowed in the World Cup and European Short Course championships, the bullrun of bullsuit world records is not over. Also, how many will be set in 2010 when these suits go away?

Picking standout swims and swimmers this year is harder than it has been in the past. For example, after the Beijing Games, it was clear that Michael Phelps and Stephanie Rice would be named World Swimmers of the Year. This year, though, there are three or four swimmers who could win the men's award and two or three the women's award. Who do you think will take home top honors?

Click here to take survey.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Swim Pics

Thought I'd share some of the best swim pics I've found over the last few years... Enjoy!


The French relay a year before... Fabien Gilot, Julien Sicot, Fred Bousquet, and Alain Bernard just happy to have won a medal, after taking bronze at the Worlds in Melbourne in 2007.



A mixture of relief and excitement for Aussie distance great Grant Hackett, after coming back from a mediocre Olympics up to that point in 2000 to take down his countryman Kieren Perkins to win his first of two 1,500 gold medals.


Michael Phelps working to catch up to the rest of the world after his six month hiatus post-Beijing. His red, white, and blue NBAC cap says "London 2012" on one side.



Ryan Lochte at a low-key meet at the University of Michigan, just months after taking down Aaron Peirsol in the 200 back at the 2007 Worlds in Melbourne, picking up his first individual gold on an international long course stage.



Lochte, looking very serious as he accepts the High Point award at the 2009 Nationals.



Famed sprinter and showman Gary Hall Jr., flexing the biceps before his gold in the 50 free in Sydney.



Frenchman Fred Bousquet at the 2008 Ohio State Grand Prix, following a mild upset of his training partner Cesar Cielo in the the 50 free.



One year later, as Bousuquet celebrates becoming the first man under 21 in the 50 free, his time nearly a second faster than that from Ohio State.




Another piece of history for Michael Phelps, as he becomes the first swimmer to claim the Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year award.




A standoff? Rafael Munoz and Milorad Cavic on the blocks before their final in the 50 fly in Rome.


Why else would FINA have allowed the full-polyurethane suits into the World champs?

Don't forget to check out my new article on Swimming World about the road "From Rome to London." Click here to read it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

U.S. Open

The U.S. Open starts tomorrow in Federal Way, Washington and continues through Saturday. Swimmers to look out for include Jessica Hardy, coming back off a year-long doping suspension; Nick Thoman, who finished 3rd by 0.01 at Nationals in the 100 back; Elaine Breeden, a 2008 Olympian who took third in both butterflys at Nationals; Kate Ziegler, a four-time distance World champ; World University champ Chad LaTourette; rising sprint star Jimmy Feigen; veterans Michael Klueh and Nick Brunelli; Pan Pac champion Whitney Myers; NCAA champion Lara Jackson; 2-time Olympian Margaret Hoelzer; and world 100 breast bronze medalist Kasey Carlson. Also, IMer-turned-sprinter George Bovell is tentatively scheduled to swim the 50 free on Saturday, coming off a seventh-place finish at Worlds, where he became the third-fastest man in history, by virtue of his swim-off time of 21.20.

Predictions for the meet:

(Example: gold/silver/bronze)

W 200 fly: E. Breeden (2:06.92)

M 200 fly: B. Bollier/H. Sano

W 200 breast: M. Taneda (JPN)/K. Freeman/E. Tinnon

M 200 breast: J. Criste/M. Lowe/R. Lovelace

W 800 free: K. Ziegler 8:27.69

M 1,500 free: C. LaTourette 14:55.39

W 400 IM: J. Mueller

M 400 IM: J. Brown/R. Margalis/B. Bollier

W 100 free: J. Hardy 54.66

M 100 free: J. Feigen 48.33/N. Brunelli/M. Klueh

W 200 back: M. Hoelzer 2:08.97/M. Meyer

M 200 back: N. Thoman 1:55.10/P. Roger (FRA)/P. Schirk

W 400 free: K. Ziegler 4:07.27

M 400 free: M. Klueh 3:46.57/C. LaTourette 3:46.99

W 100 fly: Elaine Breeden 57.58/W. Myers

M 100 fly: K. Kawamoto (JPN) 51.20 (NR*)

W 200 free: P. Castro (ESP)/K. Ziegler/W. Myers

M 200 free: M. Klueh 1:46.93/B. Bollier/R. Margalis

W 100 breast: K. Carlson 1:06.47/J. Hardy 1:07.10/K. Freeman

M 100 breast: M. Titus/M. Lowe/M. Alexandrov

W 100 back: M. Hoelzer 1:00.58

M 100 back: N. Thoman 52.66/B. Hesen/P. Roger (FRA)

W 1,500 free: K. Ziegler

W 200 IM: W. Myers/J. Mueller

M 200 IM: J. Brown/N. D'Innocenzo/R. Margalis

W 50 free: L. Jackson 24.47/J. Hardy 24.83

M 50 free: G. Bovell 21.51/J. Feigen 21.58/N. Brunelli

M 800 free: C. LaTourette 7:47.19/S. Rouault (FRA)

*I think Kawamoto's time will beat Takuro Fujii's Japanese record of 51.28.

Prelims begin at 9am, and finals start at 6pm. I will post the link to live results when available.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Roma 09: The Grand Finale

Couple things about prelims, then straight into my last predix:

- Men's 400 IM looks like a three-way race between Clary, Lochte, and Cseh. I like the way the Americans are set up for this one...

- Women's 400 IM should be a good one. Rice, Beisel, and Hosszu are all set up very well, but Kirsty Coventry is very dangerous from lane 1. That's the lane where she won Olympic silver from. I think three of these four women will comprise the medalists.

- Men's medley relay: There has been all this talk about France and Brazil and maybe Australia challenging the Americans in the medley relay, but the team that I'm most worried about is Germany. They had finalists in 2 out of 4 100 stroke events, a semi-finalist in another, and the gold medalists in the 200 and 400 free! Tell me they're not looming! An advantage for the Americans is that in all seven of the other teams, only two swimmers will be replaced (Cielo over Olivera for Brazil, Rickard over Sprenger for Australia), while the Americans have four fresh swimmers waiting to take the reigns.

Predix for the last SEVEN finals:

Men's 50 back:
Gold: Liam Tancock 25.12
Silver: Junya Koga 25.19
Bronze: Aschwin Wildeboer 25.30
*Bronze is wide open.

Women's 50 breast:
Gold: Yuliya Efimova 29.97 WR
Silver: Amanda Reason 30.19
Bronze: Sarah Katsoulis 30.22
*Also watch Americans Kasey Carlson and Rebecca Soni, and Canadian Annamay Pierse.

Men's 400 IM:
Gold: Laszlo Cseh 4:04.97
Silver: Ryan Lochte 4:05.18
Bronze: Tyler Clary 4:06.12

Women's 50 free:
Gold: Britta Steffen 23.89 WR
Silver: Cate Campbell 23.94
Bronze: Marleen Veldhuis 23.98
*Keep an eye on 2-time defending champion Libby Trickett.

Men's 1,500 free:
Gold: Ous Mellouli 14:35.89
Silver: Zhang Lin 14:36.33
Bronze: Ryan Cochrane 14:39.27
*There is a possibility that Grant Hackett's world record of 14:34.56 will fall. It is the oldest record on the books - in fact the only men's record remaining from pre-2008.

Women's 400 IM:
Gold: Kirsty Coventry 4:28.07 WR
Silver: Stephanie Rice 4:28.46
Bronze: Katinka Hosszu 4:30.07
*Coventry showed her back-end fitness in the 200 back, and look for that to pay off for her here. Hosszu has had the meet of her life, and expect that to continue. Watch for American Elizabeth Beisel.

Men's 400 medley relay:
Gold: United States (Peirsol, Shanteau, Phelps, Walters) 3:27.27 WR
Silver: Germany (Meeuw, Feldwehr, Starke, Biedermann) 3:28.57
Bronze: France (Stravius, Duboscq, Lefert, Bernard) 3:28.83
*Also watch for Brazil, featuring sprint king Cesar Cielo, and Australia, featuring 100 breast gold medalist Brenton Rickard.

***

This will be my last blog for a few days. I will be back soon enough to recap the whole meet and beginnning of the build-up from Rome to London.

Don't forget about the U.S. Open in Federal Way, Washington, Tuesday, August 4-Saturday, August 8, which will feature Jessica Hardy, returning from a year-long doping ban due to contaminated supplements; butterflyer Elaine Breeden, who took two third-place finishes at Nationals in Indianapolis; and backstroke star Nick Thoman, coming off missing the Worlds team by 0.01 in the 100 back. Also, George Bovell, ranked third all-time in the 50 free, is tentatively scheduled to swim.

The Australian National team returns Down Under for their short course nationals, which begin Saturday, August 8. They will be joined by Nick D'arcy, returning from being kicked off his country's team for Rome. Also keep an eye on British short course nationals, which will feature not only its own national team, but also that of Canada.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Roma 09: Day 7 Finals

Couple things about a great session of finals before I preview the last session of prelims.

- That 100 fly was classic. Both Phelps and Cavic were actually out faster than I expected and came back slower, but it was definitely the best race of the meet.

- The swims by Coventry and Beisel in the 200 back show that they are both medal threats in the 400 IM tomorrow... (more below)

- Dara Torres on twitter: "That is by far the happiest 8th place finish I've ever had...haha!! Never thought I'd say that being how competitive I am!" She just slipped into the eighth spot in the 50 free. Considering her ailing knee and inconsistent training from this year, she clearly does not expect the same from herself as she did last year. On the bright side, this may not be it for her quite yet...

Tomorrow's prelims:

Men's 400 IM: This race should be between the men who took silver and bronze in Beijing, Ryan Lochte of the U.S. and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary. They are also the second and third fastest performers in history. However, both are more than two seconds away from Michael Phelps' world record, so expect that to live past Roma, although Phelps' meet record from 2007 should fall. Both men are strong at all four strokes, but the race will really come down to who swims it the best. One main reason Cseh beat Lochte into third in Beijing was Lochte's misguided race strategy (as well as his illness). He took the butterfly and first 50 of backstroke out a little bit too fast, not leaving him with enough energy to use the breaststroke and freestyle as he has in the past. Another medal favorite is Tyler Clary, who has been 4:06.99. Expect Clary to be out in the first half of the race, considering fly and back are his best strokes, most likely under world record-pace. He will come back to the field on the breaststroke, his weakest stroke, but he has a very solid freestyle. Also there is Brazil's Thiago Pereira, who finished fourth in the 200 IM in Beijing and also here. In Beijing, he was fourth for most of this race, but faded to eighth on the last 50, proving that freestyle is by far his weakest stroke. Also watch two solid Italian IMers, Luca Marin, who won bronze behind Phelps and Lochte in Melbourne, and Alessio Boggiatto, who has taken fourth in this event for three straight Olympics, and also the 2001 world champ.

Women's 400 IM: Two women battled head-to-head for gold in Beijing, becoming the first two ever under 4:30, but the rest of the world has closed the gap. Stephanie Rice holds the world record and is coming off a silver in the 200 IM to American Ariana Kukors (who is not in the longer medley). However, the rest of her meet has been very mediocre, including bombing out of the 200 free. She could very well be back on top for one of her signature events. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, the Olympic silver medalist, did not swim well at the beginning of the meet, finishing fourth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 back, but she back-halfed her way to a world record in the 200 back. She will probably be under her best time tomorrow. Also watch for Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, who has had a brilliant meet so far. Going into this, her best event, the Southern California standout has already taken two bronzes, in the 200 fly and 200 IM. She definitely has the potential to get under 4:30 and medal. Great Britain's Hannah Miley is ranked fourth all-time, and she has had a great year, so expect her to challenge for a medal. Coming off a great swim in the 200 back, look for Elizabeth Beisel to be an outside medal threat. Italy's Alessia Filippi has already won a pair of medals in distance free, and the finalist in Beijing may have a chance for a medal here as well. American Julia Smit has not swum as well in Rome as she did at Nationals in Indianapolis, but she is a threat to final and has an outside podium shot.

Men's 400 medley relay: With the way the events of the meet have unfolded, it appears the only thing that could keep the Americans off the top of the podium is missing finals, like they did today in the women's relay. However, it shouldn't be a problem for the men, and with Aaron Peirsol*, Eric Shanteau, Michael Phelps, and Dave Walters, gold should be pretty certain. (If indeed they swim their B-team in prelims, it would consist of Matt Grevers*, Mark Gangloff, Tyler McGill, and Nathan Adrian.) A team with a real chance to get up on the podium and possibly challenge the Americans is Germany. They will have Helge Meeuw, the silver medalist in the 100 back; Hendrik Feldwehr, who made the 100 breast final; Benjamin Starke, a 100 fly semi-finalist; and then Paul Biedermann, their national record-holder (48.39 in an old suit) who has had an excellent week. (Their chance for a medal decreases if they do not swim Biedermann.) France should be good as well, with a superior breaststroker (Hugues Duboscq) and freestyler (Alain Bernard), as well as solid swimmers in the other strokes. Brazil has a surprisingly good relay, consisting of finalists in the 100 breast (Henrique Barbosa) and 100 fly (Gabriel Mangabeira) and the 100 free champion Cesar Cielo. Australia has a superb breaststroke leg with world champ Brenton Rickard, but the other swimmers don't have the firepower to match up with the favorites. Japan has 100 back world champion Junya Koga, but they will really fade towards the end. Other teams with chances to make the final eight include Russia, Great Britain, South Africa, and possibly New Zealand and Italy.

*Even though Grevers finished higher than Peirsol in the 100 back, Peirsol has the world record and swam unbelieveably in the 200 back, leading most to believe he will swim finals.

Roma 09: Day 7 Prelims

Okay, so not the best morning for the U.S. The fact that we didn't make the medley relay finals just shows how fast this meet is - the time swam this morning would have placed the Americans second in Beijing qualifying! The one advantage to not having a finals relay is seeing how far Rebecca Soni can take the 50 breast. She has shown much more speed this week than ever in the past, so I think she should be able to make the final, at the very least. 1,500 prelims were pretty slow, but a very famed world record may be in its last full day of existence. Really hope Dara can get into the 50 free finals. It's amazing how the meet's not over yet, and she's already saying she's coming back!

Not much else to say about this morning. I think world records in both the men's 50 back and women's 50 breast are gone after semis.

Predix for finals:

Women's 50 Fly:
Gold: Therese Alshammar 25.12
Silver: Marleen Veldhuis 25.22
Bronze: Marieke Guehrer 25.44

Men's 50 Free:
Gold: Cesar Cielo 20.86 WR
Silver: Fred Bousquet 20.89
Bronze: Amaury Leveaux 21.21
*Bronze is completely wide open among six guys!

Women's 200 Back:
Gold: Kirsty Coventry 2:04.69 WR
Silver: Gemma Spofforth 2:05.99
Bronze: Elizabeth Beisel 2:06.72
*Also watch Russia's Anastasia Zueva and Great Britain's Elizabeth Simmonds.

Men's 100 Fly:
Gold and Silver: Michael(s) ... (I will post the order on twitter right before the race) 49.78 (WR), 49.83
Bronze: Andrew Lauterstein 50.48

Women's 800 Free:
Gold: Rebecca Adlington 8:12.89 WR
Silver: Joanne Jackson 8:15.85
Bronze: Alessia Filippi 8:16.51
*Also watch Demark's Lotte Friis and Romania's Camelia Potec.

Women's 400 Medley Relay:
Gold: Australia (Emily Seebohm, Sarah Katsoulis, Jessicah Schipper, Libby Trickett) 3:52.17 WR
Silver: China (Zhao, Chen, Jiao, Li) 3:54.93
Bronze: Great Britain (Spofforth, Tynan, Gandy, Halsall) 3:55.67
*Also watch out for Germany's team of Samulski, Poewe, Melhorn, and Steffen, as well as the Netherlands.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Roma 09: Day 6 Finals

Even though six world records were set today, it was actually a relatively slow session!

- Both 200 breasts were completely random! Weird finishes, no world records, the world record-holders (from semis) not winning, etc.

- Some swim from Peirsol! That, with or without the X-Glide, was impressive. Very impressive.

- Russia had a bunch of chances to win the relay tonight but didn't take advantage of any of them! Actually, the only American that had a really good swim was Berens (2nd fastest split in history), with his 1:44.1, while Lochte was ok, considering he was coming off the 200 back, Walters was out waaaaay too fast, while Phelps was too tired. For the Russians, Lobinsev was perfect, while the middle guys kind of faltered (Izotov was slower than his individual bronze swim), and Sukhorukov was ok. Interesting race for sure.

- 50 free's gonna be a dogfight tomorrow. When a meet record is set in a swim-off for eight place, something's up! Anyone of the eight guys could (theoretically) win it. I'd love to see either of the Americans win it; both would be great stories.

Tomorrow's prelims:

Women's 50 free: Look for six girls to battle it out in the women's splash and dash. First is Britta Steffen, who looks to complete a wrap of both sprints at Worlds and the Olympics. Libby Trickett took second to Steffen in the 100 and is the two-time defending champ. Marleen Veldhuis holds the world record, and she had a great swim in the semis of the 50 fly, so she could be ready to pop off a good one. Therese Alshammar, the world record-holder in the 50 fly, will always be a threat in this event, as she took silvers both in Sydney in 2000, as well as in Melbourne two years ago. Don't count out the oldest and youngest swimmers in the field. On one end of the age spectrum is 17 year old Cate Campbell, the Olympic bronze medalist, who appears ready for a nice drop, while 42 year old Dara Torres, who finished just 0.01 behind Steffen in Beijing, tries to rebound from disappointing swims earlier in the 4x100 free relay and the 50 fly.

Women's 50 breast: The breaststrokes have been crapshoot events so far, and expect that to continue. The top three appear to be the Russian duo of Yuliya Efimova and Valentina Artemyeva and Canadian world record-holder Amanda Reason. Ironically, both Russians have swam faster than Reason. Look for the first sub-30 swim from one of these ladies. Also, watch for Americans Rebecca Soni and Kasey Carlson, and Canada's Annamay Pierse, all of whom have had great success in breaststroke events this week, and Aussies Sarah Katsoulis and Tarnee White, both of whom have amazing speed.

Men's 50 back: In the absence of world record-holder Randall Bal, the favorite appears to be the Japanese speedster who greatly benefited from Aaron Peirsol's absence in the 100 back. Junya Koga, always a better 50 swimmer, who is the second fastest swimmer ever, will be tough to beat. One man who can possibly do it, though, is Brit Liam Tancock, the bronze medalist in Melbourne and the third-fastest man in history. Other possibilities include Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer, the bronze medalist in the 100; Germans Thomas Rupprath, who held the world record for five years, and Helge Meeuw, the silver medalist in the 100, as well as Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie, who took silver in the 200 back. In addition, don't forget about defending world champ Gerhard Zandberg, even though he has not posted any top time this year. Americans Matt Grevers and Peirsol both have chances, but Peirsol will likely scratch at some point (in Melbourne, after qualifying 10th in prelims) to concentrate on the medley relay coming up.

Women's 4x100 medley relay: The rivalry between the Americans and the Aussies continues in this event. These two countries were the only two to have finalists in all four 100 stroke events, and this race looks to be even closer than last summer, with Leisel Jones, the only Aussie who beat her American counterpart, absent from Rome. The Aussies have medalists in the 100 back (Emily Seebohm, bronze), 100 fly (Jessicah Schipper, silver), and 100 free (Libby Trickett, bronze), while American Rebecca Soni won the 100 breast, and Amanda Weir and Dana Vollmer were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 100 free and 100 fly. On paper, it shapes up to be a close on, with Australia just slightly ahead. The top two contenders for the bronze both have three great swimmers, but weak breaststrokers. Great Britain is led by Gemma Spofforth, who won gold in the 100 back, and Fran Halsall, the silver medalist in the 100 free, while China has Zhao Jing, the gold medalist in the 50 back, and Jiao Liuyang, the silver medalist in the 100 fly. No other country appears to have the speed to come close to these four.

Expected line-ups:
Australia prelims: Belinda Hocking, Tarnee White, Felicity Galvez, Marieke Guehrer
Australia finals: Emily Seebohm, Sarah Katsoulis, Jessicah Schipper, Libby Trickett
USA prelims: Liz Pelton, Kasey Carlson, Christine Magnuson, Julia Smit*
USA finals: Hayley McGregory, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, Amanda Weir

*With the coaches likely resting Vollmer, Smit could swim the free leg, or Magnuson could take free with Mary Descenza swimming fly.

Men's 1,500 free: The top swimmers in the men's mile appear to be the ones who took home hardware in the 800 free: Zhang Lin of China, Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, and Ryan Cochrane of Canada. What order they finish in is anyone's guess at this point. Look for them to challenge the once-unbeatable world record of the great Grant Hackett. Zhang knocked six and a half seconds off Hackett's world record in the 800, but Mellouli and Cochrane have better track records in this event, having finished 1-3 around Hackett in this event in Beijing. Other swimmers to keep an eye on include Russia's Yuri Prilukov, the 2007 silver medalist, and Great Britain's David Davies, who took bronze at the last two world champs, as well as Korea's Park Tae Hwan, the Olympic gold medalist in the 400, coming off a very disappointing week; hometown favorite Federico Colbertaldo, who was tenth in Beijing; as well as Zhang's teammate, Sun Yang, eighth in this event in Beijing. Australia has long been a power in this race, but with the retirements of Grant Hackett and Craig Stevens, both swimmers (Robert Hurley and Ryan Napolean) have outside chances to final, at best. On the American side, Larsen Jensen and Erik Vendt have both retired, Peter Vanderkaay has passed on the event, and Chad LaTourette, who could be the next great American distance swimmer, is not in Rome, having swum in the World University Games. The swimmers representing the red, white, and blue, are Texas sophomore Jackson Wilcox and North Baltimore swimmer (and Katie Hoff's boyfriend) Brendan Morris. Both of them have a long way to go to get into the final.

Roma 09: Day 6 Prelims

Only five more sessions to go at the Foro Italico, so here's my take on today's heats:

- Feel bad for Libby Trickett, missing the semis of the 50 fly, just like she did in 2007. Hopefully she can come back for the 100 free tonight...

- Russia will be a big challenge to the Americans in the 800 free relay tonight. They will bring in Danila Izotov, the 200 free bronze medalist, as well as Nikita Lobinsev, who made that final. On paper, this could be really close...

Not much else to say, pretty uneventful, so here are my finals predix:

W 100 Free:
Gold: Britta Steffen 52.29
Silver: Libby Trickett 52.41
Bronze: Fran Halsall 52.97
*Bronze is COMPLETELY wide open!

M 200 Back:
Gold: Ryosuke Irie 1:52.56 WR
Silver: Aaron Peirsol 1:52.70
Bronze: Ryan Lochte 1:53.09
*Solid tandem for the top 3. Their finishing order is anyone's guess.

W 200 Breast:
Gold: Rebecca Soni 2:19.34 WR
Silver: Annamay Pierse 2:19.87
Bronze: Mirna Jukic 2:21.06
*Look for Soni to re-claim her World Record after completely cruising in the semi-finals.

M 200 Breast:
Gold: Eric Shanteau 2:07.04 WR
Silver: Daniel Gyurta 2:07.29
Bronze: Brenton Rickard 2:07.33
*Don't forget about world record-holder Christian Sprenger!

M 800 Free Relay:
Gold: United States (Phelps, Lochte, Berens, Walters) 6:54.57 WR
Silver: Russia (Lobinsev, Izotov, Polishuk, Sukhorukov) 6:56.21
Bronze: Autralia (Murphy, Monk, Ffrost, D'Orsogna) 7:01.94
*U.S. will battle Russia for the gold, while the Aussies take on Japan for the bronze.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roma 09: Day 5 Finals

Tonight's finals session was among the more "Where did that come from!" sessions of an already out there meet. Some sentences about tonight:

- Good night for China! Two golds and a silver... I can't believe that Swimnetwork.com predicted that China would medal in the relay, and I didn't, and then China wins! I think the main reasons that happened were: 1) the U.S. leading off with Vollmer (a much better relay swimmer) instead of Schmitt (who had a poor exchange), and 2) Nymeyer going slower than in prelims. Whatever. Women have another chance to win a relay (for a change).

- Who would have thought Christian Sprenger would be the one to break Kitajima's record? Talk about out of nowhere! Remember, the guy went 2:12 in the Aussie Trials in March (in a blueseventy, no less)! Eric Shanteau's in a perfect spot, and I really like Daniel Gyurta as well. It should be a good race in the finals.

- Lochte may have a tough time battling Peirsol and Irie in the 200 back when he's in lane 2. I really hope that it won't be a problem for him. Can't see the medals going to anyone but those three.

- Sad for Mary Descenza missing the podium in the 200 fly, but she has made the breakthrough to the world stage, and hopefully she can keep that momentum going. Not to mention she broke Misty Hyman's legendary American record by more than a second and a half!

- Adam Klein was DQ'ed in the 200 breast in the prelims. Anyone know why and what he would have gone without the DQ?

Tomorrow's prelims - busy day with SIX events:

Men's 50 free: After taking gold in the 100 free today, Brazil's Cesar Cielo, the Olympic champ, looks to be the clear favorite for gold in the shorter distance. His main competition will be his training partner, France's Fred Bousquet, who currently holds the world record. Both men look capable of eclipsing the world record of 20.94 set by Bousquet in March. There will be a big race for the bronze behind the two Auburn men. One of the favorites is American Cullen Jones, who set an American record at Nationals. There is also Bousquet's French teammate Amaury Leveaux, who took silver behind Cielo in Beijing, but Leveaux has not swum well this week. A man who has had a mixed week is American Nathan Adrian, after a relay gold but missing the 100 final. Also watch out for the men who took silver and bronze in 2004, Duje Draganja of Croatia and Roland Schoeman of South Africa.

Women's 50 fly: Three or four women will battle for the title in the sprint fly. Marleen Veldhuis holds the world record, but she has not swam her best this meet, but after several days of rest, look for her to be near her best, 25.33. Therese Alshammar was world champ in Melbourne in 2007 and has had a very good year thus far. Both of these girls are in their 30s, but they are babies compared to the top American, Dara Torres. Torres set an American record of 25.50 at Nationals and is the third fastest woman in history. This may be her best shot at a medal in Rome. Also watch out for Aussies Marieke Guehrer and Libby Trickett, both medal contenders, and American Christine Magnuson, trying to come back from a disappointing swim in the 100 fly, where she missed the final.

Men's 100 fly: This will be a re-match between the men who finished within one one-hundredth of a second of each other in Beijing. Michael Phelps, the world record-holder, who already took gold in the 200 fly, versus Milorad Cavic, who took the 50 fly crown. Both men look capable of breaking the vaunted 50-second barrier, and this race will be just as tight as it was in Beijing. Another swimmer who could challenge for a medal and possibly the 50-second barrier is Spain's Rafael Munoz. Munoz, however, did not have a very good finals swim in the 50 fly, an event in which he holds the world record. His best is 50.46, so he cannot be counted out. Other possibilities include Australia's Andrew Lauterstein, the Beijing bronze medalist, who has a best time 50.93, and World University Games champ, Jason Dunford of Kenya, who has also swam under 51.

Women's 200 back: Coming into the week, this was all Kirsty Coventry. The Olympic champ and world record-holder was expected to run away with this title. However, coming into her best event, she has yet to win a medal. She could still win, but she will be pushed by Great Britain's Gemma Spofforth, who stormed home in the back-half of the 100 back to claim gold. She has a great chance to take double gold. There is also 16-year old American Elizabeth Beisel, who was fifth in Beijing, and she is another medal contender, as one of two women in the field (the other being Coventry) to ever swim sub-2:07. Also watch out for Russia's Anastasia Zueva, who took fourth in Beijing and silver earlier in the 100, Spofforth's teammate Elizabeth Simmons, a finalist in the 100 who is better in the longer distance, American rookie Eilzabeth Pelton, Aussie Belinda Hocking, and France's Alexianne Castel. Italy's Alessia Fillipi will probably pass on the 200 back to concentrate on the 800 free.

Men's 800 free relay: The U.S. men are the favorites in this relay for sure, although they do not look invincible as they had coming into the meet. Four Russian men, Danila Izotov, the 200 free bronze medalist, Nikita Lobinsev, Alexander Sukhorukov, and Evgeni Lagunov, the same four who took silver in Beijing, look to spoil the party. Dave Walters, Peter Vanderkaay, Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, Ryan Lochte, and Davis Tarwater are the Americans who will try defend the 2 consecutive world and 2 consecutive Olympic crowns the Americans have won in this relay. This race shapes up to be much closer than it was once expected to be, especially after Izotov's bronze in the 200 and Russia's superb performance in the 400 free relay. However, the Americans still look like they have the firepower to get it done. The favorite for bronze now looks to be Australia. With Kenrick Monk, who finalled in the 200 free; Patrick Murphy, who led off the Beijing relay in 1:45.9; Nick Ffrost, who anchored in 1:46-flat; and Tommasso D'Orsongna, who split 47.7 on the 400 free relay, they are in strong position. Italy is missing national record-holder Marco Belotti, but they still have Filippo Magnini, who has the fastest relay split in history. Canada will have Brent Hayden, fourth tonight in the 100 free, and Great Britain also has a solid team.

Women's 800 free: Five women will battle for the crown as the top women's distance swimmer in the world. The favorite is Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington, the Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder, who earlier claimed bronze in the 400 free. She has the potential to crush her mark of 8:14.10. She will be pushed by her teammate, Joanne Jackson, who was second in the 400 free and fourth in the 200 free already. Then there are the three medalists in the 1,500 free, Italy's Alessia Filippi, Denmark's Lotte Friis, and Romania's Camelia Potec. All three can dip well under the once-vaunted 8:20 barrier and give the Brits a run for their money. No one else is expected to challenge, though keep an eye on American Chloe Sutton, who looks to rebound from a disappointing eighth in the 1,500.

Roma 09: Day 5 Prelims

A few notes about prelims, then right into predix:

- Why couldn't Amanda Weir have gone 53.2 on the relay on night 1? She was 1.27 faster today in prelims! If she had led off with that, then Dara would have gone at least another second faster, and the Americans would have medalled!

- Three other semis tonight in the men's 200 back, women's 200 breast, and men's 200 breast. More on those later...

- Women's 800 free relay looks to be a two-country race, as I have said all along. The top four times from the United States and Great Britain separate them by less than a second...

Predix:

M 200 IM:
Gold: Ryan Lochte 1:53.98 WR
Silver: Laszlo Cseh 1:54.47
Bronze: Eric Shanteau 1:55.64

M 100 Free:
Gold: Alain Bernard 46.92 WR
Silver: Cesar Cielo 46.99
Bronze: Fred Bousquet 47.34
*Bronze appears to be wide open

W 200 Fly:
Gold: Jiao Liuyang 2:03.81 WR
Silver: Jessicah Schipper 2:03.90
Bronze: Mary Descenza 2:04.13 AR
*Also watch Hungary's Katinka Hosszu and China's Liu Zige

W 50 Back:
Gold: Anastasia Zueva 27.29 WR
Silver: Emily Seebohm 27.40
Bronze: Daniela Samulski 27.42
*Another relatively wide open field

W 800 Free Relay:
Gold: United States (Schmitt, Kukors, Nymeyer, Vollmer) 7:41.89
Silver: Great Britain (Jackson, McClatchey, Carlin, Adlington) 7:42.53
Bronze: Italy (Spagnolo, Filippi, Carpenese, Pellegrini) 7:46.87
*Any one of five or six teams could get bronze

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Roma 09: Day 4 Finals

A few notes about tonight:

- ALL HAIL MICHAEL PHELPS!

- Men's 100 free, women's 50 back and women's 200 fly will all be dogfights tomorrow. Almost anyone in all of the field could win medals. More tomorrow morning...

- Great day for the Americans! Finally on top of the medals count. (The Americans have led the gold count for a while, but the Aussies were led all medals until they won zero medals today, to the Americans' four!) Things are starting to get better after a somewhat mediocre start to the meet, especially for the men. The ladies are beginning to asert themselves as a much better all-around team than we saw in Beijing, and they could be on track to win a relay tomorrow, something we didn't see in Beijing.

- Men's 200 IM shapes up to be a big fight between Lochte and Cseh tomorrow, but I thought Cseh looked REALLY tired tonight, while Lochte looked like he had plenty left.

- Women's 200 free: 1:52 out of Pellegrini... beating Schmitt by 2 seconds on her way to becoming the second fastest swimmer in history...

- Men's 800... WOW! I really hope Hackett's 1,500 record lives on, but it's not looking likely right now...

As we look ahead to tomorrow:

Women's 100 Free: Looks like a re-match from Beijing, Steffen vs. Trickett, with Trickett at an obvious disadvantage, after saying she will stick with the LZR for her individual swims. Also watch out for Sarah Sjostrom, coming off her brilliant 100 fly. She should be the favorite for bronze, with Marleen Veldhuis having scratched. Also watch out for Fran Halsall, who swam a 53.02 on her prelim relay lead-off.

Men's 200 Back: The top three backstrokers in history face off in this one: Lochte, Peirsol, Irie. Peirsol and Irie are both trying to bounce back from disappointing swims in the 100 back, while Lochte has not yet swum an individual final. All three could break 1:53...

Women's 200 Breast: Already the world champ in the 100, Rebecca Soni comes in as the clear favorite for the 200, although she will have competition, especially from Annamay Pierse, the 3rd fastest swimmer in history; Mirna Jukic, who was fourth in Beijing; Yuliya Efimova, who blazed the backhalf in the 100 (actually faster than Soni) on her way to silver in that event; and others. Look for the first 2:19 in history!

Men's 200 Breast: The favorite for this event is Eric Shanteau, the second-fastest swimmer in history, who already set an American record in finishing fourth in the 100. Shanteau could very well eclipse Kosuke Kitajima's world record of 2:07.51. His main challengers will come from Australia's Brenton Rickard and France's Hugues Duboscq, who finished 1-2 in the 100 earlier, as well as a 2-3 behind Kitajima in this event in Beijing. Also watch out for Hungary's Daniel Gyurta, the silver medalist in this event in Athens; his 100 time earlier is a sign of a blazing 200 to come. Other contenders include Brazil's Henrique Barbosa and Germany's Marco Koch.

Women's 800 Free Relay: This relay will be a two-country race: the Brits versus the Yanks. Great Britain is led by Rebecca Adlington and Joanne Jackson, who took 2-3 behind Pellegrini in the 400 free, while Americans Allison Schmitt and Dana Vollmer took 2-3 behind Pellegrini in the 200. The race will depend on the 3rd and 4th swimmers. Brits Caitlin McClatchey (9th in the 200) and Jazmin Carlin look to fill those slots, while the Americans will probably turn to 200 IM gold medalist Ariana Kukors and teen phenom Dagny Knutson. Look for those two countries to be well ahead of the field, while a dogfight for bronze unfolds. Contenders include Italy, with Pellegrini and Alessia Filippi; China, with Pang Jiaying and Yang Yu; and France, led by Coralie Balmy. Australia took bronze in this event in Beijing, but they only return 2 of the 4 swimmers from Beijing, and both of those two are off form from last summer. With Meagan Nay out of the meet, they should swim Ellen Fullerton (1:57.4 in the 200 free semis), Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, and Felicity Galvez, with Merindah Dingjan their alternate.