Tuesday, April 21, 2009

French Nationals and Speedo Grand Challenge

Starting tomorrow, French nationals! Featuring Olympic champion Alain Bernard, short course World Record-holder Amaury Leveaux, Olympic finalist Coralie Balmy, and silver medalists Fabien Gilot and Fred Bousquet. The races for the single spots up for grabs in the 50 and 100 Free will be spectacular to say the least.To view the French swimming federation's homepage, click here. They run until Sunday, April 26.

In addition, one of Beijing's stars will return for his first meet in America since the Olympic trials. Yes, Jason Lezak is back, and he will swim at the pool where he was based for many years before he became his own coach in 2006. He will be joined by Tunisian Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli, who will star in the distance events. Other prominent names on the psych sheet include NCAA Champion and American record holder (SCY) Michael Klueh, Short Course National champion William Copeland, Olympic trials finalists Keri Hehn and Presley Bard, and Longhorn's Tanica Jameson, Dale Rogers, and Matt Lowe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

South African Nationals

Today the South African Nationals got off the a rousing start, and I just want to leave a few notes:

Roland Schoeman - 21.81! Pretty fast! I keep thinking he may go 21.5 or 21.6 tomorrow!

Cameron van der Burgh 1:00.28 in the 100 Breast - will challenge his national record of 59.96 (Beijing prelims) tomorrow. He sits well ahead of Neil Versfeld and William Diering, and just behind Eric Shanteau's number one world ranking (1:00.09).

Darian Townsend led off his club's winning 400 Free Relay with a solid 49.1 - needs to be better than that in the individual, but he's got time.

If you look at the results of the women's 50 Free and 100 Breast, you will see a somewhat familiar name in the 11th spot for both events: Jean-Marie Neethling. Yes, this 18-year old is the youngest sister of four-time Olympian Ryk Neethling. (Says so in his book, Chasing the Dream)

PLEASE vote on my polls! I've had very few votes so far.

Click here for full results from the meet.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Poll: French Nationals and South African Nationals

What do you think will happen in the men's sprints at the upcoming French and South African nationals?

France poll closes Wednesday, April 22, while South Africa poll closes Wednesday, April 15.

Current results - Men's 4x100 Free Relay in Rome - poll closes Sunday, May 2.
USA 40%
France 60%

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Upcoming Meets

Trials season is in full swing for many countries around the world, and a series of upcoming meets will decide who's going to Rome. Some of these include:
April 14-19 - South African Nationals
April 22-26 - French Nationals
April 24-26 - Speedo Grand Challenge (Irvine)
May 14-17 - Charlotte Ultra-Swim

South African Nationals: THIS WEEK - starts Tuesday! I am really looking forward to this meet. This meet features swimming stars such as Roland Schoeman, who won three medals in Athens, along with his gold medal relay mates Lyndon Ferns and Darian Townsend. Schoeman and Ferns have returned to South Africa to train after many years with Frank Busch and Rick de Mont at the University of Arizona. Townsend, who is still at Arizona, is expected to post strong swims in the 100 and 200 Free, 100 Fly, and 200 IM. In December, he swam lifetime bests of 48.64 and 1:57.88 in the 100 Free and 200 IM, respectively. He also came up just shy of Lyndon Ferns' African record in the 100 Fly with a blistering 52.02. He also has a 47.5 relay split from Beijing to his credit. He will be on fire.* Also watch out for Olympic finalist Jean Basson (100/200/400 Free), Troyden Prinsloo (800/1,500 Free), Neil Versfeld (50/100/200 Breast), and Wendy Trott (400/800/1,500 Free), who all had stellar meets at the NCAA championships, winning one event apiece. Also, South Africa-based Cameron van der Burgh (WR-holder 50/100 Breast short course), who recently spent some time working with Kosuke Kitajima's coach, and Gerhard Zandberg will be present. Four-time Olympian Ryk Neethling and Auburn-based Gideon Louw will not be in Durban, Neethling possibly having retired. (Check out Ryk's new book, Chasing the Dream!)

French Nationals: The stars of the meet will probably be those four guys: Amaury Leveaux, Fabien Gilot, Frederik Bousquet, and Alain Bernard, the men who almost upset the American 400 Free Relay team in Beijing. Bernard, the gold medalist, has been pre-selected for the 100 Free, but may swim it anyway as the other three go for the final spot. Remember, the world record is Eamon Sullivan's 47.05, and Bernard's European and French record is 47.20. In the 50, Leveaux is the one who is pre-selected, based on his silver medal from Beijing. Bernard will take on Bousquet, the current world leader in the event, to try to earn the single spot. I really believe that Bousquet will break the world record of 21.28 (Sullivan) after his swims of 21.59 and 21.44 already this year. On the female side, Olympic finalist and former short course world record holder Coralie Balmy will headline the middle-distance and distance freestyle events.

Charlotte Ultra-Swim: The only thing I have to say: Michael Phelps' first meet since Beijing will be less than 200 miles from where I live, and I won't be there! We are only 33 days away...

Just saying... 2-time World Champion and World Championship record holder Filippo Magnini is ranked 1st in the world in the 100 Free (right now) at 48.11, a tine that means relatively little these days. This matches his best time from the semi-finals of the Olympics. If you put two and two together, you'll understand: a time that would have won all past world championships didn't make the final in Beijing. Scary.

*Regarding Darian Townsend: For four months, Darian has been blogging for floswimming.org. That's where I found the info about his times. Check it out!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Re-match Poll - Men's 4x100 Free Relay

Who will win the big re-match in Rome - USA or France? Results posted above.

Does Nick D'arcy DESERVE to swim in Rome and possibly London?
YES - 62.5%
NO - 37.5%

NEWS FLASH! Spain's Rafael Munoz has set a World and European record in the Spanish championships. The bronze medalist in the 50 Fly at the '08 European short course championships, Munoz achieved a long course 50 Fly standard of 22.43, absolutely DESTROYING Roland Schoeman's World Record of 22.96 from 2005 and Milorad Cavic's European record of 23.11 from last year. In the 100 Fly, he swam 50.58, tying Michael Phelps' gold medal swim from Bejing as the second fastest in history; it was a European record, one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Cavic's silver-medal winning time from the Olympics. For more information, click here. Also, Aschwin Wildeboer swam a stellar 52.93 European record in the 100 Back, making him the fourth fastest performer all-time (sixth fastest time), trailing Americans Peirsol, Bal, and Thoman.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

100 Fly Poll Results

Here are the results from the Australian Women's 100 Fly poll:

Galvez - 47.8%
Trickett - 52.2%

Galvez 26.1%
Trickett 73.9%

Galvez DESERVES, Galvez WILL 21.7%
Galvez DESERVES, Trickett WILL 26.1%
Trickett DESERVES, Galvez WILL 4.3%
Trickett DESERVES, Trickett WILL 47.8%

The official decision was made the day this poll closed (all votes received BEFORE this decision). It turns out most voters were wrong - Galvez will be swimming the 100 Fly in Rome.

Last chance to vote on Nick D'arcy's rights to swim in Rome and possibly London! Poll closes tomorrow! Tomorrow's new poll will highlight a classic rematch from Beijing, one that needs no introduction...

Editor's note: I know most big-time swim fans have already narrowed what this could be down to two!