Friday, May 15, 2009

Wow, it's Phelps again!

Tonight, we saw a different Michael Phelps than we had seen in a while. It wasn't the Phelps that was caught sleeping at the Ohio State Grand Prix or falling out of a car and breaking his hand. It most certainly wasn't the Phelps that was caught smoking a bong at the University of South Carolina six months ago. It was the Phelps the entire world saw nine months ago, when he provided us with a week-long thrill ride that I will remember forever.

Before prelims this morning, I wrote down some times that I thought would be a good showing from Phelps. I said 1:46.3-1:47-flat in the 200 Free and 51.6-51.9 in the 100 Fly. I thought those times may be a little bit of a stretch. Phelps himself said he was expecting 1:47-high in the 200 Free. I knew that Vanderkaay would be good tonight, as he has posted some really fast times in the lead up. I thought that maybe he could beat Phelps. Instead, wearing an FS-Pro Legskin (compared to LZR full bodies for the others) Phelps threw down the second fastest time in the world (trailing China's Zhang Lin, 1:45.83), a time only three tenths slower than his best time last year at this point.

Same in the 100 Fly. Out in third place, he blazed home to a 51.72, ninth in the world this year, a time which would have placed anyone else third at the 2007 Worlds behind Phelps and Crocker. He moves one one-hundreth of a second ahead of Milorad Cavic, previously no. 9 at 51.73. Strange, anyone?

Some other points about finals:
  • Davis Tarwater had a GREAT swim in the 200 Free of 1:47.35. I've been looking at the contenders for the relay lately, and that swim puts him into the front runner position to make the World Championship team in that event.
  • Dagny Knutson also had a really swift 200 Free. Her 1:58.63 was less than a second off her best time from Jr. Pan Pacs, and will really help a relay in need of some help this summer.
  • Mark Gangloff and Eric Shanteau both posted stellar times in the 100 Breast. Gangloff's 1:00.18 was only 0.08 off his PB (3rd fastest American in history), and Shanteau was also not too far off his best from the Austin Grand Prix (1:00.09), with a 1:00.63.
  • Christine Magnuson and Mary Descenza put up solid times in the 100 Fly. I wrote down predictions for the US World team this past weekend, and they were my picks for the 100 Fly, so things are looking their way.
  • Just a backstroker? Aaron Peirsol is proving this statement wrong, as he swam a 1:49 in the 200 Free and two 53.5s in the 100 Fly.
  • Ryan Lochte had a poor swim in the 200 Free prelims, but rebounded a little bit to win the B-final wit ha 1:50.58, the fifth best time overall, behind Phelps, Vanderkaay, Tarwater, and Peirsol.

Nothing much else to say about finals. The 100 Back will be quite a race tomorrow. Lochte seems a little sluggish here, so I'm not so sure about his chances. I think it'll be Peirsol and Phelps, with Thoman and Lochte as darkhorses. Phelps vs. Bousquet on Sunday in the 100 Free will be quite a match race.

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