A few notes about tonights finals and a look forward to prelims:
- Swims tonight by both Paul Biedermann and Mike Cavic prove that they will be very tough competition for Phelps throughout the meet. I don't think Rafael Munoz will be as big a factor as we previously thought, especially after his disappointing performance in the 50 fly today. The picture on the right is of Cavic and Munoz right before they dove in. Remind anyone of Phelps and Cavic in Beijing?
- Even though Eric Shanteau was just shut out of the medals today in the 100 breast, I think he is still in a REALLY good position heading into the rest of the week. A trio of medals are all but his. He is he favorite in the 200 breast, where there will be heavy competition from gold and silver medalists in the 100 Brenton Rickard and Hugues Duboscq (who were also 2-3 in the 200 in Beijing), as well as 2004 silver medalist Daniel Gyurta. Based on the incredible 2:08.01 he posted earlier in the year, along with his incredible back-half split today, I think he is the favorite. He is the third fastest man ever in the 200 IM, and with Laszlo Cseh feeling under the weather coming in, he could be able to grab a silver. And then there is the medley relay, where the Americans are practically guarenteed a medal (barring a DQ...), quite possibly gold.
- Especially with Marleen Veldhuis out of the 100 free (to focus on the 50 free and 50 fly), Sarah Sjostrum is definitely one of the favorites now for a medal. Her 56.06 in the 100 fly proves that she may be able to go 52. Right now, Britta Steffen and Libby Trickett are clearly the top 2, but Sjostrum is a looming threat. The superb times posted by Jessicah Schipper and Jiao Liuyang in the 100 fly makes a 2:03 a distinct possibility coming up in the 200 fly.
- My reaction to Ariana Kukors amazing 2:06! - WOW! A bullsuit can only help so much... certainly no more than 2 secs! No matter what people say about the suit helping her out, there is no question that she would have won that race under any suit rules.
M 50 Breast: Look for Cameron van der Burgh, the former world record-holder (in the older Arena suit) to be the favorite, having already posted a pair of meet records in this event as splits in the prelims and semis of the 100 breast. Also, there is world record-holder Felipe Silva (26.89), along with Mark Gangloff, who looks to bounce back from a very disappointing 100. Also watch the Italians, with Alessandro Terrin and 2-time 100 free world champ Filippo Magnini.
M 200 Fly: Michael Phelps, the crystal clear favorite, should cruise into semis. Also watch for Olympic bronze medalist Takeshi Matsuda, his US teammate Tyler Clary, and Olympic finalists Moss Burmester, Nikolai Skvortsov, and Kaio Almeida. Of note, Olympic silver medalist Laszlo Cseh is not swimming the event.
W 200 Free: This looks to be all Federica Pellegrini, the world record-holder and already the 400 free gold medalist. I can't see anyone within a second and a half of her. The Americans, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt, have both looked good in Rome and are medal threats. Also watch Great Britain's Caitlin McClatchey and Joanne Jackson, the silver medalist in the 400. Other contenders are Australia's Stephanie Rice, and Olympic minor medalists Sara Isokovic of Slovenia and Pang Jiaying of China.
M 800 Free: The clear favorite here is "defending champion" Ous Mellouli (he won the title, but it was stripped because of a positive drug test). His main threats are China's 400 free medalist Zhang Lin; Ryan Cochrane of Canada, the 1500 bronze medalist from Beijing; European record-holder Yuri Prilukov; and multi-time 1500 medalist David Davies of Great Britain. Also watch Peter Vanderkaay of the US, who has a strong chance to make finals, and Robert Hurley of Australia.
I'll write more about this later, but I really want (no offense to any of them) one of the seven guys besides Matt Grevers to get food poisoning and withdraw so Aaron Peirsol can swim. Also, there is now controversy about the backstroke leg of the medley relay. To see the arguements, click here.