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.

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