Monday, May 31, 2010

April/May Swimmers of the Month

Since most international athletes had a down month in May, and I never did April awards, I'll do the awards together. Some very fast swimming over the past few months, and I'm getting very excited for the summer - shockingly, I know! Let me know what you guys think.

Pacific Rim - Gao Chang (China) and Ryo Tateishi (Japan)

Africa - Wendy Trott and Roland Schoeman (both South Africa)

European - Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) and Yannick Agnel (France)

America - Rebecca Soni and Nick Thoman (both USA)
Honorable mention: Liz Pelton and Eric Shanteau (both USA) and Thiago Pereira (Brazil)

Additionally, I'm gonna give my picks for High School Swimmer of the Year. Swimming World will unveil the winners in its July issue. I think the winners should be: Dagny Knutson and Vlad Morozov.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Speedo Grand Challenge

The Grand Challenge is the first in a series of meets in Southern California in the lead-up to Nationals. It will run Friday, May 28 to Sunday, May 30. The meet is held in Irvine, California at the William Wollett Aquatics Center, the same pool which will hold Nationals in just two months. As is the case most years, they have assembled a huge field of U.S. National teamers and foreign stars. Some swimmers from FAST will be there, as will Dave Salo's squad from the "International Center of Excellence" at USC. Some swimmers from Cal and Stanford will be there, as will U.S. relay hero Jason Lezak. Unfortunately, none of the major outlets have from-the-deck coverage of the meet, but live results will be available, and recaps will be available on following each session. You can view the psych sheet here.

The Grand Challenge is unique in holding four-swimmer finals. They hold two consolation finals of eight swimmers before the final four take the blocks. Third place in the finals receives $100, second place $200, and first place gets anywhere from $300-$1,000, decided by spinning a "Mystery Wheel," which can also change how money is awarded.

A quick preview of the races:

Women's Races:

Two of the top female swimmers in Irvine are Trojan teammates Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy. Soni dominated the breaststrokes at the Charlotte UltraSwim, posting blazing times of 1:05 and 2:22. Expect another dominating 200, but Soni and Hardy will battle it out in the 100, as they do so often. Hardy, meanwhile, will also be a top contender in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

FAST's Ariana Kukors, the world record-holder in the 200 IM; her teammate Katie Hoff, a former world champion in both IMs; and Stanford's Julia Smit should have good races in both IMs. Could be very fast. Hoff, meanwhile, will go head-to-head with Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton, the youngster who has dominated the distance races on the Grand Prix circuit.

Another big race is the women's 200 fly, where Stanford's Elaine Breeden, the NCAA champion, will go head-to-head with USC's Katinka Hosszu, the Hungarian who won bronze in this event at the Worlds in Rome. Other international players on the women's side include FAST's Margaret Hoelzer and Kara Lynn Joyce, both two-time Olympians, and Stanford's Kate Dwelley, a member of the U.S. World Championship team.

Men's Races:

The most anticipated races of the meet will be the men's sprints, where 50 and 100 free national champion Nathan Adrian will face off against the great Jason Lezak. Also, the men's backstrokes will be competitive with double Olympic silver medalist from 2004 Markus Rogan, short course 50 back world record-holder Peter Marshall, and Cal-trained David Russell, Mathias Gydesen, and Guy Barnea.

The most decorated individual swimmer at the meet is Japan's Kosuke Kitajima, who won gold in both breaststrokes at the last two Olympics. He is the class of the field in both breaststrokes, but he could get some pressure from Cal's Damir Dugonjic and Sean Mahoney.

Another big race will be Tyler Clary vs. Thiago Pereira in the 400 IM, who finished second and fourth, respectively, at the Worlds in Rome. Clary recently relocated to FAST while Pereira now trains with Dave Salo at USC.

The 400 and 1,500 free could be interesting races as well, where Stanford's Chad LaTourette, the young hope in American distance swimming, will face off against Texas-based Michael Klueh. In addition, Cal's break-out swimmer of NCAA's Tom Shields will make his long course season-debut in Irvine, which will include a race with Kenya's Jason Dunford in the 100 fly. Dunford's brother David, who just finished his eligibility at Stanford, will also compete, as will some experienced swimmer's new to FAST: Charlie Houchin, who just graduated from Michigan; rising Stanford junior Bobby Bollier; and U.S. Olympian and 2004 bronze medalist in the 400 free relay Gabe Woodward.

Friday, May 21, 2010

David "The Swim Geek" Rieder

Hey, I'm PROUD to be given such a distinction, by Garrett McCaffrey no less! I did this video with him after Saturday finals at the Charlotte UltraSwim. This blog will be back on full swing next week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Charlotte UltraSwim From the Deck

The Charlotte UltraSwim was an amazing experience for me. As Garrett put it in the recap video I did with him on Saturday night, I was in swim geek heaven. I’d never been to any meet with Olympians swimming, so it was quite something to see Phelps, Lochte, Berens, Soni, and Knutson all warming up when I got to the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center on Friday afternoon. I recognized coaches and swimmers around the deck and was in awe of what I saw, because of the names and soon enough because of the times they posted. Almost immediately, Phelps pulled off another Phelps Phinish in the 200 free, taking out Peter Vanderkaay by just four one-hundredths of a second. Quite possibly the best weekend of my life, here were some of the highlights:

I was walking through the warm-down area on Saturday morning when Felicia Lee tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me, aren’t you David?” It turns out Bob Bowman, her coach, saw my Morning Swim Show interview and told her about it, and she saw it, so she recognized me on deck. Wow.

Elizabeth Beisel’s hilarious. Duh.

I said that Beisel was “slacking off” Sunday morning for swimming only two events, when she swam three on Saturday. I told her coach, Chuck Batchelor, that he was getting slack, especially since Missy Franklin did swim three (consecutive) events that morning. I also gave Beisel a hard time for forcing a re-seed of the 400 free finals since she late-scratched.

In addition to their duels over toughest event schedule and in the 200 back specifically, where Franklin just held off Beisel, the two girls had a competition to see whose coach was loudest. Batchelor had his familiar high-pitched whoop which made it very clear when one of his swimmers was swimming, while Franklin’s coach, Todd Schmitz, screamed for his swimmers at unheard of volumes. Even when the doors were closed, one could hear both from the media room on the opposite side of the facility.

People on the deck at swim meets often talk about how laid-back Aaron Peirsol is. I experienced that myself. During the C-Final of the 100 fly, I walked into the warm-down pool and saw Peirsol, who was supposed to be in the B-Final, which would begin in about 45 seconds. “Umm, aren’t you in the next race?” I asked. “Yeah; did they send you to come get me?” replied Peirsol with a chuckle. He then casually got up, slowly walked to lane one, put his cap on, and dove in (and dropped several places from his prelim swim).

I met Nick Thoman two weeks prior to the meet at a Fitter and Faster clinic in Charleston, SC, where I live. I asked him about UltraSwim, and he told me he wanted to go 53.7 in the 100 back, and he was looking forward to racing a great field. He remembered me at the meet and remembered the prediction he gave me. In the meet’s most highly-anticipated race, he went 53.70 and held off Michael Phelps to win the thing. I was very excited for him, as was the rest of the house.

Since the Long Beach Grand Prix, I have asked Bob Bowman a bunch of questions on Facebook, mainly about what he expects from his athletes. As anyone who is familiar with Bowman knows, he doesn’t tell anyone what he expects or give away any secrets. I introduced myself at the meet and continued asking questions about his athletes’ swims. I was walking to the media risers before finals on Saturday, and I passed him. He asked me, “What, you’re not gonna ask me any questions?” I replied, “I know you wouldn’t answer them!”

An interesting note about me and Bob Bowman: I first met him at the Swim With The Stars camp in 2007. I asked him questions such as “What is Michael swimming at Nationals?” He asked me if I was an undercover reporter for Swimming World Magazine. At the time, I wasn’t, but less than three years later, here I am, working at a swim meet for Swimming World Magazine!

I met and interacted with a bunch of athletes and coaches on deck, and I wanted to give them recognition for making this weekend so awesome: Bradley Ally, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte, Gregg Troy, Kris Kubik, Natalie Coughlin, Matt Grevers, Mark Gangloff, Tyler McGill, Brett Hawke, David Marsh, Cullen Jones, Josh Schneider, Monty Hopkins, Nate Boyle, Bill Pilczuk, Bob Bowman, Chuck Batchelor, Felicia Lee, Elizabeth Pelton, Elizabeth Beisel, David Plummer, Aaron Peirsol, Nick Thoman, Dagny Knutson, Todd Schmitz, George Bovell, Rebecca Soni, Peter Vanderkaay, Mike Bottom, Chloe Sutton

It was awesome as well to finally meet Garrett McCaffrey and Mike Gustafson, who I’ve talked plenty of swimming with but never in person.

Meeting Rowdy Gaines was truly special. I’ve watched his coverages of swim meets, especially the Olympics, all of my life. He is an extremely nice guy, and, like me, he genuinely loves swimming.

Thanks also to all of the people from USA Swimming and SwimMAC Carolina who hosted me, a 16 year old “swim geek,” and were awesome.

Shout-out to Gold Medal Mel, Mel Stewart, who helped me get my media credential and get into the meet when I got there on Friday.

Finally, a big thank-you to a man I’ve never met in person, but he’s the guy that gave the huge opportunity I had this weekend: Jason Marsteller. He first let me write on the Swimming World website in July, and since then I have become a correspondent and have been covering meets for him since January. He got me the media credential and let me write articles from this weekend, while constantly giving me tips to make my writing more worthwhile and credible. Thanks, Jason!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2010 Charlotte Ultra-Swim

Been a while since I've posted, I know kinda pathetic, but I'm back and ready to get rolling for this awesome summer swim season ahead of us. Starts with complete coverage live from the deck of the Charlotte Ultra-Swim. First time I've been to a big-time meet (starting at Friday finals), and it's gonna be awesome. Check out live reports and analysis on Swimming World.TV as well as my Twitter, and live video will be available on (prelims and finals) and also at Universal Sports (finals only but better quality). Meanwhile, some analysis from night one and some predictions for the remainder of the meet.

Nothing big-time out of the women's 800. Chloe Sutton, the 2010 Grand Prix dominator, took an easy win in the 800, almost breaking 8:30, but based on some of her comments it appears she cruised the swim, as she often does at these Grand Prix meets. She will be good in some tough races in the 200, 400, and 1,500 free throughout the weekend. Also a pretty good swim from Club Wolverine's Emily Brunemann (8:35). But the story of the first night was Brunemann's teammate Peter Vanderkaay, who threw down a 15:05, taking 13 seconds off his season-best of 15:18 from the Austin Grand Prix. He was four seconds faster than his swim of 15:09 from last year, which was in a LZR. Vanderkaay has been a swimmer has so far suffered from not having bodysuits in-season, based on times recorded earlier Grand Prix meets. However, look for some good stuff in the 200 and 400 in the next couple of days; he might be able to throw down a challenge against Phelps in that 200 tomorrow. (Before his mile, I would have picked him for third in the 200 but I have changed some things around - see below).


Friday, May 14:
Women's 200 Free
1 - Allison Schmitt, Georgia/North Baltimore
2 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.
3 - Chloe Sutton, Mission Viejo

Men's 200 Free
1 - Michael Phelps, North Baltimore
2 - Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine
3 - Ricky Berens, Longhorn

Women's 100 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Corrie Clark, Unattached
3 - Justine Mueller, SwimMAC

Men's 100 Breast
1 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
2 - Scott Spann, Texas/North Baltimore
3 - Mark Gangloff, Auburn

Women's 100 Fly
1 - Natalie Coughlin, California
2 - Felicia Lee, North Baltimore
3 - Samantha Tucker, Stanford

Men's 100 Fly
1 - Michael Phelps, North Baltimore
2 - Ricky Berens, Longhorn
3 - Mark Dylla, Athens Bulldogs

Women's 400 IM
1 - Elizabeth Beisel, Bluefish
2 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.
3 - Justine Mueller, SwimMAC

Men's 400 IM
1 - Alex Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine
2 - Billy Cregar, Athens Bulldogs
3 - Todd Patrick, North Baltimore

Saturday, May 15:
Women's 200 Fly
1 - Felicia Lee, North Baltimore
2 - Elizabeth Beisel, Bluefish
3 - Jemma Lowe, Gator/Great Britain

Men's 200 Fly
1 - Wu Peng, Club Wolverine/China
2 - Dan Madwed, Club Wolverine
3 - Mark Dylla, Athens Bulldogs

Women's 50 Free
1 - Amanda Weir, SwimAtlanta
2 - Victoria Poon, CNC/Canada
3 - Missy Franklin, Colorado Stars

Men's 50 Free
1 - George Bovell, Auburn/Trinidad and Tobago
2 - Cullen Jones, SwimMAC
3 - Garrett Weber-Gale, Longhorn

Women's 100 Back
1 - Natalie Coughlin, California
2 - Gemma Spofforth, Gator/Great Britain
3 - Elizabeth Pelton, North Baltimore

Men's 100 Back
1 - Nick Thoman, SwimMAC
2 - Aaron Peirsol, Longhorn
3 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford

Women's 200 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Justine Mueller, SwimMAC
3 - Corrie Clark, Unattached

Men's 200 Breast
1 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
2 - Scott Spann, Texas/North Baltimore
3 - Adam Klein, Auburn

Women's 400 Free
1 - Chloe Sutton, Mission Viejo
2 - Allison Schmitt, Georgia/North Baltimore
3 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.

Men's 400 Free
1 - Peter Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine
2 - Adam DeJong, Club Wolverine
3 - Hassaan Abdel-Khalik, Michigan/Canada

Sunday, May 16:
Women's 1,500 Free
1 - Chloe Sutton, Mission Viejo
2 - Emily Brunemann, Club Wolverine
3 - Ashley Steenvoorden, Minnesota

Men's 800 Free
1 - Adam DeJong, Club Wolverine
2 - Josef Kinderwater, North Carolina
3 - Ian Rowe, NOLE

Women's 200 IM
1 - Dagny Knutson, A.S.K.
2 - Elizabeth Pelton, North Baltimore
3 - Elizabeth Beisel, Bluefish

Men's 200 IM
1 - Michael Phelps, North Baltimore
2 - Eric Shanteau, Longhorn
3 - Alex Vanderkaay, Club Wolverine

Women's 200 Back
1 - Gemma Spofforth, Gator/Great Britain
2 - Elizabeth Beisel, Bluefish
3 - Teresa Crippen, Florida/Germantown

Men's 200 Back
1 - Aaron Peirsol, Longhorn
2 - Nick Thoman, SwimMAC
3 - Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach

Women's 100 Free
1 - Natalie Coughlin, California
2 - Amanda Weir, SwimAtlanta
3 - Missy Franklin, Colorado Stars

Men's 100 Free
1 - Garrett Weber-Gale, Longhorn
2 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford
3 - Ricky Berens, Longhorn