Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Swimmers of the Month and Open Water Awards

As July winds down and the swimming-huge month of August approaches, I want to give my usual swimmer-of-the-month recognition. I will be giving out the awards for the typical categories of American, European, and Pacific Rim, as well as some special Open Water awards.

American women's: Kara Lynn Joyce, United States
Swept the sprints at the L.A. Grand Prix with solid benchmark times of 25.09 and 54.68 headed into Nationals.

American men's: TIE - Cesar Cielo, Brazil and Nathan Adrian, United States
Both continue their sprint dominance, Cielo with times of 21.73 and 48.99 at the Athens Sectionals, while Adrian clocked 22.11 and 48.71 at the L.A. Grand Prix.

European women's: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
Posted fast times of 2:12.25 and 4:34.68 in the 200 and 400 IM at the L.A. Grand Prix

European men's: Yannick Agnel, France
Dominated the 100, 200, and 400 free at the European Junior Champs, with times of 48.80, 1:46.58, and 3:46.28, as well as relay splits of 48.80 and 1:46.48; winning the award for the third consecutive month
Runners-up: Alexander Dale Oen, Norway and Bence Bizco, Hungary

Pacific Rim women's: Emily Seebohm, Australia
Won four events at the Australian Short Course Championships: 100 back (56.58), 100 free (53.16), 100 IM (59.29), and 200 IM (2:07.64), setting Australian records in the 100 back and 200 IM.

Pacific Rim men's: Matthew Abood, Australia
Swam fast times in the 50 (21.75 short course, 22.77 long course) and 100 free (47.07 short course, 49.18 long course, 48.50 long course relay split) at the Australian Short Course Championships and Canadian Nationals.

Open Water awards
Nation: Italy
Improved from 1 gold, 3 bronze in 2009 to 2 gold, 3 silver in 2010, including a sweep of the Olympic distance 10k races

Female Swimmer of the Meet: Martina Grimaldi, Italy
Won the 10k, improving from a bronze medal in 2009, and would have contended in the 25k, but was DQ'ed for touching the feeding station

Male Swimmer of the Meet: Valerio Cleri, Italy
Improved from fourth to first in the 10k and barely failed to defend his 25k title

Break-out star: Eva Fabian, United States
Won gold in the 5k and would have medaled in the 10k before disqualification after a collision; definitely someone the U.S. is happy to have on the team

Giving shout-outs to the rest of the American team: Fran Crippen, Chip Peterson, Christine Jennings, Alex Meyer, Joe Kinderwater, Haley Anderson, and Emily Hanson. All finished in the top ten except for Peterson in the 5k. Meyer won gold in the 25k, narrowly defeating Cleri in a five hour-long duel, while Crippen took a bronze in the 5k and a close fourth in the 10k. Notably, Anderson and Kinderwater competed in their first 25k races and each did an outstanding job, Anderson finishing fourth and Kinderwater seventh.

U.S. Nationals: Day Negative 2

With the start of the highly anticipated Nationals for 2010 just days away, time to preview some of the events at the meet. Much is on the line, including trips to the Pan Pacific Championships, and from there both short course and long course World Championships. Traditionally the world swimming powerhouse, the U.S. goes into Nationals with only two swimmers ranked first in the world in their respective events, although much will change in the next week. In some events, such as the 200 free for both genders and the men's backstroke races, the U.S. typically has superb depth and often dominates on the world stage. In some other events, it's up to certain swimmers to step up and make a mark to show the strength of the U.S. From my viewpoint, four such individuals have stepped up so far this year in such a way: Rebecca Soni, Eric Shanteau, Dana Vollmer, and Liz Pelton.

Soni won the world title in the 100 breast last year but ended up fading to fourth in the finals of the 200 distance. Since then, she has been nothing but dominant. She won both breaststrokes at short course Nationals, without being fully rested, but she challenged her best times, which had been set in tech suits. At the Duel in the Pool, she crushed the world records in both distances, both set by chief rival Leisel Jones a month prior. Competing against some of her top competitors all year throughout the Grand Prix and Mare Nostrum circuits, Soni lost one race, which was in the 100 breast (short course yard) at the Long Beach Grand Prix, to teammate and world record-holder Jessica Hardy, and she only lost that race by one one-hundredth.

Her top times so far this year include a 1:05.90 in the 100 breast, which ranks second in the world, just behind Jones' 1:05.79, which she swam rested in March. Her 200 best time of 2:21.41 from the Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona stands the best in the world, more than two seconds faster than Jones. More importantly, Soni's time is just over a second off Annamay Pierse's world record of 2:20.12. One has to believe Soni will have a shot at that mark when fully prepared to race at Nationals. Moreover, she could be close to her personal best time of 1:04.84 in the 100breast and possibly even Hardy's world record of 1:04.45. Hardy and Jones (at Pan Pacs) have the ability to challenge Soni in the 100 distance, although based on their swims this year, it doesn't appear they will. It would be surprising for anyone, including Jones or Pierse, to come close to Soni in the 200 breast. In that event, Soni has easily the best chance of any swimmer to lower a world record this year, at either Nationals or Pan Pacs.

Like Soni, Shanteau suffered a heartbreaking loss in the 200 breast in Rome, losing by one one-hundredth to Hungary's Daniel Gyurta. Since then, he has come back with a vengeance. He has not lost the race in long course since Rome. At the Missouri Grand Prix, Shanteau won the 200 IM, his third-best event, in 1:59.75 and then returned an hour later in the 200 breast. A bodylength behind Kosuke Kitajima at the 150 mark, Shanteau overtook the Japanese double Olympic champion with at the final flags, winning 2:11.17 to 2:11.33. Shanteau improved his time to 2:10.84 and later 2:10.59 over the Grand Prix circuit. At the Mare Nostrum, Shanteau did not approach his in-season form, but he took town Kitajima at both meets he competed in (Monaco and Barcelona). Many believe he will be able to take down Kitajima at Pan Pacs in just a few weeks, as well as others such as Japan's Ryo Tatieshi and Yuta Suenaga and Australia's Brenton Rickard and Christian Sprenger, the world record-holder.

First, however, Shanteau must get by Nationals. His only challenge at the meet, though, will probably be Tateishi's world-leading time of 2:09.21. He will also challenge for Pan Pac spots in the 100 breast and 200 IM. In the 100 breast, he will face off against Mark Gangloff and Mike Alexandrov, and he will likely be a medal contender at Pan Pacs. Shanteau has long been the third-best 200 IMer in America, behind the duo of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, but he took a spot on the world champs team last summer when Phelps passed on the event, and he ended up with a bronze medal, behind Lochte and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh. With Lochte battling injuries which hinder his breaststroke, Shanteau could be a darkhorse to finish second behind Phelps. Still, Shanteau is now a 200 breaststroker, and he has a chance to make his mark as the best in the world. Along with the tough challenge he will face at Pan Pacs, he must beat the time Gyurta will post at the upcoming European Championships to prove his standing.

Dana Vollmer has been swimming well the last two years. Since missing the Olympic team in 2008, Vollmer has been dominating American competition and making a splash internationally. Along with Soni, she is the only American swimmer ranked first in the world in an event, with a 57.39 in the 100 fly. She also has season-bests of 54.30 in the 100 free and 1:58.62 in the 200 free. With a little bit more rest, she will be ready to go fast, very fast indeed. She has stated her intention to be right on her suited-up best times, including 53.30 in the 100 free, 1:55.29 in the 200 free, and 56.94 in the 100 fly. Training with the technically-focused Teri McKeever, Vollmer should not struggle much to match her times under the new suit regulations. She will move further into the ranks of best in the world in all of her events, as well as a key to American success in all three relays.

Over the past two years, Liz Pelton has moved from a virtual nobody on the national scene to a realistic contender to lead the world rankings in multiple events. Pelton surprisingly made the World Champs team in three events last summer, and she made the semi-final in the 100 back, before going on to finish sixth in the 200 back final. So far this season, Pelton stands seventh in the world in the 200 back, with a 2:08.57 at the Paris Open. Pelton was well behind current world no. 1 Lizzie Simmonds at the halfway, but she even split the race and almost tracked down Simmonds, who ended up three tenths ahead at 2:08.29. In the 100 back, Pelton shocked onlookers, taking down Simmonds with a personal best time of 59.99. Obviously she had more in the tank in the 200 distance, even then in Paris. At Nationals, with significant rest, Pelton will be spectacular. She could push the American records in both distances: 58.94 in the 100 back and 2:06.09 in the 200 back. Moreover, she will face true racers such as Natalie Coughlin, Margaret Hoelzer, and Elizabeth Beisel, and push these ladies to very fast times and fast racing. Additionally, Pelton will be a threat in the 200 IM, where she finished second at last year's Nationals. She could be the next major American star.

Tomorrow, I will preview some of the events where America is traditionally weaker, but there are opportunities to buck the trend this summer. Also, remember to get those predictions in within the next two days. Contact me via email (, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also view the psych sheet.

I highly recommend watching Swimming World TV's previews of Nationals on Split Time with Garrett McCaffrey and John John. You can view them below.
Women's events:

Men's events:

Friday, July 30, 2010

U.S. Nationals: Day Negative 3

The predictions throw-down between me and Chris DeSantis has begun to garner some attention. As I mentioned yesterday, the Screaming Viking (Shawn Klosterman) has blogged his opinions on the contest, and now Braden Keith of The Swimmer's Circle has joined in the fun. Braden thought a photoshopped picture of me and Chris fighting, with Shawn the referee, would be a good image of the blog fight. Braden also recommended making teams, so I created a Facebook fan page for David "The Swim Geek" Rieder. Please, like my page! As I write this, I have one fan.

Some advice to you daring predictors out there: keep in mind the event schedule! Oh wait, am I the only one who knows it? Whoops, the schedule is on page three of the meet book.

The schedule determines what many of the top swimmers at the meet will swim. Right now, I will take a look at the most likely event programs for four of the most well-known swimmers on Team USA, based on what events they appear in on the psych sheet. The four are Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Natalie Coughlin, and Ryan Lochte.

Day One (Tuesday, August 3): Off
Day Two (Wednesday, August 4): 200 free, 200 fly
Day Three (Thursday, August 5): 100 fly
Day Four (Friday, August 6): 200 IM
Day Five (Saturday, August 7): 200 back

Day One: 200 IM, 400 free
Day Two: 200 free
Day Three: 400 IM
Day Four: 200 back
Day Five: 100 free

Day One: 100 fly
Day Two: 100 back
Day Three: 50 free (possibly)
Day Four: Off
Day Five: 100 free

Day One: 400 free, 400 IM (one out of two, depending on his groin injury)
Day Two: 200 free, 100 back (probably only one out of two, most likely the 200 free)
Day Three: 100 fly, 50 free (doubtful he will actually swim either one)
Day Four: 100 free, 200 IM (probably one out of two, depending on his groin, although he may swim both in prelims)
Day Five: 200 back

Thursday, July 29, 2010


So Chris DeSantis thinks he can beat me in my own prediction contest. DeSantis recently threw down the gauntlet that he is not only out to out-score me in Nationals, he put my title on the line. That's right, he thinks he becomes THE SWIM GEEK if he wins. As he knows, it is totally on!

FYI, it was Garrett McCaffrey who first gave me the name, during my Morning Swim Show interview. Yes, that's right, Garrett, Chris' old friend, who I at that time had never met in person, and most of our communication had been through facebook chats. Clearly, some people understand that I truly deserve the nickname. Others, including the Screaming Viking, are looking forward to a big blog fight, and he doesn't know who to root for.

The psych sheet for Nationals has been released, so I expect you guys to brush up on your predictions and get them in. Post them as a comment to this blog, contact me on Facebook or Twitter, or email them to me ( Already got some good commits to the contest!

UPDATE: The scoring system has completely changed. Now, in events other than the 100 and 200 free, picking first place correctly earns a participant nine (9) points, picking second five (5) points, and third (2) points, with one (1) point for picking a swimmer in the top three but incorrect place. For the 100 and 200 free, the scoring will be 9-5-4-3-2-1 for picking each of the top six places correctly, as well as the one point for picking a swimmer to finish in the top six but in the wrong place.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Phelps in Uncharted Waters?

For the most part, the biggest American swimming stars have swam well so far this year. Some, like Rebecca Soni, Matt Grevers, and Eric Shanteau, have posted blazing times already, while others, such as Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin, and Jessica Hardy, have been strong enough in-season to make it clear they will be ready for the big one in a few weeks in Irvine. One swimmer, however, has clearly struggled to regain his usual in-season form this year, and lingering questions remain about his chances at both Nationals and Pan Pacs to post times comparable to his best rivals. That man is Michael Phelps.

Since 2007, Phelps has made a habit of posting absolutely blazing times in the lead-up to his taper meet. In 2007, he clipped his own 200 fly world record at the Missouri Grand Prix, a mere six weeks out from Worlds, where he walloped another second and a half off the mark. In 2008, he had posted world-leading times in the 200 free (1:45.71), 200 fly (1:53.31), and 200 IM (1:57.39) by early March, all of which stood until the U.S. Olympic Trials began. Within the next three months before Trials, he added a top-ranked time in the 100 fly (51.04), second-ranked 100 back (53.42), and third-ranked 200 back (1:55.84).

As Phelps tuned up throughout the year for his historic performance in Beijing, one event just wasn't clicking. At the Missouri Grand Prix, Phelps swam a failed to break 4:14, finishing nearly three seconds off his meet record of 4:11.30 from the previous year, which had come just before setting a stunning world record of 4:06.22 at the Worlds in Melbourne. He made gradual improvement throughout the season, posting a 4:13-mid by the Santa Clara Grand Prix, but he was still dissatisfied, claiming that his backstroke felt off. Later in the meet, he beat Aaron Peirsol in the 100 back. Obviously no problem with the backstroke.

At the Olympic Trials, Phelps swam a season-best of 4:13.43 in prelims, finishing behind rival Ryan Lochte's 4:13.38. He freely acknowledged not being happy with the swim and he later admitted his heart rate and lactate skyrocketed after the swim, clearly indicating nervousness going into the event final. In any case, his struggles throughout the season and prelims quickly evaporated as the final came around. In a very memorable race, Phelps went out quickly on the fly and moved ahead of his world record pace by the first 50 of backstroke. He would remain under pace for the remainder of the race, but Lochte pulled even on the breaststroke. Phelps, however, put Lochte in his place with an amazing kickout of the final wall, and he posted a world record-time of 4:05.25 for the win, with Lochte coming in second at 4:06.08, also under Phelps' prior record. Phelps improved to 4:03.84 for gold in Beijing, more than ten seconds faster than his time from the Missouri meet.

So what does this have to do with his present situation? After the Paris Open, where he claimed to be, once again, disappointed with his swims, Phelps claimed he had not done the necessary work to make improvements. He did improve on his season-bests in the 200 fly (1:55.70), 200 free (1:47.54), and 100 free (49.44). Perhaps, though, he has done the work, but it hasn't clicked yet. Clearly, in 2008, things didn't click in the 400 IM until the right time, but he still managed to post one of the most impressive swims ever seen at the Beijing Olympics. He could still be waiting for his work to pay off, and after ten years of constant perfection from Phelps, there are few reasons to believe this summer will turn out much different.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nationals Predictions Challenge

With Nationals just two and a half weeks away, I am unveiling a prediction challenge for this year's meet. Anyone who wants to participate just needs to pick the top three finishers in every event, except in the men's and women's 100 and 200 free, where you should pick the top six. Just have your predictions posted before 12 midnight pacific time (3am eastern) on Tuesday, August 3, hours before the meet begins. I will score predictions based on the following points system:

For correctly predicting the PLACE of a swimmer in the top three of any event, you get THREE points.

For correctly predicting a swimmer to make the top three (not necessarily correct place) of any event, you get TWO points.

For correctly predicting the PLACE of a swimmer who finishes from fourth through sixth in a relay event, you get TWO points.

For correctly predicting a swimmer to make top six in a relay event (not necessarily correct place), you get ONE point.

For example, if you predict a swimmer to finish third in the 200 free and he/she gets fourth, you get ONE point. If you predicted that swimmer to finish fourth, you get TWO points. If you predicted that swimmer to finish fifth, you get ONE point.

Work on those predictions, and make sure I know where to find them and that they were posted prior to the meet. You can post them in a comment below, post a link to your predictions in a comment below, or tell me where to find them via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Australian Short Course Championships

The Australian Short Course Championships run Wednesday, July 13 through Sunday, July 17, in Melbourne. Because of the time difference, prelims are already underway Down Under, even though it is still Tuesday night in America. Top finishers from this meet will qualify to represent Australia at the World Short Course Championships this December in Dubai, but many swimmers are simply using this meet as a tune-up for the upcoming Pan Pacs and Commonwealth Games. Full session recaps will be available at Swimming Australia's website, and live results can be found here. I will predict event winners for the meet.

Wednesday, July 13
Men's 200 Free - Tomasso D'Orsogna
Women's 50 Breast - Sarah Katsoulis
Men's 100 Back - Hayden Stoeckel
Women's 200 Fly - Jessicah Schipper
Men's 100 Breast - Brenton Rickard
Women's 100 Back - Emily Seebohm
Men's 100 Fly - Adam Pine
Women's 400 IM - Ellen Fullerton
Men's 800 Free - Travis Nederpelt

Thursday, July 14
Women's 100 Free - Emily Seebohm
Men's 400 IM - Thomas Fraser-Holmes
Women's 50 Fly - Yolane Kukla
Men's 50 Free - Ashley Callus
Women's 100 IM - Emily Seebohm

Friday, July 15
Men's 50 Back - Daniel Arnamnart
Women's 200 Back - Belinda Hocking
Men's 50 Fly - Geoff Huegill
Women's 100 Breast - Leisel Jones
Men's 400 Free - Robert Hurley
Men's 200 IM - Leith Brodie
Women's 400 Free - Kylie Palmer
Men's 200 Breast - Brenton Rickard

Saturday, July 16
Women's 50 Back - Marieke Guehrer
Men's 100 Free - Eamon Sullivan
Women's 100 Fly - Felicity Galvez
Men's 100 IM - Leith Brodie
Women's 50 Free - Cate Campbell
Women's 200 IM - Emily Seebohm
Men's 50 Breast - Karl Wurzer

Sunday, July 17
Men's 200 Back - Bobby Jovanovich
Women's 200 Breast - Leisel Jones
Men's 200 Fly - Nick D'arcy
Women's 200 Free - Kylie Palmer
Men's 1,500 Free - Robert Hurley
Women's 1,500 Free - Belinda Bennett


Other upcoming meets include the Open Water World Championships, which begin Saturday with the women's 10k in Roberval, Canada, as well as the Southeastern Sectional meet in Athens, Georgia, which will feature Auburn sprint stars Cesar Cielo and Fred Bousquet, as well as Amanda Weir, which runs Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, July 18. Full session recaps will be available on Swimming after each session of both meets, and I will post a blog about the Open Water Worlds this weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Janet Evans Invite/LA Grand Prix

The final stop on the USA Swimming Grand Prix circuit kicks off tomorrow in Los Angeles. Also known as the Janet Evans Invite, the LA Grand Prix features a bunch of swimming's big names. A psych sheet is available here, while live results can be found at According to USA Swimming:
Olympic gold medalists Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Jason Lezak (Irvine, Calif.) and Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J), along with 12 other U.S. Olympians, will compete at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, which is the final stop of the 2009-2010 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series. The meet, taking place on the campus of the University of Southern California, begins Thursday, July 8 and runs through Sunday, July 11.

The meet in Los Angeles is the last major U.S. meet before the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships, which will be held in Irvine, August 3-7. That meet is the biggest domestic event of the year for U.S swimmers, as it will select the teams for the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships, the 2010 FINA Short Course Championships in Dubai, UAE, The World University Games and the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Other top U.S. swimmers expected to compete at the Los Angeles Grand Prix include Olympians Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.), Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas), Margaret Hoelzer (Huntsville, Ala.), Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) Kara Lynn Joyce (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.), Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.), Chloe Sutton (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Kate Ziegler (Fairfax, Va.), Julia Smit (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and Elaine Breeden (Lexington, Ky.).

The top medal-winner at the Grand Prix Series will be awarded $20,000 at the end of the meet, courtesy of USA Swimming. Swimmers are awarded five points for a gold medal, three points for a silver medal and one point for a bronze medal. National Teamer and current Grand Prix Series leader Sutton will look to take the prize home in Los Angeles. The leaderboard can be found online at

The star-studded field will also include U.S. National Teamers Ariana Kukors (Auburn, Wash.), Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) and Mary DeScenza Mohler (Naperville, Ill.).

In addition to the U.S. Olympians expected to compete, a strong international field is slated to be on deck, including Canada’s Brent Hayden and Ryan Cochrane, Tunisia's Ous Mellouli, Austria’s Marcus Rogan, Switzerland’s Dominik Meichtry, England’s Simon Burnett and Brazil’s Thiago Pereira.

The competition will follow the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims and evening finals. The full competition schedule can be found online. Finals begin at 5 p.m. PT, Thursday through Sunday. Prelims begin at 8:30 a.m. PT, Friday through Sunday.

Competition footage from the meet the will be webcast on LIVE footage from prelims and finals will be available Thursday, July 8 through Sunday, July 11.
One of the major storylines of the meet is the return of Mary DeScenza Mohler to American waters. Mohler moved to Japan in January with her husband Charlie, who she married shortly after the World Championships. Descenza, a five-time World Champs team member, had her strongest ever individual showing at a major meet in Rome, breaking the world record in the prelims of the 200 fly before ending up fourth in the final. Mohler has only raced at one meet since Rome, the Duel in the Pool in December. Now, Mohler is representing FAST, the new Center of Excellence in Fullerton under the direction of Sean Hutchinson and Jon Urbanchek, although she is still living oversees. The third-fastest performer in history in the 200 fly, Mohler needs to post a strong race in order to make a run at one of the top two spots in the event at the Nationals in Irvine. With strong swims already this year from Elaine Breeden, Kim Vandenberg, Dagny Knutson, Lyndsay DePaul, and others in the event, as well as Olympian Kathleen Hersey as a challenger, the race is shaping up to be one of the closest in Irvine.

Another surprising swimmer on the psych sheet is Mateusz Sawrymowicz. Sawrymowicz is a Polish distance star who broke onto the scene in 2005 as the European Junior Champion in the 1,500 free and ended up making the final at the World Championships in the event, where he finished fifth and broke 15:00 for the first time in his career. Two years later at the Worlds in Melbourne, Sawrymowicz beat the 11 year unbeaten mile streak of the off-form Grant Hackett, winning the world title in a still-personal best of 14:45.94. At the Olympics in Beijing, Sawrymowicz came in as a medal contender, but he faced a deep field in prelims; swimmers had to get under 14:50 to make the final. In the end, Sawrymowicz finished ninth in 14:50.30. In 2009, he did not show up to the Worlds in Rome, but he returned to swim at Polish Nationals last month. Now, Sawrymowicz is training at USC under Dave Salo, alongside current 1,500 world champion Ous Mellouli of Tunisia. Sawrymowicz has a strong chance to be European champion this year, in a fairly weak field, both in Budapest and worldwide, as I think any swimmer will struggle to break 14:50 this year in the 1,500.

Meanwhile, event-by-event predictions:

Thursday, July 8:
Women's 800 Free
1 - Chloe Sutton, Mission Viejo
2 - Kate Ziegler, FAST
3 - Haley Anderson, Sierra Marlins
*Note: Finals for this event will be held at the beginning of the evening session on Friday.

Men's 1,500 Free
1 - Ryan Cochrane, Island
2 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan
3 - Chad LaTourette, Mission Viejo
*Note: Finals for this event will be held at the beginning of the evening session on Saturday.

Friday, July 9:
Women's 100 Free
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
3 - Kara Lynn Joyce, FAST

Men's 100 Free
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Brent Hayden, UCB Dolphins
3 - Jason Lezak, Rose Bowl

Women's 200 Fly
1 - Elaine Breeden, Stanford
2 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan
3 - Mary DeScenza Mohler, FAST

Men's 200 Fly
1 - Tyler Clary, FAST
2 - Bobby Bollier, FAST
3 - Hidemasa Sano, Trojan

Women's 200 Back
1 - Madison White, Crow Canyon
2 - Margaret Hoelzer, FAST
3 - Mary DeScenza Mohler, FAST

Men's 200 Back
1 - Markus Rogan, Trojan
2 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford
3 - Cory Chitwood, Tucson Ford

Women's 400 IM
1 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan
2 - Ariana Kukors, FAST
3 - Julia Smit, Stanford

Men's 400 Free
1 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan
2 - Charlie Houchin, FAST
3 - Ryan Cochrane, Island

Saturday, July 10:
Women's 200 IM
1 - Ariana Kukors, FAST
2 - Julia Smit, Stanford
3 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan

Men's 200 Free
1 - Brent Hayden, UCB Dolphins
2 - Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, Tucson Ford
3 - Dominik Meichtry, Trojan

Women's 200 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Keri Hehn, Trojan
3 - Katy Freeman, Santa Barbara

Men's 200 Breast
1 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan
2 - Curtis Lovelace, Nashville
3 - Scott Dickens, UCB Dolphins

Women's 50 Free
1 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan
2 - Lara Jackson, Tucson Ford
3 - Kara Lynn Joyce, FAST

Men's 50 Free
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Brent Hayden, UBC Dolphins
3 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford

Women's 400 Free
1 - Katie Hoff, FAST
2 - Alexa Komarnycky, Island
3 - Alyssa Anderson, Tucson Ford

Men's 400 IM
1 - Thiago Pereira, Trojan
2 - Tyler Clary, FAST
3 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan

Women's 100 Fly
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
3 - Christine Magnuson, Tucson Ford

Men's 100 Fly
1 - Masayuki Kishida, Tucson Ford
2 - David Russell, Cal
3 - Gabriel Mangabeira, Pinheiros

Women's 100 Back
1 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
2 - Presley Bard, Terrapins
3 - Julia Wilkinson, Island

Men's 100 Back
1 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford
2 - David Russell, Cal
3 - Markus Rogan, Trojan

Women's 100 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan
3 - Kasey Carlson, Walnut Creek

Men's 100 Breast
1 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan
2 - Mike Alexandrov, Tucson Ford
3 - Marcus Titus, Tucson For

Women's 200 Free
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Katie Hoff, FAST
3 - Leone Vorster, Tucson Ford

Men's 200 IM
1 - Thiago Pereira, Trojan
2 - Markus Rogan, Trojan
3 - Tyler Clary, FAST

Women's 1,500 Free
1 - Lynette Lim, Piranha
2 - Bonnie Brandon, Mission Aurora
3 - Savannah King, UCB Dolphins

Men's 800 Free
1 - Mateusz Sawrymowicz, Trojan
2 - Adam DeJong, Club Wolverine
3 - Michael Klueh, Longhorn

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekend Highlights: Elizabeth Beisel and Paul Biedermann

Despite the Fourth of July celebrations in America, international racing went forward over the weekend. The top two meets were the Canada Cup in Montreal and the German Nationals in Berlin. The two swimmers that stand out with the most notable swims from the weekend are USA's Elizabeth Beisel (Canada Cup) and Germany's Paul Biedermann.

*Beisel the Diesel
As is her custom, Beisel swam seven different events in Montreal. She won the 200 free, 100 back, 200 IM (all Friday), 200 back, and 400 IM. She also took second in the 200 fly and 50 back (Saturday) and fourth in the 50 back (Sunday). Additionally, she continued dropping her times from her earlier meets this season. She started out with a bang, posting a 2:00.19 in the 200 free. At the Charlotte UltraSwim, she swam what she considered a phenomenal 2:01.96, meaning her time in Canada is a drop of nearly two seconds from her best this season. Above that, her best time ever had been 2:01.04, so she chopped nearly a second from her best ever. Any time a swimmer can come so close to breaking 2:00 in-season always has a chance to get on the competitive 4x200 free relay for the U.S. team. Beisel, an Olympian and world championships team member in the 400 IM and 200 back, continues to expand her versatility.

A problem with her expansion into the 200 free is the event's ill-placing at Nationals, shortly after the women's 100 back. To make the decision of which or both events to swim even tougher, Beisel posted a 1:02.28 in the 100 back less than an hour after the 200 free, an improvement on Charlotte's 1:02.43, although she swam a slightly-faster 1:02.21 at the Santa Clara Grand Prix, where she had far more recovery time from her previous race. She also cut big time from Charlotte in the 200 IM (her third race on the opening night), where she clocked 2:13.56, compared to 2:15.59 in Charlotte, as well as the 200 fly, improving from 2:14.28 to 2:11.88. In the 200 back, she nearly broke 2:10, with a season-best of 2:10.05.

Possibly her most impressive swim of the weekend came in the one event in which she did not improve from Charlotte, the 400 IM. Beisel has swum under 4:40 three times this year, something only she and Great Britain's Hannah Miley can claim. In Montreal, she came in at 4:40.29, in her final race of the meet. After finishing a close second in the 200 fly and fourth in the 50 back earlier in the night, Beisel still could post such a fast time in what one could claim as her best event. Clearly, Beisel is headed for a big summer with many chances to get on the Pan Pacs and World Championships teams. In deep and competitive fields in Irvine, she will need to summon all of her toughness, evident from the sick times she posted with little recovery, to get it done.

*Paul Biedermann: Domination in Germany
At this weekend's German Nationals, Paul Biedermann swept the 100-200-400 freestyles. He posted excellent times of 48.80 and 1:45.84 in the shorter two distances, moving him to the helm of the world rankings in the latter. In the 400 free, however, he didn't display the domination over his countrymen that one might have expected. Biedermann trailed Clemens Rapp until the final 50 meters, and he ended up storming by Rapp to just get under the qualifying time for the European championships, clocking 3:49.02 to Rapp's 3:49.72. However, he didn't even swim his season-best, off of a 3:48.77 at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum when racing Ous Mellouli and Zhang Lin.

At the upcoming European Championships, Biedermann should not be pushed for the victory in the 400 free. At last summer's Worlds, Biedermann won gold in a world record time of 3:40.07, while his closest European competition was Denmark's Mads Glaesner, who finished fifth in 3:44.40. Under the current suit rules, Biedermann certainly has the potential for a 3:44-low swim, but considering that no one else in Europe can likely get under 3:47, will Biedermann struggle to go much faster than that? If Biedermann ends up racing swimmers like Glaesner, Russia's Nikita Lobinsev, and France's Sebastian Rouault in Budapest before storming past them on the final 50, will he be able to post a time that stacks up with the top swimmers at the Pan Pacific Championships on the other side of the world in Irvine. With Zhang, Mellouli, Korea's Park Tae-Hwan, and USA's Peter Vanderkaay, arguably four of the top five 400 freestylers in the world, as well as others such as Australia's Robert Hurley and Japan's Takeshi Matsuda, the race will be tight and fast. Two or more swimmers dipping into the 3:43 range is certainly a possibility. Swimmers from the Pan Pacific nations will have an edge in the world rankings.

In the 200 however, Biedermann is still stalwart and a strong contender to be the top swimmer in the world this year. He has the potential to come close to Ian Thorpe's best time ever of 1:44.06, while wearing just a jammer. Again, if Biedermann gets into a race with competitors such as France's Yannick Agnel and Russia's Danila Izotov, the times might not stack up as well against Pan Pac competitors Park and the Americans, led by Michael Phelps. Admittedly, his competition in the 200 compares much more strongly to the rest of the world than his competitors in the 400 in Budapest.

The debate continues over what to expect from Biedermann and his rivals (including Phelps) this summer over at the Speed Endurance blog. Already 13 very interesting comments. Chris DeSantis has suggested that as Biedermann ages, his 400 abilities will wane but his 200 will remain top-level. Strongly recommend checking it out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

June Swimmers of the Month

Some great swims during the month of June, especially from the Mare Nostrum tour and Paris Open, that deserve to be recognized. Usual categories.

Pacific Rim - Samantha Hamill (Australia) and Kosuke Kitajima (Japan)

Africa Men's - Roland Schoeman (South Africa)

European - Camille Muffat (France) and Yannick Agnel/Fabien Gilot (tie, both France)

American - Rebecca Soni (USA) and Cesar Cielo (Brazil)

U.S. Men's - Nathan Adrian (USA)

I will discuss some more storylines headed into U.S. Nationals this summer coming soon. For now, check out recaps from the Canada Cup in Montreal, where Elizabeth Beisel is one of several American swimmers swimming lights-out.