Friday, August 20, 2010

Pan Pacs: Day 3

The second night of finals and third morning of prelims both featured outstanding American performances. Out of the ten events last night, Americans won seven, including all but one of the Olympic events contested. Nathan Adrian and Rebecca Soni proved themselves against their toughest rivals on the international stage, while Ryan Lochte continued to show why he is the best swimmer in the world today. Elizabeth Beisel re-bounded from a disappointing Nationals to dominate the women's 400 IM. Natalie Coughlin continued her comeback with her first international victory in two years, while Mark Gangloff showed he can hang on through a full 100 breast, winning a bronze medal.

Americans proceeded to take the top qualifying time in six out of this morning's eight events, with 1-2 finishes in four of them. Many swimmers who didn't swim up to their potential at Nationals stepped up big time. For example, Liz Pelton posted a personal-best time of 2:07.48 in the 200 back, four seconds quicker than her Nationals performance where she took fourth. Already on the World Champs team in the 100 back (by 0.01), Pelton needs to step up again this evening to try and make the team for Shanghai, where she could be a medal contender. She and Elizabeth Beisel could finish 1-2 in the event, after posting the only two sub-2:08 swims this morning.

In the men's 200 back, Aaron Peirsol missed another A-final, taking third but behind Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary. All beat their times from Nationals, but Clary will go for medals in the finals rather than the man who has won four world titles, two Olympic titles, and two Pan Pacs titles, and holds the world record. Peirsol still has a chance to make the Worlds team for next year, but Clary continues his outstanding meet, continually dropping large amounts of time from Nationals. After a poor NCAA meet in which he failed to defend his 200 back title and added significant time in all of his events, Clary's summer training with Jon Urbanchek at FAST has been hugely successful. Already on the World Champs team in the 200 fly and the 400 IM, don't be surprised if he makes two more events. In addition to the 200 back, he has a chance to knock out Phelps from the 200 IM tomorrow.

Michael Phelps has put his stamp on the men's 100 fly over the past three years. However, since the retirement of Ian Crocker, the Americans have struggled to find a second swimmer capable of medaling on the world stage. Tyler McGill made finals at Worlds last summer, finishing seventh and dipping under 51 in prelims (in a Jaked), but he did not have a stellar NCAA season, and it looked feasible for the U.S. to not have a second swimmer in the Pan Pacs finals. This morning in Irvine, Phelps qualified first in an easy 51.48, while McGill dropped more than a half second from his Nationals' peformance of 52.20 to finish second in 51.69. Especially with Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Lauterstein missing the final (due to the two-per-country rule), McGill could win his first international individual medal in the final. This means making the jump to the biggest stage, just two years out from 2012.

Only Phelps and McGill broke 52 in prelims, with Japan's Takuro Fujii third in 52.20 and Australia's Geoff Huegill fourth in 52.21. 31-year-old Huegill finished just a quarter second off his personal best time set ten years ago. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he set an Olympic record of 51.96 in the semi-finals, before finishing third in the finals, although no one beat his semi-final time. After retiring in 2004, he returned in late 2008 and made the Australian team in the 50 fly at Nationals. In that event on Wednesday, he posted a first-place time of 23.27, a personal best time, ahead of his then-world record of 23.44 from 2001. In the finals, he ended up faltering to fourth, but he returned to be his country's top man in the 100 fly. After finishing fifth at their Nationals, he did not have a National team spot in the event, but he now has a strong chance to return to an Olympic event on the Aussie team. Only continued success in the longer 100 fly will give Huegill a shot as his third Olympics in 2012.

Updates finals predictions (which DO NOT COUNT in the prediction contest):

Women's 400 Free
1. Allison Schmitt
2. Chloe Sutton
3. Katie Goldman

Men's 400 Free
1. Zhang Lin
2. Park Tae Hwan
3. Peter Vanderkaay

Women's 100 Fly
1. Dana Vollmer
2. Christine Magnuson
3. Yolane Kukla

Men's 100 Fly
1. Michael Phelps
2. Geoff Huegill
3. Tyler McGill

Women's 200 Back
1. Elizabeth Beisel
2. Liz Pelton
3. Belinda Hocking

Men's 200 Back
1. Ryan Lochte
2. Ryosuke Irie
3. Tyler Clary

Women's 50 Breast
1. Jessica Hardy
2. Leisel Jones
3. Leiston Pickett

Men's 50 Breast
1. Felipe Silva
2. Kosuke Kitajima
3. Mark Gangloff

Women's 4x100 Free Relay
1. USA (Coughlin, Hardy, Weir, Vollmer)
2. Australia (Seebohm, Coutts, Galvez, Kukla)
3. Canada (Poon, Morningstar, Samur, Wilkinson)

Men's 4x100 Free Relay
1. USA (Phelps, Lochte, Adrian, Lezak)
2. Australia (Sullivan, Magnussen, Prosser, Richardson)
3. Brazil (Cielo, Oliveira, Rodrigues, Santos)

Not too many changes to the official prediction scores after day 2. But look who's in the lead!

1. David "The Swim Geek" Rieder 169
2. Jerry 167
3. Matt 162
4. John 157
4. Tom 157
6. G. John 149
7. Shawn 145
8. Braden 125
9. Priyant 115
10. Katie 101

I will NOT be able to post unofficial scores tonight, so scores will be available before prelims tomorrow morning.

Based on the qualifying procedures, this should be the line-up for World Champs next year in the individual Olympic events contested thus far.

100 Free - Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer
200 Free - Allison Schmitt, Dana Vollmer
800 Free - Kate Ziegler, Chloe Sutton
100 Back - Natalie Coughlin, Liz Pelton
100 Breast - Rebecca Soni, Amanda Beard
200 Fly - Teresa Crippen, Kathleen Hersey
400 IM - Elizabeth Beisel, Caitlin Leverenz

100 Free - Nathan Adrian, Jason Lezak
200 Free - Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps
1,500 Free - Chad LaTourette, Peter Vanderkaay
100 Back - Aaron Peirsol, David Plummer
100 Breast - Mark Gangloff, Mike Alexandrov
200 Fly - Michael Phelps, Tyler Clary
400 IM - Ryan Lochte, Tyler Clary


  1. Is Phelps actually swimming the 4x100 free relay?

  2. Probably. I think he can go faster than the 48.73 Garrett Weber-Gale swam in the individual.

  3. He might be able to, but GWG will be fresher tonight, and I'm sure there will be some raised eyebrows considering Phelps (if I remember correctly) hasn't swam a decent 100m freestyle in competition since the Rome world championships.