Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shanghai 2011: Predictions, Part One

We are just one week away from the start of pool swimming at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. Instead of discussing storylines headed into the meet as I so often do, I decided instead to post my predictions in four parts, and under each prediction, I included some of my thoughts headed in to the meet. While in many cases this meet is much more straightforward in predicting than a national-level meet, there is more opportunity for a swimmer to come out of the woodwork to win a medal. So we will see how this goes. This first round of predictions includes the women’s freestyle, backstroke, and IM events. Look for the remaining women’s predictions tomorrow, followed by the men’s on Tuesday and Wednesday.

50 Free
1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands
2. Britta Steffen, Germany
3. Therese Alshammar, Sweden
*Young Dutch superstar takes the win ahead of two veterans.

100 Free
1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands
2. Fran Halsall, Great Britain
3. Natalie Coughlin, USA
*Coughlin holds off Femke Heemskerk for a surprise third-place finish.

200 Free
1. Federica Pellegrini, Italy
2. Allison Schmitt, USA
3. Camille Muffat, France
*Schmitt continues her run as second-best in this event and pushes Pellegrini all the way.

400 Free
1. Rebecca Adlington, Great Britain
2. Federica Pellegrini, Italy
3. Camille Muffat, France
*Olympic champion takes the field on the final 75 meters. Americans Sutton and Hoff have serious medal potential.

800 Free
1. Rebecca Adlington, Great Britain
2. Chloe Sutton, USA
3. Kate Ziegler, USA
*Should be a strong win for Adlington, with the Americans having strong challenges from Shao Yiwen, Katie Goldman, and Lotte Friis for the medals.

1500 Free
1. Lotte Friis, Denmark
2. Chloe Sutton, USA
3. Keri-Anne Payne, Great Britain
*Wide open race. Look for Kristel Kobrich, Melissa German, and Li Xuanxu to push.

50 Back
1. Aya Terakawa, Japan
2. Anastasia Zueva, Russia
3. Gao Chang, China
*Terakawa has dominated the sprint back all year on the international stage, but this could really be a toss-up.

100 Back
1. Zhao Jing, China
2. Aya Terakawa, Japan
3. Natalie Coughlin, USA
*Defending champion Gemma Spofforth could push, but these three should stand above.

200 Back
1. Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwe
2. Zhao Jing, China
3. Missy Franklin, USA
*Olympic champion prevails in tight race with Chinese threat. Franklin shows off the results of her superb season.

200 IM
1. Yi Shiwen, China
2. Ariana Kukors, USA
3. Stephanie Rice, Australia
*Give an edge to these three for podium spots since Alicia Coutts also swims the 100 fly final earlier that session.

400 IM
1. Yi Shiwen, China
2. Stephanie Rice, Australia
3. Hannah Miley, Great Britain
*American Elizabeth Beisel will be dangerously close to a medal, and defending champion Katinka Hosszu could be a factor as well.


  1. Coventry for gold? Big call.

    Also, explain Lotte Friis winning the 1500 Free buy not medalling in the 800 Free.

  2. I am surprisingly confident in Coventry for the 200 back. Even when she's not swimming great, she always puts together something in her prime event. And honestly, I just don't know about Zhao Jing in the 200 back since she never swims it. And I actually had Friis for third in the 800, but then I thought about what the two Americans could go, and those times outweighed Friis. Friis races the 1500 much more than the Americans, and that is why I'm not incredibly optimistic about the Americans in that one.

  3. How about Grainne Murphy of Ireland for a medal in the 1500? 16.02 last summer i believe at the European Champs, could also threaten in the 800 free

  4. well, Coventry was "only" silver in 07. At one point in time I had her for Gold, but after seeing other swimmers race I just started losing faith. Still I think there are a few swimmers capable of dipping in the 206s (perhaps further), and a few others behind them that're all capable of 207.0s so its going to be a really tight race nonethelss. Coventry isnt as racesharp as she was in 09, so I think gold is a bit out there.

  5. Coventry is a huge call! I think Franklin,Simmonds,Zhao,Nay & Hocking to name a few have low 2.06s i the tank, Beisel aswell.

    Coventry to be honest IF she finals will do well to get off 7th or 8th. Cant see her beating any of the following: Zhao,Simmonds,Nay,Hocking,Sakai,Franklin,Beisel and thats 7! Add Zueva and a few outsiders and she has a TOUGH task.

  6. Wow I would not expect all of those named contenders to be down in the 2:06 range. Of course what an athlete "can" do is not necessarily what they will do. Coventry has the big-race experience, more than any of her competitors, and I'm pretty confident she'll be in the medal mix. The more I've seen her swim, the more confident I've become that this 200 back, by far her best event, will be on point.