Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shanghai 2011: Predictions, Part Three

We are less than 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 third round of predictions includes the men’s backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. You can find my predictions for women’s events here and here, and I will post my final predictions tomorrow.

Note: With the decision as to whether Cesar Cielo can compete in the World Championships still looming, I have included four places in his events. If he is not allowed to compete, the second-place finisher moves up to gold.

50 Back
1. Camille Lacourt, France
2. Liam Tancock, Great Britain
3. Junya Koga, Japan
*These three have the most raw backstroke speed of anyone in the field. Lacourt barely missed Tancock’s world record (24.07) last year.

100 Back
1. Camille Lacourt, France
2. Ryosuke Irie, Japan
3. David Plummer, USA
*Lacourt should threaten Aaron Peirsol’s world record of 51.94. Plummer is ready to break onto the big stage.

200 Back
1. Ryan Lochte, USA
2. Ryosuke Irie, Japan
3. Tyler Clary, USA
*When the Florida taper kicks in, Lochte will be ready to reclaim his world title from 2007. Clary looming stronger and stronger.

50 Breast
1. Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa
2. Felipe Silva, Brazil
3. Fabio Scozolli, Italy
*Silva upset van der Burgh at the World Short Course Championships, but I don’t think it happens again.

100 Breast
1. Alexander Dale Oen, Norway
2. Kosuke Kitajima, Japan
3. Brenton Rickard, Australia
*These three stand above the rest of the field. Dale Oen is ready to get by the man who beat him in the Olympic final.

200 Breast
1. Naoya Tomita, Japan
2. Kosuke Kitajima, Japan
3. Daniel Gyurta, Hungary
*Top-three looks safe, but order could go a lot of ways. Eric Shanteau has a chance to earn a podium position as well.

50 Fly
1. Cesar Cielo, Brazil
2. Matt Targett, Australia
3. Milorad Cavic, Serbia
4. Steffen Deibler, Germany
*If allowed to compete, Cielo’s raw speed earns him the win here. Targett is always a force in the 50 fly.

100 Fly
1. Michael Phelps, USA
2. Milorad Cavic, Serbia
3. Takuro Fujii, Japan
*Phelps won’t be challenged in this one. However, wide open behind him.

200 Fly
1. Michael Phelps, USA
2. Takeshi Matsuda, Japan
3. Wu Peng, China
*Phelps has dropped a few 200 flys this year, but he will be ready to step it up when it counts. Look for a 1:52.

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