Monday, July 18, 2011

Shanghai 2011: Predictions, Part Two

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 second round of predictions includes the women’s breaststroke, butterfly, and relay events. You can find my predictions for the women’s freestyle, backstroke, and IM events here, and I will post my men’s predictions tomorrow and Wednesday.

50 Breast
1. Jessica Hardy, USA
2. Yulia Efimova, Russia
3. Rebecca Soni, USA
*Hardy previously won the 2007 World Champs in this event, while Efimova and Soni went 1-2 in 2009 in Hardy’s absence.

100 Breast
1. Rebecca Soni, USA
2. Leisel Jones, Australia
3. Yulia Efimova, Russia
*Soni continues her dominance of this race and challenges the world record (1:04.45).

200 Breast
1. Rebecca Soni, USA
2. Annamay Pierse, Canada
3. Yulia Efimova, Russia
*Can Soni finally track down Pierse’s world record of 2:20.12?

50 Fly
1. Therese Alshammar, Sweden
2. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
3. Marieke Guehrer, Australia
*Alshammar has been unstoppable since her loss to Guehrer in the final two years ago.

100 Fly
1. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
2. Dana Vollmer, USA
3. Liu Zige, China
*Home favorite edges Aussie Alicia Coutts off the podium as Sjostrom repeats her world title from two years ago by going under 57.

200 Fly
1. Liu Zige, China
2. Jiao Liuyang, China
3. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
*Just like they did at the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese dominate at home.

4x100 Free Relay
1. Netherlands
2. United States
3. Australia
*The Dutch have a killer foursome, but Americans’ depth could bring them within striking distance.

4x200 Free Relay
1. United States
2. China
3. Australia
*The Aussies have posted some fast swims this year, but my gut says that Americans and Chinese will step up here. Missy Franklin could be the X-factor for the Americans.

4x100 Medley Relay
1. United States
2. China
3. Australia
*The Americans have star power in all four strokes. Addition of Missy Franklin for backstroke could bring this team over the top.

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