Monday 11 April 2016

Textile Best Times

50m Free21.19Florent ManaudouFRA8/2015World Champs
100m Free47.04Cameron McEvoyAUS4/2016Aus Trials
200m Free1:43.14Yannick AgnelFRA7/2012Olympics
400m Free3:40.08Ian ThorpeAUS7/2002Commonwealths
800m Free7:38.57Sun YangCHN7/2011World Champs
1500m Free14:31.02Sun YangCHN8/2012Olympics
50m Back24.07Camille LacourtFRA8/2010Euro Champs
100m Back52.08Matt GreversUSA6/2012US Trials
200m Back1:52.96Ryan LochteUSA7/2011World Champs
50m Brst26.42Adam PeatyGBR8/2015World Champs
100m Brst57.92Adam PeatyGBR4/2015British Champs
200m Brst2:07.01Akihiro Yamaguchi JAP9/2012Japan Nationals
50m Fly22.76Cesar CieloBRA4/2012Maria Lenk
100m Fly50.40Ian CrockerUSA7/2005World Champs
200m Fly1:52.09Michael PhelpsUSA3/2007World Champs
200m IM1:54.00Ryan LochteUSA7/2011World Champs
400m IM4:05.18Ryan LochteUSA7/2012Olympics

50m Free23.84Cate CampbellAUS4/2016Aus Trials
100m Free52.33Cate Campbell AUS7/2013World Champs
200m Free1:53.61Allison SchmittUSA7/2012Olympics
400m Free3:58.37Katie LedeckyUSA8/2014Pan Pacs
800m Free8:06.68Katie LedeckyUSA1/2016USA Pro Series
1500m Free15:25.48Katie LedeckyUSA8/2015World Champs
50m Back27.11Fu YuanhuiCHN8/2015World Champs
100m Back58.23Emily SeebohmAUS8/2012Olympics
200m Back2:04.06Missy FranklinUSA8/2012Olympics

50m Brst29.48Ruta MeilutyteLTU7/2013World Champs
100m Brst1:04.35Ruta MeilutyteLTU7/2013World Champs
200m Brst2:19.11Rikke M PedersenDEN7/2013World Champs
50m Fly24.43Sarah SjostromSWE7/2014Swedish Nats
100m Fly55.74Sarah SjostromSWE8/2015World Champs
200m Fly2:04.06Jiao LiuyangCHN8//2012Olympics
200m IM2:06.12Katinka HosszuHUN8/2015World Champs
400m IM4:28.43Ye ShiwenCHN7/2012Olympics

Bold denotes current World Record

Updated 14 April 2016

Monday 25 August 2014

Norwegian record holder solves three Rubik's cubes under water - makes waves in the media

17 year old Marius Solaat Rødland has been making waves in Norwegian pools over the last couple of years.

The young prodigy, who first started swimming at 13, has several national junior record in both butterfly and freestyle to his name and was initially selected to swim for Norway during the European Championships in Berlin.

A back-injury stopped that from happening, but the young prodigy has started preparing for a new season - and has already made bigger headlines than he has ever done from his swimming-records.

A video of him solving three Rubik's cubes underwater, without a single breath, is doing the rounds in Norwegian media. The film was shot during mondays session at his club Vestkantsvømmerne, the club famous for being the late Alexander Dale Oens first.

Both national broadcaster TV 2 and major regional newspaper Bergens Tidende has news stories about the video.

Rødland, who has a personal best of 10,99 at one Rubik's cube, was challenged by canadian coach Bruno Langlois, who had seen similar footage on the web.

– Sadly I only brought three cubes. If I had another I would have made that one too. I still had plenty of oxygen to keep going, says Rødland to TV 2.

Marius Solaat Rødland represented Norway at the European Junior Long Course Championships earlier this summer, but his performance was halted by the back-injury.

Sunday 6 July 2014

When swimming takes your breath away

 Sarah Sjöström swam 50 meters without a breath and took the breath away from the swimming world.

Sjöströms 24.43 at the 50 meter butterfly Saturday is a moment that redefines what swimming is.

It was a moment in time where someone moves the borders for what you thought possible far beyond what you could imagine.

A moment in time that shows why we love sports in general, and swimming in particular. Amazing performances that take your breath away.

As Sarah Sjöström managed her first 50 meters without breathing she threw a gauntlet at the previous Swedish and World Record at 25,07. Her personal best by more than a second would be a sensation by itself, the other records makes it hard to comprehend.

"Its an improvement we normally get at the start of a swimming career. You do not improve your personal best by over a second at this level," said former Swedish national team coach Hans Chrunak - now working as a pundit at Swedish national broadcaster SVT.

Well, obviously - you do! Sjöströms PB before today? 25.52

Coach Carl Jenner was just as shocked and surprised as anyone else.

"I don't think people really understand how fast this is. It's like we've moved swimming 10-15 years into the future. I don't think anyone would have guessed that a girl could swim this fast now", Jenner told Swedish news agency TT.

But we're not in 2030 - we're in 2014. And Sarah Sjöström is a girl - a woman in fact.

With her performance she has forced us into thinking differently and in a new way about what's possible. By boys, and girls. By coaches and athletes.

Fact is that when I saw the race footage - even in super slow motion - I thought that this did not look that special. Until the time was flashing towards me: 24,43.

Thats because it's not wizardry or magic. Its entirely possible. 

Sarah Sjöström is fast becoming one of the swimming greats. More performances like this would surely put her up there. This year it's her and Katie Ledecky.

Sjöström has not only forced us in to thinking new and differently - she has to think differently herself.

Originally she was not intending to swim the 50 fly at the upcoming European Championships in Berlin, because it collides with the 100 freestyle. Nothing is set in stone however, and in her own words - after being asked if she could top this in Berlin:

"If I were to swim 24.7 at Europeans it would still reach quite far."


This comment is a translation of a post at Norwegian

Saturday 5 July 2014

Stunning Sarah Sjostrom Breaks the 50 Butterly World Record

Sarah Sjostrom just set a world record for the ages. Watch and enjoy a woman taking the 50 fly to a whole new level. This follows her 23.98 in the 50 free yesterday, becoming the first woman under 24 seconds in textile. You're seeing a swimmer in historically good sprinting form.

To give the swim some context, last year in Rome, Sjostrom finished 4th in the 50 free World Championships final in 24.45. Today she was even quicker, and swimming fly. She broke the previous world record by 0.64 secs, and the previous textile best by 0.81 secs.

The world record is also notable as that is now 9 women's events where the global standard has fallen since the suit ban, over half of the 17 pool events.

If you thought 2014 would be dominated by Katie Ledecky's distance freestyle fireworks, think again.

 In Super slo-mo...


Sunday 2 February 2014

A swimmer-pioneer: Ari-Pekka Liukkonen first openly gay Finnish athlete

Finnish sprint ace Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has created some waves in his native country as he's come out as gay. This makes the 24 year old the first ever active national level athlete, in any sport, to announce their homosexuality.

It shouldn't be news in 2014, but that amazing fact stresses the point that it still has to be. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to break ground in a country obviously still stuck in the 20th century on these matters.

Liukkonen came public on the matter in an interview with finnish national broadcaster YLE, stating that he feels obliged to highlight the matter leading into the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. 

The Russian "anti-gay"-legislation has been subject to a great deal of debacle leading up to the Games, and the Finnish swimmer wanted to have his say on the matter. He hopes to start a debate in his home country about gay rights leading up to the Games.
"It’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others. Homosexuals have the same rights as people with brown or blue eyes, as people that are right- or left handed," said the Olympic Swimmer speaking on the Urheiluviikonloppu-show.
The 24 year old tells a story about denial and oppressed feelings when he first started to realize he was gay. He thought it was just a phase.

During high school he started to comprehend that it was not something that would pass. 
"Acceptance was hard, but not necessarily horribly hard either. It's been a long process for me," says Liukkonen.
He told his sister first, a couple of years ago. A month ago he told his parents, who according to the 24 year old has been supportive after receiving the news.
"I wanted to tell my parents before I went public. They've shown great support," he says. 
"Finally I can be myself. But I want to stress that I'll still be the same Ari-Pekka that is going to swim the 50 meters freestyle and one day beat the World Record. I want to win the Olympics in a World Record-time."
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen is the Finnish national record holder with a 22,22 personal best. He came fourth at the European Long Course Championships in 2012 with that time.

He participated at the London Olympic Games and won a bronze medal with the Finnish relay team in the 4x50 meters mixed freestyle at the 2012 European Short Course Championships.

Today's revelations might be his biggest achievement yet though.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Conor "American Psycho" Dwyer

There can never be enough nicknames in the world of swimming, so I offer up Conor "American Psycho" Dwyer.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - The Top 10

The third annual Speed Endurance Top 50 Swimmers of the Year list is upon us. There is no set-in-stone criteria, but priority is given to achievements in Barcelona at the World Championships. World records and textile best times also carry a lot of weight. Other outstanding achievements away from Barcelona were acknowledged, but it took an extraordinary feat to better a World Championship medal. Also worth noting, as this is a list of the Top 50 individuals, relay medals did not come into play, however race-changing relay contributions were valued highly.

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 50 to 41
Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 40 to 31
Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 30 to 21
Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 20 to 11

This is it. The final installment takes us from number 10 to this year's number 1 swimmer of 2013.

10. Chad le Clos - 2013 Highlight: Emerged as the undisputed best male fly swimmer in the world. Two decisive victories in the 100 and 200 fly gave the South African his first world titles. Le Clos then backed up his Barcelona performance by twice lowering the short course world record in the 200 fly and taking home $305,000 in prize money as the Top Male on the World Cup tour.

9. Rikke Moller Pedersen - 2013 Highlight: Her superb world record of 2:19.11 in the 200 breast semi-final in Barcelona. Although Yulia Efimova was able to get past the Dane in the final of the event, Moller Pedersen's world record still stands. The 200 breaststroke event has turned on its head since Rebecca Soni's domination at London 2012 with Pedersen leading the revolution.

8. Mireia Belmonte - 2013 Highlight: Belmonte is the highest ranked non-world champion on this year's list. She makes it this high thanks to the overall strength of her 2013. She set three short course world records, picked up two silvers (200 fly, 400 IM) and a bronze (200 IM) in Barcelona and ended the year with 6 Top 20 ranked long course times, which was only bettered by her Hungarian rival who appears a little higher up this list.

7. Cate Campbell - 2013 Highlight: Leading off the Australian 4x100 freestyle relay in a new textile best time of 52.33 on day one at worlds before following that up with gold in the 100 free individual event in 52.34 and silver in the 50 free in 24.14. Campbell's 52.09 relay split in the medley relay also turned a bronze into a silver for Australia. Watch out in 2014, Britta Steffen's world record of 52.07 which once seemed light years away from the current crop of sprinters, suddenly seems within reach for the Australian freestyler.

6. Sun Yang - 2013 Highlight: The Chinese distance star is our top ranked male for 2013. It shows how much further ahead of the rest of the world he is when he can have an off-year by his high time standards and still win the 400, 800 and 1500 free world titles comfortably. His most impressive swim in Barcelona was arguably his 1:43.16 split in the 4x200 free relay which was 1.8 seconds faster than any other split and took China from 5th up to 3rd. Frustratingly it also showed us what kind of competition he could have given Yannick Agnel in the 200 individual event.

5. Missy Franklin - 2013 Highlight: There were no world records or textile best times for Franklin in 2013, but she secured three world titles (200 free, 100 back, 200 back) and had two stand-out relay performances in the 4x100 medley (58.39 backstroke split) and 4x200 freestyle (1:54.27 final leg, moving USA from 2nd to 1st in the process). Having a 6-time gold medalist at number 5 goes to show just how strong a year 2013 was for women in the pool.

4. Katinka Hosszu - 2013 Highlight: The Iron Lady of swimming was able to combine her incredibly tough schedule of racing with success on the biggest stage with victories at the World Championships in the 200 and 400 IM, as well as bronze in the 200 fly. While her performances in Barcelona were impressive, Hosszu then put together a magnificent short course season setting an incredible 6 new world records as well picking up the Top Female award (and $365,500 in prize money) from the world cup tour.

3. Yuliya Efimova - 2013 Highlight: The Russian breaststroke ace proved that she saves her best for the races that matter the most. Efimova went into the 50 and 200 breaststroke finals in Barcelona as the underdog to a world record setter in the semi-final. On both occasions she got to the wall first in times that shook the new world records, but ultimately didn't topple them. She also finished the year in great form setting two short course world records to go alongside the 50 breast world record she set in the Barcelona heats (that ultimately lasted less than a day).

2. Ruta Meilutyte - 2013 Highlight: It was incredibly difficult to split Efimova and Meilutyte and ultimately it came down to how much long course world records were valued. Meilutyte finished the year with world record times of 29.48 and 1:04.35 in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, gold in the 100 breast, silver in the 50 breast in Barcelona as well as a new short course mark of 1:02.36 in the 100 breast. In Meilutyte's young career she has shown a tendency to have her best swims in semi-finals which is something she will need to work on when she next locks horns with Efimova, but remains a well deserving number 2 in this list. She also possesses one of the best starts in swimming.

1. Katie Ledecky - 2013 Highlight: The runaway winner in this year's list goes to the young American distance phenomenon. Ledecky put on a freestyle display for the ages in Barcelona breaking the 800 and 1500 freestyle world records en route to golds in both events. She also broke the iconic 4 minute barrier to win the 400 freestyle title. Lotte Friis put up a brave fight in both the 800 and 1500 races, but Ledecky couldn't be stopped. The truly terrifying part for her competitors is that you get the impression that she has only just scratched the surface of her potential and is still just 16 years old. They will be lining up against her for the foreseeable future. Ledecky's 1:56.32 opening relay leg in the 4x200 free points to a Sun Yang-esque freestyle range and should she decide to shift her focus to the shorter distance as she gets older, who knows how much lower she can take her best time to.

Final tally for Ledecky in 2013: 2 LC world records, 3 individual world titles, 4 Top 10 ranked times. Total distance freestyle domination.

The Top 50

50. Chase Kalisz
49. Jimmy Feigen
48. Melani Costa
47. Laszlo Cseh
46. Belinda Hocking
45. Pawel Korzeniowski
44. Radoslaw Kawecki
43. Emily Seebohm
42. Connor Dwyer
41. Fabien Gilot
40. Jessica Hardy
39. Aya Terakawa
38. Federica Pellegrini
37. Thiago Pereira
36. Ryan Cochrane
35. Zhao Jing
34. Dana Vollmer
33. Vladimir Morozov
32. Camille Lacourt
31. Nathan Adrian
30. Danila Izotov
29. Yannick Agnel
28. Fu Yuanhui
27. Lauren Boyle
26. Liu Zige
25. James Magnussen
24. Daiya Seto
23. Jeanette Ottesen
22. Alicia Coutts
21. Kosuke Hagino
20. Matt Grevers
19. Daniel Gyurta
18. Lotte Friis
17. Sarah Sjostrom
16. Cameron van der Burgh
15. Christian Sprenger
14. Jeremy Stravius
13. Cesar Cielo
12. Ranomi Kromowidjojo
11. Ryan Lochte
10. Chad le Clos
9. Rikke Moller Pedersen
8. Mireia Belmonte
7. Cate Campbell
6. Sun Yang
5. Missy Franklin
4. Katinka Hosszu
3. Yuliya Efimova
2. Ruta Meilutyte
1. Katie Ledecky

Monday 6 January 2014

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 20 to 11

The third annual Speed Endurance Top 50 Swimmers of the Year list is upon us. There is no set-in-stone criteria, but priority is given to achievements in Barcelona at the World Championships. World records and textile best times also carry a lot of weight. Other outstanding achievements away from Barcelona were acknowledged, but it took an extraordinary feat to better a World Championship medal. Also worth noting, as this is a list of the Top 50 individuals, relay medals did not come into play, however race-changing relay contributions were valued highly.

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 50 to 41
Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 40 to 31
Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 30 to 21

20. Matt Grevers - 2013 Highlight: Winning the 100 backstroke in Barcelona as the only man sub-53 seconds. Grevers backed up his Olympic gold with his first individual world title. He also led-off the ill-fated medley relay team in 53.02. Although his times were down on 2012, he still showed that he is the man to beat when it comes to the 100m backstroke.

19. Daniel Gyurta - 2013 Highlight: Three-peating as world 200 breaststroke champion in 2:07.23, the second fastest time of all-time. Nobody other than Gyurta has stood at the top of the men's 200 breast podium at a world championships since 2007. The Hungarian also shook the short course world record to its core with his 2:00.72 effort at European SC, just 0.05 shy of his own 2009 mark. Very few other swimmers had as much dominance in one event as Gyurta did in 2013.

18. Lotte Friis - 2013 Highlight: Crushing the previous 1500 freestyle world record with her time of 15:38.88. Unfortunately for Friis, Katie Ledecky crushed it by a little more leaving the Dane to settle for silver in the race of the year. Friis bravely took on Ledecky in both the 800 and 1500 free leading both races until the latter parts. If there was a prize for gutsiest racer of the year, Friis would be my pick.

17. Sarah Sjostrom - 2013 Highlight: Getting back on the top of the 100 butterfly world podium, 4 years after her breakthrough in Rome. Sjostrom's victory in 56.53 was exceptional and the showdown between Sjostrom and Vollmer when they next meet will be electric. The Swede also shone in the 100 free final with silver in 52.89 as well as finishing the year with Top 10 ranked swims in 5 separate events.

16. Cameron van der Burgh - 2013 Highlight: Setting a new textile best time in the 50 breaststroke in a time of 26.77, just 0.1 seconds off his own world record. Although Van der Burgh missed out on the 100 breast world title, his speed was better than ever in 2013. Fortunately we should get to see a tapered rematch with the next swimmer on our list in 2014.

15. Christian Sprenger - 2013 Highlight: An excellent year for the Australian breaststroker winning gold in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 58.79, bettering last year's silver in London. He also finished just 0.01 behind van der Burgh's new textile best time in the 50 breaststroke final as well as an excellent 58.47 medley relay split to take the Australian's from 4th to 1st.

14. Jeremy Stravius - 2013 Highlight: Stravius is our highest ranked male not to win an individual gold medal. He makes it to such a lofty rank due to two excellent relay contributions. Taking over in 4th position after 300m in the 4x100 free relay, his 47.59 final leg took the Frenchman past Jimmy Feigen, Danila Izotov and James Roberts to give victory to the French quartet. He also put in a sterling effort in the victorious medley relay with his split of 51.33, the fastest of the field, from a backstroke specialist. Stravius ended the year with 6 Top 20 ranked LC swims, showing off his tremendous versatility

13. Cesar Cielo - 2013 Highlight: Cielo stepped up to the blocks in two events and left with two golds and a textile best time in the 50 free of 21.32. His 50 free final was another example of a big-time performance from the Brazilian in a major final. In a final that included all the big hitters, he won by a significant gap of 0.15 seconds. After skipping the event in Barcelona, the swimming world now awaits to see what type of form Cielo comes back to in the 100 freestyle.

12. Ranomi Kromowidjojo - 2013 Highlight: Difficult to pick a highlight between the 50 free world title and her new short course world record of 23.24 in the 50 free on home soil. Kromowidjojo did lose out to Cate Campbell and Sarah Sjostrom in the 100 free final but proved that when it comes to the shorter distance she still reigns supreme.

11. Ryan Lochte - 2013 Highlight: In a year that saw Lochte make moves to becoming more of a mainstream star which ended early with a freak accident, he was still able to pick up two individual golds in Barcelona. His victories in the 200 backstroke and 200 IM were won by some margin and he ended the year with Top 10 times in 5 different events. His 1:44.98 relay split was solid in the 4x200 free relay, but was overshadowed by Sun Yang's 1:43.16. Lochte was just announced as the FINA Male Swimmer of the Year, I have him as the No.3 ranked Male in 2013.