Monday, 22 February 2010

200m Freestyle: Biedermann vs Phelps

You can find my race-by-race recap of the Great Britain Vs. Germay duel day one here and day two here. Full results (without splits) are here.

Biedermann vs Phelps

Great to see Paul Biedermann back in action at the GBR Vs. GER duel. He looked in tremendous physical condition. He mentioned that he'd lost 1.5kg and that he still had more a bit more to lose. His modesty shone through after the race too when the inevitable questions about Phelps came up. He dealt with them admirably calling Phelps the "greatest swimmer in the world" and that he hopes to face him later in the year either at the Monaco leg of the Mare Nostrum series in June or at the World Shortcourse Champs in Dubai in December.

Why Phelps vs Biedermann is so intriguing is the fact that Phelps' famous last 50m speed, where he has won so many races, is less effective against Biedermann. Normally if Phelps goes into the final turn level or just behind a swimmer, you still expect him to win. However, take a look back at the 200m Final in Rome last year and see Biedermann's final 50m. This is the first time I can remember seeing anyone pulling away from Phelps on a final 50m. 9 minute version here with full build up and post-race analysis.

This is the way Biedermann swims and I believe he's strong enough to match Phelps on the final 50m of a 200m Free. Phelps may need to change his approach to the 200m and take the race out (possibly sub-50 seconds) if he wants to beat Biedermann.

The one criticism I have of Biedermann is his starts. He loses out everytime on them and his starting weakness was evident again this weekend. The worrying aspect for his rivals is that this is something that can be improved upon.


  1. His starting weakness is caused by the old blocks at his "home-pool" at Halle. Last week they got the new Omega-block so we can expect that his starts will improve...

  2. His last 50 against Phelps in Rome were supported by his rubber suit. Let's see his 50 against MP when both are in textile jammers.

  3. Danke sehr, Great info about the blocks at Halle. I've seen the stone blocks that they used to have and the new Omega's 'should' make a difference... he still needs a lot of work on them though!

    b_poindexter - After seeing Biedermann this weekend I don't buy into the argument that his success was only based on the suit. The guy is an incredible swimmer and is still improving. I believe Biedermann still would have won in Rome had he been wearing the same suit as Phelps.

  4. We know Phelps is going to Paris in June, not sure about Monaco though.

    One thing for sure, British Swimming got to do something about promotion. Lack of news about the meet in Wales, what a shame. You can't rely on a foreigner like Phelps to help promote swimming (just read all the reports from press back in December) in our own country. With all the digital channels from BBC, can't they even edit a 30 minutes summary and show a tape delay?

    Let's not start with the number of 50m standard pools in our country...

  5. It's confirmed that Phelps is not doing any Mare Nostrum, but he is going to Paris. Not sure about Dubai.