Thursday, 13 May 2010
Charlotte Ultra Swim
With the possible exception of the Australian Trials, the Charlotte Ultra Swim might just be the biggest swim meet of the year 2010 so far.
Most attention will be directed towards Michael Phelps in his first big LC meet of the year. Phelps is down to swim the 200m Free, 100m Fly, 50m Free, 100m Back and 200m IM.
It will be fascinating to see what time Phelps posts in the 200 Free. Yannick Agnel leads the world in a swift 1:46.35 and Phelps will have done very well if he gets past that time. In the 200 Free we'll also get to see 2010 NCAA champion Conor Dwyer and 2009 NCAA Champ Shaune Fraser in long course action. Fraser finished 2nd this year behind Dwyer. Add Ricky Berens, Peter Vanderkaay, Scot Robison as well as Ryan Lochte, Aaron Piersol and Garrett Weber-Gale and you have an extremely talented field.
Phelps' other hotly contested race will be the 100m Back and along with the 50m Free he will not be the pre-race favourite. He will have to face Piersol and Lochte once again as well as Matt Grevers (already been 53.05 this year) and Nick Thoman (53.95 this year). NCAA Champ Eugene Godsoe (winner by more than a second) will be looking to make the step up to the next level, presuming he's in good post-NCAA shape I expect Godsoe to put up a good showing. Britain's Marco Loughran will fly the flag and hopefully he can make the A Final to set himself up for the Commonwealth Games later this year. Liam Tancock leads the world in a time of 52.85. If the above swimmers want to get past Tancock's time they will have to swim faster than anyone has ever swum before in a textile suit.
I will try to give regular updates via Twitter. (Finals start at 11pm London time with the exception of tonight's 800/1500s which start at 9pm London time).
Other Events To Watch
Men's 50m Free
JAX 50 winner George Bovell faces a tough field in the 50m Free. Garrett Weber-Gale was in top form at the Austin Grand Prix (22.24 in the 50 Free) and will look to build on those results. Cullen Jones will also be looking to improve on his season's best time of 22.50. Britain's Adam Brown will get to show what he can do in a LC American pool after his strong NCAA results. At British Trials a jet lagged Brown swam 22.62. His Auburn team mate Gideon Louw and surprise NCAA Champ (to everyone apart from himself) Josh Schneider should also feature in the top final. Griffin Schumacher, 16, will be worth keeping an eye on as he's entered on a 23.43, a very fast time for such a young sprinter.
Women's 100m Back
Another Brit Gemma Spofforth will battle the best the US has to offer in the 100m Back. Spofforth will face Natalie Coughlin as well as Rachel Bootsma, 16, who swam 59.77 last year at USA Jrs. If that wasn't tough enough she will also face Elizabeth Pelton, 16, Elizabeth Beisel, 17, and Missy Franklin, 15.
Women's 400m Free
NCAA Champ Allison Schmitt will come up against the star of the Grand Prix's so far, Chloe Sutton. Schmitt should pose the strongest challenge yet for Sutton in the 400m. Sutton though has shown that she can handle a race having beaten Katie Hoff at the LC 400 in Austin. Federica Pellegrini leads the world rankings by over a second this year with a 4:04.30.
Women's 200m IM
The 200m IM looks to be an open race with Dagny Knutson, Elizabeth Beisel, Elizabeth Pelton and Justine Mueller all entered within a second of each other. Missy Franklin and Felicia Lee will also compete in an event which showcases the future of US Women's swimming. The youngsters might need to pay attention to Rebecca Soni who is a relative unknown in this event (she swam 4:49 in the 400IM at the Austin Grand Prix). Expect to see Soni make up serious ground on the Breaststroke leg... As I've mentioned before, I would also love to see Soni's training partner Jessica Hardy swim the 200 IM at some stage.
Other British Swimmers to Watch
Robert Holderness - 2:13 at British Trials in the 200m Breast, finished 5th.
Jemma Lowe - Had a good British Champs, (3rd - 58.73, 2nd - 2:08.21). Will hopefully make the A Final and challenge for the top 3.
Stephanie Proud - Swam well at British Trials, will be interesting to see what form she is in
Canadian Hasaan Abdel Khalik, 18, swam 4:15 in the NCAA 500y Free heats, only to break his hand at the finish. He swam the final with a cast on (4:55). If the hand has fully recovered and he's in good post-NCAA shape he could get into the top three of the 400m Free.