Monday, 17 May 2010

Charlotte Ultraswim - Top Performers of the Meet

Top Performer - Rebecca Soni

Soni is the obvious choice for this award in my opinion. I rated her 100m and 200m Breast performances as the two best swims of the meet by any swimmer. Soni's time of 2:22.21 improved on her world leading time of 2:22.91 set at the Austin Grand Prix and increases her lead over Leisel Jones to an incredible 1.24 seconds. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that Jones was tapered for her swim whilst Soni is producing these times untapered. Below is a look at Annamay Pierse's WR splits, Soni's previous WR splits and her performance in Charlotte.

PIERSE .2009 WR - 32.03 - 1:07.28 (35.25) - 1:43.42 (36.14) - 2:20.12 (36.70)
SONI ....2008 WR - 32.17 - 1:07.46 (35.29) - 1:43.70 (36.24) - 2:20.22 (36.52)
SONI ...2010 Charl - 31.88 - 1:08.37 (36.49) - 1:44.58 (36.21) - 2:22.21 (37.63)

Amazingly Soni went out faster than WR pace on the first 50 in Charlotte, dropped off slightly on the second 50m, had a very strong third 50m before dropping off again on the final 50m. When Soni is fully tapered and rested Pierse's mark looks vulnerable. The 200m Breast WR is increasingly looking like the first one that will go in the post-suit era. Soni being the clear favourite to do it.

On the 100m Soni went out in 30.98 (3rd fastest 50m in the world this year) before finishing in 1:05.90 (good enough to win the men's C final). The time leaves her just 0.11 seconds shy of Jones' world leading time.

Rowdy Gaines on Universal Sport discussed who the best female Breaststroker in the world is currently and went with Soni. From everything we've seen so far in 2010 I completely agree with him.

(On a side note - I've heard many analysts claim that the tech suits had the greatest influence on Breaststroke. I completely disagree with these claims and Soni is helping my argument. In my opinion the techsuits aided Freestyle and Backstroke far more than Breaststroke and Butterfly. (Click here if you want to read more on the changes the suits brought on each stroke).)

Breakout Performer - Justine Mueller

Not quite such an easy decision with Hunor Mate (100m Breast winner) Emily Brunemann (1500m winner), Missy Franklin (200m Back winner) and Josh Schneider (50m Free winner) all entering the discussion. In the end I went with Justine Mueller for her win in the 200m IM. Before the 200 IM Mueller had spoken to Garrett McCaffrey in an interview with SwimmingWorld (see below) about the need to get a win under her belt against top opposition and she did exactly that. Mueller, 23, had a best time of 2:11.46 last year and 2:14.74 in 2008. To be down to 2:12.44 at this stage of the year is very encouraging. Add in the fact that she is training at SwimMAC with David Marsh. Mueller is definitely a swimmer to keep an eye on over the next few years.

Mueller happens to be in one of US Swimming's strongest events but she will enter nationals later this year knowing that she has won on the big stage and has beaten Dagny Knutson, Felicia Lee, Elizabeth Pelton and Elizabeth Beisel.


  1. I think there has been a developement in Backstroke beside the techsuits... Times are already faster than in the pre-hightech-age.

    It lookes like the suits aided Breaststroke more to many people, cause the gaps are larger. But that's caused by the slower Breaststroke in general. If you take a look at the percentage and proportion - like you did - , the suits did'n aid Breastroke more.

  2. Good point about the backstroke getting quicker. The four textile best times this year have all been in backstroke.