Monday, 16 August 2010

Thoughts from the European Swimming Championships - Day Six


Fred Bousquet just swam one of the most impressive 50m Freestyles of all-time. In a pair of jammers that make him feel naked, he absolutely crushed the 50m Freestyle field in the semi-final. The power Bousquet has is phenomenal.

Bousquet and coach Brett Hawke must be feeling pretty good right now. If you didn't catch it back in May 2009 there was quite a spat between Hawke and Swimnews' Craig Lord. This article on Swimnews led to this reaction from Brett Hawke and later this retort on Swimnews.

Its clear (to me at least) that Bousquet is, and was in 2009, in the shape of his life. He has taken the 50m Free into a new era. Alex Popov's 21.64 was the textile best time until this year, to be 0.28 seconds under that mark is phenomenal.

What will we see from Cesar Cielo, Nathan Adrian, Ashley Callus and Eamon Sullivan at Pan Pacs this week? Will anyone, most obvious contender being Cielo, be able to better Bousquet's time?

- Paul Biedermann must have been reading 'Thoughts from Day Three' where I doubted he would end up ranked no. 1 in the world on 200m Freestyle. All it took was the added incentive of racing Yannick Agnel for Biedermann (1:45.47) to knock half a second off his individual final time and have a strong chance of leading the world for the rest of this year.

That was step 1 on Biedermann's 3-step plan to prove his doubters wrong. Still to crack... 2.) Get down to 1:44 and challenge Phelps and Thorpe's best textile times and 3.) Win the World Championships in 2011.

Hats off to the German and French teams for making Biedermann vs Agnel a possibility. They could have easily put both men on the final legs but I suspect that both men requested the lead off leg.

Its becoming increasingly clear that Biedermann thrives on competition, it plays right into his hands. On the 200m he tends to hang with the pace on the first 100 before taking over on the third 50m and pulling away on the final 50m. The stronger the field, the stronger the pace on the first 100m.

... So I'm just going to say it, he's a big time swimmer... Just makes a showdown with Phelps even more enticing.

- Biedermann's lead off time was the main story of the 4 x 200m Free relay but Russia's victory is noteworthy. Because they lack 'star power' (and easily pronounceable names), the Russian team will likely be overlooked when it comes to future freestyle relays at the World Champs/Olympics but the fact is they have incredible strength in depth. The 4 x 100m team's slowest leg was Andrey Grechin's 48.32. Lets see what the US and Australia can muster at Pan Pacs this week.

- Just can't stop talking about this relay... Jeremy Stravius, the Backstroker, swam an incredible 1:45.44 for the French team. Faster than Danila Izotov's split.

- Good job Dragos Agache on the 50m Breaststroke (Silver in 27.47). Nice to see some success for the Romanian men now that Razvan Florea and Dragos Coman are out of the picture. The star of Romanian swimming for many years, Olympic champion Camelia Potec, announced before the competition that she will be deciding on her future in the sport after Budapest.

- Aliaksandra Herasimenia won the women's 50m Backstroke in a new textile best time of 27.64. Unfortunately it doesn't move me in the slightest. Herasimenia was banned for two years for a doping violation in 2003.

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