Friday, 20 August 2010
Thoughts from Pan Pacs Swimming - Day Two
Pan Pacs looks like a fun meet. Odd. But fun.
Let's get straight to Day Two's talking points...
- Natalie Coughlin looked supreme as she took victory in the women's 100m Free. The one thing she hasn't lost is her incredible skill on starts and turns. On the women's side, Coughlin remains the best underwater swimmer in the world. With Britta Steffen and Marleen Veldhuis out of action, the world's top two 100m Freestylers this year have been Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Fran Halsall. Coughlin looks like she's made it into a top three.
- Nathan Adrian continues to impress in the freestyle sprints winning in a time of 48.15. Last year Adrian got down to 48.00 at US Nationals. In Rome he made it to the semi-finals where he finished 10th in 48.13 behind Pan Pac swimmers such as Cesar Cielo, Nicolas Oliveira, Brent Hayden, David Walters and Lyndon Ferns. The tables have certainly been turned in 2010.
Brent Hayden was equally impressive with his time of 48.19. Cesar Cielo looks like his 50m Free is going to be a bit special splitting in 22.74 before running out of gas on the second 50m. Eamon Sullivan also went out quickly (22.89) before coming home 7th in 48.84. It's been a strange year for Sullivan, lets see what he can go at Commonwealths.
- Rebecca Soni's victory in the 100m Breast (1:04.93) wasn't just a sensational time, it was a statement. In the first head-to-head with Leisel Jones this year, Soni smoked the second 50m to pull clearly away from Jones. There wasn't much doubt before the meet that Soni is currently the best female breaststroker in the world, there can be none now.
Milestones from yesterday's swim
- 3rd fastest 100m Breaststroke of all-time (Soni now owns the second and third fastest times ever)
- Fastest time ever in a textile suit (beating Leisel Jones' 1:05.06)
- First woman under 1:05 in a textile suit
- Faster than Leisel Jones has ever been in the 100m Breast
The most exciting part.... Soni still has her best event, the 200m, still to come. Annamay Pierse's WR is under serious threat.
- Kosuke Kitajima is the best breaststroker in the world. Surprised? Despite being slower in the final (59.35) than the heats (59.04), Kitajima was in complete control of the race and won comfortably. It went a little unnoticed but during the heats Kitajima broke Brendan Hansen's textile best time of 59.13. Again, that was during the heats.
- So after I crowned Caitlin Leverenz the best US female over 400m IM, I now have to eat my words and give the title back to Elizabeth Beisel. Like Kitajima, Beisel was slower in the final than the heats, but still dominated the race. To win Pan Pacs by 3 seconds is an impressive swim, even if the race was missing Steph Rice.
Beisel still needs to find a second to get past Hannah Miley's world leading time from Europeans (not fully tapered) which is starting to look more and more impressive.
- 2010's top male swimmer Ryan Lochte impressed again winning the 400m IM. This race was an example of the difference between how a race can look on TV and how it actually panned out. At US Nationals Tyler Clary was up on Lochte at 200m before Lochte blew past him on the Breast and Free. On the surface last night it looked like Lochte went out much faster than US Nationals on the Fly and Back legs (well ahead of Clary at 200m) before hanging on during the Breast and Free legs. The splits tell a different story though with Lochte faster on all 4 strokes last night. It was on Backstroke where the two splits were closest.
- Pan Pacs 4:07.59 - Fly - 54.83, Back - 1:01.90, Breast - 1:12.01, Free - 58.85
- US Nationals 4:09.98 - Fly - 55.95, Back - 1:02.11, Breast - 1:12.69, Free - 59.23
- Women's 50m Backstroke was interesting as it didn't feature a US female swimmer in the top 3 for the first time so far at 2010 Pan Pacs. The men have also had one race so far where a US swimmer didn't make it into the top 3, the men's 50m Butterfly on Day One.
- Junya Koga took Japan's second victory of the night in the men's 50m Backstroke in a time of 24.86. Not a bad time, but once again Camille Lacourt must be beaming when he sees that he is still 0.65 seconds clear of all Pan Pac swimmers this year over 50m. (The closest Pan Pac swimmer to Lacourt in 2010 is Matt Grevers who didn't make the US team).
- The women's 4 x 200m Free was much closer than expected. During prelims of the 200m Free, USA swimmers were ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 8th. The Australian women were ranked 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th. Despite this going into the final leg Australia were ahead of the Americans by 0.13. Fortunately America could call on the individual 200m Free winner Allison Schmitt to avoid the upset.
- No such trouble for the US men who won the 4 x 200m Free relay by over 7 seconds from Japan. Their time was also nearly 3 seconds clear of Russia's best effort from the European Champs. That will happen when you have two guys swim 1:45 and the other two swim 1:46s.
Interestingly the US team were 5 seconds adrift of the WR they set in Beijing and then improved by a hundredth of a second last year in Rome. Whilst we are seeing that some individual world records should go over the next couple of years, the effect the suits had on the relay events hasn't been studied in detail. With the benefits the suits gave multiplied by four on a relay, these are records that we could be seeing for many years to come.