Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Thoughts from US Nationals

Not only are the US Nationals the fastest nationals in the world, they are also the best covered. I could do a standard play-by-play recap of all events but that has already been done here, here, and here. As usual you also have the pleasure of reading all about the effects the evil suits had on swimming here.

Its Bullet-Time

  • Chloe Sutton won that 400m Free. Fact. I know if you watch the race and look at the results it will show her coming third behind Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt, but in my eyes she's the new US Champion.

  • In terms of the 'swimming' done during the race Sutton was clearly faster than both Hoff and Schmitt. If that race was held in a 400m pool or even a 100m pool she would have won by a distance. Sutton gave Hoff half a meter at every single turn. Despite this Sutton finished in 4:06.33, 0.83 down on Hoff and good for 8th in the world this year.

    This is what makes Sutton such an exciting swimmer. There is so much improvement that can be made on her races technically. Turns are amongst the easiest improvements that can be made. Even if she never gets them to the level of Hoff, if she can lessen the damage done on each turn she could dominate the women's freestyle from 400m-10k for many years.

  • The most exciting part of the men's 400m Freestyle was the B final. Sure, the A final saw Peter VDK do his thing as well as Michael Klueh and Charles Houchin make the step up to world class level...

    ...but the A final didn't showcase a 15 year old boy racing to a 3:53.04. Evan Pinion, who last year broke two of Michael Phelps' 13-14 yr old age group records, is now ranked 54th in the world this year. Just incase you were skim reading, Pinion is 15! He wouldn't have been eligible (too young and too non-European) for the recent European Junior Championships 400m Final and still would have finished second.

  • The women's 200m IM was an interesting race. Ariana Kukors winning it came as no surprise. If anything I expected her to be faster (sub 2:10). Her time from the final (2:10.54) was slower than her time from Austin back in March (2:10.34). When she faces Steph Rice at Pan Pacs we should see that sub 2:10 swim and a serious crack at Yanyan Wu's tainted textile best mark of 2:09.72.

    Caitlin Leverenz (6th in the world) and Morgan Scroggy (8th in the world) really stepped up taking second and third respectively. For the rest of the field we were able to get some clues about where they are at:-

    Watch out for Missy Franklin. Franklin had the fastest freestyle split of the entire race and looks on top form in Irvine.

    Elizabeth Beizel and Pelton had solid if not spectacular swims. Worringly for Pelton her backstroke split of 33.32 ranked only sixth in the final last night, a strange fact given her strong showings on 100m and 200m Back so far this year.

    What happened to Julia Smit? She went from setting NCAA and American records back in February over 200yd and 400yd IM to finishing eigth in the final with 2:14.01. Last year she missed the final at LC World's but broke the SC World Record. Until she proves otherwise, I'm seeing Smit as a short course specialist.

  • Ryan Lochte is pretty tidy swimmer over 400m IM. He also designs shoes.

    I wonder whether Lochte will get close to Phelps' textile mark of 4:06.22 at Pan Pacs. He was 3.76 secs off that in the final, with the majority of that time lost on the freestyle leg.

    Phelps - 25.56/55.05/1:26.70/1:58.18/2:33.30/3:09.33/3:38.43/4:06.22
    Lochte - 26.02/55.95/1:27.02/1:58.06/2:34.54/3:10.75/3:41.35/4:09.98

  • Finally... Didn't we get rid of the suits so that we can now talk about the racing and the swimmers. Looks like they didn't receive the memo over at SwimNews. Its August now and the first 8 paragraphs of their preview for US Nationals are about suits... Yawn.

    1. Think I have another explanation for Smit. Stanford women missed their taper. Breeden definitely should have been in the 100 fly final, and she ended up getting dead-last in the B-final. Seems like a trend there. Because I agree, Smit has the capability for a 2:10 or so swim in that suit at least.

      That said, she is a better short course swimmer, haha.

    2. I have to agree about Sutton. USA 10k champion and 8th in the world in the 400? She is also beautiful and exceptionally articulate for such a young woman!

    3. you cant say if the pool was "x" amount of meters she would have won. Thats like saying if Usain Bolt ran backwards then Tyson Gay "might beat" him.
      Fair to Sutton good swim, personally i would go back home and work on these flaws and if she does and wins next time. Then she can rightfully be US Champion.
      To also say she will dominate is extreme Jazmin Carlin from the Great Britain has the worst turns in the world at the highest level at Long Beach Grand Prix in 2008 she made Sutton look like Phelps off the walls.
      Now thats a race i want to see

    4. Lets not forget Sutton just won the 10k for the USA in June. Given a few more feet last night... my money was on her. And if she is only 18 it will be fun to watch and see if her turns come along.