Sunday, 14 November 2010

Asian Games 2010 - Day One and Two

Whilst much of the swimming world's focus is now firmly on SCM/SCY swimming, in Guangzhou (China) the best Asia has to offer are competing in their biggest LCM meet of the year.

The meet is essentially a head-to-head between China and Japan, and it's fast. Day Two's swimming has just finished and there have already been a number of stand-out swims. For anyone that is surprised at how fast the swimming is (or anyone that immediately assumes doping is involved when it comes to China), you shouldn't be. Japanese and Chinese swimmers have been on great form all year.

Much is made of Britain's rise in the sport ahead of London 2012 and there is no doubt that we are closing the gap on USA and Australia, but so is the rest of the world, particularly in China and Japan.

Highlights from the first two days

Takeshi Matsuda - 200m Fly - 1:54.02

Matsuda's stunning time puts him at the top of the world rankings in 2010 ahead of Michael Phelps. As this is the last major LC competition of the year, Matsuda's time is unlikely to be topped this year. We all know that Phelps isn't on top form this year, but he has still been dominant in his pet event and this will mark the first time since 2005 that Phelps hasn't led the world rankings at the year's end.

Zhao Jing - 100m Back - 58.94 (First leg of the Medley relay)

Zhao Jing became the first woman under 59 seconds in a textile suit with her relay lead-off split. The women's 100m Back has been one of the more interesting events in swimming this year. Emily Seebohm looked like she was clearly out in front after setting a textile best times early in the year, Britain's Lizzie Simmonds and Gemma Spofforth got close to Seebohm before Aya Terakawa vaulted herself to the top of the world rankings and a new textile record with her 59.13 in September. Zhao Jing, however, has really put down a marker in the event. Terakawa will have the chance to respond in the individual 100m Back later in the week.

Zhao Jing - 200m Back - 2:06.46

Talking of putting down a marker, how about two world leading and textile best times in two days. Zhao Jing, 19, is the first woman in a textile suit to better Krisztina Egerszegi's 2:06.62 set all the way back in 1991.The event had been dominated by Lizzie Simmonds this year with the world's top three times, but no longer. Zhao Jing, world champion in the 50m Back last year in Rome, proved that she isn't a one-year wonder and will be a huge threat next year and beyond.

Ye Shi Wen - 400m IM - 4:33.79

Ye Shi Wen, just 14 years of age continues her impressive year. She moves to 2nd in the world in the 400m IM behind Hannah Miley's 4:33.09 and just ahead of USA's Elizabeth Beisel's 4:34.04. 2010 might be the year of the comeback, but it has also thrown up some fantastic new talents. Ye Shi Wen, Yolane Kukla, Yannick Agnel, Silke Lippok, Bence Biczo, Evan Pinion and Vlad Morozov are just a few of the new names to get accustomed to in the lead up to London.

Park Taehwan - 200m Free - 1:44.80

I mentioned earlier that this competition is essentially a head-to-head between China and Japan. That is true for most events, however it's not so in the men's middle distance Freestyle. South Korea's Olympic champion Park Taehwan rocketed to the top of the world in the 200m Free by a full 0.5 seconds.

Park has been on fire this year. He set some lightning quick times back in February, had a strong Pan Pacs in August... all the time saving his best for the Asian Games.

1:44.80 is a sensational time. Park Taehwan is the first man since the new suit laws to get towards Michael Phelps (1:43.86) and Ian Thorpe's (1:44.06) best textile times. I'm just going to say it, the men's 200m Free is the most intriguing event in swimming right now. Phelps, Lochte, Biedermann, Agnel, Park, Verschuren, Isotov, Lobintsev, Zhang Lin, Sun Yang, Basson, Meichtry... Thorpe?


  1. I agree about the 200 free. Who do you think wins it at Worlds, both short course and long course. For me, Lochte will be all over short course (Phelps definitely and Park probably won't be there), but any one of five guys could win medals in any order in Shanghai. Thoughts?

  2. I can't see past Lochte at SC worlds either, no-one can hang with his underwaters.

    LC is wide open. Phelps at 100% would be strong favourite, but that's by no means a guarantee. After today's swim, Park has to be second favourite after a fit Phelps and has a track record on the biggest stage. Lochte and Biedermann are right around the same level for me, and Yannick Agnel is the wildcard that could shock everyone.

    What a fantastic all-star event. The two biggest stars of US swimming, Germany's most popular male swimmer, South Korea's Olympic hero and the uber-talented new French hope.

  3. I agree with all points. You say Lochte and Biedermann are at the same level. I agree, but not at the level they have shown this year. I think both are 1:44-mid swimmers by Shanghai. I guess we shouldn't be surprised with Park, since he swam those Beijing times in LZR legskins. Here's something scary: he could get close to 3:40.07 by London.

  4. Great times, congratulations to the swimmers for them & thanks for doing a write up with pictures on this.

    "For anyone that is surprised at how fast the swimming is (or anyone that immediately assumes doping is involved when it comes to China), you shouldn't be."

    I immediately suspect doping is involved with anyone who is swimming at the top level, including Americans, Australians and Europeans. :P

  5. Great by Jing & Shiwen, however i cant the Chinese swimmers have said the Asian games is like the Olympics for them so i would not expect them to better these times, I am really suprised by Jing 200BK, Cant see her being WC on that in Shanghai!
    Great times by the Asians (Chinese) though.