Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Sun Yang - 14:35.43
My gut reaction to Sun Yang's 14:35.43 is that it was the best swim of 2010.
In a year that has seen some incredible swims, this one might just top them all. To come so close to a record many felt would last well into this decade is remarkable, and you know what... it might even be better than Grant Hackett's 14:34.56.
Shocking statement? Not really. Hackett was wearing an ankle to shoulder body suit, Sun Yang was in a pair of jammers. In such a long race, I would certainly prefer to have a suit that covers the legs. (Don't forget the messages swimmers were told back in the early 2000s from the suit makers, that these suits were faster than skin).
So what lies ahead for Sun Yang? Just how good is he?
He's clearly a huge talent, on December 1st he will celebrate his19th birthday. He stands 198cm (6"5) tall, towering over his fellow Asian freestyle star Park Taehwan (6").and has been a member of the Chinese national team since 2006. He swam at Worlds in 2007 and then in the 2008 Olympics, where he made the final of the 1500m (heat time of 14:48.39). Last year he made further progress winning bronze at the World Championships with a time of 14:46.84. His coach in Australia (and Grant Hackett's old coach), Dennis Cotterell, apparently expected his young charge to break Hackett's WR next year.
Looks like he is ahead of schedule.
Right now he leads a deep field of 1500m Freestylers, stacked with talent. Ryan Cochrane, Ous Mellouli, Sebastien Rouault, Pal Joensen, Zhang Lin, Chad La Tourette & Peter Vanderkaay will all have to bridge the gap to Sun Yang.
Speed Endurance prediction - Hackett's World Record goes in the final of 2011 Worlds in Shanghai. With a home crowd cheering Sun Yang on once again and a year's improvement it should go. Also, watch out for Thorpe/Biedermann's 400m mark too.