Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thoughts from the World Short Course Championships - Day Two

Two further world records were crushed tonight. This is getting ridiculous, its making a mockery of our sport. Jammers and Kneesuits should be banned immediately...

- Ryan Lochte became the first individual swimmer to break a World Record post-techsuit. Rather than shave a tenth or two from Laszlo Cseh's record, he obliterated it.  Lochte took control of the race on the Breaststroke once again, flying past Tyler Clary, who had a decent lead (0.74 secs) over Lochte at the 200m mark.

Unlike some of the other swimming sites on the net, I'm holding off on my end of year Top Male/Top Female/Top Performance lists until the only global competition of the year has taken place. Last week Lochte had some competition for Top Male of 2010 from a French Backstroker, Japanese Breaststroker and two Chinese and South Korean Freestylers. It looks like the contest is well and truly over now.

- The second world record of the evening went in the most exciting race of Day Two. Russia and USA were locked in a head to head battle in the 4 x 200m Freestyle relay. Consistency won in the end with only 0.37 seconds splitting all four of Russia's relay legs. The US fell behind after Peter Vanderkaay's 1:43.83 before Ryan Lochte got them right back into the race with an incredible 1:40.48. Despite superior turns and underwaters, the US weren't able to overhaul the Russian team.

The fact that the US came so close to a full strength Russian team, and crushed the previous world record themselves... all without Michael Phelps should provide some comfort for any nervous US swim fans out there...

... Alternatively you could take the view that we have seen 3 of the 6 relays in Dubai. USA have finished 4th, 4th and 2nd, have little chance in the Women's 4 x 100m Free and only look to be strong favourites in the Women's 4 x 100m Medley relay.

- Sticking with the US. Natalie Coughlin showed that no one is better when it comes to short course Backstroke. Coughlin (56.08) held off a strong Chinese challenge from Zhao Jing (56.18) and Gao Chang (56.21).

After watching the semi final I was beginning to doubt Coughlin's superiority on turns and underwaters. In the final tonight she showed that she is still the best in the world. Just incredible off the walls.

- Stanislav Donets might just be the new undisputed king of backstroke underwaters on the men's side. Donets just missed out on Nick Thoman's world record of 48.94 on the touch, settling for a stunning time of 49.07. Donets is having an incredible few weeks of short course swimming. Peter Marshall's world record on the 50m Backstroke is definitely on this week. Donets might also be the difference maker in the 4 x 100m Medley relay.

- Talking of the world's best, Cesar Cielo is the best sprinter in the world. His 20.61 semi final tonight was one of the most dominant SC 50m Free's you're likely to see. Fred Bousquet in the lane over was blown away by Cielo, in fact the entire field going into tomorrow's final are half a second behind.

Same old Cesar Cielo, getting it done on the big stage.

I'm not sure what happened to Nathan Adrian tonight, it looked like he didn't get his breakout right after his turn. His heat time would have got him safely through to the final. Not the meet many expected so far for Adrian.
- Rebecca Soni won the 50m Breast in 29.83 going away from the field. Watch out on the 100m and 200m.
- Femke Heemskerk and Ranomi Kromowidjojo go into the 100m Free final tomorrow ranked 1-2. I fully expect them to come out of the final with the top two spots, although I think Ranomi KRobotKromowidjojo will come out on top.

- Finally, what a meet Spain are having... Mireia Belmonte was the star of the show last night with two individual golds and almost got herself a third in the 800m Free. Only her team mate Erika Villaecija stood in her way tonight as they recorded a Spanish 1-2, something you do not say often on the world stage of swimming.

Hasta Mañana

1 comment:

  1. I would have agreed with you about a Dutch 1-2 yesterday. Now, with the way Coughlin is swimming, I think she'll beat Heemskerk. That 56.08 (breaking her best time by a ton) came AFTER the 100 free semis, which makes me think she shut that race down and has a chance tomorrow. Unlikely, but she could win. U.S. should cruise to silver in the 4x100 relay at this point.

    I'm sure we'll learn more about what's happening with Adrian as the meet progresses. Hopefully a day off tomorrow will help him get ready for the 100; certainly, if he's back down to 46-mid, it will be hard for anyone other than Cielo to beat him. Don't give up on this guy - he will be around a long time, and he has a lot of room for improvement. Watch out for Shanghai, London, and beyond. Good to see Schneider making the final, and I'd love to see him bust out a good one and maybe get a medal.

    Donets is an odd swimmer. Long course, he doesn't do very well at anything shorter than 200 (Euro Champ at 200). Short Course, he's a 50/100 guy who fades in a 200. Could just be differences in training, since he has the underwaters to do well at sprints short course. Still, not something you'd expect.

    One final thought: Ryan Lochte is the undisputed greatest swimmer in the world. Today (not this past summer, not in Shanghai, not any other week), Ous Mellouli is the second-best swimmer in the world. I did not see a medal coming in the 200 free. When I heard he was swimming it, I assumed it would just be a warm-up for the 400 and 1,500. No way. And the 400 IM? He hasn't trained for that in almost four years - and he almost beats the (old) world record! Solace for American fans that he will never be able to swim that at a big long course meet (conflicts with the 1,500 at Worlds and with the 400 free at the Olympics). Anyway, he should dominate the 400 and 1,500. We seriously could see a world record in the 1,500 right now. As for the 400, Agnel second and Biedermann third, but I can't see them getting close.