In a bold move that Jefferson would be proud of, I am sticking my head above the parapet and predicting a World Record in the Women's 4 x 100m Freestyle relay.
There are plenty of records under threat in Dubai...Darian Townsend's 200m IM mark looks to be on borrowed time with Ryan Lochte and his metal teeth lurking. Rebecca Soni has been threatening LC records all year, no reason not to think she can't challenge the SC marks either. The men's 50m Back mark came under heavy fire from Stanislav Donets at the European SC Champs and he will be joined by Camille Lacourt, the same man who narrowly missed the LC mark. These are all records that have a solid chance of being broken.
The current Women's 4 x 100m Free relay world record, however, makes those other marks look like they are on safe ground by comparison. The time of 3:28.22 was set back in December 2008, notably, before the tech-suits became even faster. The record went to Holland with their quartet of Hinkelein Schreuder (52.88), Inge Dekker (52.24), Ranomi Kromowidjojo (52.12) and Marleen Veldhuis (50.98!).
The same team, with a slightly tweaked line-up, will challenge the record again, and the worrying aspect for whoever signs the World Record bonus cheques... they are even better than they were two years ago.
Here is the Dutch team this year with their season best SC times:-
Ranomi Kromowidjojo (51.44)
Femke Heemskerk (51.96)
Inge Dekker (52.85)
Hinkelein Schreuder (53.63)
Total Time = 3:29.88
Now comes the exciting part. Take off 0.5 seconds for each of the three relay takeovers (a conservative estimate) and the time is now 3:28.38 (just missing the WR of 3:28.22). Finally, lets not forget that we are at the World Championships, a competition you would expect some improvement from some, if not all of the team and suddenly it no longer looks like an issue of CAN the Dutch break the World Record, but more like by HOW MUCH.
Hup Holland Hup!