Monday, 20 December 2010
World Short Course Championships Dubai - Winners
Swimming - The sport got its mojo back in Dubai. This was easily the most exciting competition of 2010. It just goes to show that swimming is only at its strongest when we have a global competition.
Ryan Lochte - Just incredible. A sign of how far Lochte has come in the last few years is that none of what he did in Dubai came as a surprise. Clearly ahead of Phelps right now in the run-up to 2012.
Mireia Belmonte -Definitely wins the prize for 'Where did that come from?'. Coming off a so-so long course season, Belmonte was white hot in Dubai. 3 Golds and just beaten into Silver on the 800m Free. Time to step up in LCM now. Top female swimmer of the competition.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo - Confirmed her status as the world's best freestyle sprinter on the women's side. Still only 20, there is still room for big improvement.
US Women - Rebecca Soni dominated the Breaststroke events. Katie Hoff returned to the top of world swimming. Missy Franklin won her first international medal. Natalie Coughlin showed her class once again. Chloe Sutton showed huge improvement on some of her technical aspects.... The future is bright for the US Women.
China - The sleeping giant of the swimming world is wide awake. China has two advantages going forward: a) their rising stars are all very young, b) they have tremendous strength in depth. Winning two of the three relays on the women's side was a huge step forward.
Paul Biedermann - Biedermann had a rough 200m Free where he finished 5th. This naturalyl led to the now standard crowing that Biedermann can only perform with a high-tech suit. Instead, his coach spoke of the need to improve his tactics and that is exactly what he did when winning the 400m Free. Rather than waiting until the final 50m, Biedermann stayed in touch with the lead before taking over at the 300m turn. The time might not have rewrittent the record books, but the final was a Korean and two Chinese swimmers short of the best the world has to offer.
Ous Mellouli - Tunisia's finest hadn't had the best 2010 leading up to Dubai, but he came ready to race. Mellouli's 400m IM was spectacular just missing Laszlo Cseh's old WR and he showed great composure to win the 1500m Free from a morning heat.
Stanislav Donets - There is a new king of short course Backstroke. Donets was untouchable in the 50m and 100m Back finals, but saved his best swim for the last event of the competition. The Russian swam 48.95 to lead off the Medley relay, barely missing Nick Thoman's World Record by 0.01 seconds. Check out his underwaters. Question: Who wins a 100m Back shoot-out between Donets and Lochte?
Camille Muffat - Muffat has had an excellent 2010, but like other years, didn't have much to show for it going into Dubai. That all changed when she won her first senior world medal in the 200m Free final, where she dominated an elite field. A very real medal threat during the next few years.
Naoya Tomita - He might not be Japan's No.3 200m Breaststroker after all. Tomita, 21, is a rising star.
Chad Le Clos - That's two major finals Le Clos has won this year (Commies & Dubai) that he wasn't expected too, at just 18 this is impressive swimming. Maybe tone down the celebrations though Chad, generally not a good idea to soak the guys you just pipped for the win. (The celebrations start at 4:25 of the video... also listen to the Chinese commentators sigh at the finish of the race as Peng Wu is overhauled in the last few metres. Priceless)
Ye Shiwen - She certainly wasn't an unknown before this meet started after a strong LC season, but this was the first time I got to see Ye Shiwen live... I wasn't disappointed. The youngster is an extraordinary talent and had she not come up against a possessed Spainiard in the Medleys we would be talking a lot more about this 15 year old.
Cesar Cielo - The sprint Freestyles on the men's side were stacked with the world's best, and Cesar Cielo once again rose to the top. I sound like a broken record when I talk about him, but he is just an incredible major meet swimmer.
Garrett Weber-Gale - Special mention to GWG for blowing away Nikita Lobintsev in the final relay of the competition. Diving in 0.04 seconds ahead of the individual bronze medalist in the 100m Free, it would be fair to assume that he was the underdog, however GWG found another level to rip off a 45.42 split for USA's first and only relay victory. Don't tell anyone, but USA might have found Jason Lezak's successor.