Thursday, 23 December 2010
World Short Course Championships Dubai - Losers
Australia - No issues with the number of medals, a healthy 11, but just the one Gold. Not great for a team trying to hang onto the No.2 spot in world swimming. On the plus side, they have some new talents in Kenneth To and Kotuku Ngawati... and are back in the Ashes.
US Men - Taking away the US Women & Ryan Lochte, the rest of the US men won just 4 medals. Nathan Adrian was surprisingly absent on the sprint Freestyles and Nick Thoman's star has faded since last year's breakthrough. Looking past Lochte for plusses, Josh Schneider had an impressive international debut and is establishing himself as a big final swimmer. Tyler Clary was solid and Garrett Weber Gale was back to his best. Plus there is Mr. Phelps and Mr. Peirsol to add to this team. Not all doom and gloom, more like a bit overcast.
Russia's last legs on relays - Danila Isotov must have been taking lessons from Alain Bernard before the final of the 4 x 100m Free relay. Isotov flat out choked on the last leg when he was up against Yannick Agnel. Russia's No.1 100m Freestyler going into Dubai was over half a second slower than his teammates. Make no mistake, Isotov lost that relay for Russia rather than Agnel winning it for France. That wasn't the only disappointing last leg for Russia either, individual bronze medalist Nikita Lobintsev didn't look like he ever had a chance of overhauling Garrett Weber Gale on the 4 x 100m Medley relay. I don't want to ruin Christmas in Moscow so I will say that it shows Russia's strength in depth that they won one relay and probably should have won all three.
USA Relays - Despite the Men's Medley team ending the meet on a high for Team USA, the cold hard facts are as follows. 6 Relays, 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Fourths. For most countries that would represent a good meet, but for the world's strongest swimming nation its not up to par. This is USA Swimming we are talking about though, so you know by Shanghai and London they will be back on top.
Federica Pellegrini - Another poor meet for Pellegrini. She is not in a good place right now as Dubai represented another competition of poor results and pulling out of races. Immediately after Dubai she announced that she would be leaving her coach, Stefano Morini. Worryingly I see a lot of similarities between Pellegrini this year and Laure Manaudou as she was coming towards the end of her career. For the Italian's sake, lets hope that she can sort out her issues soon. On talent alone she cannot be matched.
Anastasia Zueva/Yulia Efimova - Russia's female stars were noticeable by their absence from the medal podium. Efimova was the clear favourite in the 50m Breast but ended up fourth and didn't fare any better in the 100 or 200m Breast. Zueva was a long way behind the medalists in her Backstroke events, something she has found in the world rankings all year. Efimova has had a stronger year, but is clearly a level below Rebecca Soni and Leisel Jones right now.
Katinka Hosszu - Expectations were high for Hosszu after some rapid short course yards swimming in America just before Dubai. Unfortunately she was only able to manage 2 fourth-placed finishes. Her 1:58.20 in the 4 x 200m Freestyle relay also wiped out any chance of the Hungarian team making the podium.
Dutch 4 x 100m Free Relay - The Dutch Dream-Team won their Gold, but failed to break a World Record that should have been within their reach. Probably unfair to include them on this list, but I'm still a little bitter.
Roland Schoeman - To quote from Schoeman's twitter feed, 'Back to the drawing board. Serious evaluation needed. Another unsuccessful international meet in the books'. A year to forget for Schoeman.
Arkady Vyatchanin - Please don't think its anti-Russia day today, but Vyatchanin has to make this list. Last year he set an incredible world record in the 200m Back, in a time of 1:46.11. This year he didn't make it out of the heats, finishing 10th in 1:52.62. Suffering from injury early on this year, 2011 can't come soon enough for the big Russian.