Thursday, 27 May 2010


The NOVAQUATICS - SPEEDO Grand Challenge takes place from May 28th to May 30th. The field is stacked with quality swimmers and we should see a number of top times as world swimming starts to enter its summer season.

Swimmers to Watch

Vladimir Morozov

Morozov is coming off his recent National High School records in the 50y and 100y Freestyle. This meet will give the swimming world a chance to see what he can do over LC metres. One thing is for sure, Morozov is in top form. He has the added incentive of being able to show some of his future USC teammates what they can expect next year. Morozov has a tough 6-event schedule (200 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Back, 100 Free). The good news for US Swimming... Although born and raised in Russia, he wants to represent the USA in international competition.

(Check out highlights of his recent swims in the video below - Hat tip to OC Varsity for the video)

Cindy Tran

Morozov isn't the only recent National High School record breaker. Cindy Tran also set a new mark in the 100y Back. Like Morozov, Tran has a busy schedule and is down to compete in the 50m Free, 100m Fly, 200m Back, 100m Back and 100m Free. Tran, who will head to California-Berkeley next year, looks to have a real chance in the 100m Back at this meet.

Rebecca Soni & Jessica Hardy

Training partners Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy will continue their friendly rivalry. Soni has been one of world swimming's top performers in 2010 with stunning (untapered) times in the 100m (1:05.90) and 200m Breast (2:22.21).

Hardy on the other hand has just been given the excellent news that she successfully fended off the appeal from WADA to increase her anti-doping ban to 2 years. Whilst her participation in the 2012 Olympics is still in the balance this news should give Hardy a huge psychological lift going into this weekend. For those wanting a much better insight into what Hardy has been going through, I suggest reading Dominik Meichtry's blog.

Kosuke Kitajima

For as long as Kitajima continues to swim he will appear as a 'swimmer to watch' in every meet he competes in. The Japanese Breaststroke star has a few questions to answer after some mixed results at the Japanese Nationals. After setting a new Japanese record in the 50m Breast semis (27.30) and a strong showing in the 100m Breast (59.91) there is no problem with his speed. However, the wheel's came off in the 200m Breast final and it was not his first loss of the year in that event. Competition will come from NCAA Champ Damir Dugonjic. Irish fans should keep an eye on what kind of form Andrew Bree is in.

Thiago Perreira/Markus Rogan/Tyler Clary

World Class swimmers Pereira, Rogan and Clary will face each other in a variety of events. 200 IM (Rogan & Pereira), 200 Back (Rogan & Clary), 400 IM (Clary & Pereira). Rogan and Pereira have been in fine form so far in 2010. Clary took silver in the 400 IM at the World Champs in Rome last year.

Nathan Adrian & Jason Lezak

Adrian and Lezak will lock horns in the 50m and 100m Free. It will be fascinating to see where Adrian and Lezak will end up in the 2010 world rankings. Setting the pace this year are Fred Bousquet with 21.71 in the 50m Free and Alain Bernard with 48.32 in the 100m Free.

Chloe Sutton vs Katie Hoff

Sutton and Hoff will resume their battle in the 400m Free. Sutton has prevailed in the 400 Free meetings so far in 2010. The 400m Free is an event with a logjam in the world rankings with a number of swimmers between 4:05 and 4:10. Sutton's best time of 2010 is 4:07.41 (9th) whilst Hoff has posted 4:10.57 (23rd), both women can move up several places with slight improvements on those times.

UPDATE - From Twitter - @csutswim - Speedo Grand Challenge tomorrow! Getting there at 630 to do a workout for 2 hours then swimming the 400. I'll be scratching finals.

British Interest

British distance freestyler Richard Charlesworth goes into the 1500m ranked second behind the tough American Chad La Tourette. Michael Klueh will also pose a threat having been in good form this year on the US Grand Prix circuit.

Psych Sheet - Here

Live Results - Here

Monday, 17 May 2010

Charlotte Ultraswim - Top Performers of the Meet

Top Performer - Rebecca Soni

Soni is the obvious choice for this award in my opinion. I rated her 100m and 200m Breast performances as the two best swims of the meet by any swimmer. Soni's time of 2:22.21 improved on her world leading time of 2:22.91 set at the Austin Grand Prix and increases her lead over Leisel Jones to an incredible 1.24 seconds. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that Jones was tapered for her swim whilst Soni is producing these times untapered. Below is a look at Annamay Pierse's WR splits, Soni's previous WR splits and her performance in Charlotte.

PIERSE .2009 WR - 32.03 - 1:07.28 (35.25) - 1:43.42 (36.14) - 2:20.12 (36.70)
SONI ....2008 WR - 32.17 - 1:07.46 (35.29) - 1:43.70 (36.24) - 2:20.22 (36.52)
SONI ...2010 Charl - 31.88 - 1:08.37 (36.49) - 1:44.58 (36.21) - 2:22.21 (37.63)

Amazingly Soni went out faster than WR pace on the first 50 in Charlotte, dropped off slightly on the second 50m, had a very strong third 50m before dropping off again on the final 50m. When Soni is fully tapered and rested Pierse's mark looks vulnerable. The 200m Breast WR is increasingly looking like the first one that will go in the post-suit era. Soni being the clear favourite to do it.

On the 100m Soni went out in 30.98 (3rd fastest 50m in the world this year) before finishing in 1:05.90 (good enough to win the men's C final). The time leaves her just 0.11 seconds shy of Jones' world leading time.

Rowdy Gaines on Universal Sport discussed who the best female Breaststroker in the world is currently and went with Soni. From everything we've seen so far in 2010 I completely agree with him.

(On a side note - I've heard many analysts claim that the tech suits had the greatest influence on Breaststroke. I completely disagree with these claims and Soni is helping my argument. In my opinion the techsuits aided Freestyle and Backstroke far more than Breaststroke and Butterfly. (Click here if you want to read more on the changes the suits brought on each stroke).)

Breakout Performer - Justine Mueller

Not quite such an easy decision with Hunor Mate (100m Breast winner) Emily Brunemann (1500m winner), Missy Franklin (200m Back winner) and Josh Schneider (50m Free winner) all entering the discussion. In the end I went with Justine Mueller for her win in the 200m IM. Before the 200 IM Mueller had spoken to Garrett McCaffrey in an interview with SwimmingWorld (see below) about the need to get a win under her belt against top opposition and she did exactly that. Mueller, 23, had a best time of 2:11.46 last year and 2:14.74 in 2008. To be down to 2:12.44 at this stage of the year is very encouraging. Add in the fact that she is training at SwimMAC with David Marsh. Mueller is definitely a swimmer to keep an eye on over the next few years.

Mueller happens to be in one of US Swimming's strongest events but she will enter nationals later this year knowing that she has won on the big stage and has beaten Dagny Knutson, Felicia Lee, Elizabeth Pelton and Elizabeth Beisel.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Vlad Morozov

Vlad Morozov really impressed at the Southern California Grand Prix in January when he swam 19.68 and 43.46 to qualify fastest for both the 50y and 100y Free finals. This weekend he took his swimming to a new level. Morozov broke Jimmy Feigen's National High School record in the 50y Free with a stunning 19.43 lead-off leg in the 4x50y Free Relay at the CIF-SS Div 3 Champs. Feigen had previously held the record at 19.49.

He also won the 100y Fly in 48.30 and 100y Back in 48.11 as well as a 43.44 lead-off leg in 4 x 100y Free.

Morozov will be heading to USC later this year alongside another top ranked recruit Jack Wagner.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Charlotte Ultra Swim

With the possible exception of the Australian Trials, the Charlotte Ultra Swim might just be the biggest swim meet of the year 2010 so far.

Most attention will be directed towards Michael Phelps in his first big LC meet of the year. Phelps is down to swim the 200m Free, 100m Fly, 50m Free, 100m Back and 200m IM.

It will be fascinating to see what time Phelps posts in the 200 Free. Yannick Agnel leads the world in a swift 1:46.35 and Phelps will have done very well if he gets past that time. In the 200 Free we'll also get to see 2010 NCAA champion Conor Dwyer and 2009 NCAA Champ Shaune Fraser in long course action. Fraser finished 2nd this year behind Dwyer. Add Ricky Berens, Peter Vanderkaay, Scot Robison as well as Ryan Lochte, Aaron Piersol and Garrett Weber-Gale and you have an extremely talented field.

Phelps' other hotly contested race will be the 100m Back and along with the 50m Free he will not be the pre-race favourite. He will have to face Piersol and Lochte once again as well as Matt Grevers (already been 53.05 this year) and Nick Thoman (53.95 this year). NCAA Champ Eugene Godsoe (winner by more than a second) will be looking to make the step up to the next level, presuming he's in good post-NCAA shape I expect Godsoe to put up a good showing. Britain's Marco Loughran will fly the flag and hopefully he can make the A Final to set himself up for the Commonwealth Games later this year. Liam Tancock leads the world in a time of 52.85. If the above swimmers want to get past Tancock's time they will have to swim faster than anyone has ever swum before in a textile suit.

I will try to give regular updates via Twitter. (Finals start at 11pm London time with the exception of tonight's 800/1500s which start at 9pm London time).

Other Events To Watch

Men's 50m Free

JAX 50 winner George Bovell faces a tough field in the 50m Free. Garrett Weber-Gale was in top form at the Austin Grand Prix (22.24 in the 50 Free) and will look to build on those results. Cullen Jones will also be looking to improve on his season's best time of 22.50. Britain's Adam Brown will get to show what he can do in a LC American pool after his strong NCAA results. At British Trials a jet lagged Brown swam 22.62. His Auburn team mate Gideon Louw and surprise NCAA Champ (to everyone apart from himself) Josh Schneider should also feature in the top final. Griffin Schumacher, 16, will be worth keeping an eye on as he's entered on a 23.43, a very fast time for such a young sprinter.

Women's 100m Back

Another Brit Gemma Spofforth will battle the best the US has to offer in the 100m Back. Spofforth will face Natalie Coughlin as well as Rachel Bootsma, 16, who swam 59.77 last year at USA Jrs. If that wasn't tough enough she will also face Elizabeth Pelton, 16, Elizabeth Beisel, 17, and Missy Franklin, 15.

Women's 400m Free

NCAA Champ Allison Schmitt will come up against the star of the Grand Prix's so far, Chloe Sutton. Schmitt should pose the strongest challenge yet for Sutton in the 400m. Sutton though has shown that she can handle a race having beaten Katie Hoff at the LC 400 in Austin. Federica Pellegrini leads the world rankings by over a second this year with a 4:04.30.

Women's 200m IM

The 200m IM looks to be an open race with Dagny Knutson, Elizabeth Beisel, Elizabeth Pelton and Justine Mueller all entered within a second of each other. Missy Franklin and Felicia Lee will also compete in an event which showcases the future of US Women's swimming. The youngsters might need to pay attention to Rebecca Soni who is a relative unknown in this event (she swam 4:49 in the 400IM at the Austin Grand Prix). Expect to see Soni make up serious ground on the Breaststroke leg... As I've mentioned before, I would also love to see Soni's training partner Jessica Hardy swim the 200 IM at some stage.

Other British Swimmers to Watch

Robert Holderness - 2:13 at British Trials in the 200m Breast, finished 5th.
Jemma Lowe - Had a good British Champs, (3rd - 58.73, 2nd - 2:08.21). Will hopefully make the A Final and challenge for the top 3.
Stephanie Proud - Swam well at British Trials, will be interesting to see what form she is in


Canadian Hasaan Abdel Khalik, 18, swam 4:15 in the NCAA 500y Free heats, only to break his hand at the finish. He swam the final with a cast on (4:55). If the hand has fully recovered and he's in good post-NCAA shape he could get into the top three of the 400m Free.

Psych Sheet


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Russian Championships

The third day of the Russian Championships are in the books.

Such a pleasure to be able to watch swimming live from Russia. Why can someone in Britain watch swimming from all over the world but not from their own country?

Highlights from todays swimming:-

Grigory Falko qualified comfortably in the 200m Breast semi with a time of 2:12. It will take a sub 2:11 tomorrow to make the Top 5 in the world this year.

Alexander Sukhorukov caused a shock by winning the 200 Free in 1:47.59. Daniil Isotov, bronze medallist from Rome, could only manage second with his time of 1:48.31. Isotov got the pacing all wrong in this event. He was last at the 50m and outside of the top 5 at the 100m, I clocked him at 53.8. Sukhorukov had a much better race plan and comfortably held out the fast finishing Isotov.

(The race takes place 38 minutes into the video)

Yulia Efimova was a comfortable winner of the 100m Breast in a time of 1:07.56. Efimova was out in 32.01 but tired in the second 50. She looked stronger and more comfortable in her semi-final yesterday where she swam 1:06.66.

Anastasia Zueva was the fastest qualifier from the 100m Back semi-finals. Zueva will be looking to dip below 60 seconds tomorrow after her effort today of 1:00.47. (Out in 29.59).

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Russian Championships

Swimming fanatics can watch the Russian Championships online. Unfortunately for non-Russian speakers you'll have to do a fair amount of translation but its still great coverage.

Start of rant - All the major swimming nations are putting Britain to shame when it comes to media coverage. The USA has live streaming coverage of all major meets. France, Australia and Russia show their nationals on TV.

2 years out from a home Olympic Games and we had our nationals of a major Olympic sport covered live on digital radio and with some highlight clips online the next day which didn't even include the entire races. Swimming will only continue to rise if we give it more exposure outside of the Olympics and major championships. - End of rant.

Psych Sheet here.

КОРОТЫШКИН Евгений - Evgeny Korotshkin
ДОНЕЦ Станислав - Stanislav Donets
СЛУДНОВ Роман - Roman Sloudnov
ЛОБАНОВ Антон - Anton Lobanov
ФАЛЬКО Григорий - Grigory Falko
ГЕЙБЕЛЬ Сергей - Sergey Geybel
ЛАХТЮХОВ Станислав - Stanislav Lakhtyukhov
ИЗОТОВ Данила - Danila Isotov
ЛОБИНЦЕВ Никита - Nikita Lobintsev
СУХОРУКОВ Александр - Alexander Sukhorukov

ЕФИМОВА Юлия - Yulia Efimova
АРТЕМЬЕВА Валентина - Valentina Artemyeva
ЗУЕВА Анастасия - Anastasia Zueva

Links to coverage

4 May - Finals (16:55 Russian Time)

5 May - Finals (16:55)

6 May - Finals (16:55)

7 May - Finals (17:00)

8 May - Finals (17:00)

9 May - Finals (17:00)

Monday, 3 May 2010

Fred Bousquet on The Morning Swim Show

Great episode of the Morning Swim Show today with Fred Bousquet.

He talks about his daughter Manon (2024, 2028 and 2032 Olympic Champion), the new suits, uber-prospect Yannick Agnel and his desire to return to Auburn to train and compete.

Ian Thorpe - Considering comeback for 2012?

The Herald Sun reports today that Ian Thorpe, 27, is considering a surprise comeback in time for London 2012.

It's understood Thorpe, 27, discussed his plans with Australia's current batch of crack male sprinters - Eamon Sullivan, Andrew Lauterstein, Ashley Callus and Matt Targett - at the Commonwealth Games trials in Sydney last month, allegedly saying: "Let's get the 4x100 in London."

I say this happens... Just three days ago at a sports convention in Dubai Thorpe revealed “I’ve walked away, not retired”. Thorpedo is media-savvy enough to know how this will have been taken and to have the story break so soon afterwards tells me that we'll get the welcome return of this century's first global swimming star.

Assuming it does happen, several questions remain:-

A) Will he get back into the kind of shape he needs to be to make the Australian team?

- Look at Geoff Huegill. Thorpe might not even be the biggest surprise comeback Olympian on the 2012 team.

B) Will he focus only on the 4 x 100 Free relay?

- If Thorpe can get down to a mid-48 on the 100 Free (what it will probably take to qualify comfortably for the Aussie team) then I'm guessing he could also swim a pretty mean 200m Free. You can add the 4 x 200 Free relay to his list. When it comes to individual events I think Thorpe needs to be in with a real shot at a medal (probably Gold) for him to consider it. The individual 200m Free would probably be the most suitable event for him and as a result his participation might depend on what Phelps/Biedermann/Agnel/Isotov etc. are producing. The endurance needed for the 400m Free might be a step too far even for Thorpe. I don't see him being able to match Cielo/Bernard/Sullivan for speed in the individual 100 Free.

C) Will Thorpe's presence be enough to win Gold for Australia in the 4 x 100 Free relay in 2012?

- It will certainly give the team a boost and should help Australia but it still might not be enough to claim gold.

France have to be considered favourites with the USA a close second. So far this year the fastest 4 French 100m Freestylers are:-

A Bernard - 48.32 (World Rank 1)
F Gilot - 48.52 (W.r. =2)
W Meynard - 48.79 (W.r 5)
Y Agnel - 48.99 (W.r 8)

This doesn't even include the seriously talented A Leveaux, F Bousquet, B Steimetz and G Mallet.

Australia's top 4 in comparison:-

E Sullivan - 48.52 (W.r =2)
T D'Orsagna - 49.35 (W.r 18)
J Magnussen - 49.43 (W.r 19)
K Richardson- 49.47 (W.r 25)

The US team will always challenge and have a wealth of talent available. (Phelps, Adrian, Walters, Grevers, Weber-Gale, Jones, new guys coming through... Lezak!)

D) If Thorpe does comeback, is it the best news in 2010 for the sport of swimming?