Saturday, 25 September 2010

Vote Update - Lochte leads Phelps

The Speed Endurance vote is heating up. Just 12 days left to weigh in with your opinion.

In a two horse race, Ryan Lochte, 3 time Olympic Gold medallist - 6 time medallist, leads for the first time since the vote went live. Michael Phelps (14 Golds, 16 total medals) has dropped back three votes.

Perhaps the shift in voter opinion is down to how the pair of superstars spent this year training...



Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010 - Come Out and Play

Commonwealth Games update

Bit of drama, nothing too serious:-

Ongoing security fears - Gun attack on a tourist bus in Delhi last Sunday & outbreak of dengue fever in the city
State of the athlete's village UPDATE - BBC Photos Here- Reports of stray dogs, faeces, stagnant water, unhygienic bathrooms, employees urinating openly in public areas.
Footbridge to get to the main stadium has collapsed - 23 workers injured

From BBC News

  1. Athletes' village - Indian media reports only 18 of 34 towers are completed
  2. Yamuna River - flooded in worst monsoon rain for 30 years, leaving pools attracting mosquitoes
  3. Nehru Stadium - part of false ceiling collapsed in weightlifting area
  4. Bridge leading to the Nehru Stadium - collapsed on Tuesday
  5. Jama Masjid Mosque - Two tourists injured in shooting near mosque, Indian Mujahideen threatens more attacks
  6. Shivaji Stadium - no longer to be used as a venue because it was not going to be ready in time
  7. Yamuna Sports Complex - roof damaged by heavy rain in July

It's best to think positive... like 2010's comeback swimmer of the year.

Geoff Huegill's reaction to Delhi's problems:

 “As long as there’s water in my lane, I’m set to go”

Sunday, 19 September 2010

US Themed Swimming Fix

- Over at Swimnetwork, Mike Gustafson has written an impressive premise for a new swimming movie. Not gritty enough for my taste, but should be a box office hit.

Here's my idea for a swimming movie...

All Done. Actually... make the US team be a bunch of dangerous, yet sensitive, vampires/werewolves and we have ourselves a hit.

- Josh Schneider has won his appeal to overturn his DQ at US Nationals. To refresh the memory, Schneider was unknowingly entered into the 100m Fly event which he didn't swim. As he failed to inform the meet organisers of his withdrawal they DQ'd him from his next event, the 50m Free. Schneider swam the event under protest and tied Cullen Jones for second in the final with a blazing 21.97, but subsequently had his DQ confirmed.  As a result of this appeal, Schneider will be able to join up with the US National team and will have a swim-off against Jones to decide who takes the second 50m Free spot at next year's World Champs.

Common sense seems to have prevailed. Why we continue to have these pedantic rules in swimming baffles me. If you've taken illegal drugs, false start or attach a jet engine to your back, then you should be DQ'd. If you do nothing wrong in an event apart from no-showing for the heats of another, that to me is not valid grounds.

- I'm not even going to attempt to explain the situation regarding the Athlete Partnership Plan in the US as Garrett McCaffrey and Tyler Clary do a great job in the video below:-

- Saving the best news until last... Swimming at the Commonwealth Games start in just 15 days.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Short Course Swimming Fix

The first leg of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup, held in Rio de Janeiro, is in the books.

- Star of the meet goes to Thiago Pereira. Coming off a relatively strong longcourse summer season (world ranked 5th for the 400m IM, 6th for the 200m IM), Pereira was just 1.3 seconds away from Darian Townsend's 200m IM world record set last year. Pereira's time of 1:52.72 was the 11th fastest performance of all time. According to Twitter we're going to see the Brazilian at all of the remaining World Cup meets. He is definitely a contender for top overall points scorer (and the hefty prize money that goes along with that).

- On the women's side Therese Alshammar got off to an ideal start as she leads the points standings after Rio. Points are awarded to the top ranked swims of the meet and Alshammar's 57.04 earned her 899 points, enough for the maximum 25 points on offer.

For those interested in the professional nature and funding of the sport, here's an interesting quote from Alshammar...
“The World Cup Series is very important to me because the awards give me the necessary resources to support my practices in Australia. Another important aspect is that I believe that, to keep strong physically and mentally, it’s essential to compete a lot. This series of events keep me on alert and it’s part of my training. London Olympic Games 2012 are the main goal of my career”.

- Cesar Cielo had a strong, though not spectacular, showing on home soil. Cielo took narrow victories in both the 50m Free and 100m Free, beating Steffen Diebler both times. Cielo's 50m Free time was 21.08 from the heats (he swam 21.16 in the final) and 47.16 in the 100m Free. As has been the case all year, the 50m Free was a stronger event for him than the 100m. The 50m Free was just 0.15 seconds away from Steffen Nystrand's textile suit best time, whereas the 100m Free was 1.33 seconds off the best mark in textile, again held by short course behemoth Nystrand.

- Switching to Long Course briefly, 2010 is proving to be a strong year for Japanese swimming and one of their biggest female stars, Aya Terakawa, turned in a great time of 59.13 in the 100m Back at the 'National Physical Education Long-Course Championships' in Chiba (I've never heard of it either).

Terakawa's swim supplants Emily Seebohm at the top of the world rankings and is a new textile best time. Seebohm will get a chance to regain the top spot at Commonwealths where she will face England's Gemma Spoffort and Lizzie Simmonds.

Interesting note - Terakawa and Seebohm each hold 4 of the top 10 swims so far this year on the 100m Back. Terakawa has been sub-1:00 six times this year, Seebohm five times. Great consistency.

- Looking forward to future short course meets this year we have some interesting returning stars on the women's side.

Britta Steffen hopes to return to competition at the Berlin leg of the World Cup Series (30 and 31 October). For those who struggle with the German language Steffen, has now returned to full-time training and hopes to be back to 100% in the next two or three weeks. She also mentions that if the Olympics go well in 2012 that she will probably just swim the 50m Free and relays at the 2013 Worlds before hanging up the goggles.

Not to be outdone, a trio of returning Dutch women are set to compete at the European Short Course Championship in Eindhoven (25-28 November). Marleen Veldhuis, Inge Dekker and Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who all missed the European LC Champs last month, will battle it out on home soil.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Biedermann..... blogs!

So anyone that follows this blog knows that I can rarely go 3 blogs in a row without a Paul Biedermann mention. Everytime he swims he gets a mention. Everytime someone else swims he gets a mention. He's essentially taken up more space here than anyone else.

Now Europeans are done and dusted I thought I would be treading water for a few weeks with Biedermann news. I could have mentioned that he will be swimming the Stockholm leg of the World Cup Series as well as the Berlin leg alongside Britta Steffen, but it didn't seem 'blog worthy' enough.

True to his race tactics he was just cruising along, lulling me into a false sense of security, before dropping the hammer on Speed Endurance.... that's right, Biedermann blogs.

I may as well retire from blogging because there is no way I can match Biedermann. He's already come out firing with posts including literary quotes, fake facebook accounts and RETIRING FROM WORLD OF WARCRAFT. PB is taking swim blogging into a new era. The rest of the world needs to catch up.

Little known fact I once raced Biedermann in a 400m Free in 2004 (page 15 of the results - I hung with him for 200m before being blown away in the last half of the race). He beat me then .. and he'll beat me now.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup - Rio de Janeiro *Including Start Lists*

September 10th - 12th, Parque Aquático Maria Lenk, Rio de Janeiro

In all the excitement of August's major competitions, the World Cup series seems to have been overlooked by many in the swimming world. Big mistake. The swimming world cup series always offers some quality racing. It also offers a chance for someone to break a World Record in 2010. Going to be pretty hard though.

Not sure I can mention his name on the blog any longer, but just for fun how about a Cesar Cielo, 50m & 100m Free time prediction... to get the ball rolling I'm saying 20.8 and 46.2.

The first stop on the global tour starts tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 10 – 12 September 2010
Beijing (CHN) 12 – 13 October 2010
Singapore (SIN) 16 – 17 October 2010
Tokyo (JPN) 20 – 21 October 2010
Berlin (GER) 30 – 31 October 2010
Moscow (RUS) 2 – 3 November 2010
Stockholm (SWE) 6 – 7 November 2010

*Speed_Endurance Blog Exclusive* - Start Lists - HERE (credit where credit is due)

Participating Countries: 
Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Colombia, China, Ecuador, USA, Holland, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Sweden

Selection of swimmers competing (dominated by Brazilians, but still a good selection of top class international swimmers): 
Cesar Cielo, Kaio Almeida, Thiago Pereira, Nicholas Santos, Felipe Silva, Henrique Rodrigues, Tales Cerdeira, Tatiana Lemos Barbosa, Guilherme Guido, Fabiola Molina, Joanna Maranhao (BRA)
Steffen Deibler, Jenny Mensing, Kerstin Vogel, Marco Koch (GER)
Sakiko Nakamura, Kazuki Otsuka (JAP)
Peter Marshall, Randall Bal (USA)
Therese Alshammer, Joline Hoestman (SWE)
Hinkelein Schreuder (NED)
Arkady Vyatchanin, Nikolay Svortsov (RUS)
Omar Pinzon (COL)
Cecilia Biagioli (ARG)

Results will appear - HERE

The event will be shown on Brazilian TV Station - Canal SporTV (will look for a link to view the competition online).

Schedule of Events

Day 1 – Heats at 18:00h (06:00 pm) - Friday, 10TH September 2010
Finals at 10:00h (10:00 am) - Saturday, 11TH September 2010

800m Freestyle Women
100m Freestyle Men
200m Freestyle Women
50m Breaststroke Men
100m Breaststroke Women
400m IM Men
100m Butterfly Women
100m Backstroke Men
50m Backstroke Women
200m Butterfly Men
200m IM Women
400m Freestyle Men
50m Freestyle Women
200m Breaststroke Men
100m IM Men
200m Backstroke Women
50m Butterfly Men

Day 2 – Heats at 18:00h (06:00 pm) - Saturday, 11TH September 2010
Finals at 10:00h (10:00 am) - Sunday, 12TH September 2010

1500m Freestyle Men
100m Freestyle Women
200m Freestyle Men
50m Breaststroke Women
100m Breaststroke Men
400m IM Women
100m Butterfly Men
100m Backstroke Women
50m Backstroke Men
200m Butterfly Women
200m IM Men
400m Freestyle Women
50m Freestyle Men
200m Breaststroke Women
100m IM Women
200m Backstroke Men
50m Butterfly Women

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Swimming Fix

After the excitement of August's major swimming competitions, we find ourselves in a bit of a lull in terms of competitive swimming. Here are some links to keep your swimming fix in order:-

- If you look at the picture at the top of this blog, you'll see I'm a sucker for underwater swimming photos. These photos from the European Championships are some of the best I've seen for a while. Image 22 of 24 of Nikita Lobintsev looking like a torpedo is my personal favourite, closely followed by Image 16 of Sebastien Rouault and Image 4 of Laszlo Cseh's head.

- Chris De Santis, a US collegiate coach and blogger, takes a look at what makes Rebecca Soni so fast, comparing her stroke to Leisel Jones and Amanda Beard. Interesting stuff, particularly the observation 'There is no doubt in my mind- Soni does not pull or kick as hard as either of the other two.'

- Semi retired swim blogger David Rieder announces his August Swimmers of the Month. Agree with most of the picks although I do have one issue:-

Issue.) As good as Nathan Adrian has been this year, I don't believe he has done enough to be anointed 'the best sprinter in the world.' Adrian is not at the top of the world ranks on either the 50m or the 100m Free. Yes he beat Cielo at Pan Pacs, but Cesar did not look on top form on the Freestyles and crucially he has proven himself on the biggest stage of all. Adrian hasn't... yet.

When he came up against the French guys earlier this year he lost to Fabien Gilot and tied with Yannick Agnel at the Paris Open. To be considered the best sprinter in the world I believe you need to be the reigning champion/fastest in the world in either the 50m Free or 100m Free. For my money if I had to pick a 'best sprinter in the world' right now I'd be torn between Bousquet and Cielo with Adrian (as well as Alain Bernard & Fabien Gilot) knocking hard on the door.

- Incase you missed it, ESPN ran an interesting article on Michael Phelps. The reporter stated that 'he is his sport'. This is contentious, but not all together wrong. Certainly opens up an entirely new issue, where would the sport of swimming be if Michael Phelps retired today. Would all the progress and exposure swimming has gained during the Phelps-era subside or would the sport react to Phelps' loss and continue to grow? Interesting one.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Libby Trickett comes out of retirement

September 1st 2010 is a day that fans of Australian swimming can breathe a sigh of relief.

This just in from Libby Trickett's Twitter account:-

So I guess it's official? I'm officially starting back swimming. I must admit I'm excited about smelling like chlorine 24/7 again!!

The reigning Olympic champion on the 100m Butterfly and World Bronze medallist on the 100m Freestyle in Rome last year is getting back into the water after a year off. Trickett took an extended break from the sport in September last year before officially retiring on 14 December 2009.

This comes as welcome news to the Aussie women's team. Despite some outstanding individual swims at Pan Pacs, the Aussie women were swept by Team USA on all three relay events. Trickett, a proven relay swimmer, will provide added strength to an already strong team.

Assuming the comeback goes smoothly (a year out of the water shouldn't be too hard to come back from), Australia are right back in the hunt for the 4 x 100m Medley relay at Worlds (took Silver in 2009 without Leisel Jones) and Olympics (reigning champions). USA and China will be the main competition.

Aussie potential team:-

Emily Seebohm - Backstroke
Leisel Jones - Breaststroke
Jessicah Schipper/Libby Trickett/Steph Rice - Butterfly
Libby Trickett/Yolane Kukla - Freestyle

USA potential team:-

Natalie Coughlin/Elisabeth Pelton/Missy Franklin - Backstroke
Rebecca Soni/Jess Hardy - Breaststroke
Christine Magnuson/Dana Vollmer - Butterfly
Natalie Coughlin/Dana Vollmer/Jess Hardy/Amada Weir - Freestyle

China potential team:-

Zhao Jing/Gao Chang - Backstroke
Chen Huijia/Ye Sun - Breaststroke
Liu Zige/Jiao Liuyang - Butterfly
Pang Jiaying/Tang Yi - Freestyle

USA and Australia are evenly matched and with Trickett's potential to be the fastest freestyler or fly swimmer from all the names listed above and China's wildcard nature we should have a real race on our hands. Game on.

(I wonder if Trickett's decision will spur Thorpedo to get back involved in time for London 2012?)