Sunday, 30 January 2011

Duel In The Pool - Germany vs Great Britain

Germany will have a chance to exact revenge on Great Britain when the two teams meet again February 5-6 in Essen, Germany.

Day One Results

Last year in Swansea saw a one-sided contest in which Britain (207 points) dominated an unprepared German team (109 points). The drubbing last time around had a lot to do with the different stages of training the two teams were in. Whilst Britain were tuning up for their nationals just a month later, Germany were still in heavy training with their nationals five months away.

The competition last year saw a breakthrough meet for Jaz Carlin as well as strong performances from Liam Tancock, Elizabeth Simmonds, Fran Halsall and Germany's Paul Biedermann. This year the Brits are sending a younger and less experienced team which is missing a lot of their stars (Adlington, Halsall, Simmonds, Jackson, Tancock, Davies not  attending).

This time around the Germans intend to put up a better performance and are sending their first team to Essen. Their biggest stars, Britta Steffen and Biedermann, are both set to compete, UPDATE - have both just withdrawn from the competition. Their withdrawal will go a long way towards levelling this competition up. So much so, that I would now say the British women are favourites with the German men still slightly infront of the British men on paper.

The other big news from the German camp sees the return of Helge Meeuw to international competition for the first time since Istanbul 09. Meeuw is a vital part of Germany's 4 x 100m Medley hopes and should he get back to full fitness, the Germans will be back in the hunt for medals in Shanghai.

This year's British Nationals are scheduled for March 5-12. German Nationals will take place May 31 - June 5.

German Team

Women (21):

Dorothea Brandt, Annika Bruhn, Deborah Gonschorek, Lisa Graf, Isabelle Härle, Franziska Hentke, Franziska Jansen, Silke Lippok, Jenny Mensing, Theresa Michalak, Sarah Poewe, Nadine Reichert Juliane Reinhold, Caroline Ruhnau, Nina Schiffer, Katharina Schiller, Daniela Schreiber Britta Steffen, Sina Sutter, Lisa Vitting, Alexandra Wenk

Men (20):

Robin Backhaus, Paul Biedermann, Markus Deibler, Steffen Deibler, Christian Diener, Hendrik Feldwehr, Christoph Fildebrandt, Jan-Philipp Glania, Stefan Herbst, Christian Kubusch, Marco Koch, Yannick Lebherz, Christian vom Lehn, Helge Meeuw, Johannes Neumann, Clemens Rapp, Jan David Schepers, Benjamin Starke, Tim Wallburger, Felix Wolf

British Team

Women (17):

Achieng Ajulu-Bushell, Jaz Carlin, Georgia Davies, Lucy Ellis, Megan Gilchrist, Kate Hutchinson, Rachel Lefley, Jemma Lowe, Amelia Maughan, Hannah Miley, Emma Saunders, Amy Smith, Sophie Smith, Stacey Tadd, Alys Thomas, Emma Wilkins, Aimee Willmott

Men (15):

Tom Allen, Ryan Bennett, Jack Burnell, Craig Gibbons, Scott Hathaway, Antony James, Ieuan Lloyd, Robbie Renwick, Joe Roebuck, Lewis Smith, Christopher Steeples, Joshua Walsh, Richard Webb, Andrew Willis, James Young

Friday, 28 January 2011

This Weekend's Racing

This weekend sees many of world swimming's top stars getting in some early season racing. Here's a rundown:-

Luxembourg Euromeet (LC) - Start Lists and Results HERE
(feat. Alain Bernard, Coralie Balmy, Hugues Duboscq, Steffen Deibler, Markus Deibler, Andriy Govorov, Anthony James, Christian Kubusch, Silke Lippok, Jenny Mensing)

20th International Meeting Uster (SCM) - Start Lists and Results HERE
(feat. Jessica Hardy, Dominik Meichtry, David Verraszto, Evelyn Verraszto, Massimiliano Rossolino, Flori Lang)

SA International Invitation Swim Meet (LC) - Psych Sheet HERE - Results HERE
(feat. Mireia Belmonte, Gideon Louw, George Bovell, Cameron Van Der Burgh, Fran Halsall, Elizabeth Simmonds, Liam Tancock, Grant Turner, Ross Davenport, Kirsty Coventry, Chad Le Clos, Riaan Schoeman, Randall Bal, Gerhard Zandberg, Ahmed Mathlouthi)

Miami Super Challenge (LC) - Entry List HERE
(feat. 2010 Performance of the Year winner Sun Yang, Yiwen Shao, 2011 Watchlist member Bonnie MacDonald... plus according to SwimNews Jo Jackson, Gemma Spofforth, Chris Walker-Hebborn, Roberto Pavoni, Yolane Kukla, Ryan Napoloeon, Liu Zige)

Summer Swim Series ("Swimming Australia's answer to Twenty Twenty cricket") (LC) - Team Lists HERE - Competition Programme HERE
(feat. Libby Trickett, Steph Rice, Geoff Huegill, Emily Seebohm, Leisel Jones, Blair Evans, Eamon Sullivan, Ashley Callus, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Brenton Rickard, Andrew Lauterstein PLUS team captains Susie O'Neill, Michael Klim, Matt Welsh & Linley Frame)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bob Bowman is now following you on Twitter!‏

I will let you into a secret, the life of a swim blogger is tough. 

You work hard to stay on top of world swimming for little to no reward.

You break news, cover events.... all the time knowing that this hardship is driven by passion rather than reward.

But then something comes out of left field, something you didn't expect, that reassures you that this is the right way. This 'eureka' moment came to me tonight when I checked my email and saw...


Bob Bowman is now following you on Twitter!‏

(Turn up the Ludacris...start dancing like Les Grossman)

Monday, 17 January 2011

New Vote - Who Will Win The Men's 200m Freestyle At The World Championships This Year

There are many great battles in the world of swimming currently, but none come close to the epic nature of the Men's 200m Freestyle. This is swimming's Hollywood event. Lochte v Phelps. Phelps v Biedermann. Agnel v Biedermann. USA v Russia. East v West. Youth v Experience. National Hero v National Hero. This event has it all.

Time to let the people speak...  

Who will win the Men's 200m Freestyle at the World Championships this year?

Here's a run down of the contenders (clink on the link to see the race itself):-

Ryan Lochte, Age: 26 - Last year 1:45.30

Park Tae-Hwan, Age: 21 - Last year 1:44.80

Michael Phelps, Age: 25 - Last year 1:45.61

Paul Biedermann, Age: 24 - Last year 1:45.47

Yannick Agnel, Age: 18 - Last year 1:45.83

Sun Yang, Age: 19 - Last year 1:46.25

Danila Izotov, Age: 19 - Last year 1:47.14

Sebastiaan Verschuren, Age: 22 - Last year 1:46.91

Nikita Lobintsev, Age: 22 - Last year 1:45.93

Oussama Mellouli, Age: 26 - Last year 1:49.04 (1:42.02 SC)

(If clicking a button isn't enough for you, make the case for your guy in the comments section.)


Spot The Odd One Out

Lochte's Rocking The Pink Briefs

Lochte almost got the skin coloured briefs right.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Busy Weekend Recap

It's been a busy weekend of long course racing for some of the world's top swimmers.

For all the results-hungry swim fans out there, enjoy...

Austin Grand Prix (feat. Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Hoff, Missy Franklin) - Results Here

Highlights: Missy Franklin's 59.75 in the 100m Back. Jason Lezak's 22.57 in the 50m Free. Kate Ziegler's 4:08.28 in the 400m Free.

Flanders Swimming Cup (feat. Laszlo Cseh, Keri-Anne Payne, Mireia Belmonte, Lotte Friis) - Results Here

Highlights: Laszlo Cseh's 4:15.39 in the 400m IM and 52.83 in the 100m Fly. Keri-Anne Payne's 1:59.96 in the 200m Free. Daniel Gyurta's 1:01.18 in the 100m Breast. Gergely Gyurta's 15:17.77 in the 1500m Free.

Burns Open Meet (feat. Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tancock, Lizzie Simmonds) - Results Here

Highlights: Rebecca Adlington's 4:08.35 in the 400m Free. Lizzie Simmonds 2:09.47 in the 200m Back. 15 year old Matthew Johnson's 4:27.14 in the 400m IM.

Victorian State Championships (feat. Matt Targett, Leisel Jones, Ellen Gandy, 13-year-old Rika Omoto) - Results Here

Highlights: Matt Targett's 49.70 in the 100m Free, Leisel Jones' 1:07.66 in the 100m Breast, Kelly Stubbins' 55.37 in the 100m Free, 2011 Watchlist member Rika Omoto's 4:49.31 in the 400m IM and 2:15.48 in the 200m IM, Ellen Gandy 2:08.02 in the 200m Fly.

If there are more competitions taking place around the world that deserve a mention, add them in the comments section.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Vladimir Morozov Will Represent Russia

A member of the presigious Speed Endurance 2011 Watchlist, Vladimir Morozov has announced to Swimming World that he will be swimming for Russia... atleast until 2012.

Morozov had previously made it known that he intended to swim for the US, however his quest to get US citizenship to be eligible for London 2012 ran out of time. If you watch the video above, he seems pretty disappointed by the development, which might be an issue going forward. (If you're the head of the Russian Swimming Federation you probably don't want to see your future star saying 'I guess i'll just have to swim for Russia'.)

Morovoz swimming for Russia will have a few knock-on effects:-

1) He will now be able to qualify for the Russian team for the World Championships in Shanghai this summer and potentially gain some valuable international experience prior to London 2012. Last year he was the 2nd fastest Russian over 50m Free LC and you have to expect that he will continue to improve long course.

2) The 4 x 100m Free relay in London 2012 just got a whole lot more interesting. Russia were in the conversation even before Morozov revealed which country he would represent, however now they have one of the world's most exciting sprint talents to add to an already talented group. I can see Morozov making the World Top 10 in the 100m Free by the time 2012 rolls around, in which case the Russian team could look like this: Morozov, Evgeny Lagunov, Andrey Grechin as well as Danila Izotov/Nikita Lobintsev/Sergey Fesikov. Pretty daunting for the rest of the world.

USA would remain favourites and it will always be hard to overcome a team that includes Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak as well as Ryan Lochte/Garrett Weber-Gale/David Walters/Cullen Jones/Matt Grevers... France will also have a formidable team with Alain Bernard, Fabien Gilot, Yannick Agnel and Fred Bousquet/Amaury Leveaux/William Meynard.

3) Rowdy Gaines is going to be pretty bummed out... This appeared on his Twitter feed in December
'Mark my words though, Vladimir Morozov is the next great sprinter...42.2 and he's only 18! Swims for Russia but can the U.S. get him?!'


Monday, 10 January 2011

Duel In The Pool - The Revenge

Rod Gilmour in The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the second installment of 2009's Duel in the Pool will take place in Atlanta on Dec 18-19 this year. Keeping the same format as the original event, it will be a European select team, but with a twist.
"The European team are likely to be joined by the Russians and Hungarians in a bid to overturn the trouncing handed out by the Americans at the inaugural event last December."
This should come as great news to swimming fans on both sides of the Atlantic. The last event was a resounding success, despite the mismatch in the final score. It was the Duel in the Pool that got this blog started and I stick by my first ever post, that with a full strength European team (which needs to include France, Holland, Spain and Sweden), we would could have beaten The US.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

More Ian Thorpe Comeback Rumours

Typical Thorpe, no-one even close to him

Ah, nothing like some fresh Ian Thorpe comeback rumours to kick off 2011 in style. 
Speed Endurance readers rejoice. You asked for it, and it looks like you're going to get it. Last month 138 of you voted for Ian Thorpe as the swimmer you wanted to see comeback the most. I guess Thorpe reads the blog too...

Here are the Thorpe comeback facts to come out today:-
  • Thorpedo has been swimming four or five times a week 'for fitness' with former training partner Craig Stevens.
  • According to Stevens, "the technique was there, the stroke was there and everything was going really well."
  •  Australian national head coach Leigh Nugent has been providing him with training programs.
  • He is doing more swimming now than ever since retiring in 2006 and has lost 10kg.

Back in May last year I looked at what form a Thorpe comeback could take. Not too much has really changed since then.
  • I still don't think Thorpe will be able to comeback in the 400m Free, the sheer volume of training he would need to do would be too much after 4 years out of the water.
  •  Thorpe would only swim the individual 200m Free if he had a realistic shot at a medal (ie. managing to get back down to 1:44 or 1:45). There is no way he would want to damage his legacy in the sport by finishing 8th in the 200m Free final in London. 
  •  The most likely events for him will be the 4 x 100m Free and 4 x 200m Free relays, with a possible individual 200m Free thrown in if all goes to plan. To make the Aussie team he probably needs to get down to a low/mid-48 on the 100m (his best time is 48.56 from the Athens Olympics) and around 1:46 or 1:47-low to make the 200m Free team (his best time 1:44.06 from Worlds in 2001).
  • Even with Thorpe back to his best, the chances of Australia winning either relay are remote at best, however, he would certainly make Australia strong medal contenders, especially in the 4 x 200m Free. In both relays the US men are still favourites. In the 4 x 100m Free they will face strong challenges from France and Russia, whilst in the 4 x 200m Free it will likely come down to a head to head between USA and Russia.
The top 4 Aussies in each event last year.

100m Free

Eamon Sullivan - 48.52 (9th in the world)
Kyle Richardson - 48.69 (15th in the world)
Matthew Abood - 48.91 (25th in the world)
James Magnussen - 48.93 (27th in the world)

200m Free

Thomas Fraser-Holmes - 1:47.04 (11th in the world)
Kenrick Monk - 1:47.37 (16th in the world)
Nicholas Ffrost - 1:47.48 (19th in the world)
Patrick Murphy - 1:48.30 (36th in the world)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Speed Endurance Watchlist for 2011

If you are expecting to read about Sun Yang, Yannick Agnel, Missy Franklin, Yolane Kukla, Ye Shiwen and others who have had widespread coverage this past year you will be disappointed. All of the above have had their breakthroughs and should continue to have a lot of success in 2011 and beyond.

Instead, here is the Speed Endurance Watchlist for 2011 that includes names you might not have heard about.... As always, if there are any others that you feel deserve a mention, add them in the comments below.

Vladimir Morozov, Born 1992, USA  - Currently in his first year at USC (training with Dave Salo), you will hear a lot more about Morozov when NCAA's roll around. Sprint Freestyle is his specialty although he can also swim a great fly and backstroke. With a 22.13 LC 50m Free effort in 2010, Morozov has a legitimate shot at making the US senior team in 2011 soon..

Andriy Govorov, 92, UKR - One of the more well known swimmers on this list after his 50m Fly silver at the World Short Course Champs. However, if you haven't heard of him, he is a lightning quick 18-year-old Ukrainian. Govorov was ranked 9th in the world last year over 50m LC  Fly with 23.46 and was 28th in the 50m Free with 22.27.

Chelsea Chenault, 94, USA - The winner of the 200 and 400m Free at Jr Pan Pacs. Her best times of 1:58.52 and 4:09.80 ranked her 29th in the world in both events. Composure doesn't seem to be a problem after making the A Finals of US Nationals and then winning at Jr Pan Pacs. NBAC's Camryne Morris, also born 94, isn't far behind after posting 4:10.00 at the Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona last year.

Yuuki Kabori, 93, JAP - Japan has a strength in depth that will suprise many and Kabori is one of their leading youngsters. He was impressive at Pan Pacs making the final of the 200m Free. His time of 1:47.92 from the Asian Games ranked him 25th in the world last year. He is also pretty handy at Fly (52.60 and 1:57.55 for the 100/200m Fly).

Anne Bochmann, 93, GBR - Starting to garner attention in England, whilst the rest of the world is still focusing on Adlington, Jackson and Carlin. She has the pedigree after winning European Juniors in 2008. Can also turn her hand to IM and swam an impressive 200m IM (2:13.80) in August. An improvement over 200m Free in 2011 could seriously boost Britains medal prospects in the 4 x 200m Free relay in Shanghai.

Evan Pinion, 94, USA - The young American won the 800 (7:58) & 1500m (15:17) Free double at Jr Pan Pacs and picked up a bronze in the 400m Free (3:52.56). At 16, those times are incredible in events that its not unusual to see large drops in time from year to year. A promising sign for US distance swimming is the fact that Pinion was still ranked behind Arthur Frayler, 93 (15:07) and Sean Ryan, 92 (15:04) in the 1500m Free in 2010.

Marie Kamimura, 95, JAP & Sayaka Akase, JAP, 94 - Women's Backstroke has a number of talented youngsters who are already challenging for major honours. Pelton, Franklin, Beisel and Bootsma are all now firmly established on the world stage, however Japan has two new women to add to the mix. Kamimura ranked 19th last year in the 100m Back (1:00.70) and 11th in the 200m Back (2:08.52), whilst Akase won the 100 and 200m Backstrokes at Jr Pan Pacs by some distance in 1:00.82 and 2:09.07 respectively.

Rino Hosada, 95, JAP  - Jr Pan Pacs winner in the 100m Fly, her 58.45 at the Japan Open ranked her 19th in the world last year. She is just a second away from threatening the Top 5 in the world. Japan's second entry on the list.

Bence Biczo, 93, HUN - Biczo's 1:55.82 in the 200m Fly at European Juniors was good enough for 10th in the world in 2010. When Michael Phelps was 17 he swam 1:54.86. Pretty good company to be in. Commonwealth and World Short Course champion Chad Le Clos is a year older than Biczo and has attracted more attention this year, but the Hungarian still had the faster long course time by over half a second.

Anton Lobanov, 92, RUS - The young breaststroke ace has started to establish his name in 2010 and impressed at European Juniors and on the senior circuit towards the end of the year, culminating in a bronze medal at the European Short Course Championships. Equally adept at both 100m and 200m Breaststroke, he has the potential to outperform compatriot Grigory Falko in 2011.

Daiya Seto, 94, JAP - It is not often that a 16 year old male wins an event on the World Cup circuit, but that is exactly what Daiya Seto did in Stockholm. Winning the 200m Fly in a time of 1:53.57 put him 13th in the world last year short course. Seto finished down in fourth in the 200m Fly at Jr Pan Pacs this year, behind the winner Jayden Hadler, 93, AUS, who along with Kenneth To, 92, AUS and Mitch Larkin, 93, AUS represent Australia's most talented young male swimmers, and had a stellar year both LC and SC.

Alessia Polieri, 94, ITA - Silver medalist at the European Short Course Champs in the 200m Fly, she improved her time still further to make the World Short Course final in Dubai. Her short course time of 2:05.69 put her 12th in the 2010 world rankings. Time to step up long course in 2011. Also handy over 400m IM.

Emma McKeon, 94, AUS and Brittany Elmslie, 94, AUS - Compatriot Yolane Kukla receives the most attention of Australia's up and coming talent, but McKeon and Elmslie are not far behind in the sprint freestyle events.

Kousuke Hagino, 94, JAP - Remember what I said about Japanese strength in depth? Hagino was 18th in the world this year in the LC 200m IM with his time of 2:00.02. He also ended the year just behind Chaoseng Huang, 94, CHN in the 400m IM SC world rankings. Hagino and Huang both recorded 4:08 over 400m IM short course. Another young IM'er deserving a mention is David Nolan, 92, USA who won Jr Pan Pacs in a time of 2:00.61 and is emerging as one of USA's most versatile talents.

Li Zhesi, 95, CHN - Is emerging as a major talent in the sprint freestyle events. She finished 6th in the 50m Free and 10th in the 100m Free at the World Short Course Championships, as well as swimming 52.00 on the final leg of the Chinese 4 x 100m Free relay.  

Li Xuanxu, 95, CHN took bronze in the 400m IM in Dubai behind compatriot Ye Shiwen as well as 6th in the 400m Free. She ended the year 4th in the LC rankings over 400m IM with her 4:34.59.

Yi Tang, 93, CHN, took 4th in the individual 200m Free in Dubai as well as playing an instrumental role in China's 4 x 200m Free world record and China's 4 x 100m Medley relay victory, where she overhauled Jessica Hardy on the Freestyle leg.

2011 might be too soon for the following swimmers, watch out for them to make an impact in 2012 and beyond

Ryan Murphy, 95, USA - 57.31 and 2:00.81 for the 100m and 200m Backstroke at 15 is fantastic. Nearly time to add the 'Next Aaron Peirsol' tag?
Lia Neal, USA, 95 - Took silver in the 100m Free at Jr Pan Pacs (not too far behind Kukla) in a time of 54.91.
Gillian Ryan, 95, USA - Swam 4:13.25 in the 400m Free last year, expect that time to come down this year.
Bonnie Macdonald, 95, AUS - Promising distance freestyler, swam 8:37.00 in the 800m Free and 16:29 in the 1500m Free.
Christian Scherubl, 94, AUT - Impressed at World Short Course with his 3:47.54 effort in the 400m Free.
Madeline Groves, 95, AUS - Possibly the next great female Australian 100/200 Flyer.
Rika Ohmoto, 97, JAP - Remarkable time of 2:15.78 in the 200m IM at Jr Pan Pacs won her silver at just 13 years of age.
Amelia Maughan, 96, GBR - Best times of 26.38 and 56.09 long course this year in the 50 and 100m Free. A big prospect for the British team in London 2012. When Fran Halsall was Maughan's age, she swam 26.15 and 56.70. 
Beatriz Gomez Cortez, 94, ESP - Placed fourth at European Short Course in the 200m Breast in a time of 2:25.48. Another sign of Spain's improving team.

Top Female Performance of 2010 - Vote Result

The votes are in and independently verified and I can confirm that the winnner of the Speed Endurance Top Female Performance of 2010 is.....
(dramatic pause)

Ranomi Kromowidjojo's Short Course 100m Freestyle - 51.44

I can't decide whether this is a surprise or not. I expected Rebecca Soni to win, but voted for Kromowidjojo's 50m Free. I also thought that Soni's 200m Breast would get at least as many votes as her 100m Breast but that didn't happen either.

Final Results

Top Three

Ranomi Kromowidjojo - 100 SCM Free - 51.44 (World SC) - 32%

Rebecca Soni - 100 LCM Breast - 1:04.93 (Pan Pacs) - 23%

Ranomi Kromowidjojo - 50 SCM Free - 23.37 (World SC) - 13%

Better Luck Next Year

Natalie Coughlin - 100 SCM Back - 56.08 (World SC) - 7%

Ye Shiwen - 200 LCM IM - 2:09.37 (Asian Games) - 7%

Zhao Jing - 200 LCM Back - 2:06.46 (Asian Games) - 5%

Hannah Miley - 400 LCM IM - 4:33.09 (Europeans) - 3%

Rebecca Soni - 200 LCM Breast - 2:20.69 (Pan Pacs) - 3%

Leisel Jones - 100 SCM Breast - 1:03.63 (Aussie SC) - 1%

Wooden Spoon

Zhao Jing - 100 LCM Back - 58.94 (Asian Games) - 0%