Saturday, 19 March 2011

New Vote: Who Will Win The 400m Freestyle at this Year's World Championships?

If the 200m Freestyle is the most stacked event with storylines on the men's side, for the women it is surely the 400m Freestyle.

The event includes the most popular swimmers, male or female, of two major European nations, Rebecca Adlington and Federica Pellegrini. Two high-profile American women with two contrasting backgrounds. A young Chinese contingent with no apparent ceiling to their talent. France's major medal hopes on the women's side and a couple of Australian's putting together some impressive major competition results.

The Main Contenders

Rebecca Adlington - Double Olympic Champion from Beijing. European and Commonwealth Champion last year. Has just swam the event's fastest time since the suit laws were changed.

Federica Pellegrini - Only woman ever to swim under 4:00 long course and reigning World Champion. Had consistency issues last year and is now training with Laure Manaudou's former coach.

Chloe Sutton - The former open water swimmer has transitioned seamlessly to the pool. Has improved many technical aspects. Can keep pace with anyone else in the world between the flags.

Katie Hoff - Last year's World Short-Course Champion has returned to her best form after a post-Beijing dip. The best start and turns of anyone in the event.

Camille Muffat - Multi-talented 21-year old, has been improving steadily over the last few years. Looks set for a break-out in 2011.

Coralie Balmy - 8th on the all-time list. Underperformed at European's last year and has subsequently changed coaches. No shortage of talent.

Li Xuanxu - Just 17 years old. 6th at the World SC Championships which was also her LC world ranking last year. Watch out for the Chinese at a home World Championships.

Yiwen Shao - 16 year-old dominated last year's Asian Games winning by over 3 seconds in her first international competition. Watch out for the Chinese at a home World Championships.

Bronte Barratt - 8th in the world last year, but just 0.1 seconds shy of 4th. Has been on the international scene for some time, but is still just 22 years old.

Kylie Palmer - Strong performances in the major competition's last year. Silver medalist behind Hoff in Dubai. Beat the likes of Pellegrini, Sutton, Balmy and Li Xuanxu. Also won silver at the Commonwealth Games behind Adlington.

Other - Plenty of other hopefuls in this event, including the likes of Jaz Carlin, Ophelie-Cyrielle Etiene, Blair Evans, Lotte Friis, Mireia Belmonte (although the event clashes with 200m IM), Erika Villaecija plus any unknown talents poised for a breakthrough (looking at you China).

Cast your vote now. If clicking vote isn't enough, make the case for your pick in the comment section below.


  1. at least in my eyes this event is a lot more exciting this year than I thought it was going to be last year

    1) Adlington's 402
    2) Muffat's improvements-- winning gold in 200m at SC worlds and earlier leading the rankings in the 200, which suggests an improvement in the 400m as well.
    3) Sutton continuously beating Hoff
    4) The chinese girls' performance at the Asian Games

    My bet would be Adlington taking it because I personally because she currently holds the most impressive 400free swim of the lot (400.7 in lzr > 359.1 in jaked) and is showing evidence of that form at least early on. Her performance in her 200 and 800 later in the week suggests that 402.8 is probably no where near what she's capable of and that her suit times are achievable.

    That said, I do not believe that this is the closest race on the womens side. The womens side I think features more races where the top 8 are extremely bunched together:

    50/100free: events that are almost impossible to call at this point

    200im: ye, rice, seebohm, muffat, kukors, coventry, belmonte, hosszu (all 8 have won WON major titles in the last 3 years, its hard to see any of these swimmers with a 6, 7 or 8th place finish)

    100back: zhao, gao, coughlin, simmonds, spofforth, seebohm, terakawa, sakai, pelton, coventry.... yeaaahh

  2. Sutton? A contender but to have a 4.05 swimmer leading the poll is depressing, I would give the favourite tag to Adlington or Pellegrini, Sutton will figure in the 800M but i don think she will win the 400FR, Bronze at best for me.

    My pediction is:
    1.Adlington 4.02.1s-Her 800&200 times show there is a faster time there.
    2.Pellegrini 4.02.5s
    3.Muffat 4.03.6s...If she does what she can!

  3. I agree that its kind of surprising to see Sutton heading the poll, but I think of everyone except possibly the Chinese girls, sutton has the most room for improvement. She is definitely a threat for a medal. Do not be surprised to see her beat Hoff in Shanghai and possibly challenge for the silver.

  4. Someone has probably gone on a multi-voting spree... no disrespect to Sutton but that's what makes sense.

  5. I agree, who is voting on this?
    Barratt & Sutton, both great swimmers, Sutton is acceptable as a top 3 but Barratt, i think Carlin has a better shot than her given age and technical ability, Carlins turns are worse than Suttons and she swam 4.05.5s

  6. Actually picking the room for improvement comment, i would include Jazz in that list, she is a fast as most girls between the walls but her turns looked awful even against Adlington who is not known for her underwaters, If she can get he turns,starts and takeovers down she looks set to join the party as a 4.04 swimmer!

  7. Carlin wasn't far from the list, but could you really see her beating Adlington this year? It certainly didn't look that way at Nationals.

    I'm not sure why Barratt had a big surge in votes overnight. Maybe the Aussies know something we don't.

    Also, I have no problem with Sutton leading this vote. 4:06.0 unrested is a phenomenal time. Plus, whilst I understand the theory behind the 800 Free being her best event, at this stage the 400 Free is clearly her no.1.

  8. I agree 4.06 is a unrested time, but we need to aknowledge all swimmers taper differently and some benefit more than others so all is based on a guessing game, also i think Ziegler's 4.06.9s is then just as imprssive and Adlington 4.04.5s at Euros last year, 1.5s is a big gap, both were untapered.

    I cannot see Carlin beating Adlington, but the only women i can right now is Federica, i was just questioning if Jazz has a big improvent in her, i personally think she does.

  9. I agree that Carlin is a definite contender for a medal in 2012 (maybe even gold!) but I think Adlington, Pellegrini and one of the Chinese girls (probably Yiwen) will be on the podium in Shanghai.

  10. Given that Hoff and Sutton train at the same place and Sutton has continuously beaten her this year, would it be safe to assume that they're are in the same place training wise and Sutton is just now the better 400m freestyler?

  11. Not definately but it is highly likely, i am not to familiar with with the US system but they might have different coaches even at the same club, but that might just be in the UK, you have more than one coach at a club, Pavoni & Roebuck are an example, same club, different training patterns, remember also everyone one swims differently untapered, for example Adlington is a bad untapered swimmer whereas Muffat for example has swum some of her best times during training periods.

  12. FYI - Sutton and Hoff do not train at the same place. Whilst both swim in California, Sutton trains with Mission Viejo Nadadores under Coach Bill Rose, Hoff swims for FAST (Fullerton Aquatics) under Coach Jon Urbanchek.

    For further information read Q.19 here -

  13. Sutton is very sweet and has fans who love her because she is such a doll..Not all voters are coaches.That helps with the voting. I wouldn't be surprised if she did something but this is a popularity poll when it comes down to it.