Friday, 29 April 2011

Latest Score: Ian Thorpe 1 - Michael Phelps 0

Ian Thorpe has struck first in his renewed rivalry with Michael Phelps. The score as it stands now:-

Royal Wedding Attendances: Ian Thorpe 1 - Michael Phelps 0

PS. He looks in much better shape than when he announced his comeback in early February (below). This appearance seems to back up recent reports coming out of Switzerland that the comeback is going well.

UPDATE with video of Thorpe arriving.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games - Day 4 Roundtable Part II

With the recent announcement of an unchanged Olympic Schedule for London 2012, what better time to go through some of the talking points. I sat down with two esteemed swim bloggers, Braden Keith of The Swimmers Circle(BK) and David Rieder of (DR) to hack, dig, crawl, and otherwise muddle our way through the Olympic Schedule.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke

Japan’s apparent strength and America’s supposed weakness, a pre-cursor of what’s to come, or the usual smoke and mirror show in pre-Olympic years? Discuss.

Tom Willdridge - I am an unashamed Japanese swimming fan. The strength in depth Japan has quietly assembled hasn’t been given enough notice from the wider swimming world, but they are on the cusp of achieving some huge results internationally. No event sums this up like the 200 Breaststroke.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Do the Russian women now have a 4 x 100 Medley Relay Team?

Russian women have it pretty tough when it comes to relays. While the Russian men are busy scaring the American and French freestylers, more often that not the Russian women's teams have been mere observers during recent major finals, whether they qualified for the Top 8 or not.

That might be about to change with the recent breakthrough of Veronika Popova into the upper echelons of women's freestyle sprinting. On Day Two of the Russian Champs, Popova, 20, raced to a new national record in the 100 Free with a time of 54.22. Tonight, Popova followed that swim up with a 53.82 relay split (as well as a 1:56.94, 200 Free earlier in the session). Irina Bespalova, Popova's club teammate, won the 100 Fly in a time of 58.99.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games - Day 4 Roundtable Part I

With the recent announcement of an unchanged Olympic Schedule for London 2012, what better time to go through some of the talking points. I sat down with two esteemed swim bloggers, Braden Keith of The Swimmers Circle(BK) and David Rieder of (DR) to hack, dig, crawl, and otherwise muddle our way through the Olympic Schedule.

Men's 100m Freestyle

Alain Bernard and Eamon Sullivan dominated this race in 2008, but will either swim this race in London? Can Cesar Cielo add the 100 free gold to his 50 free title from Beijing, or will a younger sprinter steal the crown? If he swims it, will Michael Phelps be a factor, and can an American win?

DR - I feel like Cielo still has something to prove in the 100 free, and it won't be an easy challenge for him with all of the great sprinters out there. For someone who's most natural event is the 50, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the actual 100 freestylers out there. Of course, he is the world champ and world record-holder, so never count him out!

I don't think Phelps will swim the 100 free because of the conflicts with the 200 fly and 800 free relay. (The 100 free semis come just before those two finals.) I think Phelps will put up a time that would win a medal as a relay lead-off, just as he did in Beijing, but the 200 fly is the priority for him still. Similarly, I think Ryan Lochte will skip the 100 free to focus on his many other events, such as the aforementioned relay and 200 back/200 IM, both of which have their semi-finals on the day of the 100 free final.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mike Alexandrov's Brocabulary & C.N.M Rapping

I wasn't originally going to post this video, but the more times I watch it the funnier it gets. It might not be to everyone's taste, but it gives you a great idea of the training environment some of the elite guys work in. If you dedicate your life to a gruelling sport, its the 'bros' you train with day in, day out that keep you going... keep you in the finesse zone, keep making you want to enter the crevasse and chasing the elusive dream of speaking to Broseidon.

Here is the latest installment of Mike Gustafson's excellent Swimmers series:

A slightly different showing of camaraderie can be seen in this video; the swimming world's first remix of Wiz Khalifa's 'Black and Yellow'. Chapeau to Camille Lacourt, Fabien Gilot, Bradley Ally, Nabil Kebbab, Gregory Mallet and Giacomo Perez Dortona for 'Blue and Yellow'.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Beginner's Guide to the 2011 Russian Swimming Championships

Navigating your way around Russian swimming sites can be an arduous task. Here are a few easy steps to keep up-to-date with this week's Russian Swimming Championships (Apr 18-23).

1). How can I watch?

Easy. The Russkis are particularly good at streaming their National Champs. Not only can you watch live, you can also see the entire finals session again immediately on completion. Links below:-

Day One Finals
Day Two Finals
Day Three Finals
Day Four Finals
Day Five Finals
Day Six Finals

Finals begin at 17:00 Russian time (14:00 BST)

RESULTS - Not livetiming, results should appear after each session.

2). Who are the swimmers?

The next hurdle when watching Russian swimming is figuring out who is who. You can't rely on the good old Roman Alphabet on this one... it is all Cyrillic, all of the time.

Here's a handy list to help you out:-

The words that will bring a tear to the eyes of all Americans... МОРОЗОВ Владимир - VLADIMIR MOROZOV

Michael Phelps getting his Party on in Vegas

Daily Mail : Olympic bad boy Michael Phelps laps up attention from bikini girls at Las Vegas pool party. 
Michael Phelps is not just a dab hand in the swimming pool when taking part in Olympic events. It seems he's very successful at regular pool parties too as was evident last night in Las Vegas when he was surrounded by a plethora of women. The 14-time gold medal winner was living it up as he helped to kick off the 2011 season of the Encore Beach Club... In 2009 Phelps shattered his good boy image when he was pictured using a bong. He admitted to 'behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgement' but his was not prosecuted in connection with the incident because there was insufficient evidence.

As reported by The Daily Mail, the bastion of measured journalism in this country, 'bad boy' Michael Phelps opened The Encore Club in Las Vegas on Saturday night... and this is deemed newsworthy. Big deal. Phelps proved he's back on track at the Indy GP, so what if he cashes in on his notoriety and gets to be the star attraction at a Vegas pool party. No issues from me on that one, play on playa.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Federica Pellegrini - 4:03.49 - 400 Free - Italian Swimming Championships

Once again the readers of Speed Endurance Swimming Blog have demonstrated their outstanding swimming knowledge. Hours after voting closed in the 400 Free poll, where Rebecca Adlington had a late surge to beat Federica Pellegrini by a single vote, the same situation played itself out in an Italian pool.

On Day One at Italian Championships, Pellegrini was victorious in the 400 Free with an impressive 4:03.49. Although the time is slower than Adlington's 4:02.84 from British Nationals, and down on Pellegrini's best time of 2010 (4:03.12), it still ranks as the third fastest time since the tech-suit ban.

Pellegrini was ahead of Adlington's pace for 350m but did not have the same closing speed as Britain's Olympic Champion (final 50 splits: FP-30.31/RA-29.55)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games - Day 3 Roundtable

With the recent announcement of an unchanged Olympic Schedule for London 2012, what better time to go through some of the talking points. I sat down with two esteemed swim bloggers, Braden Keith of The Swimmers Circle(BK) and David Rieder of (DR) to hack, dig, crawl, and otherwise muddle our way through the Olympic Schedule.

Men’s 200m Butterfly

BK - Phelps is back, and seems to be serious again. With London in sight, I expect that he'll carry that momentum through the duration. He went a 1:54.1 in this event in debatable shape, and in good shape, he's going to put up a 1:53-low or better, and that will be that.

The top 3 in the world last year, Phelps, Matsuda, and D'Arcy, all lined up next to each other last summer at Pan Pacs. It's a great demonstration of the differences in technique betwen the 3 swimmers, and after seeing that, it's hard to buy D'Arcy finishing any higher than 3rd. D'Arcy is strong and has great walls, but he has to be that way to match the efficiency of the other 2 swimmers. I actually think he'll get nipped by Wu Peng of China for a medal too.

Picks: 1) Phelps, 2) Matsuda, 3) Peng. Darkhorse: Bence Biczo from Hungary. He set the European Juniors record last year in Helsinki, and pulled off the 200 fly double at both European Juniors and the Youth Olympic Games. Chad Le Clos gets all of the youth hype in this event, but Biczo might be better than him at this point.

DR- Only 1:53-low on phelps? I'd say probably a WR or at least very close. Good chance of 1:50 or even... 1:49?

Monday, 11 April 2011

National Championship Bonanza Part II

Italian Championships, April 13 - 17


Start List (Federica Pellegrini will swim the 100, 200, 400 & 800 Free)

Russian Championships, April 18 - 23

Start List (coming soon)
Results (coming soon)
Russian Qualifying Standards

South African Championships, April 11 - 16

Start List

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Eindhoven Swim Cup - April 7 - 10

The first night of finals are about to begin at the Eindhoven Swim Cup. Qualification for this year's World Championships is on the line. 

Amongst those competing are Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Sarah Sjostrom, Marleen Veldhuis, Hinkelein Schreuder, Sebastiaan Verschuren, Jennie Johansson, Moniek Nijhuis and Lennart Stekelenburg,


Live Stream

Breaking News: Sun Yang - 1500 Free - 14:42.52

According to a Chinese report just out, at Chinese Nationals Sun Yang rocketed to the top of the 2011 world rankings with his time of 14:42.52 in the 1500 Free.

WATCH THE RACE HERE (Huge thanks to swimfan2 for the link. For more video from Chinese Nationals, click here )

Whilst a little off his best time of 14:35.43 from last year , it still ranks as the 13th fastest performance of all-time and cements his place at the top of the world in the event.

Hoping for a world record this week was probably wishful thinking after Sun Yang stated that he had focused more on speed for this meet, highlighted by his 1:44.99 200 Free and 3:41.48 400 Free efforts. The big question will be what he focuses on in Shanghai. He is a potential medalist in the 200 Free, the marginal favourite in the 400 Free and undisputed favourite in the 1500 Free.

PS. Many in the swimming world have accused China of being too secretive and use this fact to cast aspersions on Chinese swimmers and their success. On that point I should say that in the last hour I have watched more swimming from Chinese Nationals than I did for the entire British Nationals.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

2011 Eric Namesnik Grand Prix, Michigan, April 8-10

This weekend's Michigan Grand Prix has a number of intriguing storylines to follow. Let's get straight to them:

David Nolan

Not an event to follow, but a swimmer. Nolan has single handedly destroyed the US Age Group record books in recent weeks. His 200 IM time at a high school meet last month, made him the fourth fastest ever in that event and would have won the NCAA Championship this year. It will be a moment to savour seeing a swimmer being touted as USA's next big thing swimming long course metres. He is down to swim a 'Phelpsian' 100 Fly, 200 IM, 100 Back, 100 Free and 200 Free. Whilst he might not be in the same shape he was last month, it will be great to see what he can do against some top international competition.

Women's 200 Free

Australia have shown their cards for this summer's 4 x 200 Free relay with six women under 1:58 in this event. The two nations that look to stand in the Aussies way this year are China and the US. The times at Chinese nationals weren't too intimidating, although they didn't have their strongest swimmers competing. Now its time to see what the relay picture looks like across the atlantic for this year and next.

The relay for Shanghai has already been set with three members competing in Michigan: Allison Schmitt, Katie Hoff and Jasmine Tosky. The other members of the team are Morgan Scroggy, Dana Vollmer and Dagny Knutson. Sadly we won't be seeing Missy Franklin at this competition (1:58.75 already in 2011), who could be the key to the US chances next year in this relay.

Swimmer to watch - Arianna Kukors - Swam 1:56.05 as well as a 1:55.18 relay split in 2009. Big time contender for the 4 x 200 relay next year.

Men's 200 Fly

Without trying to give too much away, Braden Keith, David Rieder and myself are in the process of completing a new roundtable discussion that includes this event. Michael Phelps, Wu Peng, Tyler Clary and Marcin Cieslak all feature in our roundtable discussion..... and in Michigan.

Swimmer to watch - Marcin Cieslak - Prodigous junior career in Europe, now trains in Florida and impressed at the recent NCAA Championships. (FYI - I've got a vested interest in Cieslak, he's my wildcard pick for 2012... don't let me down Marcin).

Women's 100 Back

With the emergence of Missy Franklin as a legitimate threat for Olympic gold in this event, its starting to look like a contest for the second spot on the team. Both Coughlin and Pelton (competing this weekend) were amongst just ten women in the world under 60 seconds last year.

Swimmer to watch - Madison White, just 16, the bronze medalist at Junior Pan Pacs last year where she swam 1:01.80 in the prelims.

Men's 100 Free

The 100 Free will certainly live up to its blue ribbon label in Michigan. The world's top sprinter Cesar Cielo goes up against the world's greatest ever swimmer, Michael Phelps, possibly the world's next great swimmer, David Nolan, the owner of the world's greatest ever relay leg, Jason Lezak and 2010's top swimmer, Ryan Lochte. Throw in a handful of international swimmers such as Ous Mellouli, Simon Burnett, Albert Subirats, Nicholas Santos and a strong domestic field led by Cullen Jones and Garrett Weber Gale and you get a stacked event (and two very long sentences).

Other Highlights

Peter Vanderkaay - This meet will mark his return to Michigan.
Michael Phelps - Its not necessary to explain why seeing Phelps swim is a highlight.
Ryan Lochte - Its not necessary to explain why seeing Lochte swim is a highlight.
Ous Mellouli - In dynamite form so far this year.

And finally...

Erik Risolvato - Gutsy move from the 17 year old entering himself in the 100 Fly with a world record time of 49.54. He pushes Michael Phelps down to the no.2 seed. You have to love that level of self-belief, just announcing to the world that there is a new kid in town.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Sun Yang - 400m Free - 3:41.48

Today - Pre-Race
 Reports coming out of China today reveal that Sun Yang has just missed out on Zhang Lin's 2009 Asian record of 3:41.35. Sun Yang's time of 3:41.48 moves him up to 5th on the all-time list, just ahead of Park Tae-Hwan's time from last year's Asian Games (3:41.53). Only Ian Thorpe (3:40.08) has been faster in a textile suit.

I'm calling it now. Sun Yang and Park Tae-Hwan will both be under Paul Biedermann's WR of 3:40.07 in Shanghai this summer.

Prediction - An all-Asian/African podium. No room for America or Australia. Yannick Agnel looks like the only man that could challenge these three currently.
1) Sun Yang, 2) Park Tae-Hwan, 3) Oussame Mellouli

Today Mid-Race
The big question now is how close Sun Yang can get to Grant Hackett's iconic World Record in the 1500 Free? Last year he missed the record by just 0.93 seconds. Today his 400 Free was 0.99 seconds faster than last year. There is a very real possibility that the 1500 WR will go this week.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Australia's Strength in Depth - Women's 200m Freestyle

The 200 Free world rankings have a green and gold tinge to them today after two stunning 1:55.7 efforts from Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt at the Australian Championships. 

Palmer and Barratt's efforts are the two fastest times ever by Australians, they move to 10th and 11th respectively on the all-time list and 5th and 6th on the all-time textile list. The threat level posed by both women has just moved up from potential finalists/possible contenders for medals, to gold medal challengers. As it currently stands the top tier in the 200 Free looks like this: Federica Pellegrini, Kylie Palmer, Bronte Barratt, Camille Muffat & Allison Schmitt.

There was another storyline from the 200 Free final - The sixth placed finisher in the 200 Free, Alicia Coutts, swam 1:57.72. That is an entire relay squad who would have ranked in the Top 15 in the world last year. I don't think there is another swimming nation that can boast the kind of depth Australia has in the event. The USA could get close and China has a strong team, but neither country looks to have six swimmers right now on those kind of times. To put this level of depth into context, last year's top time in the 4 x 200 Free relay came from USA in 7:51.21. The combined times of the top four Aussies (with 0.5 seconds taken off for the three relay take-overs) is 7:44.53. The seemingly untouchable world record in the event, China's 7:42.08, is suddenly within reach.

The luxury of having six elite swimmers for the relay is two-fold; a) you can afford to rest your two big guns in the heats, and b) there is cover should any of the top four have an off-meet in Shanghai.

Early prediction for the 4 x 200 Free relay in Shanghai. 1) Australia, 2) China, 3) USA.

Friday, 1 April 2011

National Championship Bonanza

It is a frantic time in the world of swimming right now with several countries holding their World Championship Trials. Expect the world rankings to be turned on their head during the next week.

Australian Championships - 1st - 8th April

Start Lists

Finals will be broadcast live on One HD

Spanish Championships - 31st March - 3rd April

Start Lists

Live Video

Live TV by Ustream

Canadian World Trials - 30th March - 2nd April

Live Video

Danish Open - 31st March - 3rd April

Start Lists
Live Video

Swiss Championships - 31st March - 3rd April