Sunday, 19 June 2011

Poll Result: Which Men's Event Are You Most Looking Forward to in Shanghai?

The Blue Ribbons

100m Free (57 votes, 22%) - At first glance it is a surprise to see a non-Phelps/Lochte event at the top of the pile, however, history has proven over time that the 100 Free is truly swimming's blue ribbon event. Also one of the most open races we'll see in Shanghai with no clear favourite.
200m Free (50 votes, 19%) - The event I thought would end up on top. Swimming's Hollywood event.  Lochte v Phelps. Phelps v Biedermann. Agnel v Biedermann. USA v Russia. East v West. Youth v Experience.

The Hot List

200m Breast (27 votes, 10%) - Another surprise to see this event so high, but then it does have one of the sport's global superstars trying to hold off the challenge from his young Japanese compatriot, and an even younger German who could upset them all.
200m IM (27 votes, 10%) - One for the Phelps v Lochte fans. Also one for those on World Record watch. The turning point in this event... last year's US Nationals when Lochte beat Phelps.

1500 Free (18 votes, 7%) - If Sun Yang swims a second faster than he did at last year's Asian Games, the oldest world record in swimming will be broken. Should be a race against the clock, although Ous Mellouli looked in great shape earlier this year.
4 x 100 Free Relay (15 votes, 5%) - The most dramatic event in men's swimming of the last generation. USA. France. Russia. All with a point to prove, all with a great chance of proving it.
50 Free (12 votes, 4%) - This is one for Auburn fans. Current Auburn athlete Fred Bousquet going against his former team mate Cesar Cielo. War Damn Eagle. In a race that often goes against the form book, watch out for Nathan Adrian and Alain Bernard too.

The Third Tier

100 Fly (9 votes, 3%) - The first time we get to see Phelps v Cavic since Rome 2009. Both have had troubled preparations, both should be ready to go by Shanghai.
200 Fly (9 votes, 3%) - Interesting that the 200 Fly got the same amount of votes as the 100. This is Phelps' signature event, although recent losses have opened the door for Japan's Takeshi Matsuda. For the first time in many years Phelps isn't a lock to win the 200 Fly.
400 Free (8 votes, 3%) - This would have been much higher on my list. While the event has lost some of its luster with the news of Yannick Agnel's illness, it still sees a rematch between Sun Yang and Park Tae Hwan. Both men have swam 3:41 in textile suits over the last year. Both men have a chance of pulling each other under Biedermann's/Thorpe's time and going sub 3:40.
4 x 200 Free Relay (6 votes, 2%) - Hard to see past Team USA in this event. Russia and Germany have four strong guys, Australia and France could have a good races. If you really want to see a shock result here though, look for the Chinese team to cause an upset.

Niche Events

200 Back (4 votes, 1%) - This event sees the most consistent in-season swimmer, Mr. 1:54, Ryosuke Irie going up against the taper-sensation that is Ryan Lochte. Tyler Clary and Zhang Fenglin won't be far behind either.
100 Breast (4 votes, 1%) - Another wide open event. Kitajima goes in as favourite although Alexander Dale Oen and Brenton Rickard will cause him problems.
400 IM (3 votes, 1%) - Lochte should be too good here, although Laszlo Cseh and Tyler Clary will push him all the way. Also watch out for Thiago Pereira, David Verraszto, Chengxiang Wang and Yuya Horihata.
4 x 100 Medley Relay (3 votes, 1%) - Will USA's lack of Breaststroke speed be their weak link. Can France take advantage on this supposed weakness?

How Did You Miss This One?

100 Back (1 vote, 0%) - This one leaves me scratching my head. Coming bottom of the list is a potential world record in the 100 Back. While Camille Lacourt might be the runaway favourite in this race, the same is true in the 1500 Free, 100 Fly etc. He was also half a second faster at French Nationals this year than last, which indicates the World Record is very much on in Shanghai. If he's not on top form, look for Irie, Tancock, Meeuw, Wildeboer, Thoman or Plummer to capitalize.


  1. Without Sun Yang, i prefer 100 free because there´s no favorite.Five guys can win this event.
    In top shape, i doubt anyone can threat Phelps dominance RIGHT NOW in 200 free.1.43 high is doable.But if Sun Yang improves till olympics...2012 will be another history.
    100 back?
    Who can beat Lacourt???(*)

    (*)Considering him and all of others in TOP shape without injuries and/or sickness.

  2. I wish there was a place to discuss the current poll. But since there isn't I'm going to express an opinion here.

    I think an underlooked event is the 400m freestyle even though this event is looking more and more probable to become the first to feature a WR since the ban of the polysuits.

    I realize that Sun Yang is a huge unknown to the American media today When I was expecting the NBC commentators to mention Park's imminent bout w Sun Yang. Instead, when Rowdy finally mentioned Sun, it was to mention (erroneously) his leading time ("348.1") which leads me to believe that even going into the race the nbc commentators will probably say something along the lines of "Park is the favorite, but look for Sun to attempt an upset on home soil".

    However, if the result of this race is as fast as some people think. I think many people are going to be hugely surprised and shocked-- bringing far more attention to this event in 2012.

    To me personally, I look forward to this event I predict it will start the WC with a bang (home hero, first final = huge cheers) and these cheers and performances is going to set the tables for the performances for the rest of the day, if not the week.

  3. @ DDias.
    I think Sun Yang is going to pop a 143 split for the 200m free (most likely if he anchors as he has in the past). In think the real joy for fans is if the Chinese team puts him on the lead off. I believe he's going to put up a team that would've won a medal.

    As great of a matchup (for name dropping) the 200m free is becoming. In my mind, I cant look past Phelps, Lochte, Park in some combination for the medals anymore. As good as Agnel, Biedermann, Izotov are as supporting cast, I believe the first 3 have 143 potential, and the last 3 do not.

  4. I think the thing about the 100m freestyles this year is not there there are no favorites-- there are, in Cesar and Adrian-- but there are a lot significant dark horse players. On top of this, most of the big time suitera champions did not make it back- Bernard, Sullivan, Bousquet.

    Di Carli, the epitome of an unheralded swimmer. No one outside of the swimming community, and some within it has even heard of him. He has dropped tremendous time, but the fact that he's never performed at this stage means we dont kno how much more he can drop. It might mean he may not drop any, but we dont know and thats whats exciting.

    The Russian swimmers, Grechin and Lobintsev are untested in championship finals. But have produced splits that scare the French and US. Its not inconceivable for them to pick up a medal. At the same time, they've been known as the type of swimmers who may pop a 47 in prelims, but go half a second slower in the finals. As with di carli you wont kno.

    Magnussen has had huge hype and is riding a huge train of momentum. His times are not yet medal-deservant, but he is lauded as AUstralia's next swimming champion, so you never know.

    Gilot. France needs a medalist in the 100m free. That's pretty much the expectation. Meynard has the same type of closing speed that Phelps has, you don't know who hes going to pick off in his final 10 meters.

    Hayden. He's been here for years and years, and has brought his best to every major race in 3/4 last years (his 47.27 in lzr in rome was at least silver worthy).His consistency makes me hard to doubt him. He has been the most consistent sprinter sine 07 even though no one really acknowledges it. It really shouldnt be a surprise if he gets the gold, but it will be a huge shock, i figure.

  5. As for 200 free, I would've agreed with you, john26, on Phelps, Lochte, and Park as the top 3, if it were 2010.

    Exactly how serious is Lochte's knee injury right now???
    He's yet to post an impressive time this year (to my knowledge), and while I understand that he is a slow swimmer during training, it's only a month out, and he appears to be still struggling.

    Of course, it would surprise no one to see him winning the race in Shanghai, but until then, I think I'll go with Phelps, Park, and Sun as the potential 3.

    Park was mighty impressive in Santa Clara last week. To eclipse the field like that in 200 and 400, right off the altitude training in Mexico (was it?), he must feel good about his chances right now.

    I, too, look most forward to the 400 free. At this rate, I would feel slightly disappointed if the WR wasn't broken by Park or Sun or both.
    And I think for Biedermann's sake, the sooner his name is replaced, the better!
    His times in textile have been borderline embarrassing, I must say.

  6. I agree. The one suited WR that annoys me the most is Biedermann's 400.

  7. you know, if Sun or Park pulls it off, you can probably expect a news article, possibly an ardent Australian fan , titled "Thorpe's record legitimately broken". This and the 1500m records, I think are, in general, the records fans of the sport most eagerly want to be broken

  8. Biedermann's 400 World Record doesn't annoy me. While I don't think it is as impressive as Thorpe's time (as he would be the first to admit), it was still an incredible swim. Remember, he didn't break any rules by wearing the suit.

    He's coming into this competition slightly under the radar, and with a point to prove. I'm expecting him to put up some fine performances, especially in the 200 Free.

  9. I didn't say Biedermann broke any rule or anything. and I don't begrudge him winning world championships, beating Phelps and all. I don't even really bedgrudge his 200 WR because I think he has respectable 200 textile time. I am just saying that compared to any other WRs or WR holders, he is the least deserving.
    What is Biedermann's textile 400 PB?
    3:45? 3:46?
    It is really beyond ridiculous. At least other WR holders have textile PBs that are very respectable.

  10. I hope Biedermann has a point to prove in Shanghai.
    Hell, who am I kidding. He has TONS of point to prove.
    Can you imagine if he doesnt win any medal in both 200 and 400? and swim like 1:45 and 3:45?
    a lot of LOLs will be going on.

    In fact, I really don't think Biedermann will win any medal in shanghai.

  11. By that rationale you must have equal ill feeling towards guys like Cielo (world record 46.91, textile best 48.48), Peirsol (world record 1:51.92, textile best 1:54.44), Rickard (world record 58.58, textile best 1:00.12), Sprenger (world record 2:07.31, textile best 2:11.44) and even *gasp* Phelps (world record 4:03.84, textile best 4:06.22).

    My point here is not to cause an argument, I've just never understood the rationale for all the anti-Biedermann sentiment. It seems based solely on the fact that a) he had the nerve to beat Phelps, and b) he broke everyone's favourite world record. I'm not sure either warrants the lack of respect he receives.

  12. My "slightly" ill feeling towards Biedermann's 400 WR comes from the fact that his textile PB is SO FAR OFF it.

    It would be one thing if there was no other guy within, say, 2-3 seconds of 3:40 at the moment and that the suit had affected everyone more or less equally.

    But clearly that's not the case, and Agnel also just hit 3:43 whereas Mr. B's time continues to hover 6 seconds off that mark, both before and after the suit.

    OTOH, His 200 WR doesn't bother me as much because of the same reason aswimfan has mentioned above.

    I suppose it's just me being very unreasonable, but the guys you listed, Mr. W, Cielo, Peirsol, & Phelps, they had sizable track records and would be WR holders anyway without the suit. (Don't know about Sprenger, because I don't follow breast too closely)

    In any case, while I wish him the best and do believe that he has a shot at a medal in 200, I think it would be in everyone's best interest if the 400 mark dropped asap.

    Perhaps because it was such a revered record as you said, it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb, and I can't help it as a fan.

  13. I didn't mean any disrespect to Biedermann. Although its natural for him to carry some stigma for taking down "everyones favorite WR". I think some part of the loss I felt for Biedermann breaking this record is how he swam the race. He was over a second back from the record the entire race until the final 50, where you used a home coming split of 25.7 to get just under it. This kind of race tactic, could never be used to this sort of effectiveness ever again so long as the suits stay banned and although its not immediately clear how it affected racers in other races, its very clear that part of the 25.7 came from the suit. It was, in my opinion, the most clear demonstration of the suit making the difference (0.01).

    Do I think Biedermann can go 343? Absolutely, but do I think he will win a medal in the 400? Given the way he swims his races, tactically, he has no shot against the Asian boys. He will not be able to come back faster than the 1500m champion.. As a sidenote. Do I think that Biedermann was the best swimmer in the field of the 400 WR? No, Zhang Lin went 341.3 in a lzr. Had he suited up in Jaked like he did in the 800, I don't think we would be talking about Sun and Park vs the WR this year. How could Mellouli beat Lin in the 400, and by so much in the 15, while getting blown away in the intermediate distance?

    Anyways, I dont think the 346 was a true representation of what Biedermann is capable of, much like it wasnt of Agnels. I expect Biedermann's time to drop to 343 either this year or the next. But unfortunately, still, I highly doubt this will silence his critics because as Agnel puts it that time is "only good enough to get into the finals, not to contends for medals".