One noticeable feature of the World Championships this year has been the lack of World Records. Tomorrow, that might be set to change...
Ryan Lochte (and Michael Phelps to a lesser extent) has a chance in the 200 IM final and Rebecca Soni gets a shot at the 200 Breaststroke mark in the semi final... I have a feeling both marks will be shaken, but ultimately not stirred.
For those desperate to see the first world mark tumble, cast your eyes over the Women's 4 x 200 Freestyle relay.
China currently hold the mark at 7:42.08 - which equals 1:55.52 per swimmer, not an easy task... but not impossible either. It should be a cracking race, be sure to watch it live here tomorrow and chat about the results. Here are the three main contenders:
Anchored by Kylie Palmer, the silver medalist in the individual event, the Aussies have the best chance of cracking this mark. Palmer swam 1:56.09 in the individual final, but has been as fast as 1:55.73 this year. Compatriot Bronte Barratt has been 1:55.74 this year, although managed just 1:56.90 in the tonight's final. Their hopes of breaking the WR will be directly linked to Barratt being at her best.
The other contenders for the team are Jade Neilsen (1:57.20 this year), Angie Bainbridge (1:57.36) and Blair Evans (1:57.59). Those five swimmers alone would have a legitimate shot at the record, but Australia could also call upon the red-hot Alicia Coutts (1:57.72 this year, but swimming out of her skin in Shanghai) and Steph Rice (1:58.55 this year, but swam a good 200 IM and has relay experience).
Their individual swimmers were less than stellar in the individual 200 Free, but China come into this meet as defending champions. They also have a knack for raising their performances to unforeseen levels in the relay events. The team will be led by individual swimmers Yi Tang (1:57.91 in the 200 Free semi final) and Qianwei Zhu (1:59.22), but it is their alternatives that make this team interesting. If Olympic bronze medalist Pang Jiayang swims, and is in good form, she has the potential to post a time in the 1:55-1:56 range. Another more left-field possibility is the inclusion of 200 IM winner, Ye Shiwen. Not known for her 200 Free, her closing 50m Free on the IM was a blazing 29.42, notably the same last 50 split as Federica Pellegrini and Kylie Palmer in the 200 Free final.
Liu Jing (1:58.35), Wenyan Song (1:58.47) and Qian Chen (1:58.24) add valuable depth to the Chinese ranks.
The US team might be somewhat of a wounded animal in this event after losing out to the Dutch in the 4 x100 Free relay and a disappointing 6th place finish for Allison Schmitt (1:56.66 in the 200 heats). Morgan Scroggy (1:59.22 in heats) looked out of sorts in the 200 heats and will need to prove herself in the relay prelims. There are, however, rays of hope. Missy Franklin (1:57.66 this year untapered) looks poised for a monster swim after a blazing 52.99 relay split in the 100 Free. Dana Vollmer (1:56.47) is also in good form and should be able to be counted on for a strong 200 Free.
Assuming Scroggy isn't able to get back down to her best, Dagny Knutson looks set to be called upon. She swam 1:56.9 in a time trial in Shanghai. Katie Hoff (1:57.97 untapered) and Jasmine Tosky (1:58.34 last year) give the USA some depth, and if they want to throw in a curveball, they could swim either Ariana Kukors or Natalie Coughlin.