Friday, 16 December 2011
Duel In The Pool 2011 - Women's Predictions
This year’s Duel in the Pool takes place December 16-17 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta.
The European roster has been strengthened since 2009’s version of this event by allowing more countries to participate this time around, although it is a long way away from a full-strength European team. Among the notable absentees on the women's side: Rebecca Adlington, Federica Pellegrini, Sarah Sjostrom, Therese Alshammar, Camille Muffat, Mireia Belmonte, Britta Steffen, Anastasia Zueva, Hannah Miley, Femke Heemskerk.
US Team: Amanda Beard, Elizabeth Beisel, Elaine Breeden, Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin, Katy Freeman, Jessica Hardy, Kathleen Hersey, Katie Hoff, Dagny Knutson, Kaitlin Leverenz, Elizabeth Pelton, Julia Smit, Rebecca Soni, Ashley Steenvorden, Chloe Sutton, Dana Vollmer, Amanda Weir, Kate Ziegler.
European Team: Lotte Friis, Fran Halsall, Anna Martina Granstroem, Aliaksandra Herasimenia, Katinka Hosszu, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, Anja Klinar, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Rikke Molle Pedersen, Grainne Murphy, Moniek Nijhuis, Jeanette Ottesen, Elizabeth Simmonds, Gemma Spofforth, Marleen Veldhuis, Evelin Verraszto, Sharon van Rouwendaal, Barbora Zavadova, Daryna Zevina.
50m Free - Kromowidjojo, Halsall, Veldhuis vs Hardy, Weir, Coughlin
Having a Dutch contingent on the team is going to give the Europeans a huge boost in the sprint events. This has the potential to be a clean sweep, although Hardy has a habit of getting in the top 3 in the sprints.
Prediction - 1. Kromowidjojo, 2. Halsall, 3. Hardy
100m Free - Kromowidjojo, Ottesen, Herasimenia vs Coughlin, Weir, Franklin
You could make an argument for Halsall to swim this event, but it's hard to not pick the reigning world champions in both long and short course. This is an event Coughlin excels in, with Missy Franklin also posting blazing times this year. This should be an intriguing contest, but it is hard to look past last year's world champion who was so dominant in the event.
Prediction - 1. Kromowidjojo, 2. Franklin, 3. Ottesen
200m Free - Hosszu, Verraszto, van Rouwendaal vs. Vollmer, Hoff, Franklin
The Europeans could have done with having Sarah Sjostrom or Femke Heemskerk on the team, especially on the 200m Free... saying that, it may still not have been enough to win. US clean sweep.
Prediction - 1. Franklin, 2. Hoff, 3. Vollmer
400m Free - Friis, Verraszto, Murphy vs. Sutton, Ziegler, Steenvoorden
This should be a fantastic battle between World SC Champ Katie Hoff and the in-form Lotte Friis. Chloe Sutton could be a factor too, and she is usually very strong in-season, but she is a stronger LC swimmer. Hoff's quality turns should be just enough to get past Friis.
Prediction - 1. Hoff, 2. Friis, 3. Sutton
800m Free - Friis, Murphy, Verraszto vs. Sutton, Ziegler, Steenvoorden
You can't look past Friis in the 800 after her textile best time at Euro SC. The rest of the field does not lack quality with several 2012 medal contenders in the mix.
Prediction - 1. Friis, 2. Ziegler, 3. Sutton
100 Back - Simmonds, Spofforth, Zevina vs. Coughlin, Pelton, Franklin
Daryna Zevina is a name that might not so well known outside of her native Ukraine, but the youngster has well and truly broken onto the senior scene after her recent Euro SC golds. She will get a big wake-up call though when she goes up against a stacked US line-up.Lizzie Simmonds turns will also put her in contention.
Prediction - 1. Coughlin, 2. Franklin, 3. Zevina
200m Back - Simmonds, Zevina, van Rouwendaal vs. Beisel, Pelton, Franklin
The world record could be under serious threat in Georgia. Missy Franklin set the current mark in Berlin's October World Cup leg where Lizzie Simmonds was pulled along to a top time that day and history could certainly repeat itself. Look for Zevina to build on her Euro SC win as she battles against Beisel and Pelton for bronze.
Prediction - 1. Franklin, 2. Simmonds, 3. Zevina
10m Breast - Pedersen, Nijuis vs. Hardy, Soni, Beard
Soni against Hardy should be a fun race to watch with Hardy seemingly closing the gap to Soni with every swim. Rikke Molle Pedersen should have just enough to keep the US from gaining a clean sweep.
Prediction - 1. Soni, 2. Hardy, 3. Pedersen
200m Breast - Pedersen, Nijuhuis vs. Soni, Beard, Freeman
She may face a fight in the 100 Breast, but the 200 should be a procession for Rebecca Soni. Pedersen and Beard will be juking it out for silver. It is a shame there's no Anastasia Zueva after her promising 200 swim in Shanghai.
Prediction - 1. Soni, 2. Pedersen, 3. Beard
100m Fly - Halsall, Ottesen, Veldhuis vs Vollmer, Donahue, Hersey
No Therese Alshammar probably hands the win to the US, although Dana Vollmer will have a fight on her hands. One of the stand-out performers from Shanghai, Vollmer will have a target on her back all the way to London. Ottesen comes to the meet in top form after her strong showing at Euro SC.
Prediction - 1. Vollmer, 2. Ottesen, 3. Halsall
200m Fly - Hosszu, Jakabos, Granstroem vs. Hersey, Breeden, Donahue
Katinka Hosszu is dominating this event on the US college scene and should be able to transfer that form from yards to metres.Jakabos and Hersey should have a good battle for the other podium spots.
Prediction - 1. Hosszu, 2. Jakabos, 3. Hersey
200m IM - Hosszu, Verraszto, Jakabos vs. Smit, Hoff, Leverenz
Julia Smit is a short course specialist and the world record holder in this event but faces stiff competition in this race. I'm picking Smit to win, but I have a feeling that Katie Hoff could cause an upset and win the whole thing (if she swims). One of the harder events to predict.
Prediction - 1. Smit, 2. Hosszu, 3. Leverenz
400m IM - Hosszu, Jakabos, Zavadova vs. Smit, Beisel, Leverenz
Elizabeth Beisel would be the hot favourite for this race if she was rested, but Florida based swimmers are notoriously slow in-season. Hosszu and Leverenz will be previewing their future battle at next year's NCAAs.
Prediction - 1. Hosszu, 2. Leverenz, 3. Beisel
4 x 100m Free - Halsall, Kromowidjojo, Ottesen, Herasimenia vs. Coughlin, Hardy, Vollmer, Franklin
This is going to be a barnstormner. This European team could be one the best relay teams ever put together, and still might not win this race. The European team has the current world short course champion, this year's long course world champions and one of the favourites for Olympic gold next year.
Prediction - 1. Europe, 2. USA
4 x 100m Medley - Zevina, Pedersen, Ottesen, Kromowidjojo vs. Coughlin, Soni, Vollmer, Franklin
This relay will likely come down to Rebecca Soni. The second she could gain on Pedersen should be plenty to overcome any (unlikely) European gains on the other legs. By the time the Olympics are over, this US relay team could boast the individual gold medalists from each 100m event.
Prediction - 1. USA, 2. Europe
Points - EUR 58, USA 73 (The US strength in the Breaststroke and Backstroke should make this a relatively comfortable win for the US)