Thursday, 26 April 2012
Cesar Cielo Blasts a 21.38 50m Free - Can he be stopped in London?
(video courtesy of videosei and swimmers daily)
Cesar Cielo hooked up a huge 50m Free swim at the Maria Lenk Trophy in Brazil. His time of 21.38 was just 0.02 seconds shy of Fred Bousquet's textile best time of 21.36 set at the 2010 European Championships.
After lowering his own textile personal best of 21.52 set at Worlds last year, it leads us to the question... In the 50m Free, can anyone stop Cielo in London?
As it stands currently Cielo is head and shoulders clear of his competitors in London. Bousquet's failure to qualify for the French Olympic team removes the only man faster than Cielo in the last 4 years.
Cielo has a number of strengths that his competitors can't currently match. His starts are sensational and he seems to have become even stronger since his move back to Brazil. To add to that, he has incredible mental strength which manifests itself during major competition finals. Since 2008 he has not lost a 50m Free in a major final (... and no, I am not including Pan Pacs as a major competition).
Here's a rundown of the main (sans-Bousquet) competition:
Bruno Fratus - Cielo's compatriot keeps his run of sub-22 second swims going. As long as he doesn't suffer a repeat of the final in Shanghai (5th - 21.96), he looks the safest choice for a medal outside of Cielo.
Nathan Adrian - The American has no shortage of talent having been 21.55 in textile, but has underperformed in recent major finals (with the exception of 2010 Pan Pacs where he beat Cielo).
James Magnussen - Last year he didn't appear to have enough speed to compete in the 50m Free, but his 21.74 swim at Australian trials dispelled that myth. Still needs to find a chunk of time to beat Cielo, but can't be written off.
Luca Dotto - The Italian was a little fortunate to make the Italian team given that he is the 3rd fastest Italian man in the event this year, but he is the silver medalist from Shanghai and at the age of 22 seems to be trending in the right direction in this event.
Florent Manaudou - Olympic medals run in the family and he made a big breakthrough last year into senior swimming at the age of 20. He's the type of swimmer that many won't think of as a potential medalist, but having been 21.86 this year has every chance in the always unpredictable 50m Free final
Andrey Grechin - Training partner of Ian Thorpe and under the tutelage of Alex Popov's old coach Gennadi Touretski. His 21.82 at Russian Trials moved him from darkhorse to serious medal contender.
To compare Cielo and Bousquet, here is the Frenchman's 21.36.