Thursday, 7 June 2012

Camille Muffat Races to a 4:02.97 400m Free, splits 2:04.4/1:58.5. Favourite for gold in London?

I had the pleasure of seeing Camille Muffat's ridiculous 4:02.97 swim in person. After going out in the most relaxed 2:04.43 you will ever see, she turned on the afterburners at 200m to come back in 1:58.54.

In case you read that too quickly the first time around, she came back in 1:58.54... from a push... in the second half of a 400m Freestyle race.

To put that into some perspective, 1:58.54 would place well inside the top 50 in the world this year in the 200m Free and is the fastest second half of a 400m Free in history. When Federica Pellegrini won in Shanghai last year she split 1:59.67 on the back half of her race, and when she set her world record of 3:59.15 she came back in 1:59.73.

Muffat has already shown that she has ample amounts of speed (54.44 in the 100m, 1:54.66 in the 200m Free this year), and as witnessed tonight, she has the staying power to compete with the likes of both Federica Pellegrini and Rebecca Adlington. The emphasis on the second half of her race will have come from her coach Fabrice Pellerin and looks to be a clear message to the Italian world champion. Given that the 400m Free can be a cagey final, Muffat has shown the kind of back end speed that we have yet to see from Pellegrini.

Understandably, given their previous successes, Pellegrini and Adlington have been most peoples choices for gold in London, but Muffat has taken her swimming to another level this year. Given that she has already swum 4:01.13 this year, she is also starting to show the kind of form that makes a sub-4 minute swim tantalisingly possible again.

I feel a vote coming on.

The women's 400m Free contenders:

Federica Pellegrini - World champion, world record holder. Yet to show her cards in 2012.

Rebecca Adlington - Olympic champion, world silver medalist, swimming in front of a home crowd.

Camille Muffat - Textile best time set this year (4:01.13), ultra consistent this year, has the ideal blend of speed and endurance.

Kylie Palmer - Has swum 4:03.40 this year and has been trending upwards in this event over the last two years.

Allison Schmitt - 4:05 untapered this year, has shown great speed in the 100m (53.94) and 200m Free (1:55.04) already in 2012.

Others - Chloe Sutton, Katie Hoff, Katie Ledecky, Mireia Belmonte, Bronte Barratt, Shao Yiwen, Xin Xin, Lotte Friis, Coralie Balmy, Lauren Boyle, Brittany MacLean, Joanne Jackson... all have a shot, but need to show more in this event to be considered in the top tier of medal contenders.


  1. An excellent swim for Muffet.

    Little Miss Muffet
    Sat on a Tuffet
    Eating her curds & Whey...
    At 200m along came a Spider ,
    Who swam up beside her
    And frightened Miss Muffet (further ) away.

    How prescient is that rhyme to include Whey - the natural 'steroid ' ?

  2. Shocked by the sudden rush of support for Muffat. Her swim was without doubt bloody amazing but Pellegrini could also I am sure comback in 1.58 if she went out in......2.04....That is just easy, she is a 1.54 swimmer. I feel people are reading too much into this swim, If I were Pellegrini or Adlington this would not worry me at all, certainly not as much as the 4.01 from French trials. I expect she will be around her nationals time in London, which is reachable for others.

    1. I don't think it's such a guarantee that Pellegrini could come back in 1:58, although she is probably the one swimmers who would have the best chance.... it's worth bearing in mind that 2:04 is not 'slow' by most other swimmer's standards. I can't stress enough how easy it looked for Muffat.

      For me, the scariest part of the swim (leaving aside the 1:58 back end) was the fact that she still swam 4:02.97. That is the 24th fastest time ever, while playing about with the pacing.

  3. I think Missy Franklin will be the favourite at least in the 200free... It'l probably take a WR to win gold in london(in the 200free) and Missy has the ability to get things done when it matters most. A 1-2 for USA with Schmitt a close second and the fight for bronze between Pellegrini and Muffat is my prediction for the women's 200free

  4. I think Missy Franklin will be the favourite at least in the 200free... It'l probably take a WR to win gold in london(in the 200free) and Missy has the ability to get things done when it matters most. A 1-2 for USA with Schmitt a close second and the fight for bronze between Pellegrini and Muffat is my prediction for the women's 200free.. Muffat has a better chance of winning gold in the 400free and if she can replicate her 4.01 from March, she'l definitely finish on the podium...

    1. Hey Dude- We are taking the time to applaud Little Miss Muffats excellent series of swims. In 2010 she did this series in 1.58s & 4.08s.

  5. Honestly, I think that given the shape Pellegrini was in last summer, she could've come back in 158mid as well had she relaxed the pace of her front half. The important thing here is that Muffat was not fully tapered.

    You have really believe that neither Pellegrini nor Muffat (or any of the swimmers who want Gold) is going to try and negative split this race by a significant amount. Pellegrini learnt this lesson in Beijing. Muffat mos tlikely used this as a training swim, where she was instructed to go out with the field and see how much she still have left. She like had another 401 in her had she swum this race her way.

    My reasons for picking Muffat to win this summer in London has nothing to do with what she did this weekend. I believe her 401.1 at French Trials is the second most impressive swim we've seen in 2012. It surpasses all the times swum in a lzr, and the other ladies in field have not shown themselves to have taken their times, or their technique toa level beyond what they showed in Beijing/Rome. Because of this, I believe that even if Muffat does not improve on this time, it will most likely be enough to hold off a charge from Adlington and Pellegrini.

    Ofcourse, if Muffat shows herself to be able to have the sort of taper that her training partners do, I think we are in for a big show. As far as my predictions go, Muffat is the safest bet for the Gold even considering her history of not swimming her best at major meets, with Adlington second in contention, and Pellegrini third.

    My reason for putting Pellegrini as third pick is because she has publically stated her focus is the 200free, an event where the field is more or less a second, or a second and a half faster than it was in 2012. Pellegrinis times from last summer would put her 5th amongst top performers of the last 2 years. Her focus on defending her 200 title is justified, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Pellegrini being slower than she was last summer in the 400.

    As for the 200WR, I highly doubt that we will see it, although I do believe that it is a record that could be broken by a currently active swimmer. I think that if Muffat drops the amount of time her training partners do in the 200, we'd probably be looking at a high 153. Of course, we don't know if she could do this. The safest best, for me is still Missy Franklin because she was able to drop someting like 4 seconds between the 2010-2011 season. I feel that it is unlikely that her progression will stop here. She is someone I think will most likely post a 154very low or 153high to take it. Based on Allison Schmitt's latest performances, you really can't rule out the possibility that she is capable of that time too. I think a big indication, to me, to be if Missy and ALlison are able to better Muffat's textile best at US trials, if so, I think 153 becomes a really tangible possible.

    As it curently stands, if the above 3 swimmers do not choke, I feel that it is unlikely Pellgrini will even medal.

    1. I agree with most of this. Her historical inability to drop time after taper is my only reason for totally agreeing with the poll results. I suspect a 4.01.0 is the best we will see from Camille and I don't even know why, based on her past this is generous but I feel she will replicate this year.

      Pellegrini as in 2011 is an unknown quantity, all we know is she will be right there. Adlington typically gets her fastest times of the year at her big meet and this of course will be London. With he times at Nationals being much faster than her Nationals times in 2008 in suggest the 800 Free WR may be on the cards and a fight between Muffat and Adlington for 400 Free gold.

      I'd also say that at Nationals Rebecca split her 400 totally wrong. In my opinion for that type of race given that she was in clearwater before 150m and her best quality is her fight in the 1 on 1 scenario. However I'd like to see her out sub 2 mins again in London because if she is with Pellegrini and Muffat at 200m she will give them one heck of a fight.

      Can't wait.

  6. I dont doubt Muffat's ability to medal at all in both 200-400 free events.. Missy Franklin will win the 200free by a good margin and will be very close to WR time... Muffat will probably finish 2nd in the 200.. I'l give her the benefit of the 'taper' in the 400 free; if she can go 4.00 in the 400free, she'l win gold. In the 200, it'l be Missy's race to lose


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