Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Early Look Forward

I wrote this blog for the Team Aquatic Supplies blog, it should be popping up soon there but for now here's an advanced posting...

It is like the calm before the storm right now... Most of the major meets for the 2011-2012 season are done and before we know it the calendar will turn to 2012 and excitement will quickly ramp up in anticipation of the Summer Olympics in London.

The question is... what did we learn in 2011? And then let's have some fun and engage in 5-ish points of some early speculation on what it all means heading into the Olympic Games.


It is 3 years since the magical run on Michael Phelps in Beijing and despite Phelps being the biggest brand in swimming, don't be fooled, Ryan Lochte is the biggest and best thing going in swimming today. In 2008, Phelps won the 100FL, 200FL, 200IM, 400IM, and 200FR at the Beijing Games and then climbed to 8 total gold with some great fortune in the relays. One year away from London, Lochte just proved at the World Championships that he's the man in the 200FR, 200BK, 200IM (in his amazing world record performance), and 400IM taking gold in each of those events and adding two more in the 400 medley relay and the 800FR relay. Could Lochte collect 6 golds in London? Looks good, no one has been more brilliant and consistent over the last 3 years...

Could Lochte win more then 6?? He'd have to breakthrough in the 100BK, but that's a lot to ask, as the Americans are flush with incredible backstroke talent. Here are the best times of the top 5 US 100 backstrokers this year...

Nick Thoman 53.01
David Plummer 53.04
Matt Grevers 53.14
Ryan Lochte 53.79
Michael Phelps 54.14

If Lochte can get through the US Trials in the 100BK then media interest should reach DEFCON 1 in another possible quest for 8 gold.


14:34.14. Incredible. Barring injury or some other horrible happenstance Sun Yang is poised for Gold in the 1500FR in London, the question is how fast can the 20-year old Chinese phenom go?? (I know, he's only 19 now but he'll be 20 in London)


At the Atlanta Games in 1996 Canada won 3 swimming medals (1 silver, 2 bronze). Marianne Limpert won silver in the 200IM and Curtis Myden claimed a pair of bronze medals in the 200 and 400 IM. Since then, medals have been harder to come by for Canadians - Myden won another bronze in the 400IM in Sydney and Ryan Cochrane won bronze in the 1500FR in Beijing.

After a good World Championships, there is room for optimism for Canadian chances to claim multiple swimming medals.

Cochrane is Canada's best bet. The Island Swimming star won 2 silver medals at Worlds in the 800 and 1500FR only bested by Sun Yang. There is obviously no 800FR at the Olympics so Cochrane is going to have to get the job done in the mile. He'll be ready, Randy Bennett is a brilliant coach, and Cochrane is both driven and has been highly consistent for the last 3 years, which is usually a good formula to being a good spot.

Brent Hayden... I'm going to get deeper into the men's 100FR in my next section. After winning a Silver medal at the World Championships, Hayden is in the medal mix in London.

Martha McCabe had her arrival moment hitting the podium in Shanghai claiming a bronze medal in the 200BR. As I wrote in early April, I think McCabe is a great swimmer and clearly on the rise. American Rebecca Soni will enter as the heavy favourite to sweep the breaststrokes in London but after Soni there is a lot of room on that podium.

Aside from Cochrane, Hayden, and McCabe there will be a number of Canadians looking to rise up and get into the medal mix. Finalists from Shanghai Wilkinson, Pierse, Tyler, and Russell will also look to rise up and proven performers like Oriwol, Brown, and Savard will look for big results too. Finally, Weinberger has also been really good on the Open Water scene and could be in the mix.


18 men under 49 second in the prelims of the 100FR at World Championships. Whoever wins gold in the men's 100FR in London is going to have an incredible swim because I can not think of a more competitive event that is so wide open to so many on the scene today.

Right in the middle of this fight is Canada's Brent Hayden but Hayden will have to beat out what should be a stacked and hungry field.

James Magnussen (AUS) ran away with the Gold medal in Shanghai (47.63) but then just 0.29 separated Brent Hayden's Silver medal performance and Sabastiaan Verschuren in 8th. Everyone in the 100FR field is going to need to be very sharp for all 3 swims or face the fate that felled American record holder Jason Lezak in Shanghai, which was being turned into a spectator after a respectable 49.03 in prelims of the 100FR but that was only good enough for 20th.

Oh yeah.. and in 2012 there will be some dude named Thorpe throwing his hat into the ring too.

Be sharp or get out, should be a very exciting 100FR in London!


On the surface, looking at results from Shanghai women's swimming does not appear to have a woman that can win Gold in a multitude of events like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte do on the men's side. Italian freestyle star Federica Pellegrini won gold in the 200 and 400FR and Rebecca Soni was golden in both the breaststrokes but they were the only double gold medalists on the women's side in Olympic events.

The best bet for a women's big-time breakout multi-event Gold medalist in London is a Canadian citizen! Swimming in Colorado and representing the United States :( Missy Franklin won Gold in the 100BK in Shanghai but at just 16 (17 by the Olympics next year) Franklin has the upside in the freestyles, both backstrokes, and possibly the 200IM to step up and take the world by storm. It's just a matter of timing for Franklin and whether her goals will center around Gold (most likely in the 100BK) or around MULTIPLE GOLD!

Canada loves you Missy, you're welcome back here at any time...


It's always a thrill to see local talent perform and win medals on home soil. For Great Britain they will turn to swimming stars like Rebecca Adlington (World Champion and World Record holder in the 800FR), Hannah Miley (IM star - silver in Shanghai in the 400IM), Ellen Gandy (FLY), James Goddard (IM), Francesca Halsall (sprint freestyle), and Liam Tancock (BK) in London. The British have no shortage of quality swimmers capable of claiming medals in London, which should make for an exciting atmosphere among 17500 crazed fans at the London Aquatic Centre.

You think the British could come up with and win a petition to make the 50BK an Olympic event? Probably not, although Tancock could dream.