Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Box Jump Win

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sun Yang Freestyle

I was watching this nice YouTube video tonight from Yang's brilliant 14:34.14 at last summer's World Championships.

First things first, it's not always pretty but obviously Yang's swim is arguably the most impressive and important swim since the the banning of the shiny suits.  There's a lot of wonk in Yang's stroke, kick is uneven, fly kick off the wall is hardly there, but what should be pointed out above all else is how amazing Yang's hands are in his stroke. Yang's hands spend a lot of time in pulling position, activating at the top of stroke and right through the hips.

This is great stuff... watch the video... watch his hands...  try to emulate.

Friday, April 13, 2012

At Long Last... Canadian Trials Wrap Up

Life happens... I meant to sit down and write out thoughts from Trials last week, unfortunately I did not get the time but finally I found the time so let's review the Canadian Olympic Trials.

Swimming Canada's goal for London is 3 medals.  A modest goal that looks good.

Q:  Where are those 3 medals going to come from?

1.  Ryan Cochrane (1500FR)...  looks good.  Cochrane won bronze in 2008 and he's been steady ever since.  While China's Sun Yang is a virtual slam dunk for gold in London, Cochrane is the odds on favourite to claim the silver medal.  Cochrane's 1500FR at Trials just illustrated how he's an elite level swimmer on the world stage and no one else in Canada is at Cochrane's level.

2.  Martha McCabe (200BR)...  she did not claim gold at Trials, instead that went to her up-and-coming team mate Tera van Beilen.  If you pencil in Rebecca Soni for at least one of the medals in London, then there's going to be a dog fight for the other two.  Most notably, the Japanese trials yielded 4 women under 2:24 (TvB won the Canadian trials in 2:24.03) so the two Japanese representatives are going to be in the medal mix in London too.  I would call a medal in this event a tough prediction.

3.  Brent Hayden (100FR)... Hayden is a world class 100FR swimmer, that status is not in doubt, but there are a lot of really good swimmers in that event so a medal is far from a lock proposition for Hayden.  James Magnussen is probably the only lock for a medal in London.. throw in Aussie James Roberts, the French, the Americans, and some dude named Cielo...  far from a lock.

Those are the conventional 3 names that come to mind when Canada says they are aiming for 3 medals in London.  Other then Cochrane, I'm not as bullish at Swim Canada.  Could they get there with those 3?  Sure, they did at Worlds last year, but in business when you are looking at forecasting results one should never aim to bat 1.000.

So who else from outside the power 3 could step up and deliver the goods in London?

Ryan Cochrane in the 400FR... maybe... Sun Yan and Tae Hwan Park are two quality bets for medals in the 400 and then there is a lot of competition for another spot.  Cochrane's best of 3:44.85 is almost 2 seconds slower then Yang's textile 3:42.89 and the competition is going to circle much faster then Cochrane's 3:47 from Trials.

The best swim (in my opinion) on the female side of Trials was Brittany Maclean in the 400FR, 4:06.08 is a very good new Canadian record and brings Canada towards the International community in the women's mid-distance.  Maclean is the swimmer in Canada with the greatest momentum right now and she will need to continue to roll towards the low 4:00s to be towards the medals.

Jillian Tyler in the women's 100BR.. maybe.  Soni and Hardy (assuming they make the US team) are good bets to be very fast but Tyler is more then capable to be in the medal mix.

Wilkinson and Russell in the 100BK...  tough competition because when you talk about women's backstroke there reigns the most exciting swimmer in the world right now Missy Franklin and one of the most successful Olympians in history Natalie Coughlin.

Katerine Savard in the 100FL...  her best time of 57.80 will have to drop as the best in the world right now are under 57 including Sarah Sjoestroem who is swimming very well in 2012.

On the men's side of the meet, it's not likely that anyone other then Hayden in the 100FR and Cochrane in the 400 and 1500 makes it into the top 8.

In watching Trials, it's always an amazing meet to observe.  The stakes, the emotion, the sense of achievement in being the best swimming in Canada and being the best at a meet every coach in the country circles on their calendar.  Swimming Canada put on a nice show and the meet translated well onto TV but in far too many circumstances Canada is not competitive enough in enough events.

On the women's side of the meet, with the exception of the women's 200FL, all the event winners were significantly faster at the 2012 Trials then the 2008 Trials.  This is a good sign of Canadian swimming progressing and evolving.

On the men's side of the meet, there were 6 events where the 2008 Trials winner was faster then the 2012 Trials winner... not good.  The most troublesome event was the men's 200FR where 2012 Trials winner Blake Worsley won in 1:49.06 and Canada failed to qualify a relay team.  In 2008, Worsley's 1:49.06 would have only been good enough to finish 5th in 2008.  Really not good.  Additionally the fact that at 2008 Trials Canada had 8 men qualify for the Final in the 100FR under 50 seconds (Adam Sioui qualified 8th in 49.82) but in 2012 it only took 50.64 to make the men's Final in the 100FR at Trials and in Finals only 4 men swam under 50.

Going forth towards London, Canada has some stars, some future stars, but is there the depth?  Hopefully in time there will be but right now the team has to really deliver to get those 3 medals.  GO CANADA GO!