Saturday, June 30, 2012

US Trials Day 7 Primer

Short prelims session for Day 7.

Women's 50FR:  The Last Stand Of Dara Torres?
If watching Anthony Ervin tear it up today in the men's 50FR wasn't exciting enough, the ageless Dara Torres gets her opportunity to start her journey towards London in her only event of Trials.  Torres will be the front and center story but she's going to have to swim through a gauntlet of fast ladies to get on the team.  Jessica Hardy was fantastic winning the 100FR, Amanda Weir was good in the 100FR, and there will be a number of 50 specialists that come forth to challenge for the two Olympic spots.

Prediction...  Hardy is on a roll, have to expect her to win the event.  As for Torres, I don't like her chances, I don't expect her to make the team.

Men's 1500FR:  I Heart The Mile
I love the 1500.  Barring a serious breakthrough swim at these Trials, the Americans do not seem to have a serious medal threat in the 1500 during this Olympic cycle.  I like Andrew Gemmell to rise up and win the 1500FR... why?  It looks like he's swimming well and I would not be surprised that some new, young blood finds a way onto the US team laden with veterans.

US Trials Day 6 Primer

This one is going to have to go quickie style, sorry but it's off to prelims here in Nepean...

Men's 50FR:  Jonesin'
After Cullen Jones stepped up big in the 100FR last night it's pretty much impossible not to pick him in his better event today.  Adrian (winner of the 100FR) will be the favourite and then after that it's a cavalcade of US sprinters capable of winner because this is a 50 after all... Schneider, Ervin, Feigen, Brunelli, Schneider, Lezak, Weber-Gale, Grevers, they are all in there and capable but for now I'm with Jones.

Women's 800FR:  Sutton
There were a lot of fast girls in the 400FR but Allison Schmitt doesn't do today's 800 so I'll go with Chloe Sutton who is already on the team in the 400 but the 800 is more her wheelhouse so she looks like the strong favourite in this race.  Ledecky and Ziegler also feature prominently in this race, Ledecky has been particularly strong this week so she's in a good position to grab that second spot to London.

Men's 100FL:  One Name.
Michael Phelps... maybe you've heard of  him.

Women's 200BK:  Franklin vs. Beisel
Good showdown between these two ladies.  Franklin was so dominant in the 100BK and in such very impressive fashion and Beisel has been in the mix all week, including a dominant performance in the 400IM.  200BK was Beisel's breakout event so one has to believe she's going to super prepared for this, I'll take the veteran over the youngster... pick = Beisel.

Only one more day of prelims action tomorrow with the women's 50FR and the men's 1500!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

US Trials Day 5 Primer

Sorry about the lack of recaps from Finals... day 1 here in Nepean took forever and the sauna-esque conditions are not facilitating the energy to spend a great deal of time blogging afterwards.  I completely missed Finals tonight, the results looked fantastic and set up for some big time showdowns in the Day 6 events.

Women's 100FR:  The Unstoppable Force
Can anyone pick against Allison Schmitt??  Why would you want to?  1:54.40 200FR tonight, are you kidding me (kidding wasn't my first choice of words).  Schmitt has been the story of the women's side of Trials, and even Missy Franklin is taking a back seat to Schmitt's brilliance.  Ranking 1-4... Schmitt, Franklin, Vollmer, Romano

Men's 200BK:  Lochte
Good field... a bunch of non-sense analysis, blah blah blah... I'm taking Lochte to win.

Women's 200BR:  Soni's Revenge
Breeja Larson posted one of the biggest surprises of Trials thus far but in the 200BR I'm taking Soni to win Trials and move forward to win the Olympic gold.

Men's 200IM:  Lochte vs. Phelps: The Final Round
Flip a coin...  I did.  Phelps 1, Lochte 2.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

US Trials Day 4 Primer

I'm live in Nepean, so I'll put together this look at prelims tomorrow at US Trials...

Men's 100FR: Bring On The Sprinters + Lochte & Phelps (Of Course)
The tagline above says it all.  The American sprinters finally get released from their cage here on day 4 of the US Trials.  This means Nathan Adrian, Jimmy Feigen, Garrett Weber-Gale, Bobby Savulich, Cullen Jones, Nick Brunelli, and the enigmatic and legendary Jason Lezak get to show what they are bringing to the dance.  Of course Lochte & Phelps want to swim on this relay in London so they are entered prominently into the 100FR.  Ricky Berens and Matt Grevers are already on the Olympic team, swimming well, and they are going to be in the mix.  And the ultimate wild card and the man everyone should want to see... Anthony Ervin.

Sign me up... no shortage of intriguing story lines.  Old, young, current, retro, legendary, potential, there's something for everyone in this race.

Who do I see in the mix?  Top 4... Adrian, Phelps, Berens, Feigen.  The other 2 spots... Lochte, Grevers.  I just don't see Lezak or Ervin holding up over all 3 swims.

Women's 200FL: Teresa Crippen Or You Suck
I think I would start to cry if Teresa Crippen can climb onto the Olympic team and allow for the NBC crew to honour Fran Crippen in this Olympic team selection process and television coverage.  Good luck Teresa!!

Men's 200BR:  Hansen Or Shanteau... Who You Got?
I've got Shanteau.


Day 2 featured Trials rolling at a full event load after a full set of semi-Finals in Day 1.  Great racing, some drama, a full service Trials experience...

Women's 100FL: Vollmer!
No surprise, Dana Vollmer ran away with the 100FL with a third straight time under 57, which is an impressive set of performances.  The more exciting story from the women's 100FL was the race for the second spot.  Christine Magnuson, Nathalie Coughlin, Kathleen Hersey, and Elaine Breeden were the big names but it was a fantastic performance from upstart Claire Donahue out of lane 1 earning the second spot on the American team with a solid 57.57... no one else was under 58.

Men's 100BR:  Comeback Complete
In an interesting development, the fastest 100 breaststroker in the building in Omaha was not Brendan Hansen who won in 59.68 but rather Japanese breaststroke Jedi Kosuke Kitajima who was chilling out with horrible seats -- could someone at USA swimming not hooked Kitajima up with a deck pass??  Eric Shanteau claimed second in 1:00.15 and will head to his second Olympics.  It was too bad that young breaststroke upstart Kevin Cordes from the University of Arizona could not hold on over the final 25m... Cordes faded and finished 3rd and will have to wait another day to try and make his first Olympic team.

Women's 400FR:  Schmitty!
Hell yes, Allison Schmitt just shut everyone down in  the 400FR with a thoroughly dominant performance leading start to finish and posted a powerful 4:02.84.  Chloe Sutton went a strong 4:04.18 to claim the second Olympic team spot.  Aside from the utter dominance of Schmitt the equally compelling story coming out of the 400FR was the flopping of Katie Hoff who managed just a 4:13.08 and a 20th place finish.  Hoff's coach Paul Yetter ran damage control for Hoff excusing her performance on the basis that she's shown flu-like symptoms.  Rough luck for Hoff who is now a long shot to make the US Olympic team.

... in semis action...

Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps put on a show in their 200FR semi to no surprise but the 9th place finish of Peter Vanderkaay locked out the freestyler from the A-Final by just .03, which is a shame because at his best Vanderkaay is the third best American in the 200FR but those are the breaks of Trials where all mistakes are magnified by a factor of 1000.

Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy were 1-2 in the 100BR with Breeja Larson sitting in a competitive 3rd spot and ready to steal an Olympic birth should either Soni or Hardy slip up tonight.  Amanda Beard finished 10th and will be a spectator for tonight's A-Final.

The men's 100BK lost Lochte from it's field when he scratched following his prelim swim.  Matt Grevers is on fire right now posting a 52.90 in prelims and a 53.10 in semis to earn Lane 4 tonight.  David Plummer and Nick Thoman are 2nd and 3rd and tonight in the 100BK Final its 3 deserving swimmers but only 2 are going to get spots... rough.  Randall Bal, a long-time American national team backstroker finished 9th and is out of the A-Final.

Lastly, in the women's 100BK, so far it has been Missy Franklin and Rachel Bootsma leading the way, which is fascinating because Natalie Coughlin has not looked like she's going to climb passed the two rising teens.  Should Coughlin not be able to dig out a sub-59 performance tonight (she's only been 1:00.71 and 1:00.63 so far in heats and semis) then she's going to be on the outside looking in and running out of swims and opportunities to get herself onto the Olympic team, which is an incredible thought to fathom.

US Trials Day 3 Primer

Live from a bus on the way to Ottawa and posting from my cell phone, we'll see how this works out...

W 200FR
M 200FL
W 200I'M

Women's 200FR: Franklin vs Schmitt
Schmitt looked awesome winning the 400 last night and even though Missy Franklin is really good I like Schmitt to get to the wall first.  Franklin 2nd, Trosky and Vollmer to grab the relay spots.  2 others will earn alternate relay spots... Yawn.

Men's 200FL: Phelps, Duh
Phelps owns the 200FL and the race for 2nd should be between Tyler Clary and Bobby Bollier.  Bollier has been very sharp during Trials but so has Clary and I like Clary to earn the second spot.

Women's 200IM: Beisel/Leverenz II
Beisel... All day long after her dominance in the 400IM, Leverenz is really good too but this week looks like it belongs to Beisel.

Happy viewing tonight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Surprise, surprise... After day 1 at the US Olympic Trials both Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps are on the American Olympic team.  I know, I'm stunned as well.

Men's 400IM:  It Sucks To Be Tyler Clary
For four years it was thought that Phelps had retired from the 400IM and I imagine that the most disappointed person in the world to see that Phelps was indeed going to swim the 400IM would have been Clary.  Clary is awesome, if I ever meet him I'll buy him a beer, 4:09.92 is a fantastic 400IM but alas it's not good enough to get ahead of Lochte (4:07.06) and Phelps (4:07.89).

Speaking of the aforementioned Lochte and Phelps...  Lochte's breaststroke was the difference making stroke in the race.  Lochte's 1:10.33 to Phelps 1:11.32 was the all the breathing room Lochte needed to secure the win and a confidence building topping of Phelps.

Safe money is that both men will be faster in a month.

Men's 400FR:  Not So Great
Congratulations to Peter Vanderkaay with a workman-like victory of the 400FR and the breakthrough performance of Conor Dwyer to finish second and get onto his first Olympic team.  Dwyer raced a beautiful 400, 56.81 on the final 100 was fast enough to surge past Charlie Houchin and Dwyer's speed came on early enough to hold off a tremendous final 50m surge from Michael Klueh, who's 27.86 was the only sub 28 split from anyone in the field (with the exception of the opening 50s).

The downside of the race is that 3:47 in the grand scheme of International swimming is not all that fast and likely won't make the Olympic Final so these boys have a long way to go.

Women's 400IM:  Confirmation That Gregg Troy Is Really, Really Good
Six Olympians were selected on Monday night.  Four of them swim for University of Florida iconic coach Gregg Troy.  Lochte, Vanderkaay, Dwyer, and lastly Elizabeth Beisel.

Beisel won the women's 400IM before the race even started.  She looks like she is in incredible shape.  Incredible.  She's jacked and lean and just looks like she's dripping in speed.  Sign me up, I'm all in on Beisel in whatever she swims at these Trials and then again in London.  I thought Caitlin Leverenz was ready to ride out a brilliant NCAA season and she will go to London but she was no match for Beisel tonight.

Here's to hoping that Dana Vollmer and Brendan Hansen can hold over their great swimming to Finals tonight in the 100FL and 100BR respectively.


I will post up a review of last night's Finals session later today, but here's a look a preliminary action this morning on Day 2!!

W 100BK
M 200FR
W 100BR
M 100BK
W 400FR

W 100FL
M 100BR
W 400FR
... 100BKs, men's 200FR, women's 100BR will be semi-Final action tonight.

Women's 100BK:  How Sick Is Missy Franklin?
Curious how NBC's coverage of Olympic Trials last night was sure to point out that Missy Franklin wasn't at 100% health...  Hopefully Franklin will be ready to go today and feeling better for Finals tomorrow night because she should be the star of the women's team.  1-2 should be Franklin and Coughlin, however a pair of very talented 18-year olds, Rachel Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton, are primed to step up if either Franklin or Coughlin slip.

Men's 200FR:  Lochte vs. Phelps Round 2
Phelps and Lochte dual it out again, they will be 1-2, book it.  Who fills out the relay?  Vanderkaay was good enough in the 400FR last night, he should be good for one of the relay spots.  Beyond that there is a dog fight for the remain spot and alternate spots.  It will be interesting to see how Matt McLean bounces back after a 9th place finish in the 400FR and had to watch a 400FR he probably could have won.  The psych sheets in the men's 200FR is a who's who of American swimming excellence...  Berens, Walters, Hill, Houchin, Klueh, Jaeger, Weber-Gale, Bollier, Tarwater, Nolan, Surhoff, Feeley, Dyer, Brunelli... awesome.

Women's 100BR: Jessica Hardy's Redemption
Rebecca Soni is the overwhelming favourite to win this event, the primary challenge will come from Jessica Hardy who is looking to avenge being bumped from the 2008 Olympic Team.  It's been a long road for Hardy who was bumped by testing positive for a banned substance in 2008 after receiving a tainted supplement.  There's a large gulf between Soni, Hardy and the rest of the field.

The US has 4 elite backstrokers and only 2 are punching their passport for London in the 100BK.  Nick Thoman, David Plummer, Matt Grevers, Ryan Lochte.  Will Lochte's aggressive event schedule cost him a spot in the 100BK?  Maybe but unlikely.  Pick them 1-4... OK...  Grevers, Thoman, Lochte, Plummer although I'm likely VERY wrong.

Women's 400FR:  Katie Hoff?
Katie Hoff passed on the 400IM to pursue the freestyles...  Bold.  Five women with entry times at 4:05.... Chloe Sutton, Allison Schmitt, Hoff, Katie Ziegler, Kathleen Ledecky.  2 go...  I'll take Schmitt & Sutton.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Time for some new content, as sure as I am that you have been riveted by Justin Bethel's kick ass box jump skills, let's look at the immensely exciting US Olympic Trials.

M 400IM
W 100FL
M 400FR
W 400IM
M 100BR

Men's 400IM:  Phelps vs. Lochte Round 1
Here we go... Lochte's best time of 4:07.13 and recent brilliance in the IM events on the world stage versus the greatest of all time Phelps who still holds the 400IM world record of 4:03.84.  As long as Phelps doesn't scratch then I'm going to take Phelps until Lochte proves he's actually the MAN.  Left out in the cold is the 3rd best 400IMer on the planet and the unluckiest swimmer of all time, Tyler Clary.

Women's 100FL: California Girls
Dana Vollmer and Natalie Coughlin are the likely stars in this event with Christine Magnuson not to be overlooked in the fly mix.  Vollmer is the lady to beat.

Fun note...  The head coach of powerhouse SwimMAC in North Carolina is David Marsh.  Marsh's 14 year old daughter is entered in the 100FL... ranked 161 out of 167.

Men's 400FR: Peter Vanderkaay & ...........
Peter Vanderkaay is the overwhelming favourite to win the 400FR and unless something totally crazy happens Vanderkaay has one of the spots to London virtually locked up.  After Vanderkaay?  Who knows...  McLean, Houchin, La Tourette, Dwyer, Klueh... even maybe Trayler or Clary?  Whoever has prepared best is going to earn this spot, in the 400FR with 14 men between 3:47-3:52.00... to the hardest work will go the spoils.

Women's 400IM: Three Ladies, Two Spots
Elizabeth Beisel, Caitlin Leverenz, Katie Hoff...  put all 3 names in a hat, drawn out in random and you will likely be more correct then I am at choosing the order of finish.  Leverenz has swam very well all year through the NCAA season, so I'll take Leverenz, then Beisel, and Hoff with a hope that Teresa Crippen is ready to have a brilliant swim and work her way into the mix.  Also beware of rising star Becca Mann from Florida, 14 years old, already at 4:42... a name to know 4 years from now.

UPDATE:  Katie Hoff scratches the 400IM, obviously focusing on freestyle events moving forward.

Fun note... LSU head football coach Les Miles has a daughter Kathryn 'Smacker' Miles entered in the 400IM.  She's ranked 132 out of 136 but it's still cool...

Men's 100BR: The Comeback Is Complete
The top 2 seeds in the men's 100BR are both 30 years old.  This is a grown man's event at this point in time.  Brendan Hansen came out of a short retirement to make a run at the 2012 Olympic team and he's going to be right in the mix.  Mark Gangloff, Mike Alexandrov, and Eric Shanteau are also in the mix.  Watch out for the story of Marcus Titus, ranked 6th going into the meet, with a best time under 1:01, Titus will be a focus story for the fact that he's a deaf swimmer with a wealth of talent and it would be quite a story should he work his way onto the Olympic team.

Fun note... Legendary breaststroke talent Ed Moses will compete in the 100BR.  Moses has put together a nice comeback heading into the 2012 Trials.  He's a LLLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGG shot to make the team, which is being deferential to Moses' chances but it's still fun to note.  At 32 Moses will not be the oldest swimmer in the field, that honour would belong to 40 year old Steven West who is entered at 1:04.68... that's simply impressive and it makes West the oldest swimmer to ever qualify for the US Olympic Trials.  Allegedly West trains three times a week for an hour and will also swim the 200BR.  Crazy.

Friday, June 22, 2012