European Championships Preview – Women’s 200 and 400 Freestyle

  37 Jeff Grace | August 12th, 2014 | Europe, European Championships, Featured, International, News, Previews & Recaps

pinit fg en rect gray 28 European Championships Preview Womens 200 and 400 Freestyle

200 freestyle

Swedish star Sarah Sjostrom has been having a magnificant year and comes into the Berlin with the top ranked time in the world in the women’s 200 freestyle. Sjostrom posted a 1:55.04 at the Swim Cup in April eclipsing her previous lifetime best of 1:55.23 which she recorded in 2012.

Sjostrom finished fourth at both the 2011 and 2013 World Championships.

After the Olympic Games in London Italian Federica Pellegrini made a decision to take her attention away from the 200 freestyle and focus on the backstroke events. That did not last long, as the world record holder decided to participate in the event at the 2013 Italian trials and went on to collect the silver at the World Championships in Barcelona.

She comes into the games with a lifetime best time of 1:52.98 which she posted in 2009. Pellegrini is the most decorated swimmer in the event having won gold in the event at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and the 2010 and 2012 European games.

There may not be another swimmer who has seen more improved this season than Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain. The 18 year old posted a 1:55.69 claiming the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games. Coming into the year O’Connor’s lifetime best time in the event was a 1:59.50 and going into Glasgow she had a season’s best of 1:56.59. She has shown that she can step up her game when it matters.

Russian Veronika Popova comes into the competition with the next fastest time of 1:55.93. Popova improved on her lifetime best of 1:56.83 by almost a full second in the last year. She had a strong Universiade last summer collecting the silver medal in the event, but peaked too earlier and did not have the same kind of performance in Barcelona missing out on the semi-finals posting a time of 1:59.31 in the prelims.

Many have called Hungarian Katinka Hosszu the ironwoman of swimming, a title that is well deserved, a nickname she will once again earn in Berlin as she is set to race in 10 events. Hosszu comes into the competition with the fourth fastest time in Europe having posted a 1:56.30 at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May. The time is also a lifetime best improving on the 1:56.73 which she posted in the prelims of the 2013 World Championships.

Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands posted a 1:56.39 in April at the Swim Cup. Heemskerk has a lifetime best of 1:55.54 which she recorded in 2011 in the prelims of the World Championships. Although Feemskerk has had a lot of success in relay events at the highest level she has not been able to replicate that success in individual events.

Charlotte Bonnet of France comes into the championships with a season’s best of 1:57.00. Bonnet posted a lifetime best of 1:56.63 in the semi-final of the 2013 World Championships.

Jazz Carlin of Great Britain has posted a season and lifetime best time of 1:57.26. Carlin has fine tuned her game in the distance events over the last year and will have a hard time finding the speed to stay competitive in the 200.

My top six:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 1:55.04 (2014)
  2. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 1:52.98 (2009)
  3. Siohbhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR) – 1:55.82 (2014)
  4. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 1:56.30 (2014)
  5. Veronika Popova (RUS) – 1:55.93 (2014)
  6. Femke Heemskerk (NED) – 1:55.54 (2011)

400 freestyle

Mireia Belmonte of Spain comes in with the top ranked time in Europe having posted a 4:03.84 in April. Belmonte’s time is not only a season’s best, but a lifetime best improving on the 4:05.45 which she posted in 2012 to win the silver medal at the European Championships. Belmonte had a fantastic 2013 World Championships, but missed out on the final in the 400 freestyle finishing ninth in the prelims.

Jazz Carlin finished fourth in this event at last year’s World Championships posting a lifetime best of 4:04.03. Carlin matched that time in June. She had a stellar 800 freestyle at the Commonwealth Games walking away with gold, but her 400 freestyle was not up to that standard. Although she did collect the silver, finishing second to Lauren Boyle of New Zealand, she finished in a time of 4:05.16.

Federica Pellegrini is the former world record in this event, having posted a 3:59.15 to win the 2009 World Championships. Pellegrini won the 2009 and 2011 World Championships in the event, but did not swim the 400 freestyle at the World Championships last summer.

Pellegrini put up a 4:04.56 at the Italian National Championships in April, the only competition she has swum the event in this year.

Katinka Hosszu comes into Berlin with the next fastest time of 4:05.51. Hosszu really only started competing seriously in this event in 2013. It should be interesting to see how she will fair against such a strong field.

Sarah Sjostrom recorded a 4:06.04 in March, before the competition her best time in the event was a 4:12.24. The 400 freestyle is the final individual event of the competition so it is hard to say whether Sjostrom will race the event or not.

Hungarian Boglarka Kapas posted a season’s best 4:06.55 in July and has a lifetime best of 4:05.61, which she posted in the prelims of the World Championships last summer.

Lotte Friis comes into the competition with a season’s best of 4:06.83 and a lifetime best of 4:03.98, which she recorded finishing fourth at the Olympic Games in London. Friis took the bronze in this event at the 2010 European Championships and took the silver at the 2013 European Short Course Championships. Expect Friis to be at the top of her game in Berlin and challenge for the top spot on the medal podium.

Spaniard Melanie Costa Schmidt comes into Berlin with a lifetime best of 4:02.47 which she posted taking the 400 freestyle silver in Barcelona last summer. Costa has posted a season’s best of 4:07.24. She made incredible improvements in 2013 shaving off over four seconds from her life time best of 4:06.75.

My top six:

  1. Mireia Belmonte (ESP) – 4:03.84 (2014)
  2. Lotte Friis (DEN) – 4:03.98 (2012)
  3. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 3:59.15 (2009)
  4. Melanie Costa Schmidt (ESP) – 4:02.47 (2013)
  5. Jazz Carlin (GBR) – 4:04.03 (2014)
  6. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) – 4:05.61 (2012)

Comments

  1. bobo gigi says:
    3
    0

    Go Charlotte in the 200 free! Why not a little bronze medal behind Pellegrini and Sjöström?

    What is the textile PB of Pellegrini in the 400 free?
    Good battle with Belmonte in perspective.
    You didn’t mention Costa Schmidt who was a brilliant second in Barcelona last year behind Miss Ledecky. Doesn’t she swim in Berlin or is she out of shape?
    And I expect at least a final from Coralie Balmy. She can swim 4.04 there.

    • aswimfan says:
      1
      1

      Pellegrini swam 4:01.97 in 2011 Shanghai.

      I definitely think she could have swum 4:00 in her peak in textile.

      • bobo gigi says:
        0
        0

        Thanks. I had forgotten that race in Shanghai. I didn’t see her so fast in textile.

      • RORO says:
        2
        0

        I don’t think so. At her peak she swam 1.52.98 and 3.59.15 with the super suits (2009). Without them she has PB of 1.55.14 and 4.01.97 (2011). If you add more than 2 sec. in the 200 then the time in the 400 is even better. During her long career she has been only once under 4.03 in a textile suit.

        • aswimfan says:
          2
          6

          shiny suits’ effects were different from one swimmer to another. That’s why it was not fair.

          For Pellegrini who already had great conditioning, body position, and technique, the shiny suit may not have given her as much as advantage as it did to Shiori Tsurusaki who swam 4:00.21 in 2009, for example.

          “During her long career she has been only once under 4.03 in a textile suit.”

          That’s because her physical peak coincided with the shiny suit years.
          Or are saying that swimmers like Kirsty Coventry would never have swum 200 back in under 2:06 in textile just because in her long career her textile PB is only 2:06.83?

          • John26 says:
            1
            0

            Who on earth is that? I was not aware a Japanese swimmer swam a 4:00…

          • aswimfan says:
            1
            1

            John26,

            2 TSURUSAKI Shiori JPN 1991 04:00.21 Japan High School Competition Osaka, JPN 17-08-2009

          • Jay says:
            0
            0

            I can’t find that performance anywhere. It’s not listed here: http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/5ebcd2a8-c57a-4cee-b0dc-3602ef9f9fa1/women_lcm.pdf

          • aswimfan says:
            0
            0

            It is certainly listed in FINA website for the 2009 archived results:
            http://www.fina.org/H2O/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=806

            0 METRES FREESTYLE WOMEN LC
            RANK ATHLETE NAT BY TIME COMPETITION PLACE DATE
            1 PELLEGRINI Federica ITA 1988 03:59.15 QUAL YOG 2010 / 13th FINA World Championships Roma, ITA 26-07-2009
            2 TSURUSAKI Shiori JPN 1991 04:00.21 Japan High School Competition Osaka, JPN 17-08-2009
            3 JACKSON Joanne GBR 1986 04:00.60 QUAL YOG 2010 / 13th FINA World Championships Roma, ITA 26-07-2009
            4 ADLINGTON Rebecca GBR 1989 04:00.79 QUAL YOG 2010 / 13th FINA World Championships Roma, ITA 26-07-2009
            5 CHEN Qian CHN 1995 04:02.35 QUAL YOG 2010 / Swimming Competition Of 11th National Sport Games Jinan, CHN 18-10-2009
            6 SCHMITT Allison USA 1990 04:02.51 QUAL YOG 2010 / 13th FINA World Championships Roma, ITA 26-07-2009

          • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
            0
            0

            aswimfan – While I can’t prove it, I have to believe that this is a mistake. Simply because the swimmer has not shown up in results for any other big competitions since. I found a start list with her name on it in about a 2nd heat out of 10, and that’s it.

            I will get with FINA and see if they can verify or expunge that result from their data.

    • Jeff Grace says:
      1
      0

      Bobo

      Costa Schmidt should have been there in the final published draft. I am putting her fourth. I feel that Belmonte and Pellegrini have put up season’s best that they will improve on and for whatever reason I feel that Friis is going to have a great swim in this event in Berlin.

  2. RORO says:
    0
    0

    I believe Pellegrini PB is 4.01.97 from Shangai 2011. She might not swim the 400, but she is the favorite to win the 200 since Sjöström has too many events to swim.

    • aswimfan says:
      1
      2

      I agree with this.
      I am still a bit skeptical that Sjoestrom will be able to surpass or even replicate her best times this seasons if she has too many events to swim (I am guessing 50/100/200 free and 50/100 fly). No matter, this european championships is the perfect venue for Sjoestrom to experiment and swim as many events as her heart desires.

      Meanwhile, Pellegrini is one of the greatest 200 female freestylers ever. I know you cannot win on reputation alone, but 2013 worlds showed how incredible Pellegrini is despite limited training.

      • bobo gigi says:
        1
        0

        Miss Pellegrini is in good hands now with Philippe Lucas. She can swim 1.54 high in Berlin.
        The 200 free in Rio will be insane with Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky, Federica Pellegrini, Emma McKeon, Sarah Sjöström and Charlotte Bonnet! :cool:
        And at the pace she improves her speed, I’d pick today Miss Ledecky for the gold medal.

        • ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
          1
          0

          I wouldn’t be surprise that by Rio Ledecky swims close to 1.53 ! she will be the most improved 200 meter swimmer to watch very soon .

        • Judit Gál says:
          0
          0

          Two weeks ago a 12 year old Hungarian girl swam 2.01 in 200 m freestyle, 2 sec faster than the NAG record in the USA, I hope she will be able to be in that insane final too :) Her name is Fanni Gyurinovics.

      • Joe says:
        0
        0

        Sjostrom is not expected to swim the 200 free at the euros. Sweden have a great chance in all relays, plus her individual events in 50/100 free, 50/100 fly. Those are her expected events. She doesn’t like the 200.

  3. aswimfan says:
    0
    0

    What I am most curious of is Friis’ (and Agnel’s of course) progress after training with Bowman.
    The 400 free final at the euros will be incredible racing. I hope there will be some free livestreaming for non europeans to see.

    • bobo gigi says:
      2
      0

      Yes. I don’t know at all what to expect from Agnel! :lol:
      It will be the surprise. Hopefully a good surprise.
      If everything goes well, he should easily win the 200 free. 1.44 low would be a good thing.
      The big question is the 400 free. It can be 1st in 3.43 or not qualified in the final! :mrgreen:

    • DanishSwimFan says:
      1
      0

      Yes, I too am interested to see how Lotte and Agnel do in Berlin and if their training with Bowman is paying off.

  4. bobo gigi says:
    3
    1

    Federica! Training tomorrow morning at 4 AM! 20 kilometers! And be on time please! You are not on vacation here!
    http://i-cms.journaldesfemmes.com/image_cms/original/1524233-philippe-lucas-l-entraineur-charismatique.jpg

  5. Luigi says:
    2
    1

    Federica also swam 4.01.53 in Bejing. Not in the same suit as 2009 Rome i think.
    She never was a suit swimmer. She was already a silver medalist in the 200 free in Athens! And that’s because she was breathing the wrong side and an unknown swimmer came out of nothing from lane 7 or 8.

    I want to add my thoughts on the supersuits issue. When these supersuits first came out, the then coach of the Italian team, the late Castagnetti, was a very outspoken opponent. He called them “technological doping”. But he was laughed at or ignored at best. And good swimmers like Magnini, who did not have access to those suits, fell behind.
    Then in 2009 Arena and Jaked caught up with Speedo and all swimmers resigned themselves to wear the shiny suit if they wanted a fair chance, and records started to fall. Among which, the infamous Biedermann’s records. And it was ONLY THEN, when even the poster-boy of world swimming (Phelps) started getting beaten by mediocre swimmers, and Bob Bowman (among others) finally complained, that Fina at last took action and banned the suits. I am a great admirer of both Phelps (who really was just honouring his contracts) and Mr Bowman, but I always found this whole business hypocritical.

    • Rafael says:
      3
      0

      Bieldermann was helped a lot by suits, but he was never a mediocre swimmer.. someone who can swim 1:44 high textile is not mediocre… Medicore are guys like Rafa Munoz and Dave Walters who never did anything withouth suits..

      • Luigi says:
        1
        0

        I stand corrected. You are right, mediocre is an unfair definition. He is a good or even very good swimmer. But nowhere near the stellar level he reached with the suit.

        • bobo gigi says:
          1
          0

          Don’t talk to me about Biedermann!
          I still make nightmares 5 years later when I remember these races in Rome! :lol:
          Hopefully Sun Yang will break his 400 free world record in the next 2 years.
          Unfortunately, unless a human robot is allowed to swim, his crazy stupid awful 200 free world record will last at least 200 years.

          • bobo gigi says:
            0
            0

            I have nightmares when I remember Biedermann in Rome but I recognize he’s a good swimmer. No doubt about that. He’s among the 8 best 200 free swimmers in the world.
            But that week, he made me feel angry because he would have never won the 200 free without his magical suit. It seems obvious. The idiot world record was just icing on the cake. But a cake very hard to digest! :)

          • mcgillrocks says:
            0
            0

            Maybe when the record is still standing and Biedermann has retired in 2010 he will petition FINA to remove it. He knows it, we know it, FINA ought to know it. The swim was not Kosher, so to speak.

          • mcgillrocks says:
            0
            0

            Dang it 2020. Not 2010.

      • jorge says:
        0
        0

        Rafael: Rafa Muñoz is a good swimmer ill-treated by spanish federation…Remember: Muñoz is the current European champion of 50 fly… Mediocre swimmer??

        • SpanishSwimFan says:
          1
          0

          Rafa had its best moment in 2009 with the World Record in the 50fly and bronzes in Rome… And yes, he is the current European champion in this event, but at world level, he has not done anything. What matters at international level is Olympic Games, where you can only swim 100m butterfly, and after that, Worlds; and since Rome he has not been able to make the cuts in the 100 and the best thing he has done is 9th in 50m last year in BCN. He is always complaining about the treatment that he receives from Federation but… he can’t live forever from something he did 5 years ago with the magic swimsuits. Last year in BCN, he was able to swim as well the 100 fly, and if I remember well, he was just 53…

          • JORGE says:
            0
            0

            We can discuss if Muñoz is better or worse, but to say that he is mediocre I think that this is unfair. Remember again: current european champion 50 fly ;)

  6. Jorge says:
    4
    0

    Melani Costa? She will take part in 400 free…As the Bobo Gigi says was second in Barcelona…She has this year 4:07, but I think can do more and better…her best performance is 4:02.47, spanish record.

  7. Pvdh says:
    0
    0

    I think agnel can break the 200 free world record. He’s pretty skinny. If he bulks a bit and develops those phelps or lochte underwaters, he’s a really good chance to break 200 free world record.

    • bobo gigi says:
      2
      0

      Agnel has just 1.16s to win. :lol:
      It’s another world! And I compare with the PB of Agnel in 2012 in London when he was at his best. He must first prove under Bowman that he can swim again 1.43.
      But the times are less important than the titles.and if he wins the gold in Kazan and in Rio, then he can retire with the sense of accomplishment.

    • mcgillrocks says:
      1
      0

      If I had to guess I’d say the record is ripe for breaking by around 2028 ± 5 years. It would need another 1.2 seconds. So far Thorpe’s mark has been improved by 0.9 in the past decade, I would say it needs easily that long for us to expect a 1:41.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace brings a wealth of experience in the sport, including the most relevant as a feature-writer for Swim News Magazine. As a former Nationally-ranked age group swimmer in Canada, Grace has been deeply immersed in the sport for decades. In addition to his time as a writer and a swimmer, …

Read More »