The time is here. After a long four-year wait, swimming has begun in London at the 2012 London Olympics.

Day 1 was loaded with upsets and heartbreak, and bracket-busters galore. In the men’s 400 free alone, two of the three medalists from last year’s World Championships failed to even final. Even one is rare, but three is massive.

Live Feed (in the United States).
Live results.

10:07 AM – Former NCAA Champion Bradley Ally from Barbados, currently training with Club Wolverine in Ann Arbor, Michigan, strikes first blood with a 4:21.32 to win heat 1. Iceland’s Anton McKee 2nd in a 4:25.

10:16 AM – Luxembourg’s Ralph Stachiotti strikes first blood to take down his own National Record with a 4:17.20. That puts him 2nd overall behind Belgium’s Ward Bauwens in 4:16.71.

10:21 AM – And a big one goes down! 17-year old Kosuke Hagino from Japan wins the first circle-seeded heat in 4:10.01, breaking his own Japanese National Record. 

Men’s 400 IM

Four years later, after having sworn off the event for good, Michael Phelps was back to begin the events of the swimming at the 2012 London Olympic Games with a 4:13.33 to win the 2nd-to-last heat of this men’s 400 IM. That won’t leave him center-stage, but this swim was just incredibly relaxed. On his backstroke, his face showed more an effort to keep the water out of his mouth than any attempt at exerted breathing.

His breaststroke was even more relaxed, and coming off of the final turn, underwater cameras showed Phelps taking a big hard look at his competitor Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, and just pulling away to win the heat. Though with the relaxed pace, Phelps’ 2:13.33 to Cseh’s 2:13.40 seemed a bit insignificant, those .07 seconds would end up being massive. That’s because Phelps just barely made it into the final, and Cseh, the defending Olympic silver medalist, was left out as 9th overall.

That leaves the two-time defending Olympic champion in lane 8, and facing a wall coming off of the final turn in the evening.

This is the first stunning development of the swimming events at these Games, as the pace to final was more than three seconds better than what we saw at the World Championships last year.

Moving into the role of the favorite for that bronze (or better) is Japanese 17-year old Kosuke Hagino. He swam a 4:10.01 in the prelims to take the top overall seed and break his own Asian Record. The previous mark was held by him, from 2011, at 4:10.26. We might have just seen the emergence of the next great Japanese swimmer.

He’ll have to contend with a much more forceful Phelps, though, as well as a more stepped-up Ryan Lochte, who will be the 4th seed with a 4:12.35. He looked very powerful on his backstroke, but was run down by South Africa’s young Chad le Clos in the final 50 meters.

Brazil’s Thiago Pereira was also safely through in a 4:12.39, but he can’t be encouraged by his last 100 meters. Closing on the freestyle has always been his problem, and after being really fast through the 300, he faded hard. We’ll have to wait until the evening to see if that was designed for energy conservation.

The top 8 will be Hagino, Le Clos, Lochte, Thiago Pereira (Brazil), Thomas Fraser-Holmes (Australia), Luca Marin (Italy), Yuya Horihata (Japan), and Michael Phelps.

10:47 AM – Switzerland’s Danielle Villaris is the first to crack a minute in the women’s 400 IM, with a 59.42. That ties Spain’s Judit Ignacio Sorribes to win heat 2. A new Swiss National Record.

Women’s 100 Fly

American Dana Vollmer has wasted no time in getting her burners out early in this 100 fly. She took the top seed in prelims with a 56.25, which is a new American and Olympic Record. The old American mark belonged to her from US Trials, and the Olympic Record was a 56.61 belonging to the legendary Inge de Bruijn from the Netherlands from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. (See more about the records here).

While these big records are always exciting, this is again an unnecessary early burn of energy for Vollmer. Greece’s Kristel Vourna was the 16th qualifier in 58.74, two-and-a-half seconds behind Vollmer. Had the American put in a bit of cruise-control, she could have still put in a 57-low and had a good lane in finals. With such a deep field, she can’t afford to be off of her best in the finals if she wants to take home the gold, but with 16 advancing she could have saved some energy. Still, she was able to slow up on the last 2-3 strokes, so there may still be something left.

Behind her, China’s Lu Ying looked very strong in 57.17 for the 2nd overall seed. She had a good back-half 50 of 30.52; but not quite as good as Australia’s Alicia Coutts (57.36) and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (57.45) for the 3rd and 4th seeds overall.

There is a big grouping of swimmers at 57’s, so the rest of the field will have to let Vollmer pull them along in the semi’s this evening to some concentrated swims. Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark was the 5th seed in 57.64; all of a sudden, the Danish medley relay starts to look very strong without anything resembling a weak leg. That also makes Ottesen a big medal contender in the 100 free, her better race.

American Claire Donahue also was safely through to the evening with a 58.06 for the 7th seed. The British pair of Ellen Gandy and Fran Halsall also qualified in 58.2 and 58.3’s. Not a great start for the Brits, after Joe Roebuck struggled in the men’s 400 IM.

Other notable finalists include Singapore’s Tao Li, a finalist from Beijing, in 58.34, and Sweden’s Martina Granstrom in 58.70.

Men’s 400 Free

Update: South Korea’s appeal of the 400 free DQ of Tae Hwan Park has been overturned. That means Canada’s Ryan Cochrane is out of the final. The below recap was written before the decision was made. Read more about the appeal here.

Pandemonium broke out in this men’s 400 free. As if Cseh’s miss earlier in the 400 IM weren’t shocking enough, defending 400 free champion Tae-Hwan Park of South Korea was disqualified in this men’s 400 free for a false start (one of the few ways to get the boot in a freestyle race). Park was DQ’ed for the same offense in this race in 2004. So stunned were his competitors that upon finishing the following heat, American Peter Vanderkaay looked at his counterpart Sun Yang of China and asked him “what happened?”.

Those two now become the big favorites, after more shocking upsets when Germany’s Paul Biedermann, the bronze medalist at last year’s World Championships, failed to final as well. Biedermann swam a 3:48.50 for 12th, leaving him more than a second away from the final.

Meanwhile, Yang and Vanderkaay qualified as the top two spots in 3:45.07 and 3:45.80, respectively. For both men, this was a bit slower than they were in prelims of the World Championships, but still easily got the job done.

Those two final’ing was not a big surprise. The other American, Conor Dwyer, placing 3rd was a huge shock. He swam a lifetime best of 3:46.24, which will put him opposite Vanderkaay, his Gator Swim Club training partner, in lane 3 for the final.

Hungary’s Gergo Kis was 4th in 3:46.77. Britain’s David Carry also made the final with a 3:47.25 for 7th with outstanding underwaters; not the Brit many expected to move through as Robbie Renwick was left out in 10th. Canadian Ryan Cochrane, who should have a better go in the 1500, just snuck into the final in 8th.

Update: NBC is reporting the officials might have gotten the wrong lane on the Park DQ.

Women’s 400 IM

The United States’ Elizabeth Beisel has in the least shown that she’s holding her taper from Trials just 4 weeks ago, as she took the top seed in the womens’ 400 IM in 4:31.68. But she is by no means a sure thing, as China’s Ye Shiwen swam a lifetime best of 4:31.72 for the 2nd seed. Shiwen is best known for her exploits in the 200 IM, where she is the defending World Champion. She didn’t show quite the same closing kick in this race that she’s famous for in the shorter IM, however the big time improvement shows that her other strokes have vastly improved. She’s very dangerous in the 200 now as well.

NCAA Champion, and the fastest all-time in yards, Katinka Hosszu of Hungary is the 3rd seed in 4:33.77, with a strong breaststroke leg carrying her to a good, though not season-best, time.

Outside of the top two, not many swam up to their best headed into the final; however, it was still a faster prelim than we saw at Worlds, so not too much disappointment either. The other Chinese qualifier, Li Xuanxu, also made the final safely as the 4th seed in 4:34.28. Spain’s Mireia-Belmonte-Garcia atoned for failing to make a single final at Worlds with a 4:34.70.

Britain’s Hannah Miley, Australia’s Stephanie Rice, and the United States’ Caitlin Leverenz were all safely into the final as well, though all three were nearly trapped by a slow 4th heat. Rice didn’t look good on the fly leg at all, which is concerning as that’s the stroke that would seem most affected by her recurring shoulder ailments.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

The Olympics continued to show stepped-up standards to advance from early rounds. In this race, there were a full 12 swimmers who broke a minute, as compared to only 5 in the prelims of the 2011 World Championships. As many lows as there were in this first prelims session, this 100 breaststroke was just as high. The times included a top-seeded 59.62 from Australia’s Christian Sprenger. He is the World Record holder in the 200, but gave that event up this year to focus on this 100, thus far to big results.

Another 200 specialist, Daniel Gyurta, did very well in this race as well, as he took the 3rd seed in 59.76. That crushes his own Hungarian Record by half-a-second.

New Zealand’s Gareth Kean in with a  59.78 (another National Record). He looks to have continued his momentum from last year’s World Championships, where the whole New Zealand team swam extremely well. Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa was comfortable in a 59.7 as well, as was world leader Kosuke Kitajima in 59.63 for the 2nd seed overall.

Canada’s Scott Dickens became the first Canadian man to break a minute with a 59.85, and Brazil’s Felipe Silva barely snuck in as the 16th seed in 1:00.38. Both of the German swimmers missed the semi’s, as did three-time NCAA champion Damir Dugonjic from Slovenia.

Women’s 400 Free Relay

The top three in this women’s 400 free relay was not a surprise, with Australia (3:36.34), the United States (3:36.53), and the Netherlands (3:37.76) grabbing the three middle lanes for Saturday night’s final. The order, perhaps, might have been a bit upended, though.

There were some great splits in this relay. The American coaches, for their part, are going to have a very tough decision deciding who will go through to join Jessica Hardy and Missy Franklin in the final.

Lia Neal – 54.1
Amanda Weir – 54.4
Natalie Coughlin – 53.9
Allison Schmitt – 54.1

It would seem that Neal, going a lifetime best on a leadoff swim without the benefit of a relay start, would be put through. But the choice between Coughlin (a swimming legend who has a knack for getting Olympic medals) and Schmitt (who has tremendous upside in this race after just discovering her 100 free talents in the last year) is not so easy. Dana Vollmer can’t be counted out with how well she’s swimming, even though she wasn’t in the top 6 at the Olympic Trials.

The Dutch, despite being 3rd, may have made themselves even bigger favorites to defend their gold medal. Inge Dekker, who was purported to be the “weak” leg of the finals relay, split a 53.5 in the morning heat. When Hinkelien Shcreuder is subbed out in favor of the world’s best sprinter, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, this team is lethal.

Australia got a similarly fast split from teenager Brittany Elmslie, who split a 53.4 in her Olympic debut. She is totally new to the international scene, but has already declared that she thinks she belongs. Libby Trickett had a good anchor for the Aussies in a 54.1 of her own.

Denmark, China, and Japan were also safely through, with Sweden and Great Britain tying for 7th. For Sweden, that’s a great effort with Therese Alshammar scratching the relay; their star Sarah Sjostrom led off in a 54.3.

The Brits took a gamble leaving Fran Halsall off of this relay for prelims, but a 54.6 from Caitlin McClatchey kept them safe. Germany did not take the same gamble, leaving Britta Steffen on their prelims relay, but her 54.4 leadoff wasn’t enough to put them in the finals.

 

In This Story

Comments

  1. Brian says:
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    Is the live feed actually working for anyone? It’s just a black screen for me, but it had the countdown up until the point when it started…

  2. swimmer girl says:
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    My live feed is working, but it isn’t streaming smoothly and it is stopping and starting a lot. My hatred of NBC Olympic coverage grows…

  3. aswimfan says:
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    Phelps cutting it close.
    I am glad I live in Asia, I have more than 4 television channels LIVE to choose from: BBC Sports, ESPN, Star Sports, Eurosports.

  4. aswimfan says:
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    Lochte will trash the field in the final!

  5. aswimfan says:
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    I am glad I had Hagino in my medals picks.

  6. aswimfan says:
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    Cseh is OUT!
    I am SO GLAD I did not pick him!

  7. aswimfan says:
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    Phelps will take lane 8 in the final!

    Kitajima, here’s your chance to beat Phelps (for the first male to threepeat).

  8. coolkat says:
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    Phelps is a clown, lets hope he has ALOT more in the tank

  9. aswimfan says:
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    Coutts is looking real good! Glad I have her also on my picks

  10. aswimfan says:
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    That finish from Coutts is a awful though, just correcting the finish should have made her sub 57

  11. aswimfan says:
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    Sjoetrom comes home like a train!! This girl oozes with so much talent.

  12. aswimfan says:
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    Vollmer is out of this world!
    Olympics Record!!!

  13. Scott says:
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    I am serving overseas so cant stream live. Thanks braden and garrett for the updates. Trying to find a live stream online. Former college swimmer who has not lost the love for the sport

  14. drdov says:
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    Loving the LIVE heat coverage here in the UK (option of 2 different network options!), as are many around the world
    Just kinda shocked that Americans can’t watch it????

    • aswimfan says:
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      I am shocked that americans (who I presume paid a lot of money through NBC) get sucky coverage.

      I live in a third world country and yet able to watch ALL swimming actions LIVE, without any interruptions.

      • Scott says:
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        Aswimfan do you have any websites? I can only watch what NBC chooses. It sucks.

        • aswimfan says:
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          Scott, I am watching it on my TV.
          ESPN asia, Start Sports, BBC Sports, and local networks.

          • Paella747 says:
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            I’m enjoying the same here in Seoul….. Niceeee!
            I’m supposed to be cooking for friends, and I’m sitting on the couch glued to the tv! :-) Sad how they make it so hard to see in the USA!

        • Jcoach says:
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          Scott – do a google search of first row sports

          • morrow3 says:
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            We considered going on vacation in any other country beside USA so we could get to watch the Olympics live. British Virgin Islands would have been ideal.

          • Rafael says:
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            why US tv SUCKS so much on broadcast?:!

    • swimphile says:
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      Watching the BBC. Phelps was really quite fortunate there, taking it any easier and Cseh would have taken the lhat last final spot instead of him… Vollmer as usual massively impressive in the early rounds, pity she’ll probably be slower when it really counts. The Chinese could be dangerous.

      • aswimfan says:
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        I agree. Lu Ying could be very dangerous, but I’m still sticking with my big three: vollmer, sjoestorm, coutts.

        Phelps is REALLY LUCKY he gets through. Not unlike LIbby Trickett in 2008 and Kieren Perkins in 1996

  15. CMA says:
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    400im was fun to watch, almost, almost. LOL

  16. swimmer 2 says:
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    Try pausing the stream and letting it build up a minute or two of buffer time. YouTube is smart like that.

  17. aswimfan says:
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    Renwick is doing fine. Biedermann is in trouble!

    I am glad I did not have Biedermann AT ALL in both of my 200 and 400 picks!!

  18. aswimfan says:
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    I am sure Biedermann is out by the time the last heat finished!

  19. aswimfan says:
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    Carry has great turns!

  20. aswimfan says:
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    these 400 free times are not as fast as I thought it would be, and I’m sure much slower than most would have predicted.

  21. aswimfan says:
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    Park Tae Hwan DSQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. CMA says:
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    here in Brasil we have a free website with 15 events live. so 15 channels if needed. cable we have like 8. and 2 for the regular network’s, everything live.
    so wierd that americans dont have that.
    I was shoked that the openning ceremony was not live. we had like 4 networks broadcasting it live

  23. aswimfan says:
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    I am shocked! His start seemed fine.
    Maybe it’s these new sensitive start blocks?

  24. swimphile says:
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    Park disqualified!!

  25. drdov says:
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    Holy Sh*t Park DQ’d in 400 heat!!!

  26. swimphile says:
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    With all of these shocking developments in the heats thus far, just goes to show one can’t be complacent or take anything for granted at all in the Olympics, no matter how much of a favourite…

  27. Paella747 says:
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    I’m watching here in Korea. It’s prime time (7:00pm). The tv stations are going nuts……. Sad. It didn’t look false to me. There were others in the heat taking off as fast…. :-( Tae Hwan is speechless in his interview. I feel bad for him….

    • aswimfan says:
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      I think it’s that more sensitive new starts block.
      I am still shocked, I cannot even begin to imagine how everyone in Korea must be feeling right now.

  28. Paella747 says:
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    They are showing the start in slow motion again and again and again….. And regular speed. And paused. And backwards…… It doesn’t look like he flinched at all. I’m so bummed. The Koreans are so ‘into’ Pak. National pride and all.

  29. Jg says:
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    Now there’s an easy medal -the m400free. Who would have thought?

  30. Paella747 says:
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    The great thing is that Korea is showing the Olympics on several different stations, with different sports, and very few (if any) commercials. It reminds me of when I did “pay per view” way back in Barcelona ’92! :-)

  31. aswimfan says:
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    Ye shiwen is looking really strong.
    And I didn’t even pick her, damn! :(

  32. Dony says:
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    Are the lane numbers the wrong way – or is there no right way or wrong way ? It seems the opposite to normal – what do others think ?

    • aswimfan says:
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      I think it’s the camera who’s on the wrong position, they should be on the other side!
      Someone clearly dropped the ball here.

    • Noel says:
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      The numbering of the lanes is wrong… and no one has said anything??? see FINA law SW 3.1.2 and by 50-metre event it mean the race not the course.

  33. aswimfan says:
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    Ye Shiwen is unbelievable. That must be the fastest heat swim ever.

  34. aswimfan says:
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    Rice is in trouble.
    It seems her shoulder trouble her than I thought. She was not good in fly leg.

  35. Paella747 says:
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    Still no reason for DQ here. Anything in English? My Korean sucks!!!!

  36. aswimfan says:
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    Every single chinese swimmers are looking very very strong so far.

    And the first gold medal has gone to the chinese female shooter in air rifle.

  37. aswimfan says:
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    Beisel is looking totally awesome! It will be a real great race between her and Ye.

  38. aswimfan says:
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    I am loving the Olympics also because of these surprising results, shocks, and swimmers beating their won best!

  39. aswimfan says:
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    Gator swimmers are all looking better than in the trials.
    So it seems they just needed few more rests.

  40. bbrswimmer says:
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    i cant believe Kitajima didn’t shave!!!!!!!!

  41. aswimfan says:
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    Felipe Silva is not looking that great (damn you silva, I got you on my pick :(

    • Rafael says:
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      hope the guys who went bad recover (Silva and Phelps, I´m talking about you)

      But Can´t Keep thinking how bizarre with Bieldermann Germany and Cseh out!

      • aswimfan says:
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        I hope he does! I picked Silva on the backing of brazilian fans here :)

        • Rafael says:
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          I did not see all the races…

          How was Phelps and Cseh SO SLOW:!!??!

          • Braden Keith says:
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            They looked like they were just so far in front of the field that they thought they were faster than they were.

          • aswimfan says:
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            It was really rookie mistake. I really could not believe it either. Especially when Phelps was slowing it down in the back leg.

            What was Phelps thinking??

            This is the Olympics, not US trials.

          • Rafael says:
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            It is good for everyone (Phelps, França, etc.) to see that the World Swimming have a MUCH Higher level.. the 100 breast was incredibly fast..

  42. aswimfan says:
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    I am surprised with Sprenger.
    This year is the first year he focuses on 100 only.

  43. aswimfan says:
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    Coughlin is terrible…. a 56???

  44. aswimfan says:
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    oops it’s a 54..sorry coughlin

  45. bbrswimmer says:
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    does anyone know how we see splits on the results?????

  46. ZYNG43 says:
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    Beisel. Champ. Calling it.

  47. Josh says:
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    I get 53.9 for Coughlin (3rd leg), 54.0 for Schmitt, 54.1 lead for Neal with a .75 start, and 54.3 for Weir. So who swims finals? I say Coughlin and Neal. Put Neal on an inside leg.

    Shiwen Ye is not going to be beatable in the 200 IM. She’s usually swimming from behind, but she stuck it to Katinka from the start tonight. This girl was scary good to begin with because of her closing speed, but now she has three other developed strokes. I think Beisel will get her tonight in the 400 IM, but I think she will win the 200 IM by a huge margin.

    Vanderkaay and Dwyer could both potentially medal tonight. If Vanderkaay goes 3:44, I say he gets a prelim swim at least in that 800 relay. I’m still in shock about Park Tae-Hwan. South Korea must be going crazy right now. No one can find any replay of him flinching or moving, but the rumor is that it might have been the Aussie swimmer in the adjacent lane that moved and the judge called the wrong lane. Unfortunately, per FINA rules, I don’t think he can appeal. If that’s what really happened, heads will roll.

  48. aswimfan says:
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    It is also well past due time that FINA institute video replay at the Olympics and Worlds!
    How many fiascos have we witnessed in the past few olympics/worlds that could have been resolved by the use of video replay?!

  49. aswimfan says:
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    The stupid judge is robbing us one of the races of the olympics!!

  50. Wahooswimfan says:
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    Phelps and Cseh both did not seem to be going 100%, probably had no idea that the field would be so fast and deep – there is an incredible level of parity and depth in swimming – nobody (well maybe a few) can take prelims for granted. The 100 breast depth was there too.

    The case of Park being DQ’d – is the equipment too fine? or was this a human call? NBC is reporting the judge now thinks he may have called the wrong lane? WTF – this is the Olympics, not a summer swim league meet. FINA should allow video review – not just a one person or machine that measures micropressure.

  51. Keith says:
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    I hope Park is reinstated.

    It’s hard to see the Women’s relay going better than Bronze tonight.

    • Jg says:
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      Oh Canada. You just lost some big trade deals.

    • aswimfan says:
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      Silver will be a tough battle with Australia. Australia will take only 1 swimmer from the prelims, Elmslie or Trickett, to join Schlanger, Campbell, and Coutts.
      The good news for USA is, Coutts will have already been spent from swimming 100 fly semis, which will be FAST.

    • liquidassets says:
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      They could squeeze in for 2nd if they all at their best but I agree; these were disappointing USA prelim swims except for Neal, I was happily surprised by hers.

  52. aswimfan says:
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    According to Craig Lord from swimnews, a Jury of Appeal will hear the protest this afternoon.

  53. Kirt says:
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    Looks like they’re allowing an appeal!
    Also, Braden, Glenn Snyders is the nz breaststroker. Kean is the backstroker.

  54. gosharks says:
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    Beisel said in Omaha that she was shocked by her time because she didn’t think she had rested enough to go that fast, which means to be that she will be much faster in finals and it will be amazing.

    The USA relay decision shouldn’t be tough if they have the reaction times. Typically they are subtracted and the raw swim is considered. It’s pretty objective. Neal is definitely into the final as her raw swim is 53.40.

  55. Philip Johnson says:
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    I would of never thought the Americans would be seeded as high as they are in the 400 free. They are really stepping up & have a good chance for a medal.

    • Rafael says:
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      If Park got back ( which is the correct thing ) the US will most try for Bronze.. I don´t like the idea of Vanderkay or anyone else getting silver because of a Wrong DQ.

      • aswimfan says:
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        I agree. I was really looking forward to Yang-Park battle it out after the botched Shanghai. The race would be incredible.

      • Philip Johnson says:
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        even factoring the bogus call, the Americans still did very well. at trials, their times were less than impressive, but now come the Olympics, they were able to drop some serious time to get in the final.

  56. Ole 99 says:
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    I hate the times not being on omega timing. How hard is it to provide split times for each athlete.

  57. ShireSwimmer says:
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    Lia Neal will definitely be on the relay tonight…..especially if Teri McKeever wants her to go to Cal. :)

    • Coach says:
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      I think this is wrong. If they have any chance of beating the Dutch, they need to lead off with a veteran that gets them clean water. 54.1 will not. Neal does not have the relay experience; does she even do relays with her club team?

      Vollmer is too hot right now NOT to put on that relay. I hope Teri gambles with Vollmer rather than doing the conservative thing to hopefully land a recruit. I would go Franklin, Vollmer, Coughlin, Hardy.

      • Swmguy70 says:
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        Vollmer is the fastest American in the 100 Free in the last 12 months. She was ill the last few days at Trials (which nobody knew) being the reason she didn’t win the event outright.
        It is insane not to have her on the relay tonight if they have any chance to beat the Dutch. McKeever more than anyone knows all this and will make the right call.
        It’s too bad for the girls that qualified for Trials, but you are keeping a potential 52 relay split on the bench??? I don’t think so. Not for this race. And Vollmer healthy is a monster relay swimmer — and obviously she is looking just fine after this morning. Just look at her relay splits the last 2 years both LCM and SCM.
        I can see her anchoring tonight in fact.

        • liquidassets says:
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          I didn’t realize Vollmer was sick at Trials; that changes everything in my mind, and also makes selecting tonight more easy; assuming Hardy and Franklin are healthy, it should be Hardy, Franklin, Neal, and Vollmer.

          • Swmguy70 says:
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            Yup. And I think actually you have to anchor Vollmer. Despite what the USA Swimming hype machine will have you believe, Franklin’s Freestyle didn’t look super sharp at Trials compared to what they were expecting and at the end of the day, you want a veteran against a veteran when it comes down to this relay. Franklin is still a rookie. Vollmer has been in this war with the Dutch before. I think you lead Franklin and anchor Vollmer and let Hardy and #4 go in the middle.
            That’s what I would do.
            This could be an amazingly exciting relay. I don’t see the Aussies in this at all if all 8 swimmers are “on” (Dutch and American girls). If they are all ready, it’s a 2 team race coming down to a touch.

          • Coach says:
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            I really would go with Natalie over Lia Neal. Natalie’s relay start experience (NCAA, international) compared to Lia is about 100-5. The Olympic final is not the place to gamble, especially when you need every inch you can get.

          • Coach says:
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            Correction, after seeing relay take offs, I’d go with Schmitt. Franklin, Hardy, Schmitt, and Vollmer.

          • liquidassets says:
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            I dunno, I was surprised Coughlin only went a 53.9 with an 0.00 reaction time (if that is accurate). She has been inconsistent herself on Olympic/World relays.

          • Swmguy70 says:
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            Although I really like the idea of newcomers on the relays to ‘carry the torch’ so to speak…..I think Neal in the final is a huge gamble.
            You have to remember that before Trials, her best time was 54.74. You have to wonder with that sort of time drop in the last 30 days, how much speed she has left to give to that relay.
            Natalie, although for whatever reason, lack of fitness, whatever, has been 53.6 in the last 12 months and you can’t question her relay ability.
            So there is a definite argument for her.
            Weir is a complete coin flip as to which Amanda you will get when she dives in the water so you have to wonder if they will give her any consideration.
            But Schmitt has been on fire this year, so you have to think that there is consideration there. Just the question if she can take that 200/400 prowess down to the 100.
            No, I think the relay you will see tonight will be Franklin, Hardy, Coughlin and Vollmer. If all are “on”, it’s a powerhouse. This relay if they swam to potential could be a 3:33 relay

          • liquidassets says:
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            I love Coughlin; she’s my favorite swimmer, but a 53.9 swimming all out and with 0.00 reaction time?? That just doesn’t cut it. SwimSwam just reported on another article that “Asphalt Green swimmer Lia Neal, who led off the United States’ prelims relay in a National Age Group Record of 54.15 on Saturday morning, has been slotted to swim the 3rd leg in finals.” I predict they will pick Hardy, Franklin, Vollmer, and Neal.

      • EC says:
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        Coughlin never seems to step it up on relays though. Her backstroke splits are consistently slower than her individual swims at big meets. I hope they go with Neal – she obviously feels good and has stepped it up.

        • liquidassets says:
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          Agree

        • Swmguy70 says:
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          I would like to amend my comment above to mention that Natalie’s FR relays are usually very good.
          You are absolutely right with regard to leading off the medley…..she is historically slower leading that relay off than in individual swims. But her 100 and 200 Free are usually better.

          • liquidassets says:
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            I can’t remember if it was Worlds or Olympics, but I remember once or twice that she led off and only went a 54.4, which is about what her 53.9 from this a.m. translates too. That’s too slow for a leadoff leg.

          • joeb says:
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            I would put Vollmer on the relay too, but as Head Coach, it might look bad to put your own swimmer on there who didn’t qualify for the event.

          • ZYNG43 says:
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            I’m sure coach is thinking more about what’s probably best for the team than her reputation, Dana should swim

          • liquidassets says:
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            The head coach, whoever that is, would have final veto power so there is a system of checks and balances. Tough decision, though, so many unknowns.

          • Swmguy70 says:
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            You bring up an interesting point Liquid….that being that Natalie is notorious for refusing to swim anything but lead off (did she never learn a relay take over?? lol). And if she drops an egg leading off (aka a 54.4) this relay is over before it gets started.
            It could be that they are going with Franklin on the lead and Neal (as it seems to be being reported now) will swim wherever needed.
            Still don’t see a rookie on the back end and leaving Vollmer off the relay is pure folly. No one cares if she swims for Teri at Cal. We care about looking at a silver or bronze if she doesn’t swim.
            I’m still a little skeptical about putting Neal on based purely on the large time drop to get to where she is now as I mentioned above. Nothing against her personally, just if she slips from a big drop back up, it could mean game over for the relay.
            I do know one thing for sure — I certainly don’t envy Teri Mckeever right now trying to figure this one out. Make the right decision it’s a gold medal. Miss just a little and could be a bronze or worse.
            But they have been with these girls for weeks now, so hopefully they have a handle on the right mix.

          • liquidassets says:
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            Well I can understand that the lineup doesn’t inspire confidence; the lack of depth in this event displayed at Trials was such that even the winner Hardy seems like a bit of a question mark here. It may come down to who did the best during the training camps. But I don’t see them beating the Dutch if Kromowidjojo is at her best; we just don’t have anyone close to her. And Dekker startled me with her 53.5 in prelims.

          • Swmguy70 says:
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            The comments on this subject seem to be switching over to the post on here regarding Neal and the posted relays that swimswam just put up.
            Think I’m going to toodle over there and keep up with the posts there.
            So many other posts on here about the rest of the morning’s swims, I’m starting to go blurry eyed looking for our convo.
            lol.

  58. Sangtae Han says:
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    I am a Korean and rooting for TaeHwan. There is a report than Park’s Disqualification is overtuned and he will comepete for final. Serious!!!

  59. liquidassets says:
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    Glad to hear it. I don’t think anybody wants to watch a final without Park in it!!

  60. Coach says:
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    Does anyone know relay take off RTs?

  61. TX Swimmer says:
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    Rowdy Gaines is a serious bullshitter. Thank goodness he is not a coach. He was shouting throughout the4IM for Phelps to not worry about winning his heat. If MP had followed that he woulda been out of the finals.

    • liquidassets says:
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      Cseh’s coach must be kicking himself, eh? This is where Phelps lack of swimmning this event over the last several years shows through; he didn’t have a good feel for how fast he was going. I still think he’ll get firs or 2nd tonight though.

      • joeb says:
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        not sure it is lack of swimming the 4im, but lack of training for the 4im

        • liquidassets says:
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          Well that might affect his swim tonight against Lochte; in terms of his overall fitness for the event, But really, how many times has he even raced it since Beijing, compared to Lochte. At Trials, Lochte shut it WAY down and knew he could still win. So I think Lochte has the mental edge here too now, for this event. For the 2IM I think the advantage is to Phelps, both physically/mentally.

    • aswimfan says:
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      LOL.. did Rowdy really say that? Classic!

      I am glad I don’t have to watch the disaster that is NBColympics…

  62. don says:
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    Here you go:
    The women’s 4×100 freestyle relay (Lia Neal, Amanda Weir, Natalie Coughlin, Allison Schmitt) is the second seed for tonight’s finals of that event in 3:36.53. Their splits are as follows: Neal, 54.15 with an RT of .75; Weir, 54.37 with an RT of .48; Coughlin, 53.93 with an RT of .00; Schmitt, 54.08 with an RT of .29.

  63. liquidassets says:
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    If the coaches subtract the RTs does that mean they will go with Schmitt over Weir and Coughlin as the fastest split?

  64. junker23 says:
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    Sooooooooooo the title of these posts’ll be updating live too?

    Might have to unsubscribe in my Google Reader – NO SPOILERS!!

  65. john26 says:
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    I’m seriously looking forward to the 100breast tonight. Everyone knows that 59 is not going to safe. Despite this, how many of these men have even been under a minute more than once in their lives?

    Because of this, the TRUE top guys will really try to separate themselves, and we will probably see the eventual medalists rise out of the pack. I predicted that the minute barrier is going to be a flood gate this year. I’m glad to see it happen. I’m looking for a similar, but less dramatic, event in the m100free

    • liquidassets says:
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      Yes but even so, the Americans are really going to have to hustle to make finals; I can’t see either one of them medaling though. It’s a shame Shanteau won’t be in the 200.

  66. AJ Bender says:
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    Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin have done so well in the games and I’m sure they will continue to improve upon their victories. Missy in particular because she is so young has impressed me. The Olympics are being aired on several stations which kind of makes it hard to set the DVR. A Dish co-worker suggested I upgrade to the Hopper a few months ago which comes with three tuners so I can record all those stations and it also has four times more space than your average DVR! So far Phelps has become to most decorated Olympian by winning the gold medal in the 4X200 m free style relay. Congratulations Michael!

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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