2013 Duel in the Pool Breakdowns: Men’s Backstrokes

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 2

December 03rd, 2013 News

It’s under a month until the 2013 Duel in the Pool in
Glasgow, Scotland pits a team of American All-Stars against a team
of European All-Stars on December 20th-21st. The meet will feature
15 men’s event and 15 women’s events (13 individuals and 2 relays),
with individual races scoring 5-3-1, and the relays scoring 7-0.
As a reminder, we gave the breaststrokes about a split,
with an edge to the Europeans in the men’s events, and an edge to
the Americans in the women’s events.

There’s no two ways
about it. The Americans have
absolutely dominated these men’s
backstroke races since the format switched to USA versus Europe. In
the last two Duels in the Pool, the European men have only had two
swimmers score out of 12 possible scoring spots, for a combined 4
points (out of a possible 36). Expected
European All-Stars

  • Radoslaw Kawecki
  • Jeremy
  • Chris Walker-Hebborn
  • Craig McNally
  • Yannick Lebherz

Team USA All-Stars

  • Tyler Clary
  • Tom
  • Eugene Godsoe
  • Shane Ryan

This year, though, will
be an entirely different game. The Americans only return one of the
backstrokers who were on either of those teams, though that happens
to be the defending 200 backstroke Olympic
champion Tyler Clary. The U.S.
had to go pretty deep to fill out their backstroke roster for this
meet. In fact, Clary is the only American who is even on the
national 200 backstroke radar (think top 50) in long course meters.
If they want to win this group, the American will
rely heavily on the 100 backstroke to do
it. There, they have Eugene
, who though he made his mark at the Worlds
this summer in the butterfly races, was an NCAA backstroke
champion; and Tom Shields, who
showed in this year’s FINA World Cup series that he is
competitive with the best in the world in backstroke. Shields and
Godsoe rank 1st and 4th fastest in the world in the 100 SCM
backstroke in 2013. The Americans also
have Shane Ryan on their roster.
He’s not yet a big name internationally, but the Irish/American
dual citizen, who swims at Penn State, is a rising star, and in
long course ranked in the world’s top 10 over 100 meters this year.
The Europeans, meanwhile, look a lot deeper than the Americans
across the events, despite being without some of their best as well
(Camille Lacourt, Arkady Vyatchanin, etc.). They do
bring Jeremy Stravius to the
table; the Frenchman won bronze at the World Championships over the
summer in the 100 back, and is the only finalist from that race
competing in Glasgow. He swam under 50 seconds at the European
Short Course Championships last November, which makes him the
fastest un-suited seed in this meet. The Europeans also have the
defending World Championship and Olympic silver medalist in the 200
long course meters backstroke,
Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki.
Kawecki is the European Record holder in the long course 200,
and at this year’s World Cup series, he was fighting with
Godsoe and Shields meet-after-meet in the 100 back as well.
Kawecki also leads the world in the 200 SCM backstroke this
year by a full second, having
beaten Clary at the Berlin stop.
of the host British squad has
significantly uppsed his speed in the last year, having
knocked almost a full second off of his best 100 LCM time in 2012.
Prior to that, he was a better 200 backstroker than 100
backstroker, so he too can compete in both distances. If things
broke right, the Europeans could have a chance at a sweeping
the points in the 200 back; Germany’s Yannick
focuses a lot on the IM races now, but he
was the 2010 200 back SC Champion. With the scoring system putting
so much weight on the winner, the Americans have a hope of a split
in this event this year, but that’s maybe the best they have a
chance at. The Europeans’ upside is significantly higher in the
race thanks to their depth. If Walker-Hebborn can have a
better meet over SCM than he did at the 2012 World
Championships, this could be a big edge for the Europeans. As-is,
the Americans’ outcome will come partially on who they decide to
use where (remember that each athlete can only swim 6 events over
the two day meet, and swimmers like Shields and Godsoe will be
important in the butterfly races and relays as well, whereas the
Europeans are more specialized to this event). That’s probably not
a big issue though, and we like the European men to make up some
points in this race. Top 3 picks: 100 backstroke

  1. Jeremy Stravius (Europe)
  2. Eugene Godsoe (USA)
  3. Radoslaw Kawecki (Europe)


  1. Radoslaw Kawecki
  2. Tyler Clary (USA)
  3. Eugene Godsoe (USA)


In This Story

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

In the 200 back, Eugene Godsoe will go into the 7th turn in 3rd place (just slightly behind). He will then stay underwater far, far longer than any of his competitors and emerge with a small lead halfway through the 8th lap. He will then “gut” it home to touch first. The fans will go crazy. His coaches will make fist pumps in the air. The TV announcers will go ga-ga on the replay expressing wonderment at his lung capacity and his desire for victory!

the real shane ryan

you must not have heard about shane ryan’s jo crystals

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!