Today is the first preliminary session of the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. The morning sessions kicks off at 10AM in Barcelona, but 4AM EST here in the United States, and yes, we will be reporting recaps of the results LIVE for those all over the world.
The event line up today includes in this order the women’s 100m butterfly, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 200m IM, men’s 50m butterfly, women’s 400m freestyle, men’s 100m breaststroke and the women and men’s 4x100m freestyle relays.
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the London Olympic Games. Based on the release of the start lists Friday night, there could be some very interesting developments over this next week. There are so many questions to be answered: Who suffered with post-Olympic blues? Who found new focus? What records will be set? Who will step up with the vacancies of Michael Phelps, Rebecca Soni, etc. ? Is Team USA still the best in the World?
It’s time for a fun week of swimming.
Women’s 100 Butterfly PRELIMS –
The top 20 seeded women in this event were all under the :59.00 barrier. After preliminaries, the top 16 advancing to semi-finals tonight were just around that line as well.
Defending Olympic Champion and World Record Holder Dana Vollmer (USA) has qualified first for tonight in 57.22. Vollmer is widely known for her ability to get out fast and holding on coming home, but just like World Championship Trials in Indianapolis, Claire Donahue (USA) was the first swimmer to the wall at the 50m mark out of the top 16, turning in 26.58.
Donahue has qualified 10th for the semi-final in a total of 58.58, as she’ll need to be better on the back-half tonight. As we previewed earlier this month, no woman has ever won the World title post Olympic win. Will the “curse” follow Vollmer here in Barcelona?
The current world leader in this event, Australia’s Alicia Coutts is in the 4th spot, who looked to have swum a relatively controlled race this morning with the second fastest second 50 in the field.
Canada’s Katerine Savard sits third in 57.31. She’s been swimming out of her mind and momentum is in her favor. We expected a 57-low out of her in Barcelona, and she has already matched our predictions in this event.
Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden may find herself leaving with a medal here in Barcelona. She had a phenomenal second half this morning, splitting 30.16 & bettering the field by nearly .4 coming home. If she is out sub 27, my money is on her in this event if she can continue to come home near 30.0 and run down the field.
London’s silver medalist, Ying Lu has qualified 12th for the semi final. She is a bit off her 57.9 from China’s Nationals, swimming 58.93 this morning. She’ll need to swim near that 57.9 tonight if she wants a chance in the final tomorrow night.
Here are your top 16: Vollmer, USA; Sjostrom, SWE; Savard, CAN; Coutts, AUS; Ottesen, DEN; Thomas, CAN; Bianchi, ITA; Elmslie, AUS; Lowe, GBR; Donahue, USA; Snildal, NOR; Lu, CHN; Tao, SIN; Verraszto, HUN; De Paula, BRA; Hoshi, JPN
Men’s 400m Freestyle PRELIMS –
Regardless of the year he has had in the news, Sun Yang was your world leader coming into Barcelona and it looks like he is set to repeat his Olympic title from London. Yang will be in the middle lane in tonight’s final at 3:44.67.
His teammate Yun Hao is sixth in 3:47.49.
Ryan Cochrane won his heat in London in this event last year, but was pushed out of the final. He won’t have that problem here in Barcelona, as he sits second overall behind Yang in 3:45.74 – bettering his time that had ranked him 6th in the world coming into this meet.
Jordan Harrison is my dark horse. He had an incredible Australian trials, crushing his personal best to earn a berth here in Barcelona. He swam a second off his fourth best in the world time, but has qualified third for tonight. Yang may be the favorite here tonight, but I think Harrison can hang with the best based on his background.
Kosuke Hagino from Japan, swimming his first of many events here in Barcelona is 4th. He is about two seconds off the National record for his country swimming a 3:46.92 this morning.
The American’s had a slightly unimpressive showing this morning in this event. Matt McLean is out of the final tonight, adding almost four seconds from his time in Indianapolis. Connor Jaeger snuck into the 7th position for tonight, with nearly a three seconds add from the World Championship Trials.
Here are your top 8: Yang, CHN; Cochrane, CAN; Harrison, AUS; Hagino, JPN; Myles Brown, RSA; Yun, CHN; Jaeger, USA; James Guy, GBR
Women’s 200 IM PRELIMS –
With an event line-up of six tough events, Katinka Hosszu from Hungary has come out swinging. She finds herself qualified first for tonight’s semi-final by nearly two seconds over the London’s IM Queen Ye Shiwen, 2:08.45 to 2:10.20. Hosszu’s swim is the new world leading time over Alicia Coutts.
Hosszu’s Hungarian teammate Zsuzsanna Jakabos has dropped over a second and half this year and has qualified for the semi-final with a 2:12.31, the 10th seed for tonight.
Team USA qualified two swimmers in the top eight of the sixteen. Elizabeth Beisel and Caitlin Leverenz are 4th and 5th. Beisel improved her time from Trials (2:11.16), while Leverenz is a bit off (2:11.54). Both swimmers came off the London Olympics and entered the NCAA season. Personally, I am curious to see how all of that comes into play here in Barcelona.
London silver medalist, Alicia Coutts sits 7th after preliminaries. She had a great Australian trials, and is the nations second best performer thus far, so I expect her to move up in seedings after semi-finals tonight. Her younger Australian teammate, Emily Seebohm is third after preliminaries this morning.
Sheebohm was right on her time from Australian trials at 2:11.12 – still nearly two seconds off her performance at the 2010 Pan Pac Championships.
Mireia Belmonte Garcia kicked off her marathon meet with an 8th place finish in the preliminaries of the 200 IM. She is swimming six events, plus three relays here in Barcelona – reminiscent of our age group meets line ups, but remember this is the World Championships. She hasn’t had a best time in this event in nearly two years, but maybe the training for a high intensity meet may be the answer.
Here are your top 16: Hosszu, HUN; Shiwen, CHN; Seebohm, AUS; Beisel, USA; Leverenz, USA, O’Connor, GBR; Coutts, AUS; Belmonte Garcia, ESP; Watanabe, JPN; Jakabos, HUN; Allen, GBR; Teramura, JPN; Wenqing, CHN; Andreeva, RUS; Seltenreich-Hodgson, CAN
Men’s 50 Butterfly PRELIMS –
The 50’s of stroke are events that make the World Championship different from the Olympic Games. Sprinters get to showcase their speed to the world outside the lone 50 freestyle and relay events.
The 50 butterfly seems to highlight some of the big names we see in the 50 freestyle. Strength and power are key in sprint butterfly, combined with a strong underwater kick, mirroring the same important aspects in the 50 freestyle.
The oldest swimmer is the field, Roland Schoeman from South Africa has qualified first for semi-finals tonight, 23.02.
The splash and dash winner from London, Florent Manaudou is third, 23.18. Other 50 freestyle contenders Cesar Cielo, Brazil, & Frederick Bousquet, France, made the semi-final sitting 8th, 23.32 & 13th, 23.49 respectively.
More widely known for his backstroke talents, Matt Grevers is 6th. His height once again plays in huge favor in an event like the 50 butterfly. American teammate Eugene Godsoe finished 7th.
Here are your top 16: Schoeman, RSA; Munoz Perez, ESP; Manaudou, FRA; Govorov, UKR; Codia, ITA; Grevers, USA; Godsoe, USA; Cielo, BRA; Targett, AUS; Peng, CHN; Santos, BRA; Tsurkin, BLR; Bousquet, FRA; Proud, GBR; Deibler, GER; Todorovic, CRO
Women’s 400 Freestyle PRELIMS –
We thought Katie Ledecky had more in the tank at World Championship Trials and we were right. She knocked off a second from her time in Indy, moving up one spot in world ranking with her time this morning of 4:03.05.
The current world leader, Camille Muffat finished 6th, 4:05.53, this morning. Based on her swim this morning, she did not look strong at all. Her teammate Balmy, who finished 14th had a hard time finishing her race this morning. We’d love to see a race between Muffat and Ledecky tonight, but Ledecky is looking in top form compared to Muffat.
Melanie Costa Schmid made nearly a two second improvement from her world best and finished behind Ledecky in 4:04.20. Jazmin Carlin recently added this event to her schedule with a win at her nationals, and is our third place qualifier tonight at 4:04.85, just off her new personal best of 4:04.25.
The Australian’s had quite the meet at their trials, but seem to be consistently swimming off their times. Kylie Palmer is fifth, 4:05.01 and Bronte Barratt, the previous #2 swimmer in the world in this event, finished way below the top eight in 13th. Barratt’s last 100 was 1:06.5, which clearly isn’t “normal”, we’ll see what develops from this later on.
It is always great to see new names emerge. Boglarka Kapas, Hungary, was tenth in the world heading to Barcelona. She was able to drop 1.3 and qualify 7th for tonight. Andreina Pinto from Venezula, was formally unranked but dropped 2.4 seconds from her best to slip into the 8th place spot for tonight.
In her second event of the day, Mireia Belmonte Garcia fellow outside the top eight for tonight’s final finishing 9th at 4:06.76, about a second add from her entry time.
Here are your top 8: Ledecky, USA; Costa Schmid, ESP; Carlin, GBR; Boyle, NZL; Palmer, AUS; Muffat, FRA; Kapas, HUN; Pinto, VEN
Men’s 100 Breaststroke PRELIMS –
Five of the top sixteen men swam sub 1:00 this morning and all 16 are 1:00.5 or better. But not even a SECOND separates our top seed to the sixteenth seed.
Current world leader Christian Sprenger from Australia sits first at 59.53. He seems pretty dominant in this event, so I suspect no surprises with him.
Kevin Cordes from USA is 6th, 1:00.01, Michael Jamieson from Great Britain is 12th, 1:00.20, Felipe Lima from Brazil is 8th, 1:00.07, and Nicolas Fink from USA is 11th in 1:00.18 are your other world leaders who qualified into the semi-finals tonight.
Fabio Scozzoli (ITA) dipped under that 1:00 this morning for the first time, which landed him the second seed for semis.
Originally, Kosuke Kitajima was not entered to swim individually here in Barcelona. Japan granted him a reprieve and he proved his worth, locking in a third seed (tied with Scozzoli) and swimming a sub 1:00 at 59.88. Kitajima wasn’t even on the top 20 performers of 2013, but his time this morning has him at 5th in the world.
Here are your top 16: Sprenger, AUS; Strelnikov, RUS; Scozzoli, ITA; Kitajima, JPN; Snyders, NZL; Cordes, USA; Van Der Burgh, RSA; Lima, BRA; Murdoch, GBR; Feldwehr, GER; Fink, USA; Jamieson, GBR; Gomes Junior, BRA; Pesce, ITA; Dugonjic, SLO; Titenis, LTU
Women’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay PRELIMS –
USA & Australia clocked in one-two by .24 this morning. The women of Australia are the defending Olympic champions, and had the lead this morning until Megan Romano, one of the greatest relay swimmers out there right now, hit the water and ran her down. Romano out split Emily Seebohm, 53.23 to 54.21.
The Netherlands, who were silver medalists in London, are 6th after prelims. They will get a big boost by Kromowidjojo tonight, they could easily be two seconds faster since one of their splits this morning was a 55.22.
Australia will tune up their squad most likely with the addition of Cate Campbell. We could see three out of four of their swimmer swim sub 54’s tonight.
American will probably substitute Natalie Coughlin and Liz Pelton with Shannon Vreeland and Missy Franklin tonight. Rookie Simone Manuel had a great lead off of 54.23. My fingers are crossed for a 52 split from Romano to catch the Aussie’s.
The fastest split of the morning was Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden at 53.13.
Here are your top 8: USA, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Russia, Netherlands, Germany, Japan
Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay PRELIMS –
The American’s were run down last summer by the Frenchmen in London. This summer the French seem a bit flat, but team USA may find themselves in a battle with the men from Russia.
USA has .8 on Russia after this morning, and most likely we will see the names of Anthony Ervin, Ricky Berens, Jimmy Feigen and Nathan Adrian tonight. Ricky Berens rocked a .07 relay exchange, really proved himself swimming 47.56 split this morning, which has me believing in him to be on the relay tonight.
Ervin was out in a jaw dropping 21.74 to his feet and held on to split 47.38. Yes, I am a 24 year old female and I have a personal bias to Ervin. He is a just great competitor with pure raw speed.
Russia was without Nikita Lobintsev and as we called him at USC, the “Russian Rocket” Vlad Morozov. Just replacing Vlad on that relay with his best time this year, it makes the Russian’s .8 faster. Count on these men being fast tonight.
Australia finds themselves in third, also swimming a bit flat thus far. James Roberts is better than the 48.57 he split this morning. They will get a boost from the additions of most likely James Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy. The Aussie’s are 1.4 behind USA and .6 behind Russia.
Between those three teams (maybe the French) it should be race to the finish.
Here are your top 8: USA, Russia, Australia, France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Japan