2017 Mare Nostrom Monaco: Battles Brewing On Day 1 Prelims


Considering the monster line-ups present in Monaco from nations including Australia, Sweden, Great Britain and Hungary, day one prelims were on the relatively slow side, with the key contenders holding their cards close to their vests.

Even amid the big names such as Sarah Sjostrom, Katinka Hosszu and Laszlo Cseh, a few top dogs were unexpectedly missing from today’s racing. Brits James Guy, Christopher Walker-Hebborn, Calum Jervis and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor were scheduled to race in Monaco today, but were held up with transportation issues, having been removed from an overbooked flight. They are scheduled to now arrive this afternoon to try to at least get one day of racing in during tomorrow’s events.

For the swimmers who were in the water today, there weren’t too many surprises in terms of who holds the top 3 seeds in each event, although the fields as a whole were sluggish. Hungary’s Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu attacked several events this morning, taking the 2nd seed in the 200m freestyle in 1:59.17 and the 4th seed in the 100m butterfly in 59.87. The triple Olympic medalist also contested the 200m backstroke, clocking the top seeded time of 2:12.12 and will race the 400m IM timed final in the evening session.

Swedish speedster Sarah Sjostrom fired off a quick 57.50 to land atop the field in the 100m butterfly, submitting the only sub-58 mark of the morning. She was not in the line-up for the 200m freestyle. Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova was the closest competitor to the world record holder in this morning’s sprint fly field, registering 58.03 to land a lane next to Sjostrom tonight..

Hungarian maestro Laszlo Cseh made an appearance across multiple events, touching in 2:06.66 in the 200m IM to claim the 5th seed, while also coasting to a morning 200m butterfly mark of 2:03.74 to sit 3rd headed into tonight’s final. It would have been fun to watch Cseh race James Guy in this race that’s becoming one of the Brit’s go-to events. Guy also had to miss out on the 400m freestyle this morning.

The women’s 100m breaststroke is shaping up to be a potential down-to-the-wire affair, with the top 4 seeds all sitting within about a half a second from one another. Led by the negative-splitting Russian Yulia Efimova in 1:08.31 (34.75/33.56), Aussie Taylor McKeown, Swede Jennie Johansson and Finnish swimmer Jenna Laukkanen are all situations closely behind in morning marks of 1:08.49, 1:08.52 and 1:08.98, respectively.

The squad from down under made their presence known as well this morning, with Australian sprinting studs Cameron McEvoy and James Magnussen notching the top two slots in the men’s 100m freestyle. For Magnussen, this meet represents his first time racing in the water since the Rio Olympic Games. He skipped the NSW Championships, as well as the National Championships, opting out of this year’s World Championships. This morning, McEvoy finished in 49.06 to Maggie’s 49.29 to finish 1-2 headed into tonight’s 100m free final.

Two-time World Champion and Olympic 200m backstroke silver medalist Mitch Larkin took the top seed in the CWH-less 100m back prelim, earning a time of 54.54 to represent the only swimmer under the 55-second mark. Girlfriend and also two-time World Champion, Emily Seebohm, found herself in 4th place after the morning heats of the 200m backstroke, notching a time of 2:13.73. Her teammate Madi Wilson sneaked into the 8th slot for tonight’s final in 2:23.00.

World record holder Cate Campbell, who has chosen to not compete at this year’s World Championships, was among the women’s 200m freestyle field this morning. Having selected to swim this even on several occasion in the near past, Campbell touched in 2:01.46 this morning to finish 9th overall. We’ll see if she chooses to swim in tonight’s B-Final of the event.

Possibly facing suspension Maddie Groves from Australia was also back in the water after multiple racing months off. The 200m butterfly Olympic silver medalist took on the 200m freestyle, finishing in 6th this morning in 2:00.52 before nabbing the 6th seed in the 100m butterfly in 1:00.00.

One would imagine Groves may be rattled by the fact compatriot Thomas Fraser-Holmes was asked to leave Monaco with his funding stripped following a 12-month ban for missing drug tests. Groves has also missed 3 tests and is awaiting her case’s resolution.

Finally, on the 50m sprinting side, we got to see primetime match-ups within round 1 of the skins competition of the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and fly bracket racing. The rounds select the top 16, then the top 8, then the top 4 and finally a true head-to-head race with the top 2 competitors taking on the final round.

Right away we were treated to a face-off between Japanese teen phenom Rikako Ikee and Sjostrom in the 50m fly contest, with Ikee taking round 1 in 26.08 to Sjostrom’s 26.50.

Team Efimova swimmer Andrei Nikolavev earned the first meet record of the competition, taking round 1 of the men’s 50m breaststroke in 27.30. The previous meet record holder, South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh, clocked 28.49 for 9th and will also move on. Efimova topped the women’s sprint breast field in 30.67.

Brazilian ace Bruno Fratus was the fastest 50m freestyler this morning, taking round 1 in 22.28 to McEvoy’s 22.51 and Magnussen’s 22.59. Britain’s Ben Proud was 7th in 23.04.

The women’s 50m freestyle was on fire with the Campbell sisters leading the way in two 24-point marks. Cate fired off a 24.84 to Bronte’s 24.86, while Sjostrom lurks in the 3rd slot in 25.09.

Tonight’s competition will narrow the 50m fields down to 8, with the final 4 and then the final 2 competing across all strokes during tomorrow’s sessions.

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6 years ago

Airlines still routinely over-booking flights to maximise profits? Shady practice. Imagine wilfully over-selling a product in any other line of work.

Reply to  Dee
6 years ago

You would think in this day and age, where swimmers can make a decent living from sport, that cheap airlines are not an option?

Reply to  gregor
6 years ago

Long haul, yes. But in Europe at least, cheaper airlines can be really flexible. Personally, I wouldn’t step foot on easy jet, but I’m a wuss about flying.

Reply to  Dee
6 years ago

The aircraft was changed from one with more seats to one with less due to some technical issues with the first. Fewer seats meant fewer passengers.

jay ryan
6 years ago

Nice wins by Magnussen 49.11 and Sjostrom 56.2 in the Fly in the finals

Reply to  jay ryan
6 years ago

Sarah looks so good this year.

Reply to  jay ryan
6 years ago

Sjostrom looked good in the afternoon sprints too…

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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