Rebecca Adlington has been in the media a lot lately, after saying that she would abstain from Twitter during the Olympics to avoid hearing from the “trolls” who send her nasty messages. Hopefully, she hasn’t already started that blackout, as she should be receiving a lot of uplifting notes after day 1 at the 2012 Mare Nostrum stop in Barcelona.
There’s big cash to be handed out at this meet. A Mare Nostrum Record takes 600 Euro’s, a Meet Record gets a 300 Euro bonus, and each event winner takes 330 Euros (with 180 for 2nd and 90 for 3rd). There’s another 21,000 Euros available for the overall series winner (by FINA points). 1 Euro = about 1.2 US Dollars, so there’s a lot of cash to be given out for a weekend’s work.
In the first final of the meet, Adlington won in an 8:19.86, breaking her two-year old Meet and Series Record set in 2010 at 8:21.25. That means she not only gets the 330 Euros for the win, but a 900 Euro bonus for her record-breaking efforts.
She’s now been under 8:20 twice this season. Nobody has ever done that in textile before (Adlington and countrymate Joanne Jackson both did it in 2009), and Adlington now has better than one-third (9/24) of the swims faster than the 8:20 standard in history. I don’t know if she’ll get her World Record in London, but in front of a home crowd there’s a great chance that she could challenge Janet Evans’ legendary textile-best of 8:16 from all the way back in 1989.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte-Garcia swam her best time of the season for 2nd in 8:24.23; after winning the European Championship last week in the 1500, but not swimming this 800, this time was the other-shoe. I still wonder if she’s decided her Olympic schedule yet, and if this 800 is going to be a part of it.
Women’s 400 IM
Britain’s Hannah Miley won the women’s 400 IM in a runaway, and very had a Meet and Series Record for her own, with a 4:34.68. That’s just two-tenths away from her own double Meet Record set in 2009. She split this race almost identically to what she did at British Trials – a time that leads the world. The big difference was her breaststroke leg; after what appeared to be a more exerted backstroke, her breaststroke split accounted for almost the entire difference with a 1:20.0 mark on that leg. That’s usually her best leg, but this swim still makes sense as an un-tapered one, and a very good un-tapered swim at that.
Belmonte-Garcia, not shying away from a tough schedule (the fact that she scaled back at Europeans was out of character for her), took 2nd in 4:39.06. That’s not a great time, but can be credited to the quick turnaround.
Aimee Wilmott, who is the other British Olympic representative in this race, was 3rd in 4:40.12; that’s the third-best time of her career, and two-seconds better than she’s been in-season.
Men’s 100 Free
Brent Hayden is one of the veteran Canadians accompanying a youth squad from North of the border, and he made the most with a 49.02 win in the men’s 100 free. As hard as it is to believe, for a swimmer who typically has huge tapers, that’s actually a great time for him this time of year. Though many have been faster than him in 2012, he’s still a big medal candidate in this race.
Behind Hayden in 2nd was Cuban sensation Hanser Garcia, who despite being incredibly raw has sent a lot of waves through South American sprinting since medaling at last year’s Pan Am Games. His start has improved a bit, though it still isn’t very good; however his training is obviously there, and on a strong back-half split of 25.17, he took 2nd in 49.32.
The Russians took 3rd and 4th – Nikita Lobintsev in 49.40 and Sergey Fesikov in 49.45. Fesikov tied with Australian Tomasso D’Orsogna.
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh broke the series record in the men’s 100 breaststroke with a 1:00.11 in prelims. That record was previously held by Norway’s Alexander Dale Oen set at last year’s meet, and in honor of that moment a minute of silence was held before the finals session.
Van der Burgh, perhaps inspired, went even faster in the final with a 59.73 to blow away the field – and that’s the record that will get him the big cash. That’s his best time of the year, though it leaves him as the 4th-ranked swimmer in the world in 2011.
Britain’s Michael Jamieson was 2nd in just 1:01.17, and Brazil’s Felipe Lima was 3rd in 1:01.38. Jamieson isn’t a great 100 breaststroker so his time isn’t bad, but one would have expected a bit faster from Lima.
Women’s 200 Breast
Spain’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui kept more money at home, adding a win in this 200 breast to her earlier victory in the 50, with a 2:24.83. That ranks her 12th in the world this year, and breaks her own Spanish Record in the event by two-tenths. The 17-year old is a budding European star.
Canada’s Kierra Smith, who will next year head to the breaststroking mecca at the University of Minnesota, took 2nd in 2:28.41. She took a few weeks off after Canadian Trials, but now back into normal training, that’s a best in-season time for her. Hannah Miley landed another podium spot with a 2:28.49, with countrymate Stacey Tadd just behind in 2:28.63.
Men’s 200 Fly
The cash kept flying in Barcelona in the men’s 200 fly, where Brazil’s Kaio Almeida looked much better than most of his Brazilian teammates did on day 1, and broke the Barcelona Meet Record with a 1:55.59. That gets him a 300 Euro bonus by taking down Dink Jukic’s mark of 1:55.94 in 2008.
This swim is his best of the season, faster than Brazil’s Trials at Maria Lenk, and bumps him ahead of countrymate Leonardo de Deus for 7th in the world.
Britain’s Roberto Pavoni took 2nd in 1:58.67, which is his best in-season time ever. The 21-year old has been progressing year-after-year, and could have a breakout in the next few years.
Women’s 100 Fly
After a bit of a stumble at Canadian Trials, where she failed to go a best time, Katerine Savard looks to be back in her rhythm with a 58.48 win in the women’s 100 fly. That bettered Swedish legend Therese Alshammar in 58.80. With her spending the first half of this year training in Australia, Alshammar hasn’t put up a lot of times this season, but this is just a so-so time for her. The Swedish medley relay still has some questions to be answered, but I don’t think that putting Alshammar as the butterflier is going to be the answer this year, so she could really be focusing on the sprint freestyles at the Olympics anyway.
Jemma Lowe was 3rd in 59.00, with Canada’s Noemie Thomas star-in-waiting grabbing 4th in 1:00.05
- Spain’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui won the women’s 50 breaststroke in 31.81. In 3rd-place, Florida Gulf Coast’s Danielle Beaubrun, who is a native of St. Lucia, broke a National Record in 32.14.
- Jason Dunford, now training in Europe, won the men’s 50 fly in 23.67, just outpacing native hero and World Record holder Rafa Munoz in 23.68.
- Australia’s Ben Treffers won the men’s 50 back in 25.17, just missing his best time of the season of 25.13. Russia’s Sergey Fesikov was 2nd in 25.28.
- Britain’s Georgia Davies topped the women’s 100 back in 1:00.87, just bettering Karin Prinsloo (1:01.02) and Italy’s Elena Gemo (1:01.18). Gemo wasn’t great compared to her teammates at the European Championships, and in the process lost both her National Record and maybe her spot on the Italian A-relay.
- Canada took two podium spots in the women’s 50 free, with Victoria Poon winning in 25.30, and Chantal van Landeghem in 25.50 for bronze. Between the two, Australia’s Marieke Guehrer was 2nd in 25.40.
- In the men’s 200 back, Britain’s Chris Walker-Hebborn was the only swimmer under two minutes with a 1:59.04 and the best time by a Brit this year. With Britain’s ASA Championships coming up, the second-chance Olympic qualifying, that’s an encouraging mark for Walker-Hebborn. Canadian’s Charles Francis (2:01.52) and Tobias Oriwol (2:01.70) filled out the podium.
- Great Britain’s James Goddard won the men’s 200 IM in 2:00.95, with Brazil’s Henrique Rodriguez 2nd in 2:02.57. With Laszlo Cseh not swimming this year (at least not at this stop), the men’s IM’ers in this meet is a fairly weak field.
- Canada’s Barbara Jardin was 2nd in 1:59.11. French teenager Camille Gheorghiu was 2nd in 2:00.33 – two seconds better than she was at French Trials. Jazz Carlin was 3rd in 2:00.38, and Hannah Miley just missed another medal in 2:01.22.
- France’s Sebastian Rouault won the men’s 400 free in 3:51.64, followed by David Carry in 3:51.96.