Day 1 at the Berlin World Cup was all about the flash, the pop, the bang, the glitz, and the glory. American Records were broken, World Records were broken, even Canadian Records were broken.
On day 2, the headlines weren’t as bright, but there was still a lot of great racing with some very interesting results.
The young star Missy Franklin, coming off of her World Record in the 200 back, won two more events. The women’s 100 back was a great race, headed by Franklin’s 56.73, that saw the top 5-swimmers go season bests, and shake out the top-5 in the new season’s World Rankings. She was followed by Australia’s Rachel Goh, who also went under the 57-second barrier in 56.99.
Missy “the Melissile” Franklin would also take a comfortable win in the 100 free (closing in a 26.49 after sitting 5th at the turn) with a 52.09. This topped an impressive field that included home-nation stars Daniela Schreiber (52.37) and Britta Steffen (52.50) as well as defending long course World Champion Jeanette Ottesen (52.60) and the World Cup Record holder Fran Halsall (52.71).
She would show her only chink in the armor in the 100 IM, an event never to be her specialty, with a tie-for-2nd in 59.44 (with Germany’s Theresa Michalak). Halsall won that event in 58.73.
All-in-all, this was a great weekend for Franklin. She broke the American and World Records in the 200 backstroke and went for 5 career-best swims. Now it’s back stateside and a return to the high school classroom for Franklin, and does anybody question whether or not there’s some National High School Records that are peeing their pants right now?
Fellow American Michael Phelps also stepped-up his game significantly in Berlin. After winning the 100 and 400 IM’s on Saturday, he came back Sunday to take the 200 back against the best field of the series so far in 1:50.34. That bettered Polands Radoslaw Kawecki in 1:51.37, and Spain’s Aschwin Wildeboer in 1:52.09.
Amongst other impressive marks in that race came from recently 18-year old Jacob Pebley at 1:53.47. That stands (unofficially) as the 4th-fastest 200 SCM Junior backstroker in American history, behind only Aaron Peirsol, Jorge Oliver, and Scott Lenyk. That’s not entirely significant, given how few junior swimmers get the chance to race SCM, but it’s still a solid ranking of where he stands historically (and is a second better than Phelps was at a similar age).
Wildeboer, who’s a short course specialist, put up a fabulous time of 50.23 to win the 100 back. Watch out for him at the European Short Course Championships in December (along with Russia’s Stanislav Donets) as the World Record in this event seems doomed.
Back to Phelps, he also took a victory in the 200 IM in 1:51.89. That’s his career-best time (each of his 4 swims on the weekend, like Franklin, were career-bests) and was the 6th-fastest performance of all time in the race.
When it comes down to it, it turns out that Phelps is back on his game and poised to make a move. This should ratchet up excitement for Nationals, Duel in the Pool, and eventually the Olympics where the battle between him and Ryan Lochte will be at an all-time intensity.
Phelps will head straight back home and back to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for some more altitude work. The new strategy this season to keep him focused seems to be lots of time spent at the OTC, where the only distractions are swimming-and-sport related, and thus far it’s paid off.
Allison Schmitt had a great 1st day of competition, where she broke the (ratified) American Record in the 200 free. Her 2nd day was good, but not as good. The best swim was a win in the 400 free in 3:59.71, which makes her the first woman in the world this year to go under 4-minutes, ahead of Lotte Friis (4:00.29). The young American Chelsea Chenault, shortly after her 17th birthday, went a fantastic time of 4:00.85 for 3rd.
Chenault had never swum that race in a 25m pool before this weekend, but by standard conversions to a 50m course, that swim would chop roughly 4 seconds off of her LCM best (about a 4:05).
In International results, kudos goes to South Korea’s Hye Ra Choi who won the women’s 200 fly in 2:04.48. That misses her swim from Stockholm at 2:04.24, which is (again unofficially) a South Korea Record, but it was nice to see her string two-straight big swims together. That should bring some confidence to her as she looks to catch the rising-tide of swimming in her homeland that has been spearheaded by Park Tae-Hwan.
In the 200 breaststroke, the young Kanako Watanabe took a big win in the world’s best time of 2:20.03. There she cleared Aussie Sally Foster (2:20.58) and Denmark’s Rikke moller Pedersen (2:20.91). American Andrea Kropp took 5th in 2:21.53 on a tough double with the 400 IM (3:36.33 – 4th) about an hour earlier.
Germany’s Paul Biedermann put up a blistering swim in the men’s 200 free of 1:42.42. For he who is the World Record holder, that only misses by three-tenths his time from Short Cours Worlds last year and is his fastest ever swim in textile outside of that meet. He appears to have been re-invigorated by his solid summer World Championship meet.
Also deserving of recognition is Canada’s Erica Morningstar, who took two a win over the weekend in the 200 IM in 2:06.97, which is a new all-time Canadian mark.
Also lost amidst the wide-bearth of Franklin’s World Record, pointed out to me off-site by one of our readers, in the 200 back was the 2:01.24 by Belinda Hocking of Australia for runner-up honors. That’s a new Australian Record, breaking her old mark of 2:02.61 set at this same pool two years ago, and her swim makes her the 5th-best ever in the event (behind Franklin, Sakai, Simmonds, and Coventry). Missy is obviously the favorite in the event at the Olympics, but there’s definitely some competition.
As for the men’s series leader Chad le Clos of South Africa, he bounced back for a win in the 200 fly over Hidemasa Sano. Le Clos’ time was 1:50.15, ahead of Sano’s 1:50.58. That puts le Clos 4th in the the all-time rankings in the event, and also gives him the fastest time ever done in textile in the race. The young swimmer has shown signs of fatigue after a great start to the series, and this was his only win, but it was a big win for him both in terms of series standings (it was the best swim of the meet on the men’s side) and in confidence. If he heads to the Asian series with Sano, these two could begin the development of a great rivalry.
The meet will now hook far to the East, as there is a break for a few weeks and then restarts in Singapore, China, and Japan in November.
Complete Results from Berlin (in one PDF document) are available here.
The meet becomes very-much a two-man race for the $100,000 top prize between le Clos and Sano. Even if they don’t swim the Asian leg (I’d expect both to do so) it will be very difficult for anyone to surpass them for the top two honors. On the men’s side, Germany’s Marco Koch is the only other swimmer expected to swim out the competition, and thus he has a good shot at $30,000 for 3rd-place. He could, however, be caught in Asia depending on which big-name Asian swimmers join the competition, though it will be decidedly lighter there than it was in Europe.
|1||Chad Le Clos (RSA)||25||16||20||25|| 86
|2||Hidemasa Sano (JPN)||25||25||20||70|
|3||Mchael Phelps (USA)||16||16||32|
|4||Kenneth To (AUS)||20||10||1||31|
|5||Marco Koch (GER)||20||5||2||27|
|6||Paul Biedermann (GER)||3||13||7||23|
|7||Daiya Seto (JPN)||13||5||18
|8||Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS)||10||3||3||16
|9||Dinko Jukic (AUT)||16||16|
|10||James Goddard (GBR)||13||13|
|11||Samuel Pizzetti (ITA)||13|| 13
|12||Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP)||10|| 10
|13||David Verraszto (HUN)||10||10
|14||Naoya Tomita (JPN)||7||2||9|
|15||Nikita Lobintsev (RUS)||7||7
|16||Yuma Kosaka (JPN)||7||7|
|17||Pawel Korzeniowski (POL)||1||5||6
|18||Sergii Frolov (UKR)||5||5|
||Masafumi Yamaguchi (JPN)||3||3
|20||Geoff Huegill (AUS)||2||2
||Jason Sunford (KEN)||2||2
|22||Tyler McGill (USA)||1||1
|23||Gustav Lejdstroem (SWE)||1||1
Missy Franklin will leave over $21,000 in cash on the table in Europe, and possibly another $100,000 in series prize money as well, as she emerges as the leader after only two stops. At this point, Therese Alshammar probably only has to swim at about one meet on the Asian leg of the journey to defend her title and take home a huge payday. For those who have wondered how she keeps competing well into her 30’s, with approximately $150k in her pocket from two months of work every year, not including any endorsements, greatly reduces the strain of maintaining solvency as a professional swimmer.
Allison Schmitt sits 3rd (which won’t survive the Asian series), but remember that she, like Frainklin, is to remain an amateur and thus is turning down all prize money.
|1||Melissa Franklin (USA)||25||25 (20)|| 70*
|2||Therese Alshammar (SWE)||16||16||13||45|
|3||Allison Schmitt (USA)||20||20||40|
|4||Angie Bainbridge (AUS)||20||10||30|
|5||Daryna Zevina (UKR)||25||2||27|
|6||Ying Lu (CHN)||13||13||26|
|7||Sarah Sjostroem (SWE)||25||25|
|8||Izumi Kato (JPN)||16||2||3||21|
|9||Jie Gong (CHN)||10||10||20|
|10||Xiaoyu Liu (CHN)||20|| 20
|11||Erica Morningstar (CAN)||7||7||5||19|
|12||Belinda Hocking (AUS)||16||16|
|13||Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED)||13||13|
|14||Marleen Veldhuis (NED)||10||10|
|15||Francesca Halsall (GBR)||7||7|
|16||Shijia Wang (CHN)||7||7
|17||Theresa Michalak (GER)||5||5|
|18||Hye Ra Choi (KOR)||3||2||5|
|19||Elena Sokolova (RUS)||5||5|
||Rong Fan (CHN)||5||5
|21||Elizabeth Simmonds (GBR)||3||3
|22||Petra Granlund (SWE)||3||3
||Hang Yu Sze (HKG)||2||2
||Lotte Friis (DEN)||1||1
||Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN)||1||1
||Daniela Schreiber (GER)||1||1
||Barbora Zavadova (CZE)||1||1