Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Efimova Heats Up In Orlando


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

For Yulia Efimova, 2016 is an odd mix of redemption and title defense.

In 2015, Efimova won the World Championships gold medal in the 100 breaststroke making her the reigning champ who needs to maintain momentum. But in the 200 breaststroke, an unfocused morning swim left her 17th, outside of the semifinals and out of medal contention in an event she very well could have won – a situation that now puts her in the role of redemption-seeker.

The two roles coexist without really meshing in the story of Efimova’s 2016 season. But whatever narrative Efimova is a part of at the moment, her swimming is succeeding.

Efimova was one of the stars of last week’s Arena Pro Swim Series at Orlando, winning both the 100 and 200 breast.

Her 100 was a 1:05.70, the top time in the world this season and just hundredths off her gold medal time from last summer’s World Championships.

The 200, meanwhile, was a 2:21.41, the world’s second-best time and a swim that would have won gold at last year’s World Champs.

But the truly interesting part about Efimova’s big weekend is that her success is coming without a really noticeable departure from the mistake that doomed her 2015 season in the 200 – a full-strength morning effort.

Efimova has a prelims tendency that is as dangerous as it is unique. The Russian tends to take out her morning races extremely slowly before nearly negative-splitting her race as a whole. “Negative split” is a swimming term meaning a swimmer’s second half split is actually faster than their first half. It’s a hard goal to accomplish, nearly impossible in race-pace breaststroke or butterfly.

It was that strategy that kept Efimova out of finals at Worlds in the 200; she went 1:12.2 in her first 100 and 1:13.9 in her second. (Compare that to the top swimmers in the field, who went out in about 1:09s and returned in roughly 1:14s).

And instead of abandoning it, Efimova put in into play again in Orlando. In prelims of the 100, she split 33.7/34.2 before switching to a more typical 31.3/34.3 margin for finals. In the 200, she was 1:13.8/1:14.3 in the morning before going 1:10.0/1:11.3 in finals.

Of course, Orlando was no World Championships – Efimova still made the A finals by wide margins in both races. But as the season progresses and the meets get bigger, it will be an interesting subplot to watch how Efimova chooses to attack her prelims swims in the leadup to Rio.

About blueseventy

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swimmers ear
8 years ago

YEfimova’s swims: Both 100 breast and 200 breast, very fast. They were the top two swims of the meet for FINA points on the women’s side. Top swim on the men’s side, JPrenot, 2:09.5 200 breast.
Name Event Time FINA Points
YEfimova 200 Breast 2:21.41 952 followed by: NAdrian 100 free 48.05 930 FINA pts.
JPrenot 200 Breast 2:09.5 943 KLedecky 200 free 1:55.73 930 FINA pts.
YEfimova 100 Breast 1:05.7 940
It does seem troubling the way YEfimova brings back her back half – it’s almost unheard of. Except when swimmers were getting additional help with the extra buoyancy provided by the suits back in 2009. Makes me wonder about her training or what… Read more »

Reply to  swimmers ear
8 years ago

Meldonium or whatever drug the dopers have discovered to replace it now that its gone. I’m amazed it took them that many years to ban it. I am sure they are already on to the next legal wonder drug and whatever else they are doing. I think we are to the point where the top ranked athletes being required to disclose all their prescription drug use.

8 years ago

How is Weitzeil’s 21.1 not the swim of the week? She went the fastest time EVER. Not even close imo.

8 years ago

there is a big elephant in the room, isn’t there, though … she is a certified doper, and there is no redemption from that …there will always be an asterisk besides her name, if not in the official records certainly in a true swimming fan’s mind

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  luigi
8 years ago

The best part of waking up is 7-keto-DHEA in your cup.

8 years ago

If he’s looking for best swimming for what he excels in….NC state is obvious answer. If he’s placing a priority on academics, Cal is obvious answer.

Louisville would be a great fit as well.

One of biggest variables is likely money. His talent commands a full ride. With only 9.9 men’s scholarships, a lot of those teams mentioned likely don’t have full rides to give up.

If he is in state for North Carolina, nc state could be a way around the money issue.

Reply to  Porkchop2244
8 years ago


About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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