Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Efimova Heats Up In Orlando

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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

Aptly named to suggest 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is the world leader in the pool, triathlon and open water wetsuits and swimskins. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. blueseventy products have instilled confidence in beginners as well as carried world-class athletes to countless Olympic and World victories.

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Porkchop2244

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.

swimdoc

wut

luigi

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

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

Will

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

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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