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.
Maybe the most impactful international development of the past week was James Guy‘s successful branching out into the butterfly races.
Guy has been Great Britain’s 200/400 freestyle pillar for several years now, but his continued improvement in butterfly is giving Great Britain’s medley relay an increasingly dangerous lineup. Guy swam the 100 and 200 fly at the Japan Open over the weekend, blasting big times in both. Probably most impressive was his season-best 51.50 in the 100 – a time that sits 3rd in the world ranks for the season. Guy also tied his season-best in the 200 fly with a 1:55.91 – that’s the 12th-ranked time for the season.
That comes after a 2015-2016 in which Great Britain had no swimmer rank inside the top 25 in the 200 fly, and only Guy sitting 19th in the 100.
If Guy keeps improving, the Brits will have one of the faster-rising swimmers in the world for three of their four medley relay legs. Duncan Scott is blowing up in the freestyles, and Adam Peaty is the biggest single-leg advantage of any medley swimmer worldwide right now. Peaty can outsplit the next-best swimmers in the world by perhaps two seconds on the breaststroke leg, and Guy is quickly putting himself among the better fly splits. In Rio, Guy had the third-best fly split in the field, with the key outlier Michael Phelps now officially in retirement.
Great Britain still has to improve its backstroke leg (where they lost almost two full seconds to the Americans last year), but Guy’s butterfly improvement curve has Great Britain just a step away from medley relay dominance.
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