And on the 4th day, the Deutscher Scwimm-Verband (aka German Swimming Federation) opened the flood-gates and said “let their be Championships!”
On Friday afternoon (German time), the DSV began to hand out medals rapid fire, with a grand total of 13 National Titles being awarded in today’s finals session. But the joy that surrounded the championships was dampened by the fact that only two swimmers, Markus Deibler and Dorothea Brandt, earned a World Championship qualifying time. Though the point that the DSV is trying to make surrounding their goals for excellence is clear, they are also sending another, equally clear message to their athletes: If you have the option, jump ship for an alternative federation. The hurdles appear to have been set too high in Berlin for domestic athletes (especially when the defending World Champion can’t match the requirements).
Paul Biedermann woke up a little bit in the men’s 400 free, after some “ho-hum” preliminary swims, with a winning time of 3:47.44. This misses the World Championship qualifying time set by the DSV of 3:46.91, which would be a shocking outcome if Biedermann, the defending World Champion as well as the World Record holder, was not allowed to swim the race in Shanghai this summer. According to inside sources, however, despite the very fast published times, German Swimming may consider relenting in certain instances to take the top 2 swimmers.
If not, they would certainly get an earful from Biedermann, who has been very outspoken in the media as of late. Amongst other criticisms, he took issue with the late-season timing of the Trials that does not fit well with his training schedule, as compared to many other nations who hold their Trials in March, April, and early May.
In the women’s 200 free, budding superstar Silke Lippok was off of her prelims time, but still took a big win in 1:58.24. This is another time that missed the World Championship qualifying standard, but will likely invoke some leniancy from the DSV. As I alluded to yesterday after her preliminary swim, she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite swimmers to watch. She’s often overlooked in the European landscape, despite winning 5 golds and 7 total medals at last year’s European Junior Championships (both of which were 1 more than the much more high-profile Yannick Agnel). Brittan Steffen, who swam a solid time in this race in prelims to prove her conditioning, scratched the final.
In the men’s 50 backstroke, Helge Meeuw took the win in 25.14, which is off of the qualifying mark but a big improvement off of his semi-finals time. This swim makes him the 9th-fastest swimmer in the world this year. The runner-up was 17-year old Christian Diener, who broke his own German Age Group Record (set yesterday) in 25.49.
Marco Di Carli broke off a bit of a surprise in the men’s 50 free. Di Carli, who was old enough to be an elite swimmer during the polyurethane era, won the race in 22.14. This swim is more than half-a-second ahead of his career-best time from this same meet in 2009. Di Carli is a bit of a late-bloomer, but unfortunately (as things stand now) won’t be able to continue that growth in Shanghai, because he was a tenth off of the qualifying mark. Still, that swim ranks him 11th in the world this year. Steffen Deibler posted another good sprint time to take 2nd in 22.21 (tied for 13th in the world this year).
Later in the final, the elder Deibler would advance to the top spot on the podium in the 50 fly, which is arguably his best race. He touch in 23.47 which missed the National Record by just .04, ranks him 5th in the world this year, and (almost comically) leaves him off of the World Championship squad again. Former LSU swimmer Hannes Heyl also tore this race up to the tune of a 23.57, putting him just behind his teammate at 6th in the world. Heyl might be the most unlikely top-6 ranked swimmer in the world right now, but he is quickly developing into one of those prototypical European “pure speed” swimmers.
Markus Deibler would match his older brother’s gold medal with his dominating win in the men’s 200 IM. After coasting through his prelims swim (on a double with the 200 free), Deibler turned on the jets here and took down the National Record in 1:58.67. That eclipsed Yannick Lebherz’s 2009 mark in this race. Lebherz broke the 400 IM National Record on Wednesday, but sat this race out. Jan David Schepers, who turned heads in prelims, was a little off of that time in finals, but for the first time in this meet assured Germany of a double bid to the World Championships with his runner-up time of 1:59.39.
In the women’s version of the same 200 IM, Theresa Michalak won in 2:13.32. That stands as a National Age Group Record for the 18-year old, but wasn’t close to the qualifying standard. Michalak was actually in 5th place at the halfway mark of this race, but on the breaststroke leg made up an astonishing two-second gap on the rest of the field to pull away for a big win. Michalak, surprisingly, is not entered into any of the 3 breaststroke races (she’s a good, but not great, breaststroker) which suggests that her ability to blow away the rest of the field in the back-half of the race is based on her conditioning at this point in the season. This swim crushes her career-best time, which from 2007 as a 15-year old. I’d say Michalak’s got a decent future as an IM’er.
The 3rd-place finisher was Katharina Schiller, who won the previous day’s 400 IM. She stated after that swim that she was hoping for a very good showing in this 200, but her 2:15.87 was probably not what she wanted to do in this race.
Dorothea Brandt, Germany’s response to Jessica Hardy, won the women’s 50 breaststroke in 30.83, which earns her a trip to Shanghai this summer. There, she will have a chance at breaking the 30.77 National Record which she just missed.
Brandt will have two more great chances to earn extra swims in tomorrow’s 100 free final and Sunday’s 50 free final.
Vanessa Grimberg (32.01) and Laura Simon, who were 4th and 5th overall, broke the 17 and 16 National Age Records, respectively.
National Record holder Henrik Feldwehr won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 27.74, which ties him for 10th in this year’s World Rankings.
Jenny Mensing posted a career-best swim in the women’s 50 back to take the win in 28.88.
For full results, visit here and click “Tag 4″ for day 4 results. Let us know if you can’t decipher the results, and we’ll help out!
Freistil = Freestyle
Rucken = Backstroke
Brust = Breaststroke
Scmetterling = Butterfly
Lagen = IM
Frauen = Women
Männer = Men
Finale = Final
Vorlauf = Preliminary
Tag = Day
Abschmitt = Session
Startliste = Start List
Ergbenis = Results