This is the first part of a series of discipline-by-discipline breakdown of the 2013 Duel in the Pool. Normally, this sort of comparison would be largely moot, as the American rosters have historically dominated the Europeans, but with a slightly lighter team than normal from the U.S.A., and a slightly stronger team from the Brits, we could see the closest meet in history here.
What has to always be remembered in this discussion is that this is not a comparison based on July, it is a comparison based on December of 2013. Many European pros get back into the swing of their training faster than many Americans, because of different timing of championships, and many of the United States’ swimmers are in college, which means there’s no money to be made at this meet, and they will be at different points of training as well.
First things first, we hate the scoring system that this meet has used in the past, which is 5 points to winners, 3 to runners-up, and 1 to third place. In the very least, if you’re assembling ‘all star’ teams, you oughta score the meet out to 6 places, even if you decide that the rosters aren’t big enough to validate scoring all 8. I mean, this isn’t a World Championship, after all. We all know how good Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte are. Wouldn’t we rather see how good Team Britain is if, say, Agnel or Stravius had to swim the 100 breast? I know that would make the meet more interesting to me.
So we’ll begin our journey to Glasgow, Scotland for the 2013 Duel in the Pool with the men’s breaststroke races: one of the more interesting battles of the event.
Michael Jamieson (GBR)
Damir Dugonjic (SLOV)
Andrew Willis (GBR)
The Americans dodged a huge bullet in this race. For one, there’s no Scozzoli, no Gyurta, no Murdoch, none of the German breaststrokers, no Trelnikov, no Sinkevich. The European roster could have been way better.
But the limited scoring means that this race could swing violently either way. Kevin Cordes should be very good – Arizona always does a big rest mid-year, and he’ll be two weeks off of that at the Texas Invite from December 5th-7th.
Georgia too will be in the middle of their season, and if what we saw from a sizable contingent at last year’s short course World Championships, with similar timing and travel, is any indicator, Kalisz and Fink will be ready to rock as well.
It’s hard to say exactly where Miller will be; Indiana usually does some big yardage during the year, and there’s not a great indicator of whether or not that will change for this meet.
As for the Euros, Michael Jamieson won a silver medal at the London Olympics in the 200 in 2012, and therefore should be the defacto favorite for this meet at least in the longer distance. True, his 2013 hasn’t been great so far, but in front of a British crowd, and a meet that Britain will likely be sinking some resources into promoting, Jamieson will recognize his opportunity and be in good shape headed toward the Commonwealth Games.
Alternatively, Dugonjic is coming off of the best season of his career in long course, and his size and strength make him a phenomenal short course swimmer. He’s probably the one to challenge Cordes in the 100.
I’d take Fink over Kalisz in the 200 breast for 3rd place if for no other reason than Kalisz having to split his focus with the IM’s. Because of the short scoring, Kalisz may end up not even swimming the race.
If scoring went deeper, I’d call the men’s breaststrokes an automatic ‘win’ for the United States. As things sit, expect a draw.
100 breast top 3 picks:
1. Kevin Cordes (USA)
2. Damir Dugonjic (EURO)
3. Nic Fink (USA)
200 breast top 3 picks:
1. Michael Jamieson (GBR)
2. Kevin Cordes (USA)
3. Nic Fink (USA)