In the even-numbered, non-Olympic years, the comparisons to determine who’s having the best year is always a challenge. The world’s best swimmers are scattered across the world, at different meets, and with different taper targets.
With that being said, last week, we had two big senior-level competitions going on: the European Championships and the Pan Pac Championships. The European Championships are for swimmers in Europe, and Pan Pacs are specifically targeted at swimmers not in Europe – it even says so in the rules- No Euros allowed.
SwimSwam’s Anne Lepesant has gone through and made a comparison of the top 18 finishers (10 from Pan Pacs, 8 from Euros) from the two meets combined, and ordered them. Given the conditions of Pan Pacs, it seems as though they’d naturally be at a disadvantage, with the outdoor pool and swimming in the rain.
The “wins,” however, in a virtual sense in the individual events were split right down the middle – 14 for the Americans, and 14 for the Europeans.
This comparison focuses on the events raced at Pan Pacs. Because that meet had no 50 meter strokes, we’ve excluded those races, though the Europeans performed very well in them.
A few high-level conclusions:
- The European male breaststrokers are on-fire at the moment. They took the top three spots in the ranking in the 100 breaststroke and the top two spots in the 200 breaststroke.
- The American men, specifically, were dominant in the 100 fly, holding three of the top four spots (and it would have been more, were there not limits on the number of athletes who could final). The rest of the Pan Pacs region, however, were not good – All 8 European finalists were faster than Pan Pacs bronze medalist Hirofu Ikebata.
- Pan Pacs, meanwhile, was dominant in the 200 IM. While Lazlo Cseh’s win in Berlin was his 5th-straight title, at 1:58.10 it would have only been the 6th-fastest time in finals at Pan Pacs.
See the comparison below.