Going To Glasgow: Litchfield May Lead British Surge In Men’s IM Events

2019 LEN EUROPEAN SHORT COURSE CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Wednesday, December 4th – Sunday, December 8th
  • Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Glasgow, Scotland
  • SCM
  • Entry List

Although Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu rules the women’s IM events, there is no singular, clear-cut swimmer vying to make a sweep of the individual medley events on the men’s side at this week’s European Short Course Championships. For every man who appears to have what it takes to top the podium, there are at least 3 or 4 more ready to pounce when the time is right to bring home the gold from Glasgow.

MEN’S 100 IM

At the 2017 edition of the European Short Course Championships, Italian dynamo Marco Orsi got his hands on the wall first in a time of 51.76 to take 100 IM gold. He led a trio of sub-52 second swimmers, with Russia’s Sergei Fesikov next in line with a silver medal-worthy mark of 51.94. Dutchman Kyle Stolk also landed on the podium with his time of 51.99 for bronze.

28-year-old Orsi will appear once again in this fast and furious event, but he’s seeded behind young gun Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia. Kolesnikov is the reigning Short Course World Champion in the 100m IM, having beaten Orsi last year in Hangzhou, China. The Russian stopped the clock in 50.63 to finish just under half a second ahead of Orsi’s outing of 51.03. Fesikov was also in that race, finishing 5th overall.

Norway’s Markus Lie could try to add some chaos to the mix this time around, as the national record holder carries a seed time of 52.12, his own Norwegian mark notched in Hangzhou last year.

Israel’s Yakov Toumarkin and Austria’s Bernhard Reitshammer each had a minor medal within reach 2 years ago in Copenhagen and will look to upgrade their respective 5th and 6th place finishes from 2017 to a hardware-earning positions here in Glasgow.

Finally, relay hero from Gwangju, Duncan Scott of Great Britain, lurks as the 15th seed with a time of 53.21. He’d need to drop a load of time to make it into the final, but the 22-year-old has proven his versatility across several events under the bright lights and just might make it happen.

Predicted Top 3 Finishers in Men’s 100 IM

  1. Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS
  2. Marco Orsi, ITA
  3. Sergei Fesikov, RUS

MEN’S 200 IM

Greek swimmer Andreas Vazaios is sitting atop the rankings in this men’s 200m IM heading into Glasgow, but a British-based swimmer in Max Litchfield is primed to rival for the top spot.

Vasaios took silver in this event 2 years ago in Copenhagen, with Germany’s Philip Heintz having reaped gold last time around. Norway’s weapon Tomoe Hvas was the bronze medalist in 2017 and enters Glasgow as the 5th-seeded swimmer. Both Heintz and Hvas are within striking distance of Vazaios’ top time of 1:52.95, the only mark of the field under 1:53.

As for Heintz, the 28-year-old owns a personal best of 1:51.92, a result collected in 2016, so we know of what the German is capable. But at the same time, Heintz quickest of 2019 rests at the 1:54.67 notched at the ISL meet this fall. He’ll most likely need to be much swifter than that to land on the podium again.

Multi-Youth Olympic Games medalist Thomas Ceccon of Italy has been on a hot streak, taking the 50m and 100m backstroke gold medals in Kazan this year at the European Junior Championships. He was set to swim this 200m IM event in Gwangju but focused on the backstroke instead. Nevertheless, he owns a personal best of 1:53.26, a time that puts the teen right in the mix.

Besides Olympic finalist in the 400m IM Litchfield, Scott once again lurks in this event, although he’s much closer to the top as the 4th-ranked swimmer. The man has selected this 200m IM and the 400m IM over the 200m fly he usually adds to his program.

Scott wowed the world this year by posting a monster LCM time of 1:56.65 in this 200 IM at the British Championships. That time fell just .01 outside Litchfield’s British national record and made Scott the 16th fastest performer of all-time. If he can translate that into the same type of performance in the short course arena, the slender sprinter can shake things up on the podium.

Relative newcomer Tom Dean, also of Great Britain, is well behind the leaders as the 14th seed, but the 19-year-old did some damage in this long course version of this event at this summer’s World Championships. Dean punched a lifetime best of 1:58.34 to place 11th. Before that, he was the 2018 European Junior Champion in the LCM edition of this men’s 200m IM.

Predicted Top 3 Finishers in Men’s 200 IM

  1. Andreas Vazaios, GRE
  2. Duncan Scott, GBR
  3. Max Litchfield, GBR

MEN’S 400 IM

Litchfield and Scott lead the men’s 400m IM with respective seed times of 4:00.18 and 4:04.55. Scott’s mark was produced most recently while representing London Roar on the International Swimming League (ISL) circuit. Prior to that performance, Scott’s personal best in this SCM 400 IM rested at the 4:06.00 he logged at the British Universities & Colleges Championships earlier that same month, meaning he dropped almost a full second and a half in just several weeks’ time.

If he brings his ‘A’ game, however, Loughborough’s Litchfield is far and away the frontrunner with his 4+ second advantage over the rest of the field. His entry mark represents the British national record in the event, a time he registered in 2018 at the Swim England Winter Championships.

Of note, the veteran raced this SCM event last month at the Leicester Open, producing a pedestrian time of 4:14.08 at the local meet.

The 2017 European Short Course Champion Peter Bernek of Hungary is back in this field, as is his teammate Gergely Gyurta. They both have shots at medaling in this event once again.

Bernek’s winning time from Copenhagen was 3:59.47, faster than Litchfield’s best. Like Litchfield, Bernek produced a modest 4:14.48 this year, competing in the ISL meet in Lewisville in October. Look for a tight battle to ensure between these two men, with Scott ready to rain on the parade come the final.

Predicted Top 3 Finishers in Men’s 400 IM

  1. Max Litchfield, GBR
  2. Peter Bernek, HUN
  3. Duncan Scott, GBR

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nuotofan

Imo, too conservative predictions. In the 400 Im 16 year-old Borodin is way stronger in LC, but I was very impressed watching his 4.04.9 victory (northeless his underpar turns) at recent Russian Nats. I think he could medal in these 400 Im.
In the 200 Im Heintz swam a 1.54.25 (his SB) at German Nats amidst a clear training (he was bearded): I think he will be on the podium in this event.

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