Jaeger, Hardy Safely Into Finals; Aussie Women Dominate Medley Prelims

  58 Braden Keith | August 03rd, 2012 | Featured, London 2012 Olympics, News, Previews & Recaps

Day 7 of the meet has just two individual races, the women’s 50 free prelims and the men’s 1500, the latter of which will go along with both medley relays as prelims that won’t be swum until tomorrow night’s finals session. China’s Sun Yang probably won’t be going for any records in the heats, but this could set up for more World Record breaking performances in the longest event on the pool-swimming schedule.

Live video.
Full Results (PDF with relay splits).

Women’s 50 Free – Prelims

The Dutch women have finally gotten on form, with Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.51) and Marleen Veldhuis (24.57) taking the top two seeds coming out of the prelims of the women’s 50 free. The whole of the difference between the two can be credited to the blocks, where Kromowidjojo, already with a 100 free gold medal in her bag, was .06 seconds quicker in reacting.

Close behind was the home country’s Fran Halsall in 24.61. She will be leading a group of women in this race who have been disappointing in their results, but looking for redemption in the form of a medal in the all-out, pure-speed 50 freestyle. That includes Germany’s World Record holder Britta Steffen as the 4th seed (24.70).

Sweden’s Therese Alshammar in her first action of the meet after a pinched nerve scratched her from the rest of her races looked well in the 6th seed in 24.70. Cate Campbell looked great after having to scratch the 100 free with a 24.94 for 10th, tied with Sarah Sjostrom who seems to have missed her taper. Cate’s sister Bronte will be one spot ahead in 24.87.

American Jessica Hardy is the 12th seed in 24.99, with the biggest surprise coming from 19-year old French teenager Anna Santamans to grab the 15th seed in 25.23. Despite being 25.2 or better at three different meets this year, she’s really flown under the radar.

Perhaps the best race of the 50 free prelims, though, will be a three-way swim-off for a single spot between Iceland’s Sarah Bateman, American Kara Lynn Joyce, and Britain’s Amy Smith. Those are three big-name swimmers who, after the session, will be gunning for another individual swim this evening. The trick is that Bateman (an American citizen trained at the University of Florida) and Smith are both signed up for prelims spots on their respective medley relays. That should give Joyce a decided advantage, as she’ll be quite a bit more rested and prepared for this swimoff.

Update: Britain’s Amy Smith, despite coming straight off of a medley relay, improved her time with a 24.82 to win the swimoff. It’s hard to beat a swimmer in a swim-off in front of her home crowd at the Olympics. Joyce was 2nd in 25.12, and Bateman 3rd in 26.03.

Men’s 1500 Free – Prelims

China’s Sun Yang was a fairly big favorite coming into this men’s 1500 free, and after the prelim looks to be even moreso. He swam a 14:43.25 without breaking a sweat. He actually put a big negative-split into this race, going out in 7:22.4, coming home in 7:20.8. This mark was about 5 seconds faster than he was in prelims at Worlds to take the top seed, and as he got faster his stroke rate seemed to slow. Count on a World Record in this final.

Leading the battle for silver will be Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli in 14:46.23. I think he may have pushed a bit harder than he would have liked, swimming next to Yang, but he easily negative-split the race as well. If there were a swimmer who could pull off the huge upset, it would be Mellouli. He’s swum spectacularly the last two months or so, and is dangerous.

Canadian Ryan Cochrane is the 3rd seed in 14:49.31, followed by Gregorio Paltrinieri in 14:50.31. Paltrinieri leads an underrated Italian distance group that a bit disappointingly will have only one finalist in this event.

Britain’s Daniel Fogg qualified 5th in 14:56.12, followed by Park Tae-Hwan (14:56.89), Connor Jaeger (14:57.56), and Mateusz Sawrymowicz (14:57.69). American Andrew Gemmell didn’t turn his speed on soon enough, and was 9th in 14:59.05.

There were a few big names out of this final, there always is in a distance race, but Hungary’s Gergo Kis in only a 15:21 was the biggest shock. This may have also been the end of the career for Britain’s David Davies, one of their biggest swimming legends of the last 20 years with two Olympic medals to his name.

Women’s 400 Medley Relay – Prelims

The Australian women have been known to put up a near-top relay in prelims, though rarely have they done it with this much success. The quartet of Emily SeebohmLeisel JonesAlicia Coutts, and Brittany Elmslie swam a 3:55.42 to take the top seed in a time better than they were at Worlds last year. The first three legs should be the same in finals, with just a swap of freestylers at the end.

1. Seebohm 58.57
2. Jones 1:05.96
3. Coutts 57.45
4. Elmslie 53.44

As good as that Aussie relay was, it’s hard to envision them getting a whole lot better in finals. That would seem to leave them still behind the Americans, though the Americans weren’t great in prelims with a 3:58.88 for 4th. They’ll make wholesale changes before finals, with the freestyle leg the only one left up in the air. Most importantly, this was a huge experience opportunity for a group of 4 first-time Olympians who could all play even more vital relay roles in 2016.

1. Rachel Bootsma 59.70
2. Breeja Larson 1:06.66
3, Claire Donahue 58.05
4. Jessica Hardy 54.43

In between those two squads, clearly the favorites, were Japan in 3:57.87 and Denmark in 3:58.35. Neither team will have big lineup changes for finals, but the Japanese will have big opportunities to make up some ground with better swims. Jeanette Ottesen from Denmark swam a 56.6 to lead that squad.

The rest of the final will be made up of the Netherlands, Great Britain, China, and Russia.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Prelims

The American men looked solid in this 400 medley preliminary round, though they will make a four-swimmer swap. The group of Nick ThomanEric ShanteauTyler McGill, and Culen Jones will be in lane 4 in the final with a 3:32.65. When looking at the potential finals relay, the Americans will go with the gold medalist in the backstroke (Grevers), the bronze medalist in the breaststroke (Hansen), likely the gold medalist in the butterfly (Phelps), and the gold medalist in the freestyle (Adrian). There would have to be something more than just a “bad swim” for that relay to get beat.

1. Thoman 53.31
2. Shanteau 59.69
3. McGill 51.53
4. Jones 48.12

The British men stunned by winning the first heat in 3:33.44 for the 2nd overall seed. Their breaststrokers have stepped up throughout this meet, and that was their advantage again in this prelim with Craig Benson swimming a 59.68 to pull them into the lead. Based on what we saw last year, they’ll need to drop another second in finals to find the podium, with that difference having to come from bookends Liam Tancock (53.98) and Adam Brown (48.22).

The 3rd seed is Japan in 3:33.64, who as expected used Takeshi Matsuda on the fly leg and Takuro Fujii on the freestyle. Fujii anchored in just 49.00 and should be better in the final. Close behind them was Australia in 3:33.73, anchored by Tommaso D’Orsogna in 47.59, his second great relay swim of this meet. They have a few changes to make before finals. The Dutch (3:33.78), Worlds bronze medalists Germany (3:34.28), Hungary (3:34.44), and Canada (3:34.46).

Three teams (New Zealand, France, and China) missed by less than two-tenths, but the most disappointing will be the French. That’s the second straight year that they’ve missed this final, and this year they’ve done it even with an A-relay in prelims. With Camille Lacourt leading off in only 53.63 and Yannick Agnel anchoring in 48.77, the French didn’t take this prelims swim seriously at all and it cost them. What’s worse is that they wasted a 1:00.03 from Giacomo Perez-Dortona, which is about as good as they could’ve hoped for from him. Russia also missed the final, meaning their only finals relay swim at this meet was a bronze in the 400 free relay.

In This Story

Comments

  1. DanJohnRob says:
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    I’m exhausted from all these early mornings on the east coast, but sad this will be our last prelim session for the London Olympics! Thanks again for waking up with me Braden! Thanks also for the video recap with Garrett last night; I really get a lot out of those. Go USA!

  2. bro says:
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    when will the swimoff be?

  3. DanJohnRob says:
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    I think the swim-off is at the end of this session. Hardy didn’t look too sharp, but she did break 25 secs. I hope Joyce wins the swim-off, but I suppose even if she doesn’t she will have had a second swim at the London Olympics, so not too bad! LOL!

  4. Kirt says:
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    Kis looks to be out of the final.

  5. DanJohnRob says:
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    It looks like Jaeger may be in trouble. I doubt 4 men from this heat will make final!

  6. Philip Johnson says:
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    were any Olympic records broken so far?

  7. DanJohnRob says:
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    I hope Gemmel isn’t going to be a victim of our late OT like Zeigler!

  8. Kirt says:
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    Park was just gaming Jaeger. 56 final 100.

  9. DanJohnRob says:
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    The commentators on th NBC “streaming” video jus said that Gemmel isn’t going to break 15 mins at his pace.

  10. Philip Johnson says:
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    Jaeger in final, the only American.

  11. DanJohnRob says:
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    Well, at least Jaeger will be there to represent the USA!

  12. DanJohnRob says:
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    Manadou continues to disappoint this Olympics! No France in 400 MR final. Germany is on the Bubble I think.

  13. DanJohnRob says:
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    Damn! USA gets beaten by Denmark in relay heats! I hope that ends any hope of Hardy swimming anchor for our 400 MR!!!

  14. DanJohnRob says:
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    Exciting heat 1 for the men! Despite Tancock tanking GB wins. Hayden may have single-handedly gotten Canada in. Netherlands and Canada beat Brazil!

  15. Philip Johnson says:
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    Brazil last place, i guess putting in Cielo wouldn’t of mattered.

  16. DanJohnRob says:
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    China and Russia and Brazil probably OUT of final!!! Wasn’t Cielo supposed to anchor Brazil into final?

  17. Philip Johnson says:
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    CHN being out of final isn’t a surprise but Russia is.

    • aswimfan says:
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      The biggest surprise is France out of final.

      They also failed to final last year, Gilot swimming horribly, and now Agnel’s turn to swim badly.

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    Agnel was 2 seconds slower anchoring that medley than he was in the 400 relay. Balls.

  19. DanJohnRob says:
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    My computer just died! Who made the 400 MR finals?!

  20. Jg says:
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    Brits just snuck in .That would have been a downer .

    Quite a few teams had 3/4 of their main team including Australia.

    Another 58.5 fr Seebohm & sub 66 for Liesel !

    Hoping for a goodbye medal number 9 for Liesel . Imagine the relief after 12 long years !

  21. Kirt says:
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    Most of the men were very slow relative to their individual swims. Hayden was right on his (despite relay start) and lifted his team to the final. Glenn Snyders was 59.00 for NZ, but they miss the final by .06.

  22. Kirt says:
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    If South Africa had anchored with Louw the would probably be in. Instead they use Shankland.

  23. DanJohnRob says:
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    Great job by Bootsma! I wish she could have done that in the semi’s of 100 back. At least she ends her Olympic experience on a good note. I’m actually glad to see that Larson didn’t swim crazy good; I was under the impression that the “errant buzzer” during the 100 breast final cost her a medal, but maybe not. Hardy barely broke 55 if you adjust for relay take-off!

    • Philip Johnson says:
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      yup Hardy blew it big time. not trying to call her out or anything, but not really a surprise if you look at her history.

    • Jg says:
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      What is so good with a 59.7? By todays standard that is pedestrian. 58 imid is the new black.

      • DanJohnRob says:
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        It’s not “so great”, but she didn’t break a minute in her semi, so… Other than Franklin she’s been the only US woman to break 1 min with any consistency this year.

  24. Ole 99 says:
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    Kitajima swam prelims for Japan (59.47). Is he done or are they not subing him out?

  25. wannaswim says:
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    I would say that South Africa messed that one up. Didn’t they do something similar recently.
    Louw would have been 1+ seconds faster as would have Darian T.

  26. PsychoDad says:
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    Wait, how come Soni lost 100 breast but won 200 breast. Wasn’t Dave Salo supposed to be sprinters coach. This does not make sense? How bad has London been for Dave Salo image?

    • ChestRockwell says:
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      He just had a woman qualify for the Men’s Olympic Trials in the 200 breast, break a world record and successfully defend her Olympic Gold Medal – I’d say its been pretty damn good for his image.

  27. Dan says:
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    American women looked sluggish in the relay. All of them. Most, maybe all of them, added time vs. their flat starts.

    KLJ added almost half a second from her trials time in the 50. The US really needs someone to step up in the women’s 50 now that Torres is gone. Hardy isn’t the one.

    The American men looked very solid. The “A” lineup should make the USA proud tomorrow.

  28. cynthia curran says:
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    Well, Hardy would be great if the olympics had a 50 breaststroke like worlds.

  29. Brian says:
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    I’m not calling any athlete from the US out on their performance until we start having more time between trials and the Olympics.

    The reason they had it so close this year, even closer than usual, is that NBC wanted more viewership and money from having the Olympics fresh in the minds of the public when it aired. USA Swimming bowed to their demands.

    Unfortunately, nothing is going to change until our governing body grows a spine and does what’s best for the athletes first, or until the team has a real god awful, flat Olympic meet.

    • Dan says:
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      Although I have long had my doubts about the timing of US trials, USA swimmers have had very few bad swims in London. Relying on memory only, I’d say the only “slow” US swims were Weir, KLJ, and Phelps’ 400 IM. We have had great swims by Soni (!), Grevers, Franklin, Schmitt, Clary, Phelps, Lochte, PVK, Adrian (!), Dwyer, Thoman, Hansen, Hersey, and Jones. Solid but OK swims from Bootsma, Hardy, Adams, Larson, Shanteau. Compare to the countries with trials months ago – Australia, Sweden, France. Japan is swimming very well though Hoshi didn’t match her 2:04 200 fly from their trials. Australia is a disaster. And the spring super swimmers like Sjostrom and Muffat have not delivered.

    • ChestRockwell says:
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      “is that NBC wanted more viewership and money from having the Olympics fresh in the minds of the public when it aired. USA Swimming bowed to their demands.”

      do you have anything besides speculation to support this? If so, that is pretty bad.

      • PsychoDad says:
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        You first defended Dave Salo and now NBC. Unexcusable. However, if you are real Chest Rockwell I will forgive you.

        • ChestRockwell says:
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          Not sure how I defended NBC, I’m more curious to know if USA Swimming is really compromising the athletes performance for TV – it can’t be for ratings because NBC is totally blowing the coverage here. I know everyone made a big stink about Finals in the morning in Beijing but it ended up being extremely successful and not detrimental to performance. I’m legitimately curious if this is a conspiracy theory or if it has legs.

          Your suggestion that Salo’s reputation would be compromised by a few less than stellar performances demonstrates a huge bias since you didn’t ask the same questions about Greg Troy. Both coaches have been wildly successful in these games. Your name seems to be spot on, Psycho.

      • Brian says:
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        Yes. I have it on record from someone close to Trials when they were planning it in Omaha. I will not reveal any other information than that, but rest assured, it is not just mere speculation on my part.

        Plus, it fits with everything else we have witnessed. There is no conventional reasoning to have the Trials so close to the games. 2 weeks is nothing.

        Now, I’m not saying there should be an excessive amount of time, but there should at the least be 3-4 weeks between Trials and the Olympics, which allows for an extra week or so of hard work to break the taper, and then cycle in and get ready to go.

        • Brian says:
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          And actually, now that I look at it, the Trials in 2004 finished 4 weeks before the start of the Athens games.

          Beijing and London, where the Trials were televised on NBC, were approximately 3 weeks.

          Now, I might just be conspiracy nutting, but I don’t see any real reason for that, especially when 4 weeks would seem to be much more beneficial for hard training/ re-taper.

    • Aquaphobic says:
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      I completely disagree, the timing of the U.S. trials is an advantage. Foucs is very high training for trials just to make the team, then a wave of momentum is carried from trials to the olympics. Australial had trials a few months before the U.S. and they have had a lot of disappointing swims (“rocket” and “missile” missfiring). It is easy to go home after trials and be happy you made the olympics and kind of take a step back in training, with the U.S., it’s trials then straight into olympic camps where everyone is together working hard and rolling into the olympics. Which country has the most swimming medals? The U.S. Nough said.

      • Ole 99 says:
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        The only thing hurt by the timing of trials is the 800/1500 free. I think its easier to hold on to that level in the shorter races, not so much for the true distance events.

      • Ole 99 says:
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        Another point. I think most people complain about the time between trials and the olympics (not just this year either) because we expect everyone to have their best performance at trials (in order to get on the team), not necessarily at the games themself. With trials earlier, people can speculate how much faster the US swimmers will be after more training. Australia’s men’s team is showing us exactly why that isn’t the case.

        • evilwatersprite says:
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          Tactically, I think it would be better to separate the 800 and 1500 trials and move them up to the spring, allowing for a second buildup/taper and bring the swimmers back to trials for the team presentation and then send them on to camp with the others (like they do with the open-water qualifiers).

          Downside: Those poor folks would get even less media attention than they already do (i.e., , distance-only finals would be lucky to be shown on cable).

          A compromise might be to move those two races to the start of the trials to give the athlets another week of buildup/recovery but I’m not sure one week is enough.

          • john26 says:
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            What about people who swim both the distance and shorter events like pvk? They would need to triple taper in a year.

            The only one who would excel at this is Sun Yang who probably doesn’t have to taper for the long distance. Even still, I dont think this format would in anyway benefit him.

  30. Joel Lin says:
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    The men’s 1500m might be a tilt. Sun did look very smooth, but he always does. He has such an impossibly perfect stroke it is almost too difficult to guess how much of capacity he is using because the technique is so efficient. I also cannot help but look back at 2008 when Grant Hackett swam what looked to be a less than capacity 14:38 in prelims, and then came back for 14:41 the next evening.

    If Sun did leave a lot on the table and will press below 14:34, then I would concur he is going to be out there alone. But if this race comes in at 14:37 to 14:40, Ous can do that. It might be a more exciting race than many expect.

    • HKswimmer says:
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      I think it would be nice to bear in mind that even Sun’s Chinese coaches (not just Cotterell) were saying that they expected Sun to have the capacity to go sub 14:30. The Chinese aren’t known for hyping things up, and Sun has definitely not disappointed so far. He wasn’t particularly happy with his 200m (and probably tired) but still got a silver. For this 1500 he’s had 2 days to rest and he’s coming in with massive confidence because this is his event if anything. I think we’ll see something special.

    • john26 says:
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      Ous’ best swims 14:37 in X-glide and 14:40 in lzr both equate to swims in the 14:43-14:45 range. Even though he did not look too taxed in the prelims, I still feel it would be a huge achievement to swim a better race than he did four years ago.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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