Three big names have been bouncing around this year in the men’s 200 breaststroke as the big medal favorites. The Olympic Champion and last World Record holder Daniel Gyurta from Hungary; the current World Record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi from Japan; and one who many presume to be the future World Record holder Kevin Cordes from the United States.
But on day three of the 2013 British World Championship Trials, the Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson reminded the new-comers that he is, in fact, the Olympic silver medalist as he leapt to the top of the World Rankings with a 2:07.78 in finals.
As the buzz surrounding his swim, a fairly evenly-split controversy arose in the battle for second place. Andrew Willis took 2nd in the race in 2:08.59, while Rob Holderness was 3rd in 2:10.61. The challenge came in that Willis was disqualified in the semi-finals and then reinstated into the final. They let all 9 swimmers go in the finals of that race, but Holderness was probably cost a shot at Worlds by the decision to reinstate Willis.
Now, though, as the Brits sit with two of the three fastest in the world in the race headed for Barcelona, most of the elite ranks who commented publicly seemed to feel in favor of the need to have Willis on the roster, given the spectacular time. Both he and Holderness are about the same age.
Craig Benson took 4th in 2:11.21, another young, talented 200 breaststroker.
It was a spectacular finals session in Pond’s Forge, as 18-year old Ben Proud continued his impressive run at this meet breaking Mark Foster’s record of 23.51 that was set in 2003.
Proud, who was a 22.0 in the 50 free earlier in the meet, didn’t just break Foster’s record; he crushed Foster’s record with a 23.10. More signs that the British men’s contingent is rapidly rising in depth to match the women.
Scottish sub-national Robbie Renwick won the men’s 200 free in 1:46.63, which leaves him just outside of the world’s top 10. Behind him was a run of six 1:48’s led by Ieuan Lloyd in 1:48.05. None of those 6 hit Britain’s qualifying standard for an individual swim, but after placing 6th in the 800 free relay in the Olympics, they’ll look to bring another strong relay again this season.
In women’s finals, Jazmin Carlin was again the star of the show, as she swam a 15:47.26 in the women’s 1500 free. That’s the best time in the world by 14 seconds, easily destroys Keri-Anne Payne’s British Record (by 19 seconds), and establishes her as a contender, if not favorite, in the event for Worlds in a month.
Eleanor Faulkner won the women’s 200 in 1:58.42, followed by Rebecca Turner in 1:58.88. Neither made the individual cut for Worlds, but they’ll likely be part of the 800 free relay.
The only other women’s final on the day was in the sprint 50 breaststroke, where Stacy Tadd came from a 3rd-place seed out of the semi-finals to wni in 31.75, just .02 ahead of Kathryn Johnstone and another tenth ahead of 16-year old Sophie Taylor.
In the only men’s sprint final of the day, Marco Loughran won another nail biter in 25.03, .01 seconds ahead of Liam Tancock. Both swimmers were under the World Championship qualifying standard, but as they head toward the self-imposed roster limit of 30 swimmers, that’s Tancock’s only qualification, in a non-Olympic event, and he was only 2nd. That’s not a position either he or British Swimming probably wanted to be in as the defending World Champion in the 50 back.
Among top semi-final swims was a pair of 1:59.8’s in the 200 IM from Dan Wallace and Roberto Pavoni. The two swim very different races, with Pavoni being very much a front-half swimmer and Wallace being very much a back-half swimmer.
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor took the top seed in the women’s race in 2:12.27, but Aimee Willmott, Sophie Allen, Hannah Miley, and a handful of other very highly-rated swimmers are lurking behind her.
Jemma Lowe and a relative newcomer Rachael Kelly were both 58’s atop the women’s 100 fly semi-final.