Round two (the timed-final, long course version) of Ian Thorpe’s comeback continued today in Italy with a 10th-place finish in the men’s 200 free.
The 2011 Italian Open Winter Long Course Championships wrapped up today, with a morning and evening session (but not prelims-finals), and Thorpe, swimming his first 200 long course free since returning from a 5-year retirement, posted a 1:51.22.
That’s about as good as his 100 was on the first day of competition, though I was expecting him to be a touch faster (1:50.00 or so). Last year, it took a 1:48.4 to place in the top 6 of this event among Australians, which means that he’d have another three seconds to drop to earn a relay spot in the 200 (he’s not even in the country’s top 20 right now). His target appears to continue to remain the 100 free.
In this 200, he went out pretty slow and had enough endurance to finish the race well.
So what did we learn out of this meet? Thorpe officially earned his Olympic Trials Qualifying times, which is more of a formality than anything else. He’s still experimenting with his race-pacing and almost seems unsure about his endurance (he’s closed his races much better than he’s opened them, and looked like he maybe had some gas left in the tank).
The next step for him will be swimming a prelims-finals, long course meet. Options might include the Rajkevik International in Iceland, the Euro 2012 meet in Luxembourg, or the Finnish National Championships. He’ll then probably head back to Australia in mid-March to adjust to the timezone (though I’m holding out hope that he might consider entering at the British Trials, which are an open Olympic test event).
The winner of the 200 free was Sebastiaan Verschuren in 1:48.20, followed by Filippo Magnini in 1:48.68.
Federica Pellegrini won the 400 free in 4:08.50. That’s about an expected time after her 200 yesterday.
After a bit of a weak 50 fly on day 1, Serbian Mike Cavic won the 100 fly in a more impressive 52.10. That’s his best time he’s done since the 2009 World Championships (also here in Italy), though he Tweeted afterwards that he felt he could’ve gone better had he earned a 2nd-swim (in a finals meet). He seems to be peaking again just at the right time for the Olympics.
The Netherlands’ Joeri Verlinden was 2nd in 52.43, and Slovenia’s Peter Mankoc was 3rd in 53.00.
In the men’s 50 free, 20-year old Lucio Spadaro upset Italy’s huge men’s sprint group to take the win in 22.20. That actually makes him the 3rd-fastest Italian this year, and he’s suddenly in the hunt to crack the Olympic roster. Relative to that 50, his 100 is not very good (he only goes a 50-point), so the young swimmer has a lot of endurance work to do to come up with a matching 100. By 2016, he’ll want to be in that 400 free relay, as the Italians will be in contention for an Olympic medal.
Luca Dotto was 2nd in 22.34, and George Bovell was 3rd in 22.44.
Erica Burotto won the women’s 100 free in 55.92, but a swimmer of interest was 14-year old Giorgia Biondani, who went sub-26 in the 50 earlier in the meet. Her 100 wasn’t as strong, as she was 22nd in 57.98.