MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE: 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW
- Day 6, Fri August 7th
- 2013 World Champion: Daniel Gyurta, HUN – 2:07.23 (Race Video Above)
- 2013 Silver Medalist: Marco Koch, GER – 2:08.54
- 2013 Bronze Medalist: Matti Mattsson, FIN – 2:08.95
What do the 2009 World Championships, 2010 European Championships, 2011 World Championships, 2012 Olympics Games and 2013 World Championships all have in common? The answer is Hungarian Daniel Gyurta has stood atop of the podium at each of these events.
In fact Gyurta has not lost at a major international competition since finishing fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games
He did not compete in the 200 breaststroke at the European Championships due to some complications in his preparation for Berlin. Gyurta and his coach, Laszlo Kiss, both came to the same conclusion, focus on the 100 breaststroke and the relay at the European Championships and refocus their efforts on the 200 breaststroke heading into the World Short Course Championships.
Their strategy for the getting the most out of Gyurta in the short course pool worked as he took the gold in Doha recording a 2:01.49.
The Hungarian finished last season ranked eighth in the world with a time of 2:08.72 and has a lifetime best of 2:07.23, which is a European record and the fastest in the field coming into Kazan.
Gyurta has always found his way to the top of the podium in this event at major competitions and in Kazan seeing earn the gold again is a good bet.
Japanese athletes are no stranger to success in this event. Kosuke Kitajima took gold at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, Akihiro Yamaguchi currently holds the world record and Ryo Tateishi collected the bronze at the 2012 Olympics.
23-year old Yasuhiro Koseki is fast becoming one of the best swimmers in the world, which showed in his performances at the Pan Pacific Championships last summer where he won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
Koseki also went from a lifetime best of 2:11.84 in 2013 to a 2:07.77, which he posted earlier this year.
With the confidence he has gained from both his medal winning performances and the improvement he has made in the event Koseki will be going into Kazan with the strong belief that he can challenge for gold.
At the 2012 Olympics Tateishi posted a best time of 2:08.29 since that performance he was not able to get back under the 2:10 mark until this year when he recorded a 2:09.54.
After a stretch of poor performances Tateishi is searching for the path back onto the podium. He will be able to use his experience from London to give himself a chance to walk away from Kazan with another piece of hardware.
The depth that British Swimming has developed in this event has been impressive. The competition has gotten so tight that the Commonwealth Games gold medalist Ross Murdoch and Olympic Games silver medalist Michael Jamieson did not qualify to swim the event in Kazan.
Adam Peaty is one of the men who will be representing Great Britain in Kazan. Peaty is known for his sprinting abilities, setting new world records in both the 50 and 100 breaststroke in this past year.
One thing that has been evident is that he has put more focus on the longer event going from a 2:11.07 in 2013 to a 2:08.34 this year. With his quickness combined with the development of his endurance Peaty will have as good a chance as any to take home some hardware in this event.
The second man to represent Great Britain in this event is Andrew Willis who finished second to Peaty at the British Championships in April recording a time of 2:08.59. Willis has a lifetime best of 2:08.47 which he posted at the 2012 Olympic Games where he finished eighth.
At the Commonwealth Games last summer Willis collected the bronze finishing behind Murdoch and Jamieson.
Willis will have to find a way to better his Olympic performance if he wants to be in contention for a medal.
German Marco Koch finished second to Gyurta in 2013 and won the European Championships last summer in a time of 2:07.47. His time was a lifetime best and a new German national record.
Koch’s previous best was a 2:08.23, which he recorded in the shiny suit era.
Coming into the 2014 season his textile best was a 2:08.54, which was the time that he posted to win the silver at the World Championships in Barcelona.
Koch is another athlete who has had performances over the last year that will give him a huge amount of confidence going into Kazan.
Nic Fink and Kevin Cordes will be the two Americans in the field.
In 2014 Fink took a big chunk of time off his lifetime best winning the silver at Pan Pacific Championships in a time of 2:08.94. Coming into the 2014 season he had a lifetime best of 2:10.12.
Other than at Pan Pacs Fink has experienced his greatest amount of success on both the collegiate and international stage in the 100 meter distance.
Cordes finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke at the 2013 World Championships and the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. His fortunes in the 200 breaststroke could have better at the Pan Pacific Championships where he qualified for the final with the second fastest time the prelims.
He did not swim the final scratching the event to focus on the medley relay which was on the same evening.
Both American swimmers will have to see significant improvement in this event to challenge for a medal and possibly need to the same to qualify for the final.
Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakstan had an incredible performance at the 2014 Asian Games winning the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke. In the 200 breaststroke the 20 year old dropped almost six seconds off the time he started the year with improving his lifetime best from a 2:13.53 to a 2:07.67.
At the World University Games earlier this month Balandin won the gold in the 100 breaststroke, bronze in the 50 breaststroke and finished seventh in the 200 breaststroke.
He has a season’s best of 2:11.34. Balandin will once again have to peak at the right time to advance to the final.
At the Russian National Championships Ilya Khomenko posted a time of 2:08.96. Khomenko is another swimmer who has improved a great deal over the past two years entering the 2014 season with a lifetime best time of 2:13.56.
Khomenko won the 100 breaststroke at the 2013 World Junior Championships and made the European Championships final last summer finishing in fifth place.
Giedrius Titenis of Lithuania posted his lifetime best of 2:07.80 at the 2009 World Championships where he tied Christian Sprenger for the bronze. Titenis finished seventh at the 2011 World Championships, then went on to miss the finals at both 2012 Olympics and the 2013 World Championships.
Titenis not only made his return to the top eight at the European Championships in Berlin, but he also found his way back onto the podium where he grabbed the bronze in a textile best of 2:08.93.
- Daniel Gyurta, HUN – 2:06.87 WR
- Yasuhiro Koeski, JPN – 2:07.38
- Marco Koch, GER – 2:07.52
- Adam Peaty, GBR – 2:07.54
- Giedrius Titenis, LTU – 2:07.80
- Nic Fink, USA – 2:07.88
- Dmitriy Balandin, KAZ – 2:07.91
- Kevin Cordes, USA – 2:07.96
Dark Horse – Ilya Khomenko, RUS – 2:08.14
SCHEDULE (POOL SWIMMING STARTS ON DAY 9)
SWIMMING FINALS SCHEDULE:
Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)
Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)
Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)
Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)
Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)
- M 200 IM
- M 100 Free
- W 200 Fly
- W 50 Back
- W 4×200 Free Relay
Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)
Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)
Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)