Australian Christian Sprenger is currently ranked number one in the world in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.05. In London Sprenger earned a silver in the event posting a lifetime best time of 58.93. He has plenty of international and success under his belt; swimming the event in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic games, winning the bronze in Rome at the 2009 World Championships, winning Pan Pacific gold in 2010 and winning Commonwealth silver in 2010.
Sprenger has gone under the one minute barrier four times this year. The first in January at the Billiton Super Series (59.75) then three times at the Australian trials (59.76, 59.31, 59.05). Going into the Olympics in 2012 his fastest time had been a 59.91, so he has shown that he can make huge drops from his in season times to when he is fully rested. He looks to be one top of his game and will be in contention for the top spot on the podium in Barcelona.
Sprenger has also shown great speed this year, currently ranked number one in the 50 he posted a 26.90 in April at the Australian Trials.
Hungarian Daniel Gyurta has had the most international success out of any swimmer in the top 10, all be it in the 200 breaststroke. Gyurta won Olympic silver in 2004 at the age of 15, gold at both the 2009 and 2011 World Championships as well as gold at the London Olympics.
Although he does not have as solid of a resume in the 100 he is currently ranked seventh in the world with a time of 1:00.12, which he posted in January, he finished sixth at the World Championships in 2011 and fourth in London with a lifetime best of 59.53. Heading into London the fastest time Gyurta had done was a 1:00.43, which he posted in January of 2012, seeing that he was able to than drop to a 59.53 when rested there is a likelihood that he may do the same in Barcelona. That combined with his international experience I give him a slight advantage over most of his competition.
American Kevin Cordes at 19 years old is the second youngest swimmer in the world’s top 10 with a time of 59.99, which he posted at the US Trials in June. Cordes has shown steady improvement in the event over the last three years:
- 2011 – 1:01.62
- 2012 – 1:00.47
- 2013 – 59.99
In the last year he had great success in both short yards, winning the NCAA Championships and short course meters, where he finished third at the World Championships, which was his first taste of top level international competition. Unlike any of his competitors Cordes is the only swimmer to rank in the top 10 in the 50 (8th – 27.38), the 100 (4th – 59.99) and the 200 (2nd – 2:08.34).
Italian Fabio Scozzoli is ranked second in the world in the event with a time of 59.77, which he posted in April at the Italian Nationals. Scozzoli finished seventh in London posting a time of 59.97, but did post a 59.44 in the semi final. In 2012 going into the Olympics his in season best had been a 59.95.
Scozzoli’s biggest successes on the international stage have been finishing second in Shanghai in a life time best of 59.42 and winning the 2012 World Short Course Championships in an Italian record time of 57.16.
19 year old Ross Murdoch of Great Britain is the youngest athlete in the world’s top 10 and has shown incredible improvement in the event in the last three years:
- 2011 – 1:06.01
- 2012 – 1:02.28
- 2013 – 59.80
He posted his lifetime best of 59.80 at the British Trials in June. This upstart world class athlete does not have any experience on the international stage, which may effect his performances when he is faced with the bright lights of the World Championships in Barcelona.
Michael Jamieson of Great Britain is currently ranked sixth in the world with a time of 1:00.06. Jamieson who is much more of a 200 specialist, is currently ranked number one in the wold with a 2:07.78 and was the Olympic silver medalist in the event in London. He failed to make the final in London in the 100 meter distance, but posted a lifetime best of 59.89 in the semi-finals.
Australian Brenton Rickard who is currently tied with Yaushir Koseki of Japan (who will not be competing in Barcelona finishing third at the Japanese Trials) for fifth in the world rankings with a time of 1:00.00 is the elder statesman in the field. Rickard has an impressive resume winning gold at the World Championships Rome in 2009, bronze at the World Championships in Melbourne 2007, bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, finishing fifth at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and sixth at the Olympics in London.
Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa is currently ranked 17th in the world with a time of 1:00.38, which he swam in June. van der Burgh has been battling injuries since the Olympics, first shoulder and then a knee injury at the Nilox Cup in July, which forced him to pull out of the French Open. After having the knee looked at by the South African medical staff it turned out to be bruising, since that point van der Burgh did confirm with Eye Witness News that he will compete in Barcelona.
Even at the ranking of 17th van der Burgh is only 26 one-hundredths of a second out of the top eight. With his knee injury turning out to only be bruising the Olympic champion has too much experience and pride not to put himself in the running to make the top eight.
Picks with best times since January 1, 2010:
- Christian Sprenger – 58.93
- Daniel Gyurta – 59.53
- Kevin Cordes – 59.99
- Fabio Scozzoli – 59.42
- Ross Murdoch – 59.80
- Michael Jamieson – 59.89
- Brenton Rickard – 59.50
- Cameron van der Burgh – 58.46