olympics aaargh

Day One: DQs, WRs, Chinese awesomeness

Thoughts on yesterday:

- Interesting to hear than Fran wasn’t expecting much from her 100 fly swim. Apparently her timing hasn’t been great in training so she was just going ‘hit and hope’. DUDE it is the OLYMPICS I’m sure Jemma Lowe would have loved to take that spot instead.

- Sun Yang is SUCH A DUDE. The way he walked out onto poolside was almost Lochte-esque, so chilled. He swam a perfect tactical race and his underwater technique has got even better. Shame about the glide in! The only way Park was going to win was to out-tactic Sun (like at Worlds last year), and there was absolutely nothing he could do, DQ-distractions were besides the point.

- Batshit swim from Ye Shiwen, obviously. 28.9 last length is absolutely ridiculous but not really that surprising after last year’s worlds. Ye has clearly worked hard on her stamina and her front half. If she can improve her breaststroke and her dreadful turns then we could see another second off that WR.

- Little surprised that Phelps didn’t get a medal, but it was always going to be Lochte to win. Expect him to get another 4 golds promptly.

- Looking forward to the 100 fly tonight! Vollmer and Sjoestrom to both go under 56 maybe? Also I hope Kitajima wins the Men’s 100m Alex Dale Oen Memorial BraekHaerts Breastroke for everyone, and that Cameron van der Burgh gets silver. The end.

Rio predictions

OMG the Olympics are mere DAYS away! I’d better get my predictions down, hadn’t I?


Before I start I should mention that I am not including any Russian swimmers for obvious reasons.

WOMEN

50 free: B Campbell, Halsall, C Campbell
100 free: C Campbell, Sjostrom, Kromowidjojo
200 free: Ledecky, Pellegrini, McKeon
400 free: Ledecky, Kapas, Smith
800 free: Ledecky, Ashwood, Kapas
100 fly: Sjostrom, Oleksiak, Worrell
200 fly: Belmonte, Hentke, Groves
100 back: Seebohm, Fu, Nielsen
200 back: Hosszu, Seebohm, Hocking
100 breast: King, Meilutyte, Meili
200 breast: Gunes, Pedersen, Kaneto
200 IM: Hosszu, O'Connor, Teramura
400 IM: Hosszu, Belmonte, DiRado

4x100 free: Australia, Netherlands, Sweden
4x200 free: US, China, Australia
4x100 medley: Australia, US, China

NOTES:
- Hosszu will not let anyone beat her this time, in any event she swims. The 200IM/400IM combo is almost as good a lock as any of Ledecky’s events. I think she’ll scratch the 200 fly to concentrate on the (clashing) 200IM and 4x200. The 100 back final clashes with the 200IM semi but I think she’ll probably decide whether or not to scratch after heats, once Seebohm and co have shown their cards. If she does swim it, you’ll have to assume she’s in the medals.
- Belmonte always brings it at big events, but unlike the 200fly, a 400IM medal needs her to be fully fit. If she’s not 100% then I’d bump up Miley to bronze.
- Ledecky aside, it doesn’t look like a stellar meet for the US women. It seems mad that they are extremely unlikely to medal in the 4x100 free. I could have easily put DiRado in for a 200IM medal instead of Teramura though, and the backstrokers are absolutely in with a shout - you’d be a fool to write off Missy Franklin.
- I’ve been less than optimistic about GBR medals, too. Jazz could certain sneak one in the 400 or 800 but Siobhan and Fran have better chances in my opinion. It’ll be fun to see if Aimee Willmott can manage to make the final in the 200fly (a relatively weak field compared to past Olympic cycles, hence a partially-fit Mireia could sneak it) and how Molly and Chloe will do in the 200 breast. To be honest I think 1 medal from the GB women will be a good showing, 2-3 would be outstanding. I think the dudes will do better though!
- I think Lily and Ruta will be a very close battle for 100br gold, with the rest a little way behind. For the bronze you could sub in any of Jennie Johansson, Alia Atkinson, Shi Jinglin, Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir, Moniek Nijhuis, Kanako Watanabe…
- And behind Sjostrom in the 100 fly, you could sub in young Rikako Ikee, Jeanette Ottesen, Emma McKeon or Chen Xinyi for my silver and bronze picks.
- As usual it’s very difficult to predict how the Chinese women will do. Ye seems unlikely to repeat her 2012 golds, and the rest of the team is pretty inexperienced apart from Fu Yuanhui, Shi Jinglin and ‘old hand’ Shen Duo (how is Shen still only 19?!).
- OLD WOMAN CREW: unlikely to medal but I’d be delighted to see Alshammar (50fr), Coventry (100/200bk) and Dekker (50free/100fly) make a final and be in the mix.
- 2 WRs for Ledecky? Or 3? I think the 400 WR is on notice, as is the 4x200. The 800 is at the end of a busy week, but that’s never stopped her in the past…


MEN

50 free: Govorov, Manaudou, Ervin
100 free: McEvoy, Adrian, Stravius
200 free: Dwyer, Hagino, Guy
400 free: Horton, Sun, Guy
1500 free: Paltrinieri, Jaeger, Cochrane
100 fly: Phelps, Cseh, Schooling
200 fly: Phelps, Seto, Le Clos
100 back: Murphy, Larkin, Plummer
200 back: Larkin, Xu, Murphy
100 breast: Peaty, van der Burgh, Cordes
200 breast: Koch, Koseki, Prenot
200 IM: Phelps, Lochte, Hagino
400 IM: Hagino, Kalisz, Seto

4x100 free: Australia, Brazil, France
4x200 free: US, Japan, GB
4x100 medley: US, Australia, Japan

NOTES
- Phelps being 100% fit and committed is a scary prospect. Not quite as much of a lock as Ledecky, but I can’t see getting long odds on any of his wins. Unlike the US women, the US dudes are still a dominant force in world swimming in most of the events.
- Schooling is obviously a wildcard bronze pick, but that’s what men’s Olympic butterfly is all about, right?
- I think Fratus might bottle it in front of the home crowd. In 2012 I picked Manadou so I’m going to plump for another 'outsider’ this time: Andriy looked superb at Europeans so he gets my vote.
- It’s safe to say I am Uncertain about my relay picks (apart from US winning 4x200 and the medley). Japan seem as good a pick as any. Aus have had their problems in the past, France have their problems NOW, China are now missing a breaststroker, god knows if Italy can find a fourth sprinter etc.
- Peaty!! I am very psyched and also very glad there is a big buffer time-wise between him and the rest of the world. No matter how focused he’s been in the past, the Olympics is always different mental ball game, Brian.
- Two medals for Guy… doesn’t seem unrealistic? The competition is tough, but Jimmy swam fantastically fast in Glasgow in relatively shit conditions and he’s still young enough to be able to drop more time - mosquito baths and late nights won’t stop him getting PBs (he’ll need them). I think the relay guys will step up too, and put to bed all the criticisms over the team selection. It might not be enough for a medal though.
- I do not enjoy putting Sun anywhere in this list. But at least he seems beatable now in a way that he didn’t in 2012. Could it be that his weak heart is finally giving him some trouble?
- OLD DUDES WATCH: could Irie nab a backstroke medal? I’d love for Cseh to get a gold but looking at Phelps you’d have to give his chances a 'hmm’ verdict. Will Thomas Fraser Holmes finally show up to a major championship? Will Biedermann finally break his WR? (No, he won’t.) Will Ryan Cochrane ever get a major gold medal? Sigh.
- AAARGH I AM EXCITED! Caffeine-enriched drinks at the ready!

Cutting it a bit fine, aren’t we Michael?

Excellent swims from the GB breaststrokers this morning, solid but unspectacular swims from Fran and Ellen, heart-attack inducing swims from the 4x100 free girls oooof my hangover could NOT deal with that one…