MENS 200 FREESTYLE
The Men’s 200 metre freestyle event is one of the most talked about in swimming in 2016. Why? Because no one knows who’s going to win the coveted gold medal at the end of the season in Rio De Janeiro. The field is so open.
This 200 freestyle event in London then is a huge opportunity for the European stars to show the rest of the world, particularly the Americans and the Aussies, their intentions for the summer. To read more analysis check out Men’s 200 Freestyle: Most talked about event of 2016
SwimWords Podium Predictions: GOLD – Stepjanovic. SILVER – Guy. BRONZE – Ponthain
WOMENS 100 BREASTSTROKE
Ruta Meilutyte has dominated this event since her grand arrival onto the world stage in this very venue at the 2012 Olympic Games. Ruta, of Lithuanian descent, but based on British shores under the stewardship of Jon Rudd in Plymouth, has been gradually gathering speed towards Rio. Rita has incredible power off the start and tends not be caught thereafter.
Yuliya Efimova has provided tough competition in recent years but has now been found guilty of doping on two occasions and looks certain to retire in shame. She will not be competing in London.
Beyond the dominance of Ruta, we have an intriguing battle. There are a number of girls crowded around the 1.06/1.07 mark, including an exciting Italian prospect, Martina Carraro. Carrara chopped over a second from her previous lifetime best to book her ticket to Rio & could be a contender for a medal.
Watch out for Jessica Vall of Spain, World Championship medallist from Kazan and Danish 200m specialist Rikke Pedersen. Rikke, you may tell, has a very 200 metre orientated stroke. A much lower stroke rate than the sprint breaststrokers. The glide phase at the end of each stroke cycle really suits the longer event and she will challenging for the gold medal on Thursday alongside our very exciting British prospects; Chloe Tutton & Molly Renshaw. Chloe and Molly are likely to use this shorter event as a warm up also for later in the week.
SwimWord Podium Predictions: GOLD – Meilutyte, SILVER – Vall, BRONZE – Carrara
MENS 200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
The strength in the 200 medley tends to lie outside of Europe so this will be an exciting event. Laszlo Cseh, the 31 year old medley & butterfly legend must be favourite given his endless continental triumphs, although he faces a tough race from the German talent Phillip Heinz. Heinz, winner of German Championships just last week finished second to Cseh in this event at the European Championships in Berlin in 2014 and was just seven one-hundredths of a second behind.
The bronze medallist in that event, Roberto Pavoni, was unfortunately not selected this week. Roberto has been a stalwart of the British medley movement in recent years & will be devastated not to be adding to his collection of European medals.The nominated Brits in this event will be interesting. We have four swimmers capable of 1.58s & given the overall strength of this event, I suspect that could be enough to challenge for medals.
Ieuan Lloyd, returning to form after a few tough seasons, was originally selected to the team from his 6th place 200 Freestyle finish at the British Champs last month, but he also finished just behind Pavoni in the 200 Medley and should compete beyond the heats. Dan Wallace, who struggled for form at the British Champs, must count himself lucky that the selectors favoured him. He is capable of a podium finish in this event at his best but with the majority of the British team resuming high volume training this month, they may be suffering from fatigue.
Keep an eye on the talented Scotsman, Duncan Scott, another swimmer based in Stirling with Steve Tigg & Ben Higson. Duncan has the physiological template to become a world class swimmer in years to come and is starting to show his promise. He enjoys the big events and despite being in hard training, I would expect to see Duncan close to his lifetime bests this week. Will definitely feature in the Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay later in the week, his main focus leading into Rio.
SwimWords Podium Predictions: GOLD – Cseh SILVER – Cieslak BRONZE – Solaeche Gomez
WOMENS 100 FREESTYLE
This event is packed with major medal winners and experience, however, it hard to look beyond Sjoestroem who has been in ominous form this year. Femke Hemskerk will have something about this though as she is the top seeded swimmer going into this with a time of 52.69. Herasimenia, who served a short doping suspension in 2006, will not be battling for the medals this year. However Ottesen, Kromowijojo (Olympic Champions) and Bonnet will also feel like they have a huge chance to get that gold around their neck.
Unfortunately, GBR won’t have multiple European medallist Fran Halsall competing in the 100metre event. Halsall has proven herself to be world class over the years but finds her in an event packed with talent and experience, and therefore presumably wants to concentrate on the shorter distance.
In Fran’s place however we may see young Georgina Coates given an outing in this event, gaining experience before the 4×200 freestyle event, which she has been selected to compete in at Rio. Alongside her will be Target Tokyo prospects Harriet Cooper, Jessica Jackson and Lucy Hope.
SwimWords Podium Predictions: GOLD – Kromowidjojo SILVER – Heemskerk BRONZE – Sjoestroem
MIXED 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY
There are very mixed reviews on the inclusion of this event. It has been introduced in recent years to offer the first mixed race international swimming event & generate some excitement. The British quartet are current World Champions & World Record Holders. The British team are streets ahead of next fastest European nation, Germany. The German team have just finished their national championships however & will be continuing their taper.
The team from Russia are substantially weakened without Efimova, suspended for her doping violations.
SwimWords Podium Predictions: GOLD – RUS, SILVER – ITA, BRONZE – GBR
MENS 1500 FREESTYLE
Can anyone get close to Gregorio Paltrinieri? The current European and World champion has been dominant and consistently fast over the past few seasons. He is undoubtedly the favourite this week to retain his European crown. Perhaps closest challenge may come from his compatriot, Gabrielle Detti, who is fresh from a lifetime best swim in 14.46 at the Italian Championships last month.
Henrik Christiansen, currently European number three, swam a ten second lifetime best in Stockholm last month smashing the fifteen minute barrier for the first time, so will be full of confidence. Tim Shuttleworth, our exciting British prospect who trains with Kevin Renshaw in Loughborough, dropped a seismic twenty seconds from his personal best time a few weeks ago in Glasgow. This is his maiden senior international outing, but under Renshaw’s guidance, I’m sure we will see Tim enjoy the experience and look to progress through the rounds.
Stephen Milne will also represent GBR in this event. Stephen has amassed a great deal of experience in international finals in just a few short years but continues to show improvement. Representing the City of Perth swim club, Stephen has shown his ability and class across all freestyle disciplines and will factor in the 4×200 relay later in the week. Stephen has a great amount of respect within the senior team for his dedication and willingness to work in the training pool.
SwimWords Podium Predictions: GOLD – Paltrinieri, SILVER – Detti, BRONZE – Christiansen