As Wales line up against Portugal in France tonight to compete for their place in the final of Europe’s most prestigious international tournament, here at SwimWords we once again battle two swimmers against each other in a bid to predict a score if swimming was the choice of sport instead of football.
Much has been written and spoken about the matchup between two of the greatest and most expensive footballers in Europe, Ronaldo and Bale, where media have wondered and predicted who will prevail as the dominant force. Instead of these two footballing mega stars, in this article we will mirror this in the pool by battling two top swimmers from these respective nations head to head. These top international athletes will compete against each other in terms of past success and present form to find a victor.
Semi-Final: WALES vs PORTUGAL, KO: 8:00pm GMT, Wednesday 6th July
Representing WALES in the pool:
- Athlete: Ieuan Lloyd
- Born: 1993
- Height: 1.93m
- Best Senior Result: 19th 200 Freestyle, Olympic Games, London, 2012
Representing PORTUGAL in the pool:
- Athlete: Diogo Carvalho
- Born: 1988
- Height: 1.81m
- Best Senior Result: Bronze 200 IM, European Short Course Championships, Israel, 2015
Standing behind the block for Wales in this dual in the pool, is the tall and enigmatic Ieuan Lloyd. The Cardiff-based swimmer, after a quiet couple of years, has found his form once again to qualify for Great Britain in his second Olympics. Predominately known as a freestyler, Lloyd boasts an impressive 200 Individual Medley when he is at his best, and is likely to swim this in Brazil at the Olympics. He is currently ranked 7th in Europe for the 200 IM in a time of 1.59.58 (Glasgow, British Champs), but has been as fast as 1.58.63 back in 2013, before his leaner years. His best individual senior performance is probably at the 2012 Olympics in London where he came 19th in the 200 metres freestyle, however was a relay team member where Lloyd experienced his highest achievement coming 6th in the 4x200m Freestyle relay final in London. This fine ability to perform as part of a team, is something that his fellow Welsh football team will be hoping to continue in Euro2016 as they hope to play as one against a talented Portuguese side.
Standing in the next lane to the Welshman is the older and slightly more experienced Diogo Carvalho. The Portuguese swimmer, who will be competing in his 3rd Olympics in Rio, is also a medley specialist, which makes this head-to-head even more intriguing. Carvalho on current form is ranked 14th in Europe in the 200 Individual Medley (2.00.07) from his recent performance in London at the European Championships. This is slightly behind Lloyd, who also has as faster lifetime best of the two (1.59.36 for the Portugese), but Carvalho showed some lightning speed in the short course event as recently as December where he posted the performance of his career to earn himself a Bronze medal at the European Championships. The time of 1.53.45 that the Portugal veteran produced is much faster than the lifetime best of Lloyd’s (1.55.41), highlighting his dominance in the technical turns and underwater phases of the short course event. This analogy can be extended to the football pitch, where the Portuguese players are well known for their skill and technical ability.
It is difficult to pick a winner in the medley events between these two international swimmers. A Welshman who shows the better current form in the long course pool, who swims well within a team, and has a heavy-duty freestyle on the final leg suggesting a man dangerous in the last 10 minutes of the game. In the other corner, is an experienced Portuguese swimmer, who shows great skill, and owns the faster 400 Medley personal best highlighting his strength over the double distance (4.18.08 compared to Lloyd’s 4.23.22), suggesting that his football compatriots will have no issues if it goes to the 30 minutes of extra time.
It is the knockout stage, so although close, there has to be one winner.
SwimWords Euro16 Score:
WALES 2 : 2 PORTUGAL
Whilst experience counts for a lot, current form just takes priority, therefore SwimWords predicts Wales to win on penalties…..