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ehoch
July 5th, 2008, 12:35 PM
Maybe I expected too much, but I am a little disappointed in the US trials overall. Historically, the US swimmer will not improve between Trials and the Games (that is of course on average) and I really only see the Usual Suspects minus a few going for medals.

Men's Sprint Free -- Phelps in the 200 Free, nothing else looks really great.

Men's Distance -- Maybe the 1500 will be better- but no more than a 3rd in the 400.

Men's Breast -- Kosuke is going to double, plus there is a whole bunch of people who will go under a minute and sub 2:10. Hansen was already in tears at Trials.

Men's Back -- no secret that I firmly believe in the "power of the new suits". If Peirsol will not wear a fullbody LZR, he is going to loose both Backstrokes. The Japanese kid just dropped 2 seconds from his trials and he was not even rested.

Men's Fly -- Phelps - of course -- maybe Crocker has been doing a Peirsol, so far, but he has not looked good. Stoval is going to have a hell of a time to repeat his amazing swims.

Mens IM - Lochte and Phelps seem like a lock

Womens Free - the 800, plus maybe a medal in the 400. We will see about the 50, but nothing more than a third.

Womens Breast - Soni may be able to pull of a shocker in the 200 - but I am not even sure they will final in the 100

Womens Back - Coughlin -- maybe, there is now a dozen swimmers under a minute. Coventry seemed to be in amazing form

Womens Fly - they will have a hard time to final

Womens IM - that looks strong, but no locks either.


Swimmers who are not having great trials even though they made it: Vanderkaay - his 100 was 1/2 second off and all his times are the same as leading up (he swims well unrested, but he may be able to improve)
Hoff - here 100 Free was a full second slower than her best - and she was going for the relay
Hansen - obvious

Lochte - the armchair quarterback that is always smarter afterwards. Either him or his coach have been doing a terrible job with his race management. This is the trials - first and second are the same. There was absolutely no reason for him to put in that effort on the last 100 in the 400 IM. Not with the program he had left - he was over 7 seconds ahead of 3rd place. Then he swims prelims and Semis on the 200 Free -- why not drop the 1:45 in the morning and scratch the rest (like Phelps in the 100). He would have been much fresher for the 100 Back. Then he swims the semis in the 100 Free - but not the final ? What will that do - he is not going to be able to swim the 4x100 prelims with that - there are too many swimmers for that. He lost out on 3 potential medals with his race management (100 back / and both 400 relays).

Chris Stevenson
July 5th, 2008, 01:08 PM
About Lochte's race management: I don't know if I agree with you about the 400IM -- he has to feel pretty positive about beating the old record and pushing Phelps so strongly. And psychology is so important in this game.

But I WAS surprised he pushed the 200 back so hard. He wasn't going to have any trouble getting 2nd and that 200IM was coming up. What a brutal double. It sure IS easy to armchair-quarterback: he came so very close to winning both races, and if he had we would all be singing very different tunes.

But about that double: it is probably a good thing to duplicate the effort he is planning to give at the Olympics. Perhaps the 200 back is more important to him -- or he feels his chances at gold are better -- and the 200IM is just tacked on there to get what he can.

As for the rest, I don't really know enough about international swimming to argue with what you say. But I'll make the observation that your standards are pretty high if you are already discounting the chances of two people who just set new WRs in their events (Piersol and Coughlin) and if you say that another new WR holder (Hoff) is not having such a good meet!

Probably the biggest surprise to me...was that there weren't more BIG surprises. There were quite a few mild upsets, but -- as you say -- mostly the usual suspects. I almost liked it better when swimmers would retire after college and we would get a whole new crop of fresh faces! I was amazed at the number of times when a reigning or very recent NCAA champion was not even expected to contend seriously for a spot on the team.

knelson
July 5th, 2008, 01:35 PM
You know, despite the world records that have been set, I think the 'speed' of the pool in Omaha is a little suspect. It seems to me in the shorter races in finals, where everyone is bunched up, the times have been slower. In most cases in these events the fastest times have NOT been recorded in finals when you'd expect them to be. Other than the 100 back I think the events where new WRs have been set have been done in conditions where the leader was way out in front of the field (or had one other person challenging them).

One of my coaches went down for the Mutual of Omaha meet a few weeks back and he mentioned there was lots of wave action during the shorter races, particularly the men's sprints. I think he may have made an important observation.

So I don't know if this is a huge factor, but if the Olympic pool is faster it might bode well for the U.S. swimmers swimming faster in Beijing. I guess we'll see.

Jazz Hands
July 5th, 2008, 01:59 PM
Kirk, I also noticed some relatively slow finals. Never occurred to me that it could be a slow pool, but it does make sense.

FlyQueen
July 5th, 2008, 02:16 PM
That seems to happen both at trials and during the finals of the Olympics. Let's face it all these swimmers care about is getting first or second in finals. VERY few can think WR to boot and they've done that.

I think as time goes on and sponsorships continue we will see less and less upsets. The pros will continue to dominate with their speed, experience and ability to train.

I wouldn't count on the men in the sprints (and certainly not the women) setting world records in trials is one thing do it to win the Olympics is entirely different. It's all about getting to the wall first the times at that point are completely irrelevant.

Paul Smith
July 5th, 2008, 02:48 PM
I have a hard time believing that Phelps, Lochte, Crocker, Hansen, Piersol, Coughlin & Hoff are fully rested. These swimmers have been swimming very fast for the last 18 months on only a few days rest at each meet. I'm betting there's a lot more in the tank.

On the other hand if that is the case than it was a big time mistake for Hansen.

I think the men will win all 3 relays. The women will win the 4 x 100 free & 4 x 200 free and be 2nd in the medley to Australia.

Lochte will win at least one gold, possibly 3.

Peter Cruise
July 5th, 2008, 03:22 PM
I think that what people tend to forget (esp. over-hyping tv reporters), is how much the Olympics can turn into simply the medal chase rather than the world record chase esp. if environmental and other conditions prove adverse. Sure, Phelps etc. may well set world records in August, but the gold rush is the immediate concern.

ehoch
July 5th, 2008, 10:29 PM
I think the men will win all 3 relays. The women will win the 4 x 100 free & 4 x 200 free and be 2nd in the medley to Australia.

I think they will be lucky to win 3 relays combined. I don't see the women winning either Free relay and I don't think the Men will win the 400 Free relay.

What would be Lochte's 3rd Gold ? 200 Back + 4x2 + taking down Phelps ??

scyfreestyler
July 5th, 2008, 10:53 PM
I have a hard time believing that Phelps, Lochte, Crocker, Hansen, Piersol, Coughlin & Hoff are fully rested. These swimmers have been swimming very fast for the last 18 months on only a few days rest at each meet. I'm betting there's a lot more in the tank.

On the other hand if that is the case than it was a big time mistake for Hansen.

I think the men will win all 3 relays. The women will win the 4 x 100 free & 4 x 200 free and be 2nd in the medley to Australia.

Lochte will win at least one gold, possibly 3.

One never knows for sure, but based upon the interview on FloSwimming with Brendan Hansen, I don't think he had anything left in the tank at the finish. He did say that perhaps he had taught his teammates a little too much about swimming fast breaststroke in the past few months.

I won't even bother to guess who will win any relays in Beijing.

Paul Smith
July 5th, 2008, 11:16 PM
I think they will be lucky to win 3 relays combined. I don't see the women winning either Free relay and I don't think the Men will win the 400 Free relay.

What would be Lochte's 3rd Gold ? 200 Back + 4x2 + taking down Phelps ??


Hoch, $5 per relay and Lochte tales the 200IM, 400IM & 200 back...$5 on each. You can pay me at Long Beach!

knelson
July 6th, 2008, 12:11 AM
I don't see the women winning either Free relay

I haven't really looked at any numbers, but I would suspect the U.S. women have their best chance in the 4x200. I can't imagine they can win the medley. Coughlin isn't lightyears ahead of everyone in backstroke like she was. Australia is faster than the U.S. in every other leg, aren't they?

KeithM
July 6th, 2008, 05:07 AM
Maybe I expected too much, but I am a little disappointed in the US trials overall. Historically, the US swimmer will not improve between Trials and the Games (that is of course on average) and I really only see the Usual Suspects minus a few going for medals.

I think on the the optimism-pessimism continuum you seem to be hanging out on the fringes. Maybe we define success differently. The U.S. has outperformed medal projections (based on pre-Olympic paper rankings) at the previous three Olympiads. I don't think it's useful to just focus on times. But I do remember soon after the Athens games someone on the USA Swimming forum calculated the comparisons of the Australian and U.S. trials and how they performed at the Olympics. The U.S. faired better and there was a discussion about why. Not everyone will perform up to their trials standards while some will exceed their trials performances by a good margin (e.g. Sandeno and Jensen in 04). But the tendency for some people to not reach expectations is certainly not limited to the U.S. Your dour outlook seems as if it assumes that swimmers around the world will meet or surpass recent performances while only the U.S. will stagnate. There may be countries that have trouble performing at the big international meets. Historically, for the most part the U.S. hasn't been one of them.



Men's Sprint Free -- Phelps in the 200 Free, nothing else looks really great.
I thought Lezak and Weber Gale looked good. Not the favorites. Not out of striking distance either. Vanderkaay was a little disappointing and still went 1:45. How many swimmers in the world go 1:45 and consider it a disappointment?



Men's Distance -- Maybe the 1500 will be better- but no more than a 3rd in the 400. What's wrong with third? The U.S. has had two consecutive thirds. Went 3rd and 4th in Athens. This time the U.S. is sending two more solid contenders sitting in the Top 4 in the world (who are not far apart from each other). You're already handing the gold and silver to Park and Hackett? I think a medal of any color would be fine. There is no clear favorite in my opinion so a gold for the U.S. is not impossible either. The U.S medaled in four out of the five freestyles in Athens (all except the 100) and it was done with four different swimmers. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility for that to happen again.



Men's Breast -- Kosuke is going to double, plus there is a whole bunch of people who will go under a minute and sub 2:10. Hansen was already in tears at Trials. So you're ruling any medals for the U.S.? Kitajima is favored to double. I don't think he's the runaway favorite in the 100 though. I'm not just talking about Hansen (though it sounds like you probably have written him off). Dale Oen and Dubosq have been under a minute. While I may not include Spann or Shanteau in my medal predictions a medal for either would not be a shock. After Kosuke there's not much separating the pack.



Men's Back -- no secret that I firmly believe in the "power of the new suits". If Peirsol will not wear a fullbody LZR, he is going to loose both Backstrokes. The Japanese kid just dropped 2 seconds from his trials and he was not even rested. The same Irie who was scolded by his coach after Melbourne for his dismal performance? I'm open to the notion that they're not locks. But Peirsol "is going to lose." That's pretty strong given who we're talking about. There's always Ryan if Aaron can't bring it. But even the LZR didn't get Lochte to the wall ahead of Peirsol. Not to discount Irie but I would be more wary of Rogan spoiling the party.

People with fast "in season" times don't impress me. Because as past Olympics have shown that guarantees nothing (e.g. Lenton was burning up 2004 "in season" when Henry was clocking 57s). Just look at many swimmers at trials who couldn't match their untapered times. Kathleen Hersey went 2:15 in the 200 fly three weeks before trials. Vandenberg and Descenza went 2:08 the same weekend. We thought we had it all figured out!



Men's Fly -- Phelps - of course -- maybe Crocker has been doing a Peirsol, so far, but he has not looked good. Stovall is going to have a hell of a time to repeat his amazing swims. I agree. Crocker doesn't seem to have Aaron's steadiness. He may not medal unless he get things straightened out.



Mens IM - Lochte and Phelps seem like a lock About as much as Kitajima. Is that the only scenario that you're bullish on an American swimmer's chances? When they've got a cushion in the rankings?



Womens Free - the 800, plus maybe a medal in the 400. We will see about the 50, but nothing more than a third. Hoff looks solid but Z hasn't quite found the magic of last year yet. Then again she looked a little shaky in the lead up to Worlds last year too. No mention of Schmitt? I'm assuming you're dismissing her as a fluke then? A certain coach described her as the future of American middle distance. I agree and maybe sooner than some think.




Womens Breast - Soni may be able to pull of a shocker in the 200 - but I am not even sure they will final in the 100 They will final in the 100. The 100 Breast is weak internationally. A 1:07.5 or better should punch a ticket to finals. There's not much depth outside the US and Australia. Hardy's the only non Australian swimmer going to the games that's been under 1:07 this year (four times) with a best of 1:06.3. The pressure to make the US team probably will exceed that at the Olympics where Jones is a massive favorite in both her events. Don't count out Jessica or Megan for a medal. Jessica's form this year suggests she has more potential than she showed at trials. Efimova is one to watch in the 200.




Womens Back - Coughlin -- maybe, there is now a dozen swimmers under a minute. Coventry seemed to be in amazing form Part of that you'd probably agree is the LZR. A half second. Give or take. Puts her about where she was last year vis a vis the rest of the world. Yes, I think Coventry could be the star for the women at the Olympics. She'll definitely feature prominently in my predictions. Though Brackin's training style is similar to Yetter's so I don't expect massive time drops. Hoelzer and Beisel are in the hunt for medals in the 200.



Womens Fly - they will have a hard time to final Not make the finals? Why? Hersey's been consistent at the big meets. She's gone four 2:07s (twice this year and twice last year). Brackin will love her. The women's fly is not deep in either the 100 fly or 200 fly internationally. Americans have three out of the top seven times in the world rankings in the 100. Only one of the top seven is not Australian or American. I have to say I'm impressed by NCAA champ Magnuson's stroke. Not to gloat but it appears I was the only one in your game to pick her. There will be no pressure and few expectations for the American flyers. That seemed to work for Vandenberg at Worlds last year (who dropped almost 2sec).



Womens IM - that looks strong, but no locks either. I agree there's no certainty here. But Beisel is going to be phenomenal no matter what happens at the Olympics. It's great when you get a young IM prodigy because they can develop their talents across many disciplines. She has good freestyle potential down the line.



I think they will be lucky to win 3 relays combined. I don't see the women winning either Free relay and I don't think the Men will win the 400 Free relay.

The U.S. has three men below 48. Australia and France have one. The US is taking three other swimmers that have been faster than 48.5. For all the commotion about the French men that compares favorably. France may improve. But the U.S. is no longer an "underdog" If France and Australia follow through with the conventional wisdom by putting Sullivan and Bernard on the lead off it could be a mistake. The U.S. will likely lead off with a fresh Phelps who just kills the last 50 and is unlikely to cede a significant advantage to anyone. Then the U.S. can follow with Weber Gale, the "professional relay swimmer," and the best of the rest for the 4th leg. That's a strong team.

The women's 4x200? Two women under 1:56 didn't impress you? Another on 1:56. Then add Coughlin. Lenton has withdrawn herself from the Australian 4x200 just like Britta Steffen. The Australian relay will be Rice, Barratt, Mackenzie. and?. They will have to figure out the 4th leg. Nobody else has been under 1:58. The Brits look great but there's a big drop off after the first three. The French look solid but have no swimmer under 1:57 this year and WR holder Manaudou has been awful on relays (at worlds and Olympics). This is the strongest US women's relay. The 4x100 relay will have difficulty. The Australians are strong favorites in the medley. I don't know how many relays the U.S. will win overall. I'll just say that we'll win more than Australia which is good enough for me!

There are always some Americans that in their exuberance overlook international competitors and inflate expectations. You seem to be the other extreme. Over cautious and brimming with worst case scenarios. It's unlikely that the U.S. will repeat the dominance of Melbourne. Which if this thread is any indication you probably didn't see coming! But I don't think not winning more than half the golds should be seen as a failure. If we match Athens it will have been a successful Games in my opinion.

pwolf66
July 6th, 2008, 08:12 AM
Hoch, $5 per relay and Lochte tales the 200IM, 400IM & 200 back...$5 on each. You can pay me at Long Beach!

I agree with the relays and the 2Back but Lochte taking the 2IM AND the 4IM from Phelps? Not a chance.

FlyQueen
July 6th, 2008, 10:47 AM
I think they will be lucky to win 3 relays combined. I don't see the women winning either Free relay and I don't think the Men will win the 400 Free relay.

What would be Lochte's 3rd Gold ? 200 Back + 4x2 + taking down Phelps ??

We have two women with a 1:55 now and Coughlin with a 1:56 I think the 800 free relay is ours.

FlyQueen
July 6th, 2008, 10:51 AM
Hoch, $5 per relay and Lochte tales the 200IM, 400IM & 200 back...$5 on each. You can pay me at Long Beach!

I don't see Lochte taking the 200 back or 200 IM - he'll have to go faster and get about the same amount of rest he did at trials. I am sure Phelps and Peirsol will also be faster. These guys rested for trials for sure but are certainly priming themselves for Beijing.

I think the 400IM is Lochte's best chance. It's early in the meet. Obviously Lochte is amazingly talented and would be getting TONS of attention if there were no Phelps. HOWEVER, as talented as he is I just don't think he'll catch Phelps and Peirsol. Time will tell ...

Lochte couldn't have a better attitude and I'd LOVE to see him kick some butt ... but watching Phelps get 7 (or 8) golds would be unreal ...

ehoch
July 6th, 2008, 01:30 PM
Paul - here is the prop bet -- all relays plus Lochte in the 200 back and both IMs. You win if the US + Lochte gets 5 Golds or more -- I win if it's 4 Golds or less. The Winner gets to pick one event for the loser to swim at the next bigger meet (where both attend)-- and the loser has to put out a maximum effort.

ehoch
July 6th, 2008, 01:50 PM
Keith - just to let you know - I have lived here (US) for a long time, but I am German -so it's not exactly a "we" for me. I generally pull for the US - unless it's soccer -- that's more of a religion than nationality.

I don't see this as pessimistic - just realistic. The US is the last country with trials - so everybody has had their shot. Many of the great swimmers from smaller countries did not have to go through trials, which I see as an advantage for them ( I saw an interview with Ryk Neethling a while ago and he was talking about having 10 weeks and 3 days until the 4x1 relay in Beijing) . Also - many countries did not use the LZR at their trials. Check some of the swims from the recent meet in Japan compared to their trials - not just Kosuke. I doubt the Olympic bound swimmers were rested in June.

Honestly - I may be wrong, but I "discount" many of the times based on the suit. The womens 100 Breast -- last year we had maybe 4 or 5 non-US women swim under 1:08 -- this year it's already a dozen ? Before 2008 there were 3 women under 60 seconds in the 100 Back - now we have 13 and counting. Anybody who is doing the same time this year compared to last year -- has just gone one step back.

KeithM
July 6th, 2008, 04:36 PM
Keith - just to let you know - I have lived here (US) for a long time, but I am German -so it's not exactly a "we" for me. I generally pull for the US - unless it's soccer -- that's more of a religion than nationality.
My condolences on the Euro final. But congratulations on getting there.



I don't see this as pessimistic - just realistic. The US is the last country with trials - so everybody has had their shot. Many of the great swimmers from smaller countries did not have to go through trials, which I see as an advantage for them ( I saw an interview with Ryk Neethling a while ago and he was talking about having 10 weeks and 3 days until the 4x1 relay in Beijing). I agree. Swimmers like Jedrejczak and Cseh are able to focus in on the one meet. However, this hasn't precluded the major swimming countries like the U.S. and Australia from dominating in the past.



Also - many countries did not use the LZR at their trials. Check some of the swims from the recent meet in Japan compared to their trials - not just Kosuke. I doubt the Olympic bound swimmers were rested in June. I believe the Japanese did rest some for the Japan Open. Partly to gauge the suit's impact against trials. As much as the LZR contributes I don't think going 2 seconds faster unrested than rested within a short time frame is possible just from these suits. That blows the hypothesized 1.8% to 2.3% advantage out of the water. Given the national records across the board I'm certain they were rested to some degree. The American trials saw many competitors that did not beat their unrested times in the LZR from earlier this year.



Honestly - I may be wrong, but I "discount" many of the times based on the suit. The womens 100 Breast -- last year we had maybe 4 or 5 non-US women swim under 1:08 -- this year it's already a dozen ? Before 2008 there were 3 women under 60 seconds in the 100 Back - now we have 13 and counting. Anybody who is doing the same time this year compared to last year -- has just gone one step back. Hardy's doing better than last year. She got 4th at Worlds despite not being in top shape and not breaking 1:07. She's been 1:06 four times this year. No other swimmer except Jones can say that and Jessica will be in the LZR like the others. The women's Breast has a few more under 1:08 but still not impressive depth at the top. Most of the swimmers at the top were rested with those swims. Do you think the LZR's impact in Breast is as significant as the Free, Back, and IMs?

It will be interesting to see if Salo's swimmers carry over to the Olympics as well as they did four years ago. Keller, Sandeno, Vendt, and Jensen did a nice job of having the trials propel them to even better performances at the games. As for the relays we've seen what all the major contenders have done rested in LZRs this year.

FlyQueen
July 6th, 2008, 05:11 PM
The Olympics is a whole 'nother ball of wax though - the pressure, the atmosphere, etc. typically don't produce a ton of WRs. It's all about the race and not about the time. We'll see.

Hardy is amazing -to excel like she does at both BR and sprint Free is just unreal. I think Jendrick making cuts in the 50 free was impressive and a good gage of how unreal Hardy is. She is definitely underrated.

I remember in an interview with Eddie Reese they asked him who likes to lose the least ... he is famous for stating that what sets the top guys apart is not their love of winning but their hatred of losing ... nonetheless, Eddie said of "the big 3" he said Peirsol hates losing the most. I would not count him out. He knows how to conserve his energy and then deliver a huge performance when he needs to. I think he repeats his 3 golds.

Paul Smith
July 6th, 2008, 06:12 PM
Paul - here is the prop bet -- all relays plus Lochte in the 200 back and both IMs. You win if the US + Lochte gets 5 Golds or more -- I win if it's 4 Golds or less. The Winner gets to pick one event for the loser to swim at the next bigger meet (where both attend)-- and the loser has to put out a maximum effort.

Deal!

tjrpatt
July 6th, 2008, 06:20 PM
People, remember Lochte just got over an ankle injury. So, he will most likely upset one of three events, preferably the 200 back in Beijing.

So, anyone really think that Phelps will cut down his event load after these games. I think that he likes swimming all these events.

Sam Perry
July 6th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Deal!

I am torn, I hope Paul wins for his optimism on the USA's chances, but to watch him swim an event not of his choice is almost worth it. Hoch, since I train with Paul, I may be able to provide some insight on what to swim.

The Fortress
July 6th, 2008, 06:55 PM
I am torn, I hope Paul wins for his optimism on the USA's chances, but to watch him swim an event not of his choice is almost worth it. Hoch, since I train with Paul, I may be able to provide some insight on what to swim.

I think Lochte will get at least one gold too. FlyQueen usually has great instincts, but I think Lochte will beat Peirsol in the 200 back.

I think Tall Paul should be forced to race Hoch in that lovely suit in his avatar.

Paul Smith
July 6th, 2008, 06:57 PM
Lochte & Phelps rested minimally for Trials...and as Sam pointed out he's coming off a tough injury and gave Phelps the race of his life in the 200IM only 16 minutes after swimming the 200 back...which Flyqueen you may have forgotten he still holds the WR in...Piersol was more rested than Lochte...and had a much lighter schedule than Ryan.

Sam Perry
July 6th, 2008, 10:04 PM
I think Tall Paul should be forced to race Hoch in that lovely suit in his avatar.

Wow, now I have that nightmare visual in my head. Thanks Fort!