As Townley Haas Prevails (1:47.86), Michael Phelps With More To Prove in 200 Freestyle

Michael Phelps - by Peter Bick
Michael Phelps - by Peter Bick

Townley Haas won the 200 freestyle at the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite while Michael Phelps was left with more to prove on the road to Rio.

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easyspeed

The latest incarnation of Phelps doesn’t seem to be able to do as well non-tapered. That’s kinda strange; we are used to seeing the Phelps of the mid-2000s swimming fast and destroying everyone untapered, then tapering and going faster and destroying everyone even more.

I’m still putting my money on the GOAT. But it’s going to be a bit tricky navigating the double taper. Yes, that’ s my favorite topic to complain about. But here it is again. If there was just one taper to deal with, Phelps wins everything, 100%.

As things are it’s going to be a bit more tricky.

On the flip side, a poorly trained Phelps managed to do decently in most events back in 2012 (except the 400 IM, which was relatively awful). So I hope the Bowman wizardry continues to work..

Yozhik

With Runge’s 1:57.97 Americans have eight swimmers under 1:58. They basically can provide two teams capable compete for medals. On the other hand I wish I can say that this team is as bright now as it is deep. The only progress this weekend was shown by Leah Smith. Again and again this season Franklin consistently has been showing very flat even and I would say boring splits. Splits that looks more like training exercise rather than competition. Who follow her believe that she will surprise us by dropping large chunks being tapered but I am more and more getting under impression that she is not targeting individual medal at 200 freestyle in Rio. Mostly because of very strong competition and schedule conflict. She doesn’t mind to have the relay gold medal though that requires to be under 1:57 at trials. And that is exactly what she is doing so far. That much anticipated battle at 200 freestyle at trials may not happen. Despite Olympic Trials at 200 fs are actually a competition for the relay Olympic gold medal everything is clear who will compete individually and in relay.

commonwombat

Realistically, her greatest chance of individual success will be the 200back as it has been the one event where she has ever been able to establish a position of clear international dominance.

Re US situation w W200free; you have Ledecky at 1.54low with the potential to go lower then you have a ruck of 1.56-1.57s which includes the likes of Franklin & Schmitt. How many below 1.56 at Trials remains to be seen.

Schmitt has done well to come back to 1.56 level but it is far from established that she can/will get back to anywhere near her 2012 level.

As for Franklin, its patently clear that she IS no cert to qualify in this event. We should not, however, overlook the fact that she was still bronze medallist in this event at last year’s Worlds …. even when “misfiring”.

As for a scheduling clash with the 200back, whilst the 200free final is the same session as the 200back semis I’m not seeing it as being as drastic an issue given the relative lack of depth in the latter event. Realistically a 2.07low-2.06 will see you into the final.

aswimfan

Even without Ledecky, USA would still win the 4×200 quite easily. They’re that strong. With Ledecky, they’ll lay waste to the WR.

commonwombat

What they SHOULD do and what actually eventuates are often very different things.

So many times over the past 6 years, USA SHOULD have blown away the competition and decimated the WR ….. but they haven’t and have been behind at the final change and required a WTF anchor leg to seal the result.

Just because you have 2-3 guns in your team is no certainty that they will all be firing at the one time. It does happen, of course, but far less often than people would wish.

The potential is certainly there but the fact that they will almost certainly be several nautical miles ahead of most everyone else may not prove to be a positive towards such an aim.

KeithM

Yozhik: “Again and again this season Franklin consistently has been showing very flat even and I would say boring splits. Splits that looks more like training exercise rather than competition. Who follow her believe that she will surprise us by dropping large chunks being tapered but I am more and more getting under impression that she is not targeting individual medal at 200 freestyle in Rio.”

Yozhik, these performances have been typical in season swims from Missy throughout her career. Back in 2013 Missy swam a 1:54 in Barcelona to win at Worlds, holding off Pellegrini. Her time from Santa Clara that year? 1:58.26.

Leah Smith has often done great times outside of the big summer meets. Missy not so much. So I wouldn’t necessarily expect Smith to drop a large amount of time at trials. But based on history I would expect Franklin to do so.

I don’t think the US will go to Rio as outlandishly overwhelming favorites in the way the Aussie women’s sprint relay will but they should be comfortable odds-on given their depth and the relative weakness of other teams, especially those beyond Australia.

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