Aussie Power Show: Jessica Ashwood (8:18.14) & Mitch Larkin (1:55.38) Star in Santa Clara

Mitchell Larkin of Australia
Mitchell Larkin by Patrick B. Kraemer

Jessica Ashwood improved her No. 2 time in the 800 freestyle with a time of 8:18.14 and the Aussies claimed five wins in eight events at the Santa Clara stop of the USA Swimming Pro Series.

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I think the winners of men’s 100 and 200 back in Santa Clara may repeat their winning ways in Rio.

That Ashwood’s 8:18 in the middle of training is very impressive. Nothing to worry Ledecky, but in the mix for minor medal, although I like her chances in 400 better. She seems noticeably getting a little bit more powerful in her strokes and set 200 PB here.


Great swim by Ashwood in the 800, but scary to think she is still 12 seconds behind Ledecky’s best time. Not saying Ashwood isn’t a great swimmer, just then Ledecky is just out of this world.


Ashwood has certainly consolidated on her break-out performance at last year’s Worlds and given her previous “equivocal” international record, this is incredibly pleasing to witness.

She’s undoubtedly placing herself very prominently amongst those scrapping for the minors in both the 400 & 800. However, those she’s likely to be scrapping with are mostly as equally well credentialed and she may well face a scenario of swimming PBs in both events but still finishing off the podium.

Men’s 100back at US Trials is looking very tasty and it may well be the case that the winner in Omaha goes into Rio with the tag of favourite.

If I were pushed to make a call re Larkin’s prospects; I’d lean towards him batting 1 from 2 rather than repeating his Kazan double. Much will depend whether he is as technically clean as he was in Kazan (and has tidied up his wandering round the lane from Trials) …. and whether the Americans can back up through the rounds rather than just blow out one barnstormer.

McKeonE patently illustrated the enormous gap US women sprinters are needing to bridge to be anywhere near the business end in the W100free.

Her 53.30 is half a second away from her PB but is still a couple of steps ahead of the current US pace. Such a time would most likely be around the more realistic “best case scenarios” for the placegetters at US Trials

Craig Lord

I think you’re right CW to think Jess will have to swim PBs to make the podium. I think it fairly likely that Americans will be able to cope with the rounds and make their final a barnstormer, that being a pattern that fits the USA far more than it fits many others. And more and more the 4x100m AUS women’s relay looks like one of the safest golds at the Games if the day goes well (doesn’t even need to be phenomenally well, though that’s a possibility, too, the world-record surely under threat).


Hard to disagree with either of you CW & CL on Ashwood, there are 4-5 swimmers fighting for the minor medals in RIO for both 400 & 800. But Ashwood has definitely stamped that she will be amongst it.
Impressed with McKeon too, she is going to swim PBs in both 200 free & 100 fly IMO, not only does this strengthen her medal chances, though gold may be out of reach, but it really does help Australia in the 4×100 med.

Personal Best

I fancy Jess’ chances for a medal more in the 800 free than the 400.
I think she’s capable of placing in the 400, but the 800 free seems to be her strongest event and may be easier for her to get in the medals.
She’s swum quite a few personal bests in that event over the past 12 months with another yesterday to lower her Aussie record. Not bad for this time of the year.

I agree though, a few more PBs in her events may be needed, especially in the 400. Mind you, she wasn’t far off in that event.

The 400 seems to have a few more competitors in the upper ranks all within a second or so of each other.


PB, granted she has been swimming PBs at 800 but they’ve essentially been very incremental ones as she’s been in the 8.18-8.19 range for a couple of years. The likes of Carlin & Boyle) DO have faster PBs at this distance, Boyle only marginally at 8.17 but Carlin a bit in advance at 8.15.

Its actually the 400 where she actually took the major leap forward last year with regards to PB. If anything, this is the event where she may have any edge on Carlin & Boyle although how the 2nd American (most likely Smith) fits into the equation in either event remains to be seen.

kevin roose

Happy meet for the Australians posting 12 wins and 8 seconds….certainly in terms of gold medals and total medals Australia are looking good for number 2 position behind the Americans..
Mckeon is looking in omnious form and increases Australias chances of possible gold in the womes 4 x 100 medley relay …….


I agree Kevin, I think the Aussies would near enough be favourites, although the Chinese team is still an unknown & a danger. The Americans are also there & thereabouts, but lack a freestyler.

The Canadians are looking good too, impressed with Neomie Thomas in the butterfly too.


Both medley relays, but especially the women’s, are events where we’ll really need to wait for US Trials to play out before having an accurate gauge of where everyone sits.

I will, however, agree with Rob in identifying CAN as possibly the biggest “smoky” in the race; maybe ahead of DEN. BRS is probably their weakness but 1.06high (equating to 1.06low flying start) is not disastrous. Thomas’ advance also allows them to place Oleksiak at anchor.

Personal Best

True CW, and I think Jess has been working on her speed in recent years (I think her 200 PB was on the side of 2 mins not that long ago), and that speed is definitely helping her 400.

I do however remember her as more of an 800/1500 swimmer when she started out and I think that may still be her comfort zone. Maybe, I’m speculating based on her past.

Mind you, she’s set PBs in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 in the past year.


Jess Ashwood was always known as a distance swimmer, 800-1,500. And even by her own admission when interviewed by USA Swimming at Santa Clara, she said that she was surprised by her 400 free bronze last year as she considered herself more as a D swimmer.

Therefore I think she has greater upside potential in 400 free the more she races it internationally. But yeah, she can medal in both.


I don’t want to re-visit unpleasant topic, but what’s up with David McKeon?
I know that he is in the middle of heavy training (but so is everyone else) and this is just a tune-up meet (but also a very good opportunity for sharpening race skills and therefore take advantage of it), but a 1:51 and 3:51.6 is a poor effort.

It seems that he forgets how to swim fast as soon as he leaves Australia. Although some Aussies were not performing that well in Santa Clara but they did ok and certainly much better than David, although Jack mcLoughlin is a bit concern (but we give him a pass since this is his first international senior team).


When will they make the “official” announcement that Australia qualified for the men’s 4x100m free relay at the Rio Olympics… It’s already June …

Not expecting much from David mckeon come Rio although he may be pivotal for our 4×200 relay chances


Coincidentally, Emma McKeon’s 53.30 is the exact time that Cate Campbell went at the same meet in 2008, at the age of 15, where she defeated the great Nathalie Coughlin, who is also in this McKeon’s race.



David mcKeon swimming at his best is critically needed if Australia wants 4×200 gold.

Are Magnussen and Roberts officially already in the Olympics team? Or are they still waiting for the official announcement regarding 4×100?

kevin roose

May 31 the final 4 countries were supposed to be confirmed for the 4 x 100 free mens relay but nothing has been reported .. Magnussen , Roberts and Abood were put forward at the Aussie trials as being the designated relay swimmers subject to Australia confirmation of being one of the 4 .
David Mckeon has always been ordinary away from home .

Bad Anon

The depth of world rankings is astonishing in the women 100back and 200IM: top 20 are sub 1min and 2.12 respectively. Seebohm and Larkin will be tough to beat in the backstrokes. Missy really needs to hit her peak else she`ll miss out. Coughlin too in a precarious situation…. Omaha will be interesting to say the least…..


CW, I agree after the US trials, we will see a better picture of where some of the relay & individual golds etc will come from in our mere swimming fans eyes.
I do believe the US trials will confirm US M4X100 Med a pretty strong gold medal, maybe not a lock in like the Aussie W4X100 Free or US W2X200 Free, but a very strong favourite. Likewise IMO it will confirm the Aussie W4X100 med as slight favourites with the worry coming from the unknown Chinese & the Canadians a smookie, US always a threat, but down a strong freestyler.


robbos, also US will have a “good” backstroker, but way below Seebohm, King will probably be the “key” for US chances, but Vollmer are probably on the same level or a little better than Mckeon.. US would need at least a 1-1,5 second cushion to hold Cate who will throw a 51.. and at best them seem to have a 0,5 cushion


Rafael, in swimming anything can happen but on paper, I agree 0.5 cushion lead going into freestyle is generous for the US, I think it will be much closer & then Cate or Bronte will just be too strong, even with the generous 0,5 cushion.
King would need to go 1.04, because Bohl is a big improver.

kevin roose

The American trials will give us a clearer picture but the Austalian womens team certainly appear to be on song, and it will be a real battle to see if they win more medals than the American women .
Medal chances in all events apart from medley it appears ….Bohl an exciting prospect in the breastroke minor medal at best though


Last year I was expecting the young sprint prospects, Manuel and Weitzeil to have the big breakthrough (ie Sub 53) and it didn’t happen. Still if any American women were to do so I think they’d be the mostly likely swimmers to get there. But really right now I’d just be happy with a couple of low 53s to blunt at least some of the damage from whichever Campbell sister brings home the Aussie medley team.

Trying to rationalize and strike a somewhat wishful optimistic note: Simone only went 25.2 in Santa Clara in the 50 free. That’s .8 from her best of 24.4. But she was still able to swim a 53.75 there (semis). She’s also been 1:57 in the 200 earlier this year. She figures to get that missing speed in Santa Clara back for Omaha. How much that might improve her hundred…who knows. Weitzeil has done some amazing SCY swims but has yet to back them up in the big pool. Nonetheless both teens have deferred their freshman years in college to focus solely on the Olympics this year. So I think these would be my two picks to qualify for the 100 at trials…probably in 53 low but I still hold out hope at least one of them can break into 52s territory.

Peter Lee

Women’s distance freestyle is going to be incredible in Rio. Smith/Runge/whoever gets the 2nd spot, Kapas, Belmonte Garcia, Boyle, Carlin, Friis, Van Rouwendaal, Ashwood, Maclean all out duelling for the minor scraps behind Ledecky (and I’m sure I’m forgetting someone)


Thanks to exploits of the Campbell sisters and Sarah, I think we have been somewhat blasé with a 52 in 100. It is, in fact, still bloody difficult to go under 53 even for top sprinters.

Case in point, the defending Olympics champion, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, only swam a 52 once and that was in early 2012 and never again she swam sub 53.

Manuel’s 1:57 sounds impressive for a sprinter, but then you see that the three non-Campbell 52 swimmers Sarah, Heemskerk and Mckeon have 1:54 in their repertoire, and suddenly 1:57 is not too impressive anymore. And mind you, these swimmers’ 50 free PB is at least as fast or much faster (Sarah) than Manuel’s 50 free.

I think Ranomi also normally split 1:56 or 1:57 in 4×200 relays, and her 50 free is also much faster than Manuel.

Do I believe Manuel can swim sub 53? Yes, she does have the potential and the power, but she needs to make her strokes as efficient (optimized dps and tempo) as the other 52 girls.


You’re probably more upbeat on Manuel than I am, ASF. Nothing I’ve seen of her screams “top quality” and her one sub 53.5 was essentially situation specific.

At this point she is essentially a 24mid 50free and a 53mid-high 100. If anything, Kennedy may be the most likely of any Americans to be anywhere in the 50 and 53mid is still at least 2 levels below breaking 53 in the 100.

Whilst I think she can split sub53 flying start in a relay, as may 1-2 others, I see sub53 flat start as being possible rather than those more definitive categories called likely or probable.


I have different opinion re: Madison Kennedy.
I think she’ll go 24low, but she won’t go 53mid. She does it everytime: dying on the second 50, similar to current version of Earvin and no better than Josh Schneider.
Most of David Marsh’ current sprinters seemingly have improved explosive first 50, but not much endurance in the second.

Re:Manuel, I only say she has the potential to go sub 53, but as I have explained, unless she improve that stroke efficiency, she won’t. And changing this kind of thing cannot be done in 2 or 3 months. It’s like asking Cate Campbell to improve her start. Which she has improved only very marginally in the past four years.
I have also explained that her 1:57 as mentioned by KeithM is nothing special to support any indication of going sub 53. Not when her 50 free is only 24mid.


Havent seen enough evidence to make comment re Kennedy and the 50. 100% concur re Manuel and stroke efficiency …. and in general. As for Weitzell, to date its been all hype ……. without the supporting evidence


I don’t disagree with you CW and ASwimfan in the main. But if it’s true that Simone’s ceiling is 53.5 right now (and I’d wait until after trials before I’d conclude that) then why at the moment is she swimming times that are near or at her very best in the 100 and 200 but so far off her best in the 50? 8 tenths of a second is a huge gulf in the 50 free. That could be for a number of reasons. Maybe she has put more emphasis in training for the longer races. Or perhaps the speed for Simone only comes along with taper. If it’s the latter scenario there is scope for big improvement in her 100 free in Omaha. That was essentially my point. And I also acknowledge that this was a very purposefully optimistic view but not one without some grounded reason. She is after all still a teenager. And since she hasn’t swum in a big event yet this season the improvements she may or may not have made from last year are unknown and yet to be determined.


Why am I a Manuel sceptic, Keith ? Firstly, her PB OF 53.25 has proven to be a complete outlier and seemingly due to the circumstances of that particular race.

If it WERE to be indicative of her speed/form at the time then one would have thought that her other swims at that meet would have borne this out but all other 100’s off blocks were the wrong side of 53.5 and her flying start relay splits were 53s.

Last year, she was rewriting the NCAA record books and causing all manner of soiled underwear amongst US pundits ……. and where was she at Worlds ? Again, wrong side of 53.5 and still yet to produce a sub53 relay split despite ample opportunities to do so with the mixed relays.

If she were swimming 53lows/53.3s then I’d certainly be thinking that a sub53 may be plausible but from 53.7 …… that’s one helluva leap of faith.

Look at C2’s progression or McKeon’s to sub53. They progressed in steps but you saw repeat performances at these steps which were indicative that they were no outliers/anomalies. Even with Oleksiak, she has backed up her 53.3 with another 53.4.

She may still be a teenager but neither is she a young comet making her big burst onto the scene ala Oleksiak this year but rather a known international factor in her 4th year of international competition.

Maybe I am a little jaundiced, not against her personally but rather the hype that has emanated from Americans regarding her …… which has yet to backed up by her “doing what they say will do”.

When/if she does, I will most certainly accord her the due respect that such a performance would warrant.


Simone Manuel and Abbey Weitzeil are turning twenty this year. Despite technically it is still correct I wouldn’t call them teens anymore. CW made a compelling point. In order to make McKeon like leap under 53 a swimmer has to have a proven recent history of swimming under 53.5. Franklin’s 53.3 is three years old and Manuel’s 53.2 is two years old. Yes, Weitzeil progress is fresher but it is just 53.7. Long way to go and her splits don’t look promising. There is no room left to make her first 50 faster. And second fifty looks a big problem. It is not like she is getting gradually slower on the way home. It looks more like she is hitting the wall at 15-20 meters before finish line. To compete with Australians powered by Campbells the American team needs three mckeons. Today I don’t see them. Maybe in three weeks the situation gets different. There is also some other scenario: to have two romanos. But it is more like Santa whish list. Romano’s one and a half second improvement over her personal best was a raising eyebrows, to say the least.


Fair enough, CW. All valid points. Again, my only expectation (or hope if you will) is that the American sprinters move forward, not necessarily sub 53 this year, but at least make progress. I don’t expect the US to “compete with Australians” as Yozhik supposes. Though an improved anchor option would help immensely on the medley relay. The Aussie Sprint relay is in another galaxy right now. I would be disappointed if Simone and Abbey don’t progress to the 53.1-53.4 range. They’ve both deferred a year of college competition and studies to focus on training long course for the Olympics. Sometimes, it takes time from swimmers to translate their SCY prowess to LC. (See Ariana Vanderpool Wallace). Some never do. CW, is it too much to anticipate that two relatively young sprint specialists may improve a modest .3 in the 100 free? Or should we expect or resign ourselves to the likelihood of stagnation (or worse)? Optimism and stubborn belief does seem to be a more prominent American trait (or what a more objective outsider might refer to as hype). However, given the large amount of US swimmers currently in the 53.5 to 54.0 range it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that one or two of their number can make the relatively modest improvement to the low 53s?

One thing I would note though in regards to American swimmers in general. It has been two years since they’ve had a national qualification meet of any major import. Three years, all the way back to 2013, since there has been a One meet, One chance, do or die scenario. It does seem like a long time and that’s because it has been. The lone primary incentive last year for fast long course swims among (non Worlds team) American swimmers from the previous years was securing a top 6 time to be named to the National team. But that window stretched over 8 months from January. So it will be interesting to see how all the fresher faces handle the new pressure. Neither Simone, Abby, or any of the young swimmers have entered a meet of this magnitude with so much on the line. They were both young novelties with no expectations, there mainly for the experience, back in 2012. That’s why I also wouldn’t be surprised if a Vollmer or Franklin ended up being the quickest pair in the 100. Though for the sake of the next quad leading into Tokyo the US really needs Simone and Abbey to progress.



There is one situation about Simone mentioned by that KeithM that may point to more marked improvement compared to last year: This past year Simone has done nothing but train and swim since she redshirted.
Actually all four top female sprinters have focused on training and swimming: Ledecky (who deferred Stanford), Manuel (red-shirted Stanford), Weitzeil (deferred CAL), Franklin (stopped swimming for CAL).
We’ll see if the move for these ladies help them improve much.

Ironically, many top college swimmers who didn’t red-shirt this past year are actually posting really fast times or huge PBs in LCM. There seems to be mixed results either way. US trials can’t come too soon!


ASW, am well aware of her “redshirting” the past NCAA season but am still looking at her season times which are at/approximate the lead of the US pack but are still several steps away from breaking 53 let alone gatecrashing the AUS/SWE medal party. She’s been out there racing during the US LCM season, not hiding it underneath a bushel.

Will she be better at Trials and maybe take a step or two forward ? I think that’s a very plausible scenario but that will most likely still see her behind the likes of Kromowidjojo.

With regards to the US W4X100, I think that’s its highly plausible that we may see a couple of sub53 splits; by how far I’m not certain but they are still lacking the potential for sub52/v low 52 splits that the Dutch possess in Heemskerk (who remains an outstanding relay performer despite disappointing individually).

What will be the picture of this race post Rio ? Now THAT may see some changes.

-Age suggests Kromowidjojo & Heemskerk may well leave the scene.
– Sjostrom may saddle up for another Olympic cycle as the Swedes do have a track record of career longevity.
– Might CAN with the likes of Oleksiak & Ruck become major players ?
– I’m a little sceptical that C1 will go a few cycle as this will be her 3rd Olympics and she’s probably at or around her peak. Methinks she may call it quits after 2018 CG
– C2 on the other hand may go another cycle but that may be subject to fitness/injury.
– McKeon – maybe

Currently the next generation of AUS female sprinters aren’t really showing signs of “breaking through” so maybe international pendulum in this event and this relay may swing away from AUS during the next cycle.


Re C2, it was meant to read “I’m a little sceptical that she will go another full cycle”.


common, Sjostrom is just 22 years old, she may keep swimming till 2024 olympics.. it seems she is older because she is swimming since 2008 on high level.. She Set her first WR with 15 at Rome 2009


I wish i could express my belief in spirit of American team and hope for miracle as you do, KeithM. To have four 53 lows looks so doable having so many ambitious youngsters in the team.
Based on last two years performances i’m sure nobody expected McKeon to make 1% improvement this season. It is too much at elite level. And that is where she is now. Thing’s happened. Let them happen for Americans as well.


Rafael, I am aware of Sjostrom’s age & length of career and I DID say that she may “go again”. Then again, if she has a highly successful Games, she may decide to get out whilst on top.

Yozhik, McKeon made some really significant steps forward in all 3 of her major events in 2014 which played out at AUS Trials & CommGames. From then until AUS Olympic Trials, she basically “plateaud” with regards to the 200free but we saw some incremental advances in both the 100fly and 100free.

Going into Trials, it was reasonable to think that we would see some improvements but more along the lines of a couple of tenths. The advances in the 100free and 100fly were slightly larger than I expected but I did think she may break 57 in the fly and a 53very low/flat 100free could be on the cards. The 200free WAS distinctly quicker than I thought.

As for the future, the sport and events tend to go in cycles. Sometimes a country will produce a golden generation in a certain discipline stroke which sees them being internationally dominant for a couple of Olympic cycles, occaisionally longer. This CAN inspire others in their country to follow on but quite often it has the effect of “scaring off” the following generation thus a subsequent fall-away for that country for a cycle or two.

We may be seeing both of these scenarios playing out with the AUS women.

-Post Jones, AUS W BRS “fell in a hole” especially over 100 and its only in this past year that Bohl has appeared as a potential solution.
– In the sprints, the Campbells are ruling the roost with McKeon in the wings but as yet there’s no one in the age ranks really threatening to “crash the party”
– Conversely in W backstroke, we are seeing the likes of Atherton, Whittaker & McKeown already swimming times that would have seen them on almost every other Olympic team.


FYI. Sure, I should refrain from using such words like “everybody” or “nobody” in my comments. How can I know about everybody’s opinion.
But my statement about McKeon’s surprised progress was based actually on yours (CW) previous extensive observations on state of affairs in swimming in Australia. The opinion about McKeon’s progress is also well backed by actual data. Best her ten results during last two years stands within 0.4 sec interval. The following jump was 0.5sec. Quite unusual and rare event in elite world.
52.80 – 4/16
53.32 – 5/15
53.43 – 4/14
53.48 – 3/16
53.57 – 4/14
53.61 – 7/14
53.68 – 4/15
53.72 – 2/15


re:McKeon’s progress, I have written in this website several times, and I think I have also explained to you before. Hopefully this time you will remember.

Between 2014 and last year, McKeon changed coach 2 times.
Before 2014, she was still training under her father ron mcKeon, and then in 2014 she went to train under Vince Raleigh. And last year only 3 months before Kazan, she went to joined Michael Bohl’s squad. so, this year is the first full year she has been training under Bohl.

This helps explain her plateau in 2014-2015, and the improvement in 2015 to 2016.


Changing coach may result in improvement or not. Examples:
1. Although known as super talented, Leisel Jones was infamous for under-delivered in 2004 and before. After Athens she changed coach from Ken Wood to train with Stephan Widmer (also the coach of Libby Trickett). She became very stabil and delivered when it counts and destroyed WRs in legendary fashion.
2. Missy Franklin. Under Todd Schmidt she won 4 Olympics golds, 5 world championships, broke WRs. With Teri McKeever, she got beaten for first time in 2014 pan pacs by Seebohm.


Actually it was 53.32 to 52.98 on 11Apr followed up by 52.80 the following night.

Not debating its a sizeable jump but hey, what was the scope of C2’s PB in this event at last years World’s ? 0.34sec. What about C1’s at 2013 Worlds ? 0.58sec

Both C1 & C2 have proven they can back up these times with repeat performances in/around these best times. As yet, we haven’t had that “confirmation” from McKeon.

With regards to Manuel, we haven’t seen any “confirmation” of that 53.25 time from 2014 or anything remotely close which seems to confirm that it was an “outlier”. Her standard has been that of 53.60 – 53.80. A significant PB or return to that “outlier” may well occur at US Trials or Rio; however a sub 53 is realistically another step again on these cases we’ve been discussing


Yozhik, people who were familiar with Australian swimmers always had the belief that McKeon was extremely talented. It’s just finding the best coaching for her that took time.

The same with Jessica Ashwood. She was trained for many years by her own grandmother. And now we are seeing the results of her training under Vince Raleigh for several years, but many believe she could still be faster if training with great distance coach like Bud McAllister in Perth.

Magnussen’s career dipped after changing coach.


Asf, first of all I have never expressed doubts in legitimacy of McKeon’s result and actually is glad that unlike in Hosszu’s situation there is some facts that can be used for the explanation of such significant progress. And if you’ve read consciously what I wrote I used McKeon’s example to encourage KeithM in his hope of successful performance of American relay team. So whatever happened to McKeon can be done in America as well. Good coach, good meal, good sleep,good whatever.
And secondly don’t appeal to my memory. I’m an old man, so the capacity of my memory is limited to remember some junk from the people who have no significance in my life. So if you was brought up as nice and polite person then just kindly remind us what you know about some circumstances. It doesn’t hurt to repeat.
These personal references and highlighting of personal deficiencies … we’ve been there before. Not good to anybody. Don’t start.

kevin roose

Australia certainly do have young sprinters coming thru the system Shayna Jack 17 and Elijah Winnington 15 years of age ……big wraps on both back in Australia .
Kotuko Ngawati 20 years of age making her debut at these games in the 200 medley also a strong 100 freestyler making the final at the Aussie trials …….
You would be fool hardy to think Australia wont have quality sprinters in 4 years time .


Elijah is certainly very promising. Not sure about Shayna Jack, she seems to have hit a plateau, which concerns me that she becomes another Yolane Kukla. Not saying it’s bad, it’s just there’s no progress after the age of 17.
And then there’s still Kyle Chalmers. He has much upside if he polish his strokes.


Kevin, PLEASE do not assume other posters are ignorant of the actual situation in these events !! The exchange concerned the women’s sprint situation specifically.

Whilst still a teenager, Jack has been knocking around the senior competition for a few years. At World Juniors last year, she and McJannet were in the final but off the podium when most of the medals were still in the 54s.

As ASF pointed out, she appears to have plateaud in the 54s for the last couple of years. Making the national final is one thing but her times, as yet, are not in the range that are pushing for relay selection for major meets.

Matsuo is a little older but essentially a mirror image. McJannet was in the national final last year but not around this year.

Ngawati can swim 54s but her avenue for selection has been the 200IM where she’s been anchored in the 2.11-2.12 range for some years. She managed to qualify in that event and congratulations to her.

With regards to the 100free, her 54.10 may possibly see her in the frame for a relay heat swim but that is no certainty.

One of the Campbells and/or McKeon may go the next full Olympic cycle but as yet, we do not know that. Any or all of the younger names mentioned MAY start swimming 53s therefore truly entering the equation for individual/relay first team selection but that word “may” is a very different commodity from knowing that they “can” or “will”.

I hope they, or some other new face, can do so and maybe even challenge Campbell-level (which is another stratosphere again) but as yet, we don’t have the hard evidence to back up any such assertions. Here’s hoping someone will

kevin roose

The juniour Pan Pacs in Hawai in August will give us a better indication of where countries are at with the younger talent indeed a worthy meet to look forward too.
Australia are going with a sizeable team of 30 and i would look with keen interest on how they face off against the Americans .


CW & ASF, you will find that Shayne Jack was actually going backwards last year & change coaches this year & saw her get back to the mid 54s & PBs in the 200 & 50 free. She is now training with Michael Bohl & she is seeing improvements, we may see an improvement next year.

McKeon E also change coaches to Bohl last year & she made sharp improvements this year.


Rob, no problems with what you are saying re Jack and I’ll agree that there’s some legitimate grounds for optimism.

However, at this current time; she is not yet seriously contending for senior team selection which is essentially myself & ASF’s contention; not that the next generation are being “written off” but rather we’re not really seeing it yet in this event. But hey, that’s often how these things roll ……. very rarely according to any linear pattern or schedule.

Rest assured, I most certainly will be watching her times closely over the next AUS season along with others who made advances over the last season.


@CW. I have to agree that McKeon’s surprising progress (at least to me) was of lesser level of surprise than let say Ledecky’s 0.8sec or Oleksiak’s 1.2sec jumps into word class territory. And it looks like those girls are not done yet.


Sorry off topic, but can anyone here confirm that Magnussen is dating model-law student Rose McEvoy?
And is she related to Cam Mcevoy?

No wonder Magnussen is getting plumpier, he’s been happy.


CW, yes we on same page. It will be interesting to see whether she develops or just fades away.

There are certain swimmers who star as age swimmers, some go on to be Olympians & some due to a varying of factors take a different path.
However, there are those who, while good swimmers, you will not find in the age records but seem to mature at a later time, Magnussen is one, nothing in his junior resume showed that one day that he would take 100 free to where only McEvoy has followed.
Campbell, Bronte, did not have Cate’s record breaking junior career, as a matter of fact was way behind Kukla, who was the same age in the junior ranks.
The US has the best swimmers in the world & consistently delivers, but Australia has always produced some superstars, just at present they have a few.


Yes, there are no blue prints or set patterns. Some make the jump into senior national team calculations in mid teens and leave age competition completely behind. Other make the jump but still use Age competitions as competitive hitouts. Other continue to advance through age competition winning titles but never really making any mark at senior level.

Putting aside personal issues which will always winnow out a percentage every year; much can depend on the relative quality of the age standards at that time in their relative events and also how much of a step up is it to being competitive let alone a leading contender in senior level at that time.

I think the case is with C1 was that she was an example of “exhibit A”, someone who made the meteoric entry into senior national calculations very early (before she was 16) whereas C2’s progress was more linear through the age group ranks but then again she was making Youth Olympics squads at 16-17 and was on the London Olympic squad before her 18th birthday.

As I said earlier in the thread, events and “national strength” in said events tend to go through cycles. You may have a dominant figure or pairing who rule the roost for a couple of cycles, maybe longer but this can be a double edged sword. Sometimes they may “scare off” the next generation or two whilst in other cases not. Sometimes, there may be a dearth of skilled coaches for that discipline in the country at that time.

US has the greatest numbers and competitive depth and will, generally, usually be able to cover most gaps at least adequately but very rarely are they “impregnable” at any given time or at least that’s been my observation over the past 40 years.


In recent interview Dana Vollmer exhibited the belief that 52 is a realistic target for her this summer. So KeithM your dream to see Americans under 53 may become true sonner than you are expecting.

kevin roose

One pleasing aspect about world swimming now is the amount of countries that gold medal at the olympics 9 countries in total at London:France,USA, China, South Africa, Hungary, Tunisia, Holland, Lithuania and Australia .


Did Vollmer really say that? that she thinks she can go 52 flat start this summer?
Vollmer’s PB of 53.59 set in Charlotte this year is already a jump in improvement of almost half second from 53.94 set in 2010

It will pique a lot of curiosity if she goes 52 in one month.


yes, I’m very happy that parity in elite swimming has increasingly improved. We get world and olympics champions from many countries now.


@asf: as far as my English allows me to understand what she said the answer is “yes”


Seems like Dana is experimenting and overhauling the way she swims freestyle. It seems that it has already paid dividends if her swim in Charlotte is any indication. As for her swimming 52 secs: Well it’s not a bad thing to have self belief, set goals, and aim high. But I will believe it when I see it. That said I wouldn’t be surprised if she won the 100 at trials.



I also wouldn’t be too surprised if she wins one of the two individual 100 free spots. This year she has already made her serious intention in 100 free very clear. What is yet to be made clear is Ledecky and Franklin’s plan for 100 free. Are they going for individual 100 free swim, or are they only planning to swim the relay? I assume Franklin is, not sure about Ledecky.
As for going 52, we’ll see.


The interesting thing in Dana’s interview wasn’t the 52 target only. She made some changes that she feels have initiated the current progress. How far it will go and will she be able to drop another 0.6sec we will see. But she mentioned several times her coach Teri McKeever as the instrumental part of reconstruction of her freestyle technique. It was unexpected to hear that after so much negative criticism related to Franklin’s LCM problems this coach received a credit from the elite swimmer who doesn’t participate in college swimming program that is this coach’s primary responsibility first of all.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, it was a point well made in the comments made to SwimVortex by Milt Nelms. It’s long been coach McKeever’s belief that Vollmer had a much sharper 100 sprint on free in her. If you consider what she’s achieved in the 200m in relays for the USA and her sprint capacity 100 ‘fly, all makes sense. It will be interesting to hear precisely what tweaks were made come the hour when the result comes in. Meanwhile, not unexpected to hear such comments, as far as I’m concerned – in every interview I ever had or read with Franklin, Vollmer, Coughlin, Leverenz and others who spent time at or continue to be at Cal, I hear only good things about coach McKeever. The criticism, much of it it entirely baseless as far as I can see, has come from outside the tent, as it were.


I don’t have enough information and actually am not qualified either to have an opinion about the quality of coach McKeever’s job. I also probably missed or forgot Milt Nelms’ comments. But I noticed that for some unknown to me reason there were many voices that linked Franklin’s 2014-2015 LCM problems to what coach McKeever did or didn’t do working with her. I have no idea how accurate or grounded those accusations are. The only thing that I noted myself was that whoever defended the coach referred to swimmers who are veterans now. So I got the impression the coach’s style, attitude, priorities may changed with years. Also we had recently two injured outstanding swimmers who were under her watch. That of course can be accidental and coincidental. But both of these swimmers left Teri McKeever at Olympic season to heal their problems somewhere else. Therefore it was interesting to hear nice words about coach Teri from Dana Vollmer. To hear from the experienced aging pro swimmer who doesn’t have a luxury to be mistaken with coach selection in Olympic season.
P.S. Whenever I say “interesting” or “unexpected” I refer to my curiosity and my expectations only. There is no generalization.


Who are these two injured swimmers that left McKeever to heal somewhere?
All I know of CAL swimmers who suddenly left CAL is Cierra Runge, but she was not injured.

Katie Mclaughlin was injured, and then she took absence from competing and school to go back to her hometown and old club so she can focus 100% for recovery in preparation for the trials.

As for Missy, the plan to swim for CAL for only 2 years had been made and publicly announced in 2012 after the Olympics, one full year before she started her CAL swimming.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, it is my understanding that MF’s injury and underlying issue was something that was already there when she arrived at Cal. That’s what I’ve been told by reliable sources. I could also list a great many leading coaches who have had a series of injured swimmers on their books. It happens – and it doesn’t always mean bad coaching/bad decisions/reason to throw baby out with bath water etc. The sport is also full of swimmers taking off and joining other programs when the one they are with does not deliver on their expectation. Sometimes that works out well, sometimes not – and the better decisions tend to be this where the swimmer considers what their own role in ‘not living up to expectation’ is rather than simply say ‘it was all down to the coach and the wrong type of coaching’. There’s balance to be struck and smartness to be harnessed. I mention this because I think a great deal of the comment and criticism of McKeever (and several others coaches down the years) has been well shy of smart thinking based on accurate information.

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