Femke Heemskerk Joins Van Rouwendaal In Switch To Phillipe Lucas In France

Femke Heemskerk [By Patrick B. Kraemer]

After a breakthrough season of speed followed by a disappointment at the World Championships in Kazan, Dutch sprinter Femke Heemskerk has opted for a switch of coaches to Phillipe Lucas in Narbonne, France

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After a breakthrough season of speed followed by a disappointment at the World Championships in Kazan, Dutch sprinter Femke Heemskerk has opted for a switch of coaches to Phillipe Lucas in Narbonne, France

Comments

Danjohnrob

This news adds suspense to the Rio Olympic 200 free! Under Lucas’ guidance, Heemskerk will be ready to swim fast on race day, so Ledecky, Hosszu, Schmitt/Franklin and ?Sjostrom better be ready! I’m already excited! 🙂

paolo rubbiani

Smart move.
Wouda has been a great coach for Heemskerk: he really brought her to a new level of swimming, and her PB under 1.55 swam in-season in 200 free (and her PB in 200 medley too) proves that.

But Heemskerk failed soundly the cusp of the season, at Worlds, and her disappointment was great because great had been her hopes after a great season, until then.

Lucas made great things with Manaudou but above all with Van Rouwendaal, who under Lucas improved her 400 free in an impressive and unexpected way.

And Heemskerk, under Lucas, could find the endurance necessary to swim a great back-half of 200 free.

paolo rubbiani

@Danjohnrob: Don’t forget Pellegrini.
Also some Italian swimming fan forget her.., but she’s in the fight, often succesfully, from Athens2004, and now she focuses on 200 free to end her career at Rio upon a high note.

About the youngsters I was really impressed from Taylor Ruck who I have seen at Juniors Worlds.
Ok, Rio2016 is too soon for her, but she has amazing skills for 100 and 200 free in my opinion, and already at Juniors she was ready for a 1.57 flat if had swum 200 individual fresher (she swam 1.56.71 in the final leg of 4×200 free, the first day of competition).

ShenDuo is also an interesting swimmer for 200 free. Great physician and good tecnique.

For 100 free two youngsters born in 2000 could rewrite the book of records in next years: the already named Ruck and Dutch Marrit Steenbergen.

Craig Lord

I think TR and MS might even be a force to reckon with in the 200m sooner than the 100, Paolo … we shall see …

Danjohnrob

@paolo: Thank you, I forgot! Pellegrini will be very focused and ready for that event also. And at the Olympics, you never know which new superstars will emerge…

ThereaLuigi

Incidentally, Pellegrini was also coached by Lucas and under his guidance had a successful WC in 2011 Shanghai

Yozhik

Craig, I remember you told that Swimvortex.com will not support embedded jpeg files. Will you allow making link to them? Tnx

massimiliano gallus

that’s really strange. pellegrini last year left lucas because he wanted to train the 400 and now he will train heemskerk for the 200 ? what the f**k?! maybe heemskerk will be unbeatable maybe not, we don’t know. but i think that’s worst choice for her! lucas athletes do a lot of km ( pellegrini said 20 per day ). a sprinter, like femke is, doesn’t need so much work to be fast, on the contrary needs a lot of sprint works, pace works .
i think next year the 200 will be a different thing from this year. none dominated the field, except sjostrom. i think ledecky won’t be the queen. the battle will be sjostrom and pellegrini. sjostrom seems to be the fastest now, pellegrini the strongest mentally and in pacing. 12 years of success are not a casuality! last year did 1’55 after only 7 months of serious training, facing in december a back injury. i think that with a perfect taper she could do 1’53 . we’ll see

Yozhik

Gentlemen, don’t make a general mistake by getting deceived with race final times. Check in addition the way how the race was swum. If your device has no problem to show the following chart https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Capture.JPG
then you will see splits for all under 1:55 active all-time best swimmers at this distance plus Ledecky.
Comments. (Take my comments half seriously because at the end I am talking about elite swimmers)
1. 200m free is a trap. Everybody from sprinter to long distance swimmers believe that they are capable to compete at this distance just to realize later that it requires special gift that they may not have.
2. The Franklin’s and Heemskerk’s example shows that this distance is not for pure sprinters. The former almost died at the end and what the later did looks like she doesn’t have any idea what competitive swimming is all about 🙂
3. Two incomprehensible talents – Sjostrom and Ledecky swim very similar style like they came from same background. If Sjostrom is not progressing Ledecky will catch her pretty soon approaching her line and making stronger finish.
4. We are blessed by having example of ideal race shown by Allison Schmitt.
Pellegrini. This lady never gives up and will firmly stay at the level she is now. If leaders will not swim out of their guts she will get them right away.

TR and MS may also got tempted by this 200m trap but I think they are too immature yet to understand what actually this distance will require from them and if they really want to mess with it.

Craig Lord

Massi, I guess that we don’t hear the full versions of why swimmers move on sometimes, though Lucas may believe that FP needed to still focus on the 400 for the sake of the 200 … maybe he will get FH to do some longer work… we’ll see. I think Ledecky’s pace over 200 will pick up over the next year – we can’t say who will be queen but I think it is very safe to say that if Ledecky takes on the Olympic 200 she will want the crown and she’ll fight like hell to get it.

Craig Lord

No problem, Yozhik: it depends where the link takes folk: as with all things, I reserve the right… etc.
🙂

ThereaLuigi

If Allison Schmitt goes back to form, as some of her latest appearances seem to hint, she must also taken into consideration.

ThereaLuigi

* be

Yozhik

Pellegrini plateaued long time ago. Nothing has changed since then – neither style nor strength. Unless something happens to her unexplainable like it was with Heemskerk a year ago we can expect from Pellegrini 1:55.2 plus/minus a quarter of a second. I don’t understand what makes some people to be so optimistic about possible progress of Federica at 200m. Maybe they know something that is not accessible to the general public. The standard statistical analysis doesn’t support such idea. Her 400 showed the strength decline correlated with her age . Yes she is still mentally stable at her beloved race at 200m that allows her to charge very strongly and very effectively from behind. But that’s about it and is not enough if she has more than one strong opponent. She races against particular moving target but not time. She showed PB racing against Hosszu. She revanged Franklin swimming next to her, but probably hasn’t seen charging Ledecky. Yes she had great chances this year and similar situation can happen in Rio. But in Federica’s case not everything depends on her something unlucky has to happen to her major opponents as well.

Yozhik

Negative splits is not a traditional way to plan for the PB. If I can find some kind of explanation of world record races at 1500m ( Ledecky 15:28), 800m (Ledecky 8:11, 8:07), 400m (Pellegrini 3:59) that were done this weird way, then I will never believe that it is possible at 200. But Heemskerk did it in April (1:54.68). Whenever she tries to swim as normal people do she immediately gets back to her usual range. That is mid 1:55 and higher. With strong start she doesn’t have strength to complete the race. Is it her problem or coaching mistake? Let her figure out this with new coach.

paolo rubbiani

@Massimiliano: You must be a great fan of Federica to predict a 1.53 for her…
But it’s true that this first year of training with young and unexperienced coach Matteo Giunta, more speed-oriented, has already been successful with that 1.55.00 at Paris meeting before the final taper for Worlds.
Speaking “ex-post”, I think that the taper for Federica hasn’t been perfect (but the taper is a great question mark for every swimmer for every big event), so I also think that if all things will go in the best way, next year in Rio Federica could certainly dip under 1.55 (under 1.54 would be a strong-strong improvement for her). We’ll see

About Heemskerk, I think that Lucas’ choice is good for her because it’s a “white/black choice”. And Heemskerk, after another extremely disappointing Worlds nonetheless the great season she had had, need take some risk….Lucas is a risk because, like Massimiliano wrote, he has a training-method more oriented towards longer distances than 200 free.
But, Manaudou2007, under Lucas’ training, swam a huge WR in 200 free and also Amaury Leveaux had improvements in 200 free under Lucas’ guidance.
And, above all, Van Rouwendaal’ improvements have been astonishing: to swim 4.03 flat in 400 free, means that Van Rouwendall has become at least a 1.58 200 freer, really incredible before she trained with Lucas.
So, if Heemskerk will survive at the exausting training sessions of Lucas (I think that him and another french coach, Vergnoux, are the most compelling about yardage-load) she could have a great improvement about her endurace in the back-half of 200 free.

commonwombat

Time will tell whether this proves to be a positive move or a “blind alley”. There is no way of conclusively knowing that something WILL work until there is clear evidence to the positive or the negative.

Changes of “geography” can work & sometimes they don’t. If it is a change of country or a different region (even inside the same country ie inside USA); there can degrees of “culture shock” and people have trouble adjusting.

A great coach for one or more successful swimmer may not be the perfect fit for all. Sometimes its difficulty adjusting to different methods; sometimes it’s just a matter of “personal chemistry” just not working out.

Therea, time will tell whether Schmitt and/or Vollmer can actually get tight back to their former “optimal” level of performance. Many “returnees” after a significant break do get back to a level of competitiveness at domestic & event international level but stories like Dara Torres are a very very small percentage.

paolo rubbiani

Yes, the chemistry between coach and athlete is a remarkable question and it is, by now, set in stone that a great coach for one or more swimmers may not be absolutely fit for other swimmers.

About Allison Schmitt, we’ll see from the first meetings (for instance in Minnesota) if Bowman’s hope to relive the fantastic season 2011/12 will be founded.
In 2011-12 Schmitt performed extremely well in every meeting in-season, with an average in the 200 free around 1.55 low-mid (and then she swam that huge textile-best in London).
Four years later, it will be difficult repeating such a level of performances, anyway she has begun to train in Arizona with Bowman’s group (a very smaller one as regards that of two years ago which included foreign stars like Agnel and Mellouli ) and her temper seems high. This is, at any rate, a good news.

beachmouse

Schmitt has been very open about her post-Olympic depression, and I think it’s not so much about whether Bowman can get her back to the top (past performance shows he can) but that if she can find a good team out of the water in Arizona to help her manage her mental health issues.

A happy Allison this year has been showing signs of returning to Olympic form and with some good base training in 2015, I think she’s got a quite good 2016 in her if she keep atop of those health issues.

Yozhik

It is a very thoughtful observation, beachmouse. The restoration of the will to compete to the limits cannot be done by the training sets only. Honestly speaking I thought it is not quite possible to come back since once was said that that is enough and never again. Similar thing may happened to Muffat and probably to Phelps. But his returning back gives me a hope that Allison can find the way to full recovery.

massimiliano gallus

Paolo, i’m a very big fan of Fede ! but everyone forgets that FP has already swum 1’52″9. even though she swam it in tech suits fede is very thin and had a very great flotation, so it’s probable that her best time could be with a textile suit under 1’54 !
if she takes a some kilos this year, she could be at the top ! schmitt was amazing in london. but her performances after london were awful. i think that her top form will remain forever london. she doesn’t have a high base competitive level. let me explain: some people,as Fede as katie ledecky, are capable of swimming fast o very fast ( 1’56 in 200 for example) in every condition, even in heavy training and in bad form. Schmitt not

Yozhik

@Massimiliano: I think that my children are the smartest in the world until I look at school report. 🙂
I don’t want to say anything not nice about your favorite, but look at numbers
01:56.47 2007 World Championships 25/3/2007
01:58.19 2007 Paris Open 2/8/2007
01:59.52 2007 World University Games 9/8/2007
01:56.10 2008 46. Trofeo Sette Coli 6/6/2008
01:54.82 2008 Olympic Games 9/8/2008
01:54.47 2009 ITA Champs 1/3/2009
01:54.47 QUAL YOG 2010 / Italian Spring Championships 4/3/2009
01:52.98 2009 FINA World Champs 26/7/2009
01:56.23 Spring National Open Championships 14/4/2010
01:55.45 2010 European Swimming Champs 9/8/2010
Do you think that this temporary “dive” is of natural origin? It is even more dramatic if you look at 400m times. If it is not natural and it is not due to tech suit’s help as you said then what is it?
For the peace sake let it be suits. I think that Pellegrini was one of those who benefited from suits most. I will never dispute medals earned at suits era. But I will take off all such entries from the record books. It is not fair to treat them as unassisted swimming.
In my opinion Pellegrini can return to 1:53 – with flippers and extra muscles to manage such swim efficiently.
Allison Schmitt. I agree with you that 1:53.61 is most likely is Allison’s personal record (and a world record so far). But please be more respectful and nicer with words when evaluating Allison as a swimmer. So it would be no wrong impression. Yes she is fragile and needs special conditions. So does a sport racing car that can perform on high quality tracks only and does it once in this car life time. And people like it nevertheless.

ThereaLuigi

I too think Massimiliano is made blind by fan love.
But I think that Fede has still something to say in the pool.
And I reckon she is one of the greatest 200 freestyle ever. Just think about it: in 2004 she was already racing at the top. And she is still now, while other swimmers in her specialties have come and gone. In mid-distance freestyle that is very, very rare.

paolo rubbiani

About Allison Schmitt.
In 2011/12 she was clearly the best 200 freer in the world. Even in heavy training her consistency was remarkable: Allison Schmitt swam under 1.56 at Minneapolis meeting in the fall of 2011, in January at Austin she swam 1.55.83, in early June, still in Austin’s pool, before the taper for Usa trials, she swam her PB in 1.55.04.
Then, at Olympic trials in Omaha, she swam her new PB (and Usa open record) in 1.54.40.
At last, at Olympics in London she swam the textile WR in 1.53.61 (and 4.01.77 for silver in 400 free).

About Pellegrini. In 2009 she was at her peak, after the Olympic gold, under Castagnetti’s guidance and with the spur of Worlds in Rome. Unfortunately there were shiny suits, so it’s impossible to establish what could have been the textile-best of Federica at her peak. In 2010, after Castagnetti’s death, too changes and too troubles for Federica to give her best. Noretheless she clearly won 200 free at European Champs, and in 2011, under Lucas’ guidance, the double 200-400 free at Shangai Worlds.
I agree with ThereaLuigi: the greatness of Pellegrini is that she has been racing at the top from 2004 and just in 2012, at London’s Olympics, she failed to win medals.

paolo rubbiani

Edit: 1.55.04 in Austin, in early June 2012, was Schmitt textile PB. At Worlds2009, with shiny suits, she had swum a few hundredth better.

Yozhik

I feel no moral rights to be more proud of Federica Pellegrini than her Italian fans. Her success at 200m free for so many years makes it very natural to consider her a world record holder as well. She deserved to be looked at her this way. It is not like in case of Paul Biedermann it feels like with that 0.01 sec he’s stolen something from ian thorpe’s legacy to be a holder of one of the longest and prestigious swimming record. This 1:52.98 is just staying too far from unique swimmers on progress to be beaten (Sjostrom 1.2%, Ledecky 1.9%). So it has to wait for another Sjostrom, Ledecky or Schmitt to get threaten. How frequently we can expect to have such stars in swimming?

commonwombat

Paolo, it would be more accurate to state that Schmitt was the undisputed no1 in the 200 in 2012 …which was the season where her times took the “major tumble”. In 2011, including Worlds, she was just “back in the pack” of contenders.

Whilst she had a respectable international career before this, her 2012 certainly seems to fir the mould of the performer/sportsperson who has that one “perfect preparation”/perfect season.

This is by no means a “knock” on her; there most certainly may be gold medallists from this year’s Worlds who will never hit that “high” again in their careers.

paolo rubbiani

@Commonwombat: For Schmitt I mean the season 2011/12, i.e. from September 2011 to August 2012, not 2011 (at Shangai Worlds Pellegrini won steadily both 200 and 400 free, whereas Schmitt didn’t perform greatly) and 2012.
But after Worlds 2011 in Shangai, Schmitt took a year free from her study at Georgia University to train full-time with Bowman’s group at Baltimore and her results were amazing already in the very first meeting in LC at Minneapolis meeting, in early November 2011.

@Yozhik: The WR really difficult even to preview when it could be beaten is another one of Biedermann and the magical shiny suits in 2009: the 1.42.00 in the 200 free. That’s really an incredible time.., a superspecialist of 200 free like Agnel in the fantastic shape of 2012 remained more than a second distant from that WR.

About 1.52.98 by Pellegrini, I think that Sjostrom, if trains seriously for 200 free, has everything to draw at least near it.
She swam 1.54.3 in Kazan without specific training and, like wrote already too much, in my opinion she has the perfect mixture of speed and endurance to become a fantastic 200 freer.
About youngsters, I was extremely impressed from Taylor Ruck. Also Dutch Marrit Steenbergen could swim a great 200 free in the future, beyond a surely great 100 free.

Yozhik

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
Whoever makes prognoses about Sjostrom take into account that she was slower at all but 100 fly disciplines this year compare to the last one. Maybe she takes one step back to make a huge jump in Olympic year. Ledecky actually is much closer to her at 200 than it may appear.
Event 2014 2015
50 free 23.98 24.20
100 free 52.67 52.70
200 free 1: 53.64(rt-0.32) 1:54.31(rt-0.69)
400 free 4:06.04 4:15.14
50 fly 24.43 24.69
100 fly 56.50 55.64

Yozhik

There is widely spread myth that Pellegrini was at her peak in 2009. I haven’t seen any article that confirms more or less convincingly this fact. If one looks at time series of Pellegrini’s results at 200 over her swimming career without taking into consideration any surrounding circumstances then it would be said that she steadily progressed to peak around Barcelona with some aberration of 2.1% – 2.3% in 2009. This number can be attributed to tech suits effect. What I noticed (maybe incorrectly) is that the maximum effect was achieved at middle distances for both genders. Mr. Lord being SME may correct me to what extent suits helped swimmers to race faster. Examples of Joanne Jackson and Rebeca Adlington can be helpful.
Paolo, your statement about Federica’s peak is not much different from what Massimiliano said. He said – no effect. You agree to some effect but not much and mostly attribute 2009 peak to performance improvement. I disagree with you that it is impossible to establish what could have been shown this time should Pellegrini swim it textile suit. There is at least one person who base on results shown at practices knows what Pellegrini was capable of in 2009. I never heard any comments from her on this matter. But I am not that fluent in Italian to say that I read everything she said.

paolo rubbiani

@Yozhik: My english is very poor, but I think not so much to understand that my statement about Federica is not much different from what Massimiliano said.
I simply wrote that it’s impossible to establish what could have been the textile-best for Federica in 2009, but I firmly think that she had a clear improvement in her performances because of the suits, both in 200 and in 400.
About 2009 and the suits, Castagnetti, Federica’s coach, thought that Federica had no great advantage from the suits and that she swam the best times of her career during her training in that season.
I don’t completely agree with Castagnetti about Federica and the suits, while I have to trust in his assertion upon Pellegrini’s times during 2009 training.

About Sjostrom and Ledecky you write times and times and then say that Ledecky is much closer to Sjostrom at 200 free than it may appear??
Times tell that from1.54.31 and 1.55.16 there is a great difference.
Moreover, every average swimming fan knows that perhaps a greater difference from Sjostrom and Ledecky in 200 free is that Sarah can turn at 100 in 55.51 without much effort (she’s a 52.7 100 freer), while Katie can’t turn better than 56 low (56.2-56.3 in Kazan’s final), because she hasn’t the speed that Sarah has.
In the next year Ledecky will improve her “easy speed” and turn quicker at 100? Probable, but now we have to look at the real times, and real times (and swimmer’s characteristics as well) tell us that between Sjostrom and Ledecky there is a clear difference in 200.

Yozhik

Paolo, thank you for clarification. If I may advise, then stop complaining about your English. When I came to America I basically new very well only two words – hello, that what I said starting job interview, and goodbye – that what I heard in response. It was this way until my job recruiter told me: you are an experienced, educated person. Let it be their problem if they don’t understand you. I got a job in a week or so after that. I like WORD and I am a good writer at my native language and I understand the importance to be clearly understood, but I also learned that language was never a problem when people have something important to say and want to understand each other.
There is four years old little one is siting on laps now. He speaks not knowingly two languages of his parents and language oh his Grands. For him it is one big language. It is just a communication tool. Nothing else.

Yozhik

Paolo, as I said I submitted Pellegrini’s time series to the standard data analysis software package. It doesn’t know anything about Federica’s circumstances. May be she was at her best at 2009 and after that was pushed back recovering by Barcelona. You definitely know more than me at this area. What time series analysis does it reveals within set of randomly effected data some tendencies. Also if someone can confirm that suits could improve swimmer’s performance by 2% then I will stay with the opinion that all 2009 progress was almost entirely due to usage of high tech suits. I don’t think that Pellegrini’s coach wasn’t truthful about Pellegrini’s capability to break personal best in 2009. But he didn’t say what this best was expected to be. Do you think Ledecky and her coach didn’t know what would be shown at 1500 and 800 in Kazan? I think their estimates were accurate up to the half of a second.

Yozhik

Paolo, if your killing argument is “every average swimming fan knows” then it may not be much of sense to continue this discussion since what possible can be said by someone who is below average. If nevertheless you would like to listen to then read the following.
1. Sjostrom didn’t show any signs of progress swimming free disciplines in 2015. She actually got a little bit back.
2. Ledecky on the other hand clearly showed the improvement in speed. It is worth to mention that this improvement in much degree came from the better technique. As Luigi said in April – her 200 looked like a lot of efforts without much gain. In Kazan it was completely different impression.
3. Ledecky has been already under 1:55 last year (1:54.36 with rt – 0.18). The swimming at her personal best in final after excruciating semi-final let me firmly believe that she was targeting and was capable to show 1:54.8 – 1:54.7 under better scheduling conditions.
So the actual difference between Sjostrom and Ledecky is within 0.3-0.5 sec interval. That is why I metaphorically said that Sarah still sees Katie in rare mirror – not next to her. But should Sjostrom make a little excuse for herself and should Ledecky push harder upon herself (and we know she can) then she will be much closer, actually dangerously close to Sjostrom than it appears.

Look one more time at my charts https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Capture.JPG
Franklin swam first 100 at same speed as Sjostrom, and see how she ended.
Also looking at Sjostrom chart do you see the area where possible improvements are hidden?

paolo rubbiani

Yozhik, just one thing: for me it’s always a pleasure to talk about swimming and great swimmers. And you are a true swimming fan like me, so it’s a pleasure to talk with you.

In general, keep attention to consider 200 (or 100) times with relay start and add only the difference between the reaction (rt like you point out, or ts, tempo di stacco, in Italian) and an usual rt at the start of an individual race.
In a relay a swimmer can also fling from the block, and this is an additional advantage, variable from a swimmer to another.
Moreover, in a relay, because of strange psychological or race situations, there are swimmers who perform a lot better that in an individual race.

About Sjostrom, I have to repeat my opinion: she now has all the skills to swim an amazing 200 free, I think also better than the textile WR by Schmitt in London.
She, i.e her coach, must only decide to accept the challenge of 200 free in a main event, and train for it.

From your charts: 1.53.61 was swum by Schmitt with these splits: 27.18-28.20-28.97-29.26.
In the lead-off of 4×200 relay, Sjostrom swam 1.54.31, with these splits: 26.72-28.79-29.67-29.13.
With more training and knowledge of 200 free, Sjostrom may improve the second and third split, too distant from the opening 50.
Now Sjostrom, not yet a 200 free specialist, swims the 200 in this way: a quick first 50 taking advantage of her pure speed (she’s a 24 low 50 freer), than two 50s much more relaxed, to finish strong the last 50.
With a specific training for 200 free, she may improve a lot the second and third 50, and finish still strong the last 50.

Yozhik

Nice talking to you, Paolo and thank you for using Italian when it is the best and the most appropriate way to express your thoughts.
So let Sjostrom know that there is no threat to her gold Olympic medal at 200 free. And let Ledecky catch her off guard with that incaution 🙂
Cheer.

massimiliano gallus

i think Yozhik you’re blind as me speaking about Ledecky! i have to say that right now Sjostrom is a lot faster and stronger than Ledecky. Ledecky is 4th in the world with her time, so it means that if everyone’s was in perfect conditions, ledecky won’t be the god medal. you speack only with times, but if u read times federica and hemske are better than Ledecky. and both are capable of swimming 28 high in one of the 4 splits, ledecky not. speaking only by the times, ledecky didn’t progress from last year, because she was 1’55 even at the pans. federica and femke did an amazing progress from their bests last year. and even sarah did an impressive progress! she was at 1’55 and this year is 154’4! so considering only numbers you’re statement is totally wrong.
speaking about technique, that is more interesting, ledecky has got not a good technique for 200m. she has a very short stroke and she flips up and down, waisting a lot of energy . she has not the base speed she needs to be at the be at the top and she prepares also long distances! i think my favorite is sarah, femke and Fede. don’t forget franklin – she already swam 1’54, has a great speed and strength. and she’s a specialist of 200 !

Craig Lord

Massi and Co: I think that KL is in the infancy of what she might be capable of in the 200 one day. And in Rio she won’t have the 1500m to get in the way. Good to talk of the strengths of others but I think it unwise to talk in terms of the relative weakness of a swimmer just setting out on the 200m challenge – but already a world champion. One strength that she has above all other contenders: more in the tank down the last lap… as I wrote before Kazan, if she’s close at last turn, she wins; if they get too far ahead of her by then she may still mow them down if they fall apart on the way home. It is a tricky race the 200 – and has been for a long time, the results of major champs for women show us.

Yozhik

Massimiliano, first of all in no way I wanted to ridicule your fan love of your favorite. I respect it because I am as you correctly noticed in the same boat being a sport lover who doomed to share same fate – perpetual hope that our favorites will perform a miracle.
Secondly, the word “blind” didn’t come from my mouth. Blame it on Luigi 🙂
Thirdly, I completely agree with your statement that if everyone was in perfect condition they would show better result. I think that this “everyone” includes Ledecky as well. BTW she was the only one who swam at her PB. I wouldn’t speculate what would be her time should she swam under other conditions. Technically Sjostrom improved her PB, but as it was already discussed in another thread her Berlin’s split at 4×200 relay showed that she was faster at any point of that race than it was swam in Kazan.
Fourthly, by definition a swimmer is a world champion if he/she won World Championships final race. Not those who a faster in general or showed better time during the season. Who could imagine that Heemskerk would not capitalized on her improvements and wouldn’t even break 1:56. Racing against each other is an important part of this type of sport. The ability to race is a factor of same importance as swimming technique. There is no reason to construct hypothetical competition. It is good on paper only.
Fifthly, that is the beauty of statistics that data can be treated in the way to support any point. This is your view on same data. To my opinion your logic has flaws but there is no reason to discuss it, because people can see different signs looking at the same data.
Sixthly, I am not in the position to make professional assessment of Ledecky’s swimming technique. Therefore I would prefer to read someone else’s more or less expert opinion on Ledecky’s technique at 200 shown in Kazan. If it was any noticeable changes that can promise further performance improvement.
And finally, I wish you and your favorites the best.

Yozhik

To following is the illustration of Craig’s point about Ledecky’s racing style.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Capture2.JPG
However, I think that swimming 200m should still be done in a sprinter style without focusing just on strong finish. At the same time it is hard to disagree with Craig that 200 is a tricky race and should not be treated as pure sprint. For me what Schmitt demonstrated is the way how this distance has to be swam.
I am not sure that it is natural for Ledecky to race without making last 50 the key part of the race. The attempt to improve time by faster start had immediate consequences in the middle and so far was not that much productive. Therefore I’m kind of skeptical about record level times from her. On the other hand she may find something different, not traditional. Heemskerk’s example is very encouraging. If Sjostrom takes 200m challenge in Rio seriously I would also expect from her to reconsider the strategy. Heemskerk, Sjostrom and Ledecky will definitely swim differently in Rio then they did it 2015.

Yozhik

Actually it is an interesting observation of Ledecky’s stroke, Massimiliano. Is it your or you found it somewhere? I thought that her “very short stroke” is the consequence of not being tall enough as other sprinters. But Ledecky and Heemskerk like twin sisters – same height, same weight, similar body shape and so different their strokes are (look a video of final race in Kazan). On the other hand Pellegrini made more strokes on the way home than Ledecky. So maybe more frequent shorter stroke is more efficient for the 200m racers.
Look at the following very nice piece – the drama of championship race.
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=federica+pellegrini+kazan&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=1C4E63C00EB8DA0E79D41C4E63C00EB8DA0E79D4

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