James Guy in Beard & Briefs: 27th, 3:52 in 400m Before 5km Workout, Rest Reserved For Rio

James Guy by Georgie Kerr, courtesy of British Swimming

Not an auspicious start to swimming at the continental showcase this morning, neither for organisers – scoreboard hick-up and 7-minute delay at the start of the meet to shake off first-morning cobwebs – nor James Guy: the Worlds silver medallist is out of the 400m – 27th in 3:52.91. He raced with a beard, in briefs and emerged panting. Here was a man still doing double threshold sessions and heading from the heats to a 5km training set. All about Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games

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If heavy training is really his focus, James Guy shouldn’t have turned up at this meet at all. All those travels back and forth to the pool, the waiting etc.. stole valuable time from his training time, no?

Craig Lord

Not really, aswimfan… the team gathered in London late on Saturday, before that they were all at home programs. There was no holding etc. The team has a training facility nearby and many will be working on not quite like home but not far off, the meet providing more ‘rest’ than they would at home as the week progresses, of course.


Ben Proud’s start is crazy fast.


Who is this female commentator for Eurosport? She’s totally clueless on so many fronts. No insight whatsoever on techniques, and kept saying wrong info, for example, she has just said during women’s 4×100 free prelims that the Netherlands is the defending olympics champions.

kevin roose

Guy is making MOCKERY of these championships …these are the European Championships arnt they?
The swim has achieved nothing except make him and his country look ordinary ….

Craig Lord

Kevin; the swimmer is doing what his country has asked – race through training at a Europ champs because it is at home. Holding Europeans every two years including in Olympic years is, I grant you, a mockery of the process swimmers go through for the Olympic Games – I don’t see too many Americans etc peaking twi this year (and some not this year nor fully last year either).

Craig Lord

Yes, aswimfan, we were just commenting on it in the stands – a standout start.

Felix Sanchez

No race suit, and no sign of interest. There’s racing tired, and then there’s swimming in a lane beside a race. His name was used to promote the event, so a bit dodgy.

Craig Lord

Different people, different agendas, Felix.


aswimfan – it’s Joanne Jackson who, apart from being an Olympic medallist and a former world record holder, probably doesn’t know much about technique. (Although I’m not watching so can’t comment on her informational accuracy!)


I am with Felix (and Kevin, and asf). I hope the crowd don’t feel too cheated by watching a training swim instead of Championship racing. (Could these champs have acted as Rio selection events, perhaps?)

Craig Lord

Perhaps, but too late for that now, stabilo. If blame is to be directed, I think it best directed to those who set the calendar and expect the show to go on regardless, the insinuation from some of the blazers and others saying ‘of course they can race at peak more often’ insinuating that K Hosszu is the model to celebrate, the rest somehow slovenly in approach. I think you’ll find a different Guy as the week unfolds… he just could not be competitive over 400m in this kind of company right now. I recall falling about laughing in 1999 with media colleagues as we listened to LEN announcing ‘lc champs every 2 years, s/c every year…’ and knowing that would force FINA’s hand and worlds would also go every 2 etc… the value of the Europeans has been diluted – and that’s a shame. I don’t blame swimmers for that. James Guy has a different aim that the 400m on day 1 in London this week.

Martin McEvoy

“that was the European record of 4:29.89 she set on a quiet moment on Golden Tour this past winter on a unique trajectory in the sport.

Nothing remotely like it.”

Not quite true. there was one quite like it, for those who remember. Fond of a whiskey, as memory serves…..

Blah Blah

Is there any research/evidence to suggest Facial hair has a significant impact on performance? Even overall shaving. It must have some impact but I’m curious how much it actually is.


My favorite female commentator is Nicole Livingstone, who is able to combine and present accurate general swimming info with swimming techniques and strategy and measured enthusiasm. She is able to spot the dynamics of the race and interesting development going on in the race. Very informative.

paolo rubbiani

I could use the politically correct, but I was shocked by Guy’s way of swimming the 400 free at the European Champs in his country.
1) In every meeting of the last two seasons, even in the smallest ones, Guy has swum far better than today.
2) Everyone’s target are the Olympics, but what has done Guy today is, in my opinion, meaningless.
Your focus is totally upon training and you are in a phase of particularly heavy training? You don’t race at these European Champs (in your country..), at least the 400 free. Stop.
You want to make an experiment racing super-tired?
What’s the meaning of such an experiment at just 80 days from Olympics?
Bowman used to set the young Phelps in difficult, unforseeable situations to strenghten his character, but this was planned during the early stages of course, well before the main target, not in a bizarre way 80 days before Olympics.

Craig Lord

I’m not sure that facial hair itself makes such a big difference or how much that might be, Blah Blah πŸ™‚ but from a psychological point of view, there’s much to be said for being in a state of body and mind ready to race, cut, honed and streamlined for purpose, so to speak, be that Phelps, Guy, Cseh (has his hair on most of the time but not come the big moment, for example…) etc etc.

Craig Lord

Quite so along some parallel lines, age, late-career progress etc, Martin – and perhaps in terms off Olympic medals, too, come August. We shall see…

Sean O'Connor

Martin, Craig

Hopefully the same end result too !

Give them back they don’t belong to you..


I am really disappointed at the constant sniping at Katinka Hosszu. I am just not seeing the same things as those of you who are blatantly suggesting she is cheating.

I see a young woman who was the best in the world aged 20, who probably should have won in London but screwed it up (perhaps because of a home European Championships and a required focus on that from her NGB?) who has changed what she does, divorced herself from her NGB and is the best in the world again.

Is that naive?

Craig Lord

Yes, naive (and wildly and poorly edited version of events, truly so) but also you read what you chose to read Linny and see what some may wish you to see – she is not divorced from her NGB, for example. As such, at least for now, you must remain disappointed.


True, I did summarise. πŸ™‚


Paolo Rubbiani,

I totally agree with you re: James Guy.
The one particular thing that I don’t get is the training suit thing.
Unless he plans to swim Rio in training suit, it’s just very poor choice by James. It’s the European Championships, hosted by his own country in the Olympics pool, broadcast live to the whole world, FFS.

If you don’t care about these championships but can’t get away from it, then don’t taper, don’t rest at all, don’t shave, swim as tired as you want, but please wear your racing suit. This is not your local meet, your regional meet, not mare nostrum series or the likes.

Craig Lord

aswimfan, we will hear more about this later in the week, but I think they decided to tackle each race in its own right this week – and the 400 was ruled out as a race that could deliver a serious challenge in his current state of work. He could have withdrawn, of course – but then he would’ve got stick for that, too – and not been able to try what he was trying. If the suit on the blocks didn’t quite tell us, then the stroke pace and rate and much else about his performance told us from lap 1 that he was not going to challenge over 4 laps. If they decided that a day 1 killer was not wise for James this week and that he was better to let the days unfold and focus on a different challenge, then maintenance mode may well prove to have been the best option. Time will tell. The home meet stuff is a bit red herring. Britain has bought in to that kind of stuff far too many times in the past – and then suffered and been hammered as soft and unserious come the bigger moment. If what unfolded was the best thing for James Guy, so be it.


I hope for his next race James Guy will make the right decision and wear racing suit. Wearing training suit in these continental championships hosted by his own country accomplishes nothing but disrespect for his fellow competitors as well as spectators. If he is so afraid of getting beaten while wearing training suit, then maybe I should question his mentality.


“If he is so afraid of getting beaten while wearing *racing* suit…

paolo rubbiani

Yes Aswimfan and there’s another thing incomprehensible..
Guy’s words above: “Guy noted that he now had a few days of easier workouts than he’s endured in the past week and looked forward to being a touch sharper in the 200m”.
But the 200 free is scheduled today, i.e. the day after the 400 free, with an alleged 5 km training set in the midst.
I don’t think that Guy’s condition may be so different.
The only difference is the race he swims (the 200 free a touch easier for a tired swimmer).

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