Jazz Carlin Hits High Note With Distance Double That Stopped Hosszu Gold Rush

Jazmin Carlin - delighted by her double double in Netanya, December 2015 - with Katinka Hosszu after the 400m battle - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Britain’s Jazz Carlin ended her in-training campaign in Netanya with more than two golds medals added to her treasury as the championships drew to a close this evening: if the win was prize No1, the distance double was prize No2 after her 800m win earlier in the meet, while plaudit No3 was the double distance double as the woman who now holds the European long- and short-course crowns over 400 and 800m simultaneously. And then there was the gold that confined Katinka Hosszu (HUN) to silver for the first time in seven tries after six golds in four days

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Britain’s Jazz Carlin ended her in-training campaign in Netanya with more than two golds medals added to her treasury as the championships drew to a close this evening: if the win was prize No1, the distance double was prize No2 after her 800m win earlier in the meet, while plaudit No3 was the double distance double as the woman who now holds the European long- and short-course crowns over 400 and 800m simultaneously. And then there was the gold that confined Katinka Hosszu (HUN) to silver for the first time in seven tries after six golds in four days

Comments

Yozhik

Craig, something is not right with the Carlin’s and Hosszu’s splits at 400. The article reads that after 300 Carlin is ahead by 0.23 sec . Then it says that at last fifty Carlin was faster by 0.28 sec. Then how did Carlin won just only 0.03 sec at the end. Maybe the numbers shown at the end of splits (29.38 and 29.66) mean something different. If so then what it is? Thank you.

Craig Lord

Thanks Yozhik, the splits are correct, the 300/350 order was wrong in copy… speed writing … now correct 🙂

Yozhik

Craig, I’m sorry for questioning your data again, but Hosszu’s breaststroke results look suspiciously out of line 🙂
If to be serious then main progress was achieved at backstroke and freestyle on sprinters side. Were any changes in technique observed (number of strokes, length of stroke, number of kicks per stroke, breathing technique, whatever). Or all these improvements can be attributed to increase of power only. The endurance has not change much as far as I can see (she doesn’t look like a strong finisher).
What your table doesn’t show is a progression curve. It doesn’t look like 2015 is an end point.
Regardless, the origin of this “late development” it deserves to be studied by coaches and sport scientists. As you said, the swimming sport hasn’t seen anything like this before and most likely won’t see anything like this in the future. The Science has a rear opportunity to learn more about limits of human body.

Craig Lord

I have all the data to do quite specific progression charts. I’m not intending to do them right now … there are children to be put to bed – and wine to be quaffed – good night 🙂

Yozhik

The following exception from Tom Jager interview on Swedish podcast
“I think the biggest difference is that the athletes and coaches from other countries actually watched what Matt and I were doing, and they looked at the stroke and they looked at the kick… the legs became much more of an emphasis. And while the legs were becoming more of an emphasis across the world, we [US Swimming] were not. ”

And
Hosszu’s recent reference to the leg technique as a major factor of her fast race
“… I felt the legs came together really well and since I wanted to get back the WR as soon as possible, I can say, I wasn’t surprised to make it in the morning.”

May
shed some light on Hosszu’s puzzling storming progress.

Craig Lord

legs are indeed v useful in swimming, yozhik

Yozhik

Craig, I appreciate your attempts to raise the awareness of uniqueness of what’s going on with Hosszu. And as many sport lovers I hope to find some explanation – different from the one suggested by Mr. Barrett, if possible of course.

Craig Lord

There will be a compelling truth to be told, Yozhik. The arguments of ‘legs’; ‘arms’; ‘hard work’; ‘determination’; brand names that suggest an iron will beyond that of others etc etc, simply don’t get there, right now, for many are the folk who have talent, hard work, facilities, support, resources financial and expertise on their side, an aptitude for grit and grind and so forth, multiple skills in the mix (very many key examples) but none, not a single one matches the model and trajectory we now see, not even close and not even trying, while many admit privately to scratching their heads, for they, too, have yet to see or hear anything that gives them a clue as to what they might be doing differently. A mystery indeed. I hope your search is fruitful.

Yozhik

If I was a journalist I would start a crusade against Katinka Hosszu, just of professional solidarity with swimmingworldmagazin.com. This lawsuit that she filed smells very bad. She spent too much time in USA to learn that SW will probably settle the case giving her some money to avoid bad publicity. The controversial article of Mr. Barrett is no way a defamation but an attempt to explain extraordinary performance that Hosszu herself doesn’t care to give any explanations about. This case is all about money and is not about restoration of her reputation. There are plenty of other ways to do so if her reputation is indeed needed to be restored.
But I am not a journalist and understand people like Katstevens or Wes that would prefer to see in Hosszu’s success the manifestation of sport achievement rather then another example of a cheater who is so far lucky enough to fool WADA’s screening.

Lennart van Haaften

I think Evelyn Verraszo also went inside 4 min, but in 2009 so not in textile.

Craig Lord

Yes, Lennart, she did: 3:59.68, 2009, while Hosszu now has almost half of all the top 50 Hungarian swims ever, having had none in the top 50 just 3 seasons ago. Similar picture in various events.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, if I were a swimmer, I’d want to know that there would be no need for crusades because the anti-doping system was built in such a way that would allow an athlete passport to be used as a strong defence against any suggestion of doping. As we know, no athlete can rely on such things as a defence at the moment. The argument that the system is failing is not deep enough; the question is, how is it failing? Certainly not just in terms of whether the hunters can catch their quarry in the lab. I think the penalties for those in the shadows, for those in laboratories such as Moscow doing what they have been doing should be far more serious. If what is alleged to have happened with Portugalov and friends in Russia is correct, lifetime bans are one thing. They ought to face criminal prosecution. Same for any officials in sports governance operating ‘green card’ systems built to look the other way (and even hide the truth) when it comes to anti-doping. If you are found to steal from others – in private and corporate worlds – and yes I’m aware that bad practice goes unchecked there, too – then there is a law to face and the threat of a jail term always present. In sport, that would take the will of nations and national laws – and international agreements on that level (some have done that to a certain extent: in Germany, for example). I think such things are worth crusading over, difficult as they may seem in terms of the chances of success. Meanwhile, I think athletes and coaches could do far more to make the environment in swimming far less pleasant for the cheat returned. We will see a duel in Indianapolis this week with both sides including swimmers who tested positive for banned substances and were banned. So organisers have placed European swimmers who I know regard at least one, if not both, of those involved as (an) outright cheat(s) (along with those who provided and administered the banned substances but were never exposed) on the same squad as those swimmers. Both sides (particularly ‘fans’ and high-flying blazers who find it helpful to lump everyone in the same boat and say ‘everyone has cheats, so level-playing-field we have) will say ‘well, we can if they can – same on both sides’, childishly and conveniently looking the other way in terms of the very different circumstances in each anti-doping case. In the 1990s, athletes and coaches were prepared to speak to media relatively openly about their views on performances and circumstances that many regarded as suspicious. FINA’s response to Perth 1998 was to remove the mixed zone from the warm-up/training pool so that media could not get to athletes and coaches beyond that singular post-race moment. They claimed coaches didn’t want the media there; talks with WSCA and ASCA, among others have shown that the excuse offered by Director Marculescu is invalid and most coaches would be very happy to have the old system back where if they have time and want to (no obligation) they can indeed talk to media at major events in a more relaxed & less controlled atmosphere. In nearly all cases in the 1990s where suspicion was raised, the truth came out, in part (when considering whole teams/nations) and in full where there was a positive test or A. Another infraction that led to suspension. In 2015, coaches, athletes, the federations who back them (and receive public funding in many cases) should and could do far more to be a touch more crusading for clean sport than they are, and that stretching to allowing coaches and athletes a reasonable level of freedom of speech. By that, I mean this: Olympic 100m free final – silver 47.34, rest of final below 48.2, winner on 46 flat. It should be possible for the rest to emerge from that race and say “he’s joking, right” instead of sticking to team agreements that say ‘speak only of your own performance’ and ‘say nothing of others because in the absence of a positive test it would be wrong to do so’. History tells us that it is right to do so.
(p.s: solidarity with swimming world, speaking in general terms, is a given in terms of the journalistic work they do and the right of all to have an opinion, within the bounds of the law, including media law… and that point I leave to the relevant authorities to decide: I can only be responsible for what I write)

Yozhik

Craig, you made many important points in your statement (crime&punishment, who should guvern: professional administrators or professional coaches, what is the role of media etc, etc, etc). They are deserved to be discussed. But it will be right to do at dedicated threads one by one and not all together. I am sure you will return to those topics.
My comments addressed actually significantly narrower question: how far can we go with our suspicions that in most cases are based only on our unscientific understanding of what is possible in sport. Are we always unbiased? Why Hosszu’s progress at age 26 raises eyebrows and Heemskerk’s impressive personal bests from 50 to 200 made in several strokes at age 28 were left unnoticed? Why Ye Shiwen’s last leg at 400IM put her in trouble, but when Ledecky did the same nobody paid attention.
That is what cheaters made with us – whenever some achivement happens that our experience considers unusual we are ready to blame it on doping. We do not allow ourselves to believe that it can be actually possible, because we were fooled many times by cheaters.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, your ‘narrower’ links to all that ‘wider’ stuff, of course but in as simple an answer as I can, I would say that science does not explain all things; clean, cutting-edge science was said to be behind the GDR ‘success’ but now we know that was not true even though it did indeed play a part; and I would say that ‘off the chart’ moments – taking into consideration what has gone before and what we know of any athlete, including age, background, where they are based, what influences they are under and so on and so forth – are those where bells toll most solemnly.

The circumstance of each of the swimmers you mention is distinct. You ask Femke Vs Katinka: well, one dominates on many occasions, including the biggest, specifically in the past 3 years and takes on the very best of specialists across many events and distances and either beats them or comes v close and in so doing makes more money than most elite swimmers put together will ever make, courtesy of her dominance and a FINA world cup lacking attraction for the bulk of world-class swimmers in terms of the series; while the other is not dominant at all and still suffers the same issues she has long suffered on big race day (I would add that Heemskerk showed the potential to be a world-beating 200 swimmer long ago – a smart race on the right occasion and handling the nerves of that has eluded her).

You mention Ledecky and Ye, one 15 and one 16 at London 2016. Both took gold, one double gold; both made stark progress: at 15 over 800m on the time KL did at London 2012, you would expect what we have seen since, in my opinion, if that skill set were genuine and clean.

It is not that ‘nobody paid attention’ it is just much more ‘expected’. Nothing KL has done, including 8:07 and 15:25, sets alarms ringing, in my opinion (if she cracks 8mins as Roy seems to think she will, I may revise judgement 🙂 … on Ye, it is like Hosszu in this regard: unique, never seen before, nor since in Ye’s case.

Whatever the reasons may be – and no explanation that would make me nod sagely and say ‘ah, right, yes, I see that’ is present as far as I can see so far – those two cases stand out as more than rare. It is the unique lines in the mix of their stories that have caused many to wonder what it is that others appear unable to either fathom or replicate or even get close to doing so or indeed show any will to try to do so because apparently they genuinely feel that it would be impossible for them to do so.

And yes, you are right: we have been fooled by cheats many times over and we also live in a world where we weren’t always fooled, the unique and unusual having fairly often turned into the rotten apple some of us thought we might well be looking at – and that in the face of vast complaints from blazers, ‘fans’ and others at the time, with China, Miss Smith and a few others in mind, and the likes of Seb Coe telling us it was wrong to ponder how Ye managed a 58.6 last 100m on free even though he had no idea what that meant and said what he said at a time when he had great faith in the decency of Lamine Diack and others.

There may well be cases where there is doubt but without the ‘truly unique’ element – but those cases should not prevent us from noting the unique profiles in context. ‘Context’ is noted for such cases as Mary T… yes, outstanding and for those 2 swims unique for quite some time, and unique still in the thread of history … but they didn’t come with world top 5 efforts in 3 free distances, 3 backstroke distances, a ‘fly event (or 2 on occasion) and 3 medley distances, nor any part of a swim travelling at the speed of the very best of her male counterparts, for example. Such things are bound to cause people to wonder – and so they should.

Yozhik

The following is not an argument but a correction of my poorly expressed statement. I was talking about Ledecky’s last race at 400IM in Pro series. Her freestyle part of the race was almost of the same speed as Ye’s one. So she actually removed the uniqueness shadow from Ye’s race showing that it is “girly” possible. Of course there is some caveat – Ledecky does it on a regular basis and Ye will probably never do it again. I have read no article or comments that noticed this fact.

Craig Lord

Sorry, Yozhik – not arguing 🙂 BUT… Ledecky’s 59sec removed nothing of the uniqueness of Ye’s swim… Manaudou, Adlington, Carlin, Boyle … all could have finished a 400IM in 59 had their coaches asked them to do so at some stage, but none, `Ledecky included have clocked a 58.6 coming home to a WR 4:28 in an Olympic final at the speed of 5 men, Lochte, included in the men’s final. Your caveat stretches to Ledecky et al swimming such speed as distance freestylers at the edge of their game; Ye is not an 8:07 swimmer, you will have noticed, nor 8:20 and under, for example… she is a 1:57 200 swimmer with no 400 and 800 times on record that would get her close to an intl final. We have often noted Ledecky’s consistency of speed and splits … and I have often noted that Ye has never been back to that unique place and probably never will get there (indeed if she did, alarm bells would ring once more). Her moment remains unique.

Yozhik

Craig, I am sorry to waste your time and it will be my last post to this thread. I don’t think that Ledecky swam first 300 conservatively. She was 10 second slower Olympic race because of inefficiency of her other strokes. That may takes more energy than in the case of fast swimming strokers. For some 1:52 makes them almost dead and 48 for another guy is a walking in the park
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ7uWpn4DTs

It is time for wine to be quaffed – good night 🙂

Craig Lord

Yozhik … as you noted, she was doing something she’d done before many times and will do so many times more yet … Ye did something unique. Happy quaffing 🙂

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