Kings of Consistency: Last Stand Of Phelps V Lochte; Can Hagino & Seto Replace Them?

Sparring partners, teammates and friends Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps - by Peter Bick
Sparring partners, teammates and friends Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps - by Peter Bick

The grip is half loosened. Neither defending champion Ryan Lochte nor USA teammate Michael Phelps will contest the 400m medley in Rio. The 200m? Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps. Doesn’t matter which way you look: they’ve dominated the 200m medley for three Olympic cycles. One or the other of them, the 400 medley for a decade, too. Can Kosuke Hagino break the cycle? Can Daiya Seto confirm 2016 as the peak of Japan’s golden medley era? And who else might muscle in on the all-round action at Rio 2016?

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Comments

Ger

I quite like Lochte’s chances as it’s his only focus individually; no tired muscles from earlier races (save the 4×2). Hagino swimming faster than ever; Bob Bowman saying the lessons have been learned from Omaha and he will be right in Rio. It all adds up to a Battle royal.

Ger

Bob Bowman of course, will not be swimming the IM…..Phelps.

Craig Lord

🙂

aswimfan

Ger,
I agree with you, this is also in line with what I’ve been saying all along in the past year. I think Lochte has pretty good chance to win 200 IM, now that he’s been unshackled from the burden of both 400 IM and 200 back.

commonwombat

Kalisz certainly CAN win the 400IM but he’ll have to pull out something special; I’d currently shade that one as Adv JAP.

As to the 200IM; its one of the trickiest on that card to pick. You go against the likes of Phelps & Lochte with considerable trepidation …. their CVs demand that

However, one cannot help thinking that their aura of invincibility has gone and what remains are mortals. Still extremely formidable mortals capable of at least one last hurrah but mortals nonetheless.

stabilo

I would put Lochte as a slight favourite at the moment, mostly because of their respective schedules. Someone needs to talk smack about the GOAT, he looks too happy and relaxed!

aswimfan

I really think that 400 IM is Hagino’s to lose.

Just like Lochte and Phelps before him, he has the most balanced strength, with deadly fast 200/400 free. Breast is still a bit of weakness, especially that his two main rivals, Seto and Kalisz are outstanding in breast. As long as he loses no more than 2 seconds in breast, he’ll win it.

Seto is the only one who I can see unseating Hagino, just because he has 1:54.0 200 fly and 2:10.0 200 breast. His backstroke remains a weakness.

stabilo

Agree with ASF – if Hagino is on form, he is the top dog in 400IM.

I am not so convinced with Seto, which is maybe a bit disrespectful to someone who has won the last 4 global 400IM crowns (inc SC). But SC is not so relevant, 2015 clearly doesn’t count (as far as his record vs Hagino), and in 2013 Hagino had 6 individual events + relay duty ending with the 400IM; Seto had 2. Kalisz would need a hefty drop to get to Japanese speed, and Pereira I wonder might suffer a bit from Old Man 400IM Syndrome. (In any case he just lacks that extra bit of quality I think to challenge for Gold)

aswimfan

Pereira is going to swim 400 IM?
I don’t think he’s a factor in 400 IM ad he has not swum anything significance since 2013.
He will have a chance to medal in 200 IM, but only if the race is slow (he’s capable of going 1:56low)

stabilo

Ah yes, looks like you’re right ASF. I just assume a 400IM will have Pereira knocking around the minor medals-5th like usual. (He did “win” Pan Ams in 2015 before a DQ, but maybe wasn’t anything of significance)

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