Mitch Larkin Rattles 1:53 Barrier & The Cage Of An American Olympic Tradition

Mitch Larkin by Patrick B. Kraemer

Mitch Larkin sealed the crown of backstroke ace of the year with an outstanding 1:53.11 victory over 200m in the last session of the eight-meet World Cup tour in Dubai this afternoon. Consider the quality of his effort: the longer of his two world titles was won in 1:53.58 back in August; in Tokyo last week he stepped up to 1:53.34. Now, his latest Commonwealth record aces him the second swiftest ever in textile after Ryan Lochte’s 1:52.96 world-title pace of 2011 – Rio 2016 here he comes … the 200m backstroke is owned by Americans: Clary, Lochte, Peirsol, Krayzelburg, Bridgewater – and only tyhen of you get to a non-American, Martin Lopez-Zubero the US-born and bred Spaniard who claimed Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992.

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Mitch Larkin sealed the crown of backstroke ace of the year with an outstanding 1:53.11 victory over 200m in the last session of the eight-meet World Cup tour in Dubai this afternoon. Consider the quality of his effort: the longer of his two world titles was won in 1:53.58 back in August; in Tokyo last week he stepped up to 1:53.34. Now, his latest Commonwealth record aces him the second swiftest ever in textile after Ryan Lochte’s 1:52.96 world-title pace of 2011 – Rio 2016 here he comes … the 200m backstroke is owned by Americans: Clary, Lochte, Peirsol, Krayzelburg, Bridgewater – and only tyhen of you get to a non-American, Martin Lopez-Zubero the US-born and bred Spaniard who claimed Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992.

Comments

Dee

Larkin really is becoming more and more impressive with each swim – He looks the real deal. 1.51.9 is a long way off just now but with another strong winter behind him, he could be challenging that Peirsol mark. Three Backstroke WRs on watch at Australia Olympic Trials. Seebohm or Larkin, one of them has to get those 100 marks, surely?

Hosszu’s marks and progression, when listed as they are in the article, are really too much for me to fathom. Remarkable. Watching her breaststroke fall apart at her home Euro’s in 2010 I’d never have predicted the times she’d go on to across the board.

James Guy getting into a really good habit of winning tough. Vd Burgh impressive, as he has been all tour, close to his WC times. More impressed by Peaty in the 100 – 59.2 is very fast for his first competitive swim since Worlds, particularly when you look at his times in the 50 & 200 where he was far down on his best.

Lauren Boyle perhaps the most underrated swim with her 4.04 – Not far off her PB at all. The Ledecky factor makes 4.04 seem distinctly average these days unfortunately. Great to see Zsu Jakabos swimming fast again, too.

From a British stand-point, Harriet Cooper has had a very encouraging weekend. She really couldn’t be in better hands at Derby and, like her teammate Peaty, she is making strides at the right age (18) to be someone to watch out for at Olympic Trials next year.

Yozhik

I’m not a religious man and strongly believe that everything can be explained. But I am falling to find any reasonable explanations to Hosszu’s “aging effect” when she gets improved everywhere around during last few years and not by fractions of a second but by several seconds. We do have age related cases like puberty, or maturity or “second youth” 🙂 , but nothing like these can be applied in Hosszu’s case. Did she shed any lights on this matter to help people understand her phenomenon? No. She’d better do it. The explanations of the kind that we’ve used to heir from Ledecky – “try hard and you will achieve” – can be hardly associated with what Hosszu does. By attending so many back-to-back meets at different corners of the world she simply doesn’t have time for what we call traditional training. Maybe I have to start to believe in miracles. That simplifies so much the surrounding world by answering any questions where the usual human logic fails to help.

DDias

Yozhik,
Hosszu is out of the mainstream pattern, but there is always someone to beat the averages(and sometimes, the outstanding swims). I wonder what the journalists were thinking(at the time) of Mary Meagher fly times in 1981.
I heard somewhere Hosszu does a lot of work in hotels pool.I believe every one of us(who follows swimming) knows about some outstanding swimming doing in a fashion totally out of this world. I remember one quite clearly: Last day of Maria Lenk Trophy in 2012. Mireia Belmonte was doing heavy weights between sessions(prelims and finals). Flamengo(a Brazil club Team) needed a huge swim to take the championships. Belmonte, who was pretty pissed to have swam only 2:00 in 200free, blasted a huge 4:05.70(under SA record) in 400free to help Flamengo take the title.
About ‘traditional training’: In times we hear a lot about USRPT and different training methods, I have some reserves about that term. Remember: Cielo doesn’t have the same training method since he left Auburn. Every year he has a new coach( or a new training method). In 2011, he was doing over 10000/day some sessions).
In 2013, less than 3000 meters per day.
I don’t have problems with Hosszu times, but I have with her CONSISTENCY during near all season.

Craig Lord

The consistency goes hand in hand with the blanket cover and significant gains across all events, DDias. I think those who run programs and take great care in location, resources, energy levels and keeping them for what counts most of the year not driving them into travel and suitcases etc will smile at the idea of ‘working hard in hotel pools’; even if true, it sounds arcane and can’t possibly account for the kind of progress and consistency of this athlete. Yozhik suggested explanations were due and he is right to think that those so far given don’t do the job in terms of satisfying a great number of world-class coaches and others scratching their heads (as they most certainly are); a hotel pool, for example, is not among most convincing lines, even if you accept that a swimmer can swim wherever there is water. You mention Belmonte; a wholly different curve to her career on many levels, training patterns and progress/ events/ certainly no linear progress comparable. You mention Mary T Meagher. At a time of GDR, you can be sure that some journalists questioned it (and the news database confirms that); I also see plenty of discussion about why she could do what she could do. And what she could do was when she was young; she could not sustain it down the years, though she remained world-class for a decade spanning three Olympic Games. 2:05.96 at 16; 2:09.13 at 24, with every swim in between all raced on big occasions. A different time, with different meet loads etc but if anyone were to suggest that under different circumstances Mary T could have swum on and gone a 2:06 flat at Barcelona 1992 at 27 I would say ‘no way’ – certainly there are no examples out there and no explanations I’ve heard that would convince me to think otherwise even through a timewarp and thinking in the present. The fact is: no-one, but no-one, in world swimming gets close to the pattern of progress, spectrum and consistency of the swimmer in question, the pattern in the chart like nothing we have seen in swimming before, and with no sign of anyone attempting to replicate it. Even if you take other multiple racers and eventers, people like Hannah Miley, you see impressive things but nothing at all comparable on a number of levels, not only consistency.
You raise Cielo, regardless of extremes of training distances (averages are probably more useful indicators; I rather doubt that 10k was a regular practice for Cielo in 2011), Cielo’s curve of clock is one that shows a man born in 1987 still world class but struggling with his own fastest (suited) past, as you might imagine … and looking back at a career record in which his all time top 10 is stacked with the stuff of 2008 and 2009. He can’t get to that speed; neither at all nor often. So, consistency is not the only ‘problem’, to use your word; issue, to use mine.

DDias

Craig,
I mixed some things in what Yozhik was explaining, and you mixed in what I was (trying to do).
About Cielo: I was only talking about type of training, not Consistency. Alberto Pinto(his coach in 2011) was a coach who likes a lot of pool work, with lots of yardage/metrage. His 2013 coach was a former Auburn guy with a type totally different of training approach. Curiously, Cielo best(textile) in 100 was in 2011 and best 50 in 2013(with a first 15 meters start over 0.1s slower than in 2011-5.11×5.28).
About Hosszu: What I mean is->At any given time, a swimmer can have a day or two to remember and blast a time he will never repeat or expected to do(like Belmonte 4.05.7 in heavy training) and Hosszu does every time with unnerving consistency. What she does to best everyone? There is a full training session(filmed) with her in somewhere? Even if someone would guess the D word, it is a hell of D. Only an unknown isomer could do that(like THG was).

Yozhik

Thank you Craig and DDias for making this discussion more professional than my emotional comment. If Hosszu discovered something that escaped attention of generations of professional swimmers, coaches, sport scientists then it should be studied very thoroughly. 🙂 🙂 Her example let me think that all these special conditions like swimming clubs, experience coaches, tapering, high altitude, medical monitoring, diets, long term training programs etc are BS and are just a part of huge conspiracy to provide people around swimming with some earnings.
If she is just genetically special then again I am wondering to know what it is. Maybe she has two hearts or her body temperature is higher than normal or her liver produces some special energy sources. It is same kind of curiosity as why Ledecky can maintain high speed for so long or how Sjostrom can swim at world record speed without oxygen.
Consistency. I don’t know the source of Hosszu’s all year around success, but it is not unusual when high excitement ends sharply with deep depression. I think that if she doesn’t stop this money chase and doesn’t return to the OG oriented preparation process then it will get back to her and she will find herself again empty-handed.

Craig Lord

I understand your point, DDias, thanks. Your guess is not stated by me, I wish to note. I wouldn’t know about unknown isomers … but what we do know is that questions are being raised out there in the wider world of swimming (domains public and private) in a sport that has doping issues in common with many sports, as we all know – and all of that against a backdrop of a lack of confidence in a testing regime that can deliver Jones, Armstrong etc to the door of their fate by confession not by them being caught through a positive test that is brought to the attention of the world through the proper channels of an independent system of testing that is not open to the manipulation that is everything from imagined to proven in cases galore. What is, sadly, lacking right now is uniformity of approach the world over in a system that allows swimmers and others to say ‘look, I’m clean, here is my passport’, without the world being able to turn round and say ‘right – like Armstrong was…’

aswimfan

Yozhik,

everyone had already guessed that Hosszu would crash and burn in Kazan due to her excessive quantity, variety and quality of racing in the last year, with almost no period of usual heavy training/taper.

But not only did she not crash and burn, she broke the one WR we all thought would last for decades.

That is astonishing.

The one thing about Hosszu is not just consistency, but the variety AND quantity AND quality AND consistency of her swims/races that is simply unparalleled.

She swam EIGHT events in the last two days. in LCM.
And in all of them she medalled. in international competition.

Here’s what she swam in the second day:
100 free 53.8
100 back 59
400 free 4:06
400 IM 4:33

Those are quality times. And she does this EVERY SINGLE TIME in all competition she entered. UNPARALLELED. Never before and certainly not now.

Yozhik

I like your point, aswmfan – ‘never before’. So it is not genetic like in cases with Gould, Evans, Ledecky, Franklin and many others when exceptional abilities were demonstrated from the very young age. No, Katinka Hosszu waited until she turned 26 to start amusing everybody who follows competitive swimming. That is what makes it sensational. Not times or her tonnes of medals. That is quite ordinary compare to the current standards. Is it what a marriage does to swimmers when husband becomes a personal coach 24/7?

Yozhik

Aswimfan, if to take away that world record that is indeed unbelievable, then her performance (times) in Kazan was below expectations. Maybe she could achieve much more should she do her preparations for the WC differently. Maybe what she does is not that phenomenal if to think about that calmly. Maybe many swimmers can do this should they have different priorities.

ThereaLuigi

Ddias, re this comment: “Curiously, Cielo best(textile) in 100 was in 2011 and best 50 in 2013”, why do you consider it “curious” that Cielo swam a better 100 free with the higher yardage coach? After all, the 100 free is a 48 secs-prolonged sprint, longer than it takes an elite track&fielder to run the 400.
Then of course it could be just an effect of aging (less resistance but more strength).

Craig Lord

Thinking calmly, Yozhik 🙂 … the Olympic Games will long be a peak moment that carries more weight and worth in swimming than anything else.The priority is set. As such, it is for organisers to create showcase moments beyond the Games that fit the cycle geared at making the Games the big moment. The world swim community has been asked to show up to 8 events a year in order to having a shot at a big world cup prize. That community has rejected that very notion. Most cannot follow that pattern in a sport where many of the best are still at school/college and most don’t want to globe trot away from the stability of an environment geared to Olympic ambitions. A rethink is long overdue. As is the redistribution of money prizes in the sport. Just about anyone you asks believes that they cannot replicate what KH is doing, so the $100,000 is not an option. A one-woman tour is not a concept that works too well. A series of continental/regional duels leading to a duel final or some such thing to fill the interim and take swimmers away from the championship same-old-same old of world titles schedules squashed into two days a piece might well be more appealing (one of several different options worth considering as potential replacements for a cup series – and series is the point, as opposed to one-off events or moments when a big name steps in and impresses – that reflects a family talking to itself, no offence intended to the swimmers and coaches putting the effort in). I don’t think we would see what KH is doing replicated far and wide even if priorities changed, shy of saying “olympic games is gone … world cup is the big one’, which isn’t going to happen.

Yozhik

Craig, I will never argue with you in English without being backed with the heavy arguments or deep knowledge of the topic. The reason I suggested to think first while evaluating KH’s uniqueness is very simple. First of all we all know very little about her and secondly look at the title of your article. The times shown by Australians and by Le Clos in October-November are in no way of lesser quality then ones shown by Hosszu.
Regarding international meets besides the big ones I can only judge from the consumer positions. I think some kind of compromise should be found. I hate to see Ledecky one time per year. I understand assistant’s frustration when elite swimmers are skipping finals or do not compete seriously. On the other hand I am strongly against of wasting prize money. I t

Yozhik

I think that prizes should depend on strength of the field and on times shown by winners. I would like to see different entertaining forms of competition like swimming with handicaps or peacemakers who will determine times of prizeble range. Or swimming Ledecky against relay without dive start. Etc. I agree with you that current format doesn’t reaches desired goal and money spent doesn’t help much to promote swimming and to raise significantly public interest.

Yozhik

*aswimfan’s frustration. It is amazing what autocorrect can do by making Snowstorm from Sjostrom or making assistant from aswimfan. One day I will collect such replacements to write a threallig “Autocorect” story.

Craig Lord

Comparisons are never easy and often have a counter argument, Yozhik – and some don’t work at all. Your point is, however, valid, though I think setting a career best 200 free in the midst of a huge program cannot be likened to what Le Clos or even Larkin are doing. The equivalent might be for Larkin to take on medley’s, a freestyle event and do career bests on those as well as his backstroke events – I doubt we will ever see him do that, his backstroke focus and gains having come with a decision to set medley aside, for example. And he’s younger than KH was back in 2012. None of that is there to make specific points, just to note that there is always a counter argument in such tricky comparisons. What we can say for certain, as we have, is that no-one, but no-one, is close to matching the wide spectrum of personal bests across almost all Olympic events or getting close to those at meet after meet after meet and having the bulk of career fastest times belong heavily to the last two years in the latter end of the 20s. A unique profile and one that no-one looks ready, able or willing to replicate, neither in terms of ability to do it nor desire to make the same priorities that could be part of any explanation but will by no means be all of it.
p.s. I look forward to your autocorrect best-seller I may have a few rushed contributions to make 🙂

felix

If anyone had said to me at the start of the year Mitch Larkin will be the fastest backstroker on the planet at the end of year I would’ve laughed at them and told them they’re dreaming….now I would vote for him as world male swimmer of the year.

felix

Then I remembered about Peaty and his 57 so I take that back. Larkin would be my runner up.

Yozhik

I missed this 1:55.4. This unexpected huge this year progress at 200 (im & fs) makes her middle distance star. If she hasn’t done yet then I think Sjostrom has to review her decision about 200 fs in Rio and realistically evaluate her chances. You can see at this as a joke or take it seriously. Nobody knows where it comes from and nobody knows where it goes.

Wez

Craig, as a matter of interest, has anyone taken the time to follow up on KH training regimen?

She has a rather large base work behind her, being Hungarian. The way they work from a young age is astounding. I have still to meet a tougher nation in the training pool. (IMO)

Secondly, she has her entire “family life” based around what she does. She needn’t worry about what time she attends practice, just simply that she does it.

A side note, training is important, doing high mileage is important, and also, the type of quality that you produce while doing those training sets is the most important.

KH’s quality comes from the best practice possible. Racing.

If you are to swim a set of 10×100’s on 1:20 for example, and are able to hold a time of 1:05, and you do that for 3 weeks. then in the 4th week, your hold time is dropped to 1:01s.

Eventually doing this kind of quality becomes natural as your body is conditioned to swimming fast constantly.

I do understand that KHs example is rare, but how many people are able to live the lifestyle that she is, along with the talent and hard work behind her?

Wouldnt it be great if she allowed someone to follow her around for a week to see what her average workload was etc?

Craig Lord

Wez, there are lots of examples of people able to follow a less restrictive regime in later years; lots of elite swimmers who have access to the best facilities at the best times of day and live a lifestyle to match their almost singular focus… none are doing what KH has done and is doing. The model is unique (not rare, unique), very much so. As Wayne Goldsmith says, its not what the swimmer is doing (albeit you have to be doing the right type of work – and lots are) so much as the attitude with which you approach what you’re doing and apply that attitude in all you do. Very many elite swimmers are doing that and their results are there for all to see come the big occasion. None of that explains what we see in KH nor do explanations of ‘Hungarians, big base’… for that applies to most Hungarians (and others beyond Hungary, too) and no others, neither the Gyurtas nor the Verrazstos of the world etc etc, are able to do what KH is doing. Whatever it is, you would not get a steer on it by watching for a week, in my opinion, no more than you would by following a Phelps or a Campbell. You’d get some tips and some fine colour for a feature, of course. I stick to my conclusion: a truly unique model like no other in swimming history and one that is not being replicated by anyone, nor is anyone even trying to, as far as I can see.
I sat with her coach and husband in 2014 and we talked about approach and attitude – and they will be key to the result for sure. We also spoke about her type of training and nothing I heard came as a novelty to me, to be honest. I don’t think type of work has much to do with this; nor do ‘priorities’ explain it in the sense that it matters not whether we are talking world title of min-meet somewhere in the world – the result is often sharp. I think constant racing may help but as many around the world know, it simply isn’t possible for just about anyone else to keep racing close to peak form all the time (heats, finals you name it, on occasion, and 16 plus swims in two days in the mix) and clocking lifetime bests (50m, 200m distances and just shy of 400m pb etc etc – a picture like no other) at 26 in a ‘down’ moment (speaking relatively and in the tradition of the sport) on world cup tour. And if it is, then we are looking at a situation in which 1 swimmer and coach have it right and the rest of the world is wrong. I rather doubt that can be right.
The coach mentioned to me that he’d like to extend his ‘system’ to the rest of Hungarian swimmer but noted that none were biting; they were wedded to what they knew had worked through the years for Darnyi, Egerszegi and others who rank as the best all-time Hungarians in the pool. Time will tell if Hungary changes its model as a result of KH.

Wez

Craig do you have a personal email that i can engage with you?

Yozhik

I entered this discussion with the “miracle” joke hoping for some serious response that will shed some lights on “Hosszu’s phenomenon”. But when I hear good will arguments like “hotel swimming pool training” or some mysterious Hungarian dormant gene that got awaken when a swimmer reaches 26th birthday or sprint training set that makes a trick or training of adrenaline excitement by frequent racing with the filed that barely swim at FINA’s “B” standards or revolutionary training approach that nobody wants to follow in Hungary then I am starting to think that the situation is more serious than it looks at first glance. Such explanations do not do any good but pushing one’s thoughts in completely different and dangerous direction.
There is one undisputed fact. At age 26 Katinka Hosszu started to improve personal bests in unprecedented statistically unlikely pace that cannot be explained by genetically programmed processes happening within her body that unknowingly and uncontrollably are working for her. So she does something different that she didn’t do before. It is so natural to wonder what it is. Is it the new training approach that is questioning traditional “high load/taper” one? I hoped it would be so, but no. As Mr. Wez suggested her load is greater than load of any other Hungarian swimmers who in their turn are more workaholics than anybody else on the planet. Then what is it that started making a difference?
To be on positive side I’m inclining to return to my original idea.
“MIRICALE – a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency”

Yozhik

@aswimfan. The following are times shown by KH at 200m fs during 2015 season: 1:55.41; 1:55.81;

Yozhik

1:55.89; 1:56.06; 1:56.11; 1:56.19 Where do you think WC race is in this line? If one can say that her IM world record took all iron from her strength then how should we call Ledecky in this regard? Titanium? Something is inconsistent within KH’s remarkable consistency.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

In this year, Ledecky swam nowhere near the amount and the variety of events that Hosszu has.

And for the amount and variety and consistency and quality of swims, Hosszu is unparalleled. You are welcome to think otherwise, but the data support my proposition, and it seems everyone in this website who has voiced their opinion also agreed with me.

aswimfan

If Ledecky or Sjostrom swim in events week in week out swimming at least 4 events a day for the whole year, then we can compare.

Until then, Hosszu is still unparalleled.

Yozhik

Aswimfan, if you know for sure that what you are saying is the fact or makes sense then you don’t need someone else’s opinion for support.
If you think that Sjostrom or Ledecky swam less distances than Hosszu during their nine times per week training exercises then you are wrong.
If you think that their training sets don’t include frequent racing exersises that by their intensity are much stronger than Hosszu’s races at low level meets then you are wrong again.
If to forget about traveling inconveniences then a great deal of first class swimmers can do whatever Hosszu does in terms of number of meets and events. It doesn’t make her unparalleled. But there is the reason why swimmers don’t do it. Mostly because they have different preferences and that is my point that you’ve missed.
For Sjostrom and Ledecky the WC was the major competition of the year. Sarah targeted four sprint golds that would make her the strongest sprinter ever. Katie was up to four freestyle golds. That determined special requirements to the training program which Hosszu’s “frequent flyer” approach couldn’t provide. Hosszu not being that ambitious decided to kill two birds with one stone: by participating in as many as possible meets and events to make herself prepared for the WC, and to maximise prize money. The first part of this plan hasn’t worked out as expected. That made me to suggest that if she does it again next year then she can kiss goodbye to Olympic medals. If WC from commercial point of view wasn’t that important in Hosszu’s plans then OG is completely different case.
What makes her unparalleled is the absence of any reasonable explanations of her sudden improvements of personal bests at the pace and magnitude that hasn’t been ever observed before for the swimmer of her age.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

again, you misunderstood what other people wrote.

When I said “facts”, I didn’t refer to my own opinion, but the facts that Hosszu have so many more swims (quantity and variety) and swim in so many more events than any other swimmers on planet earth.

In addition almost all of those swims are of high quality and incredible consistency.

aswimfan

“If you think that Sjostrom or Ledecky swam less distances than Hosszu during their nine times per week training exercises then you are wrong.
If you think that their training sets don’t include frequent racing exersises that by their intensity are much stronger than Hosszu’s races at low level meets then you are wrong again.”

I’m not their coaches and neither are you. Although I don’t doubt that they have high intensity trainings, the fact is that they do NOT compete in nearly as many events as Hosszu.

I can also easily say that Cate Campbell swim 52 every day in her training. But do I have the evidence to back up my claim? No.

aswimfan

“The first part of this plan hasn’t worked out as expected. ”

I’m not sure that 2 individual golds, one of which in WR that everyone thought wouldn’t be broken for decades can be described as “hasn’t worked out as expected”.

I don’t think you are Shane Tusup, so you cannot know what they expected or not.

“Sarah targeted four sprint golds that would make her the strongest sprinter ever.”

Are you sure this was Sarah’s goal? Are you her coach? I haven’t read anywhere that she aimed to be the strongest sprinter ever. If she did, it was a failure and her plan hasn’t worked out as expected.

aswimfan

“That made me to suggest that if she does it again next year then she can kiss goodbye to Olympic medals. ”

I bet she will win at least an Olympics medal next year even if she has the same preparation. You are welcome to your opinion, and we’ll see after Rio.

“What makes her unparalleled is the absence of any reasonable explanations of her sudden improvements of personal bests at the pace and magnitude that hasn’t been ever observed before for the swimmer of her age.”

Incorrect. There have been a few of “the absence of any reasonable explanations of her sudden improvements of personal bests at the pace and magnitude that hasn’t been ever observed before for the swimmer of her age”. eg. Michelle Smith De Bruijn.

unparalleled means “exceptional, unique, singular, rare, unequaled, unprecedented” (dictionary.com). Hosszu is not unique in terms of “the absence of possible explanations…..”

Craig Lord

Yozhik, you must be careful not to confuse full-on multiple races (often at least one or two swims in the mix close to if not a best time across a spectrum of all strokes and many distances) with broken swims in training designed to build blocks and bridges, however intense that work may be (and it is intense and it is intense for many thousands of swimmers every day across the world – the vast, vast bulk of whom race often in local events and do not get anywhere near to best times raced when rested and in peak form, that scenario including the likes of Phelps, Lochte and many, many others). I think, as aswimfan suggests, your comparison doesn’t work well in terms of its likely interpretation.

Yozhik

@Craig: I am a little bit slow this morning and didn’t quite get your point. But if you say that I MUST be careful, Sir,- I will, Sir!
I just don’t see anything “iron” in racing ones a week several events. Nothing “iron” besides the fact that each week one has to sleep in different bed. I have to admit that it is indeed too tough, at least for me. I also disagree with Mr.Wes that racing with the weak field is the best form of training. When it came to the real one like it was at 200m fs at WC she failed to show decent time. She faild because she probably wasn’t properly trained to do so.
Was it careful, Sir?

Yozhik

@aswimfan: 🙂 🙂 you are believer – I am sceptical, you like reports as they are – I like to read between lines. The only thing that can reconcile two so different men is this little guy “:)”

Yozhik

@Aswimfan: the following chart (use link) illustrates Hosszu’s progression at 200m (IM&FS). https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Hosszu.JPG

It is indeed pretty consistent. Should she was a child such delayed progression is called a late development. But she is not a child there fore I don’t know how to classify this phenomenon. I am afraid even to think about what will bring us her 30th birthday.
I know little about Michelle Smith De Bruijn. Could you please provide some data that shows similarity between her case and Hosszu’s. Thanks

Craig Lord

400IM for starters Yozhik (I’m very familiar with this territory; I broke the story of her adverse finding in The Times, 1998):
Born 1969
4:39.18 1996
4:42.08 1997
4:42.81 1995
4:47.89 1994
4:57.17 1993
4:58.94 1992
4:56.52 1991
4:59.88 1990

aswimfan

at the age of similar to Hosszu now, Michelle Smith De Bruijn posted PBs after PBs in multiple events: 200/400 IM, 200 fly, 400 free

Craig Lord

Her spectrum was not as wide, of course, aswimfan (no-one beyond KH, not even Phelps, has ever taken on races on all strokes and all or almost all distances in global waters) … Smith had no significant gains nor times in solo back and breaststroke events (her medley splits boomed and roared ahead, of course) for e.g. but yes, extreme progress 1994-1996, things like:

200n free
1995 – 1997: 2:05.16 to 1:59.93
400 free
1993 – 1996: nothing inside 4:30 (l/c – all times here l/c) and virtually no swims at all; 4:07.25 Olympic Gold
200 ‘fly
1993 – 1996: nothing inside 2:16 – 2:09.91 Olympic bronze
200IM
1988/1994 – 1996: 2:22.53 (nothing better til a 2:19.48 in heats at 1994 world champs) – 2:13.93 Olympic gold

aswimfan

Yes, Craig I agree that Smith-DeBruijn nor any other swimmer had such unique development as Hosszu.

I was merely responding to Yozhik’s earlier assertion that mentioned Hosszu’s swims as being not unparalleled and the only unparalleled thing about Hosszu was her unexplainable improvement across multiple events. Which is not true, because Smith-De Bruijn’s was also unexplainable.

Craig Lord

Correct, aswimfan. Unexplainable til explained, in her case…

aswimfan

Yep, plenty of “unexplainable til explained” mysteries throughout the years.

One of my favorite “unexplainable til explained”:
How did Dai Guohong move so fast despite such ugly and inefficient stroke?

Craig Lord

Pure power breaking through inefficiency; there was a brute force to it that reminded me of some of the first wave of 1973-74 GDR breaststroke girls. They were all victims of monstrous abuse, of course.

Yozhik

Thank you , gentlemen for this very interesting information. If it was Sergey Bubka or Soviet weight lifters then explanation will be very simple. They got substantial (compare to their strictly limited salaries) bonuses for each world record. So despite they were ready for big results right away the increment in personal bests was minimum allowed.
It doesn’t look possible in swimming where one cannot dose the improvement but has to compete against other swimmers. Unless of course we have a case like Ledecky who has no competition from 400 to 1500 and could make a fortune should she be interested in by beating her own world records systematically by 0.01 second.

Yozhik

So this scary Halloween horror movie like acceleration of personal bests by Hosszu you just stamped like “UNEXPLAINED” and that’s it?!
I don’t like it a bit. Now a days elite swimmers are so exposed to the public view that there should be no such things like “UFO” or “COLD” police files when we are speaking about swimmers progress. There should be some materialistic explanations like style improvement, or changing training system, or “body metamorphosis”, etc. Something believable and repeatable. I was expecting something interesting coming from her countrymen and fans who like her and follow closely her success. But what they are saying is only raising a suspicion of …
The only correlation that I see is that she began to flourish after leaving NCAA. When I look at Franklin’s story then I start to believe that this system may suppressed Katinka’s potentials. What also makes her to look distinguishly different is strongly prize oriented professional approach. I think that nobody will argue that such motivation is strong enough to push athlete to his/her limits. But I personally prefer to hear something more romantic.

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