Night Lights At Halle Schwimmhalle: Paul Biedermann Trains For Rio Midnight Hour

Paul Biedermann and coach Frank Embacher - by Patrick B. Kraemer

If you see the lights on in the middle of the night at the Schwimmhalle in Halle this week, don’t panic: it’s just Paul Biedermann training through the darkness of circumstance. At 29, the German freestyle ace is heading to what he has said will be his last Olympic Games still learning new lessons: like how to perform at best in the middle of the night, courtesy of NBC’s Olympic colonialism for Rio 2016.

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Bad Anon

Bidermann, the controversial world record holder 200/400free only missing Olympic hardware from his credentials. London 2012 was a disappointment and 200free is perhaps his only realistic chance of a medal, 400free probably a stretch for the 29yo

Craig Lord

I don’t think he’s doing the 400 at all this time, Bad Anon… that’s what he suggested last year, at least

Lawrie Cox

It cannot be emphasised enough that the leadership failed the sport again. The silence of no action to make money the key to performances. Every Federation should have said NO and the respective OC’s should have supported them to the fullest.
Clearly it will upset the blazarati plans as well as they will not be able to be fed and watered at the restaurants (spending the per diems LOL) but may have to attend the events. Hope they can stay awake past their bedtime.

Craig Lord

Yep – and It’ll be interesting to see who makes it to the VIP seats – and who is missing, Lawrie – might make it a daily ‘spot the vip’ 🙂

Oliver Kramer

I’m from germany and saw him swimming lately. I expect a fast 200 free in Rio, my prediction is a 1:44,80. We will see if that’s enough for a medal.
He definitely won’t swim the 400 free.

Craig Lord

Yes, Oliver – I see a 1:44s podium.


Crowded field, that 200. Lots of swimmers with potential to break 1:45. Yet it is sad that we are talking about 1:44 high in 2016. Thorpe and Phelps were already swimming better times in the 2000s.

Craig Lord

Yes, which tells us how extraordinary their skills were (and that from a very young age in both cases – the trajectory of the extraordinary set at high-pitch in their development years)

Alexandre Pussieldi

Its extremely unfair to label Biedermann only for his 2 WR on Arena super suits. He was world champion in 2010 & 2012 (SC), world champion medalist 2011 & 2015 (LC), European champion 2010, 2012 & 2014 (LC), European champion 2011 & 2015 (SC) all without suits.

Craig Lord

Alex, of course – and the article makes that very point (no getting round the presence of two towering world records, though, and what that says about those who let it – the crisis that continues to dominate the all-time rankings – happen – again, a point made in the article)

Jonathan Ehrman

Thorpe was in a full body suit. So was Phelps. Hoogy in leg skin. Would have to go back maybe to Hackett in 1999 to have the WR in a non-tech suit (and for sure Lamberti before that). I understand the level of assistance grew astronomically from 2007 forward….but those other records were assisted also.

Craig Lord

Yes Jonathan but HUGELY different… wool to lyrca made a difference, too… and Thorpe’s textile suit was worn by Paul Palmer, by Sue Rolph & by lots of others and did not cause them to wipe out best times by 3 and 4 sec over 200m etc etc… body suits and compression may have made an impact but hardly discernible through the ranks – a relative blip – and it wasn’t simple an availability issue – they were fairly widely available – I’ve still got one.
The 2008 suits were non-textile, the impact was massive, undeniably so – an explosion – on a totally different level, one that swamped the all-time world rankings (and continues to do so) – the sydney 2000 bodysuit etc did no such thing – the evidence was and is very clear and confirmed with every passing season, regardless of the continued progress of swimmers.

Jonathan Ehrman

As I said, yes the impact of the suits went up substantially in the non-textile era. But the other suits helped some and gave an advantage that Lamberti and others didn’t have. When you get into levels of right and wrong you get into dangerous areas. My point is don’t get on Bidermann just because he beat Phelps at his own game.

You and i have gone back and forth before on this. Phelps and Bowman wanted the non-textile, compression suits until they realized it helped lesser swimmers catch up, and pass Phelps. Then they changed their tune. Plain and simple.

Craig Lord

That is the case, Jonathan, we know it, I’ve written it and this article does not ‘get on’ Biedermann. It notes the truth: great athlete and one done down by circumstance — just as he was buoyed by it, too through circumstances in which he found himself a world record holder in a zone that granted him a status that requires an asterisk, requires explanation beyond the straight result. Some may say that applies to Phelps, too, but I stand by my view that Phelps is among those who belong to a different category: they won and won and won and broke myriad records in textile, too. Bob Bowman admitted his change of heart at a press conference in Rome, so while mentioning ‘don’t get on B’, you might also apply it to Mr Bowman… or better still, don’t apply it to either. I’m not doing that in this article, simply pointing out the facts. Such arguments and enmities are best addressed to those who caused the crisis, from whichever angle you come at it. Read the comment at the foot of the article – that is where the buck should stop but that should not stop us pointing out the historical facts of the case and the relevant before and after details of a swimmer’s career.


Jonathan Ehrman,

Thorpe could have worn briefs in 2001 Fukuoka and would have broken WR.
I believe his full arm textile bodysuits actually hindered his progression. Remember that he swam 3:41 in 400 free wearing BRIEFS as a 16 yo.

So after wearing his bodysuit, his 3:40 at the age of 19 was actually not a good progression.


I will also a bit disappointed if a 1:44.80 wins a medal in Rio.
Yep, these days the men 200 free is reminiscent of women 200 free ca. 1996-2004

paolo rubbiani

@Jonathan Ehrman: Speedo wanted the non-textile, compression suits, not Phelps or Bowman, who were Speedo’s testimonials and obviously, at the beginning, spoke in favour of the new suits.

Phelps and Bowman underestimated the importance of suits even at Beijing2008, when Phelps and Crocker were the only finalists in the 100 fly wearing leggings instead of a full body Lzr ( and Cavic with a full Lzr body-suit nearly defeated Phelps).

At Worlds2009, Speedo was “punished” when the overwhelming majority of its athletes chose to wear the 100% poly suits of Arena, Adidas or Jaked.
Just Phelps, Lochte and very few others remained with the really less efficient 50% poly Speedo Lzr.

This is the story and everyone in the swimming-world knows it.

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