Weitzeil, Condorelli, Scott, Murdoch, Ryan, Cseh, Fullalove & More World Ranks Risers

Santo Condorelli, courtesy of Swim Canada
Santo Condorelli, courtesy of Swim Canada

Beyond the Pro Swim Meet in Orlando, the NSW Championships in Australia and the Golden Tour in Marseille, several meets over the weekend pumped new speed into the 2016 World Rankings. Below a wrap of some of the fastest action on the competition trail

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Yozhik

Craig, John can we have splits for Weitzeil’s 53.77. I heard that her finish was weak. In January she also lost to Sjostrom and Ledecky at the very end. This weekend she handled much better 100 in short course race that is less energy consuming in terms of strokes. In my opinion all these facts are a good sign. It says to me that her tactic at 100LCM is not perfect yet and she with her coaching team have something to work on that most likely is improbable. So we can see even faster Weitzeil by trials. If at the end of 2015 season there were practically no questions of who will present Americans at W100 fs in Rio then now I think nobody will make responsible predictions.

Craig Lord

53.77 (25.18, 28.59) Yozhik, added to the file. A fine swim.
I don’t think the difference between sc yards and lc metres is tactic … it shows the difference in stamina and energy required, fitness and angles of buoyancy in the mix, and more. They are different worlds and not much can be read from one to the other (I say that from having read way too many predictions of Olympic glory to come on the back of NCAA results – those moments never unfolded and that’s because they don’t translate, even though there are obvious cases of swimmers who excel in all environments, suits and conditions). Beyond the skills and things that can be learned in any water (and that’s significant, of course) the two pools are significantly self-contained. There were some s/c yards times in the past couple of weeks that set or came close to setting American records, nothing to shrug the shoulders at BUT in some cases the swimmers then swam l/c metres soon before or after – and those times were nowhere near the American records; same swimmer, same stage of prep.

aswimfan

With Weitzeil swimming into 53.77, the american 4×100 free is shaping up as being very competitive for silver against the Netherlands. We will see how much faster the american girls (manuel, weitzeil, franjlin, ledecky) will be at the trials.

I agree with Craig, not sure if Weitzeil slowing down the first 50 will result in a much faster second 50.
As an example: In 2013 Barcelona, Cate Campbell tried two “tactics”:
in leading off the relay, she split first 50 in 25.19 for an overall 52.33
and in the 100 free final, she split a mind-boggling 24.85 for an overall 52.34

I’ll say that for sprinters like Weitzeil, slowing down first 50 does not make any sense as it’s her weapon. What she should do is develop endurance for the last 25, instead of slowing down her first 50.

Yozhik

@Craig, When will I begin to explain myself clearly? 🙂
I was not discussing the difference in tactics between LCM and SCY. I meant 100m LCM tactics only. Even 50m race allows swimmer some variations. I was surprised when my classmate who was a good 100m runner told me that this race has at least 3 stages where sprinter accelerates, breaths, keeps the pace, finishes. Don’t remember all details, but I was surprise that so many things are happening and are important during 10 sec race.
100m fs is next to the 200 fs by trickiness and has to be individually tailored. There is no general recommendations of what would be the best tactic: fast start, even splits, fast finish, camel like splits (if take it by 25 points), etc. But because of so many possibilities I’m assuming with the hope that Abby hasn’t found yet the best one that fits her most.
I don’t have right now with me the necessary data to make a full statement and deep analysis about different successful tactics (male/female). Just a few recent ones of this season
Campbell 52.85 25.08 27.77
Sjostrom 53.12 25.83 27.29
McKeon 53.48 25.97 27.51
Ledecky 53.75 26.42 27.33
Weitzeil 53.77 25.18 28.59
Unless that is how Weitzeil can do this distance best way based on her natural abilities her splits do not fit the shown pattern. Of course this data sample is not complete and fully representative but gives some idea how best sprinters do this two laps race. Don’t get offended by my inclusion of Ledecky to the best sprinters list. It was done to demonstrate even splits. Her last 50 was even faster than the first one if to remember that start from the blocks saves more than a second on first lap.
That is why I suggested that that is where the extra resources of improvement can be found. May be not as ASF suggested.

Yozhik

Craig, as you recommended I made the posting above in preparing it first MS Word. I used the ‘Tab’ button to separate columns. I am not sure it works. It looks like it the tab code is replaced by simple space.

Craig Lord

Yes, right 🙂 Thanks for the clarification, Yozhik – understood. Even so, ‘tactic’ does’t work for me (that’s not a language criticism – just not the word I would choose to describe what happens in a 100m race) – and ASF calls it right.

Abb W is going to have to work like hell on her back end in long-course metres (whatever she does with the opening lap). Over 50m, she must compete with the likes of Fran Hallsall, 23.96 and 52.87 in shiny suit and 53.48 in textile; at 100m she must compete with Cate Campbell, 23.96 50m – and 52.33 100m. That is going to take not tactics but a sizeable shift in the ability to get out very fast and then get down the second lap like Campbell, Sjostrom and Co can. I don’t see that as a tactic, more a balance of abilities and where the swimmer fits along a spectrum of such – and then the work required to make that shift (work highlighted by the gap between SCY and LCM).

KL is a good example in relation to the rest on that list – if they all went out at her speed thinking they had the edge of sprint on her coming home (don’t worry, they’re not going to do that) – they’d risk losing. If they clobber her on the first 50, she won’t stand a chance in that kind of sprint class over 100m where she stands right now. The 200m is a different game altogether.

Among men, for e.g., pointless for Manaudou to go out a touch down on McEvoy, I would imagine – he’ll still struggle to compete on the way back… but where he finds the balance at the helm of speed might be critical to whether he can ever win a global 100m race. I don’t see that as a ‘tactic’ in the sense that tactic suggest room to play – I think the wriggle room in an Olympic 100m final is so thin you can hardly see it – that’s all I meant.

Yozhik

Most current Weitzeil’s progress:
54.00 25.62 28.38
53.77 25.18 28.59
This supports both Craig’s and my point.
Craig’s: The changing of only one factor of equation has limited success. I am not sure that 50m sprinter Weitzeil has much more to add to the first part of 100 race if she is focusing on fast start only. Same can be said about Ledecky: if she isn’t able to develop row speed then her ability to keep fast pace won’t help her much with the progress at 100m distance. So if those two girls are not going Craig advice then it would be unreasonable to expect them to go faster than 53.5.
Yozhik’s: The increase of intensity at first lap does effect the performance on the way home.
When sprinting the body is using easy accessible but limited resources without requiring the change in the source of energy supply. So it is possible to find the optimal distribution of intensity of swimming efforts along the distance that will result in overall best performance. That what I called ‘tactic’. It can be inappropriate word to describe my point for English speaking person.

ASF. Your remark about endurance sounds reasonable. But in my opinion it is not applicable to sprint races. Again, it is possible that my understanding of word endurance is different from what you meant.

Yozhik

The following link is one more illustration of different tactics and choosing the right one. True, it is about 200 race, but still a sprint (kind of 🙂 ). The most interesting and illustrative part is Heemskerk’s splits. The splits of superb sprinter. If she doesn’t do it Franklin’s way as most of the sprinters usually do (including Weitzeil’s most recent 100 race) then she appeared to be very successful and competitive at 200 race. I call it surviving tactic. That is start as fast as possible and try to not die at the end. Why not to assume that similar what Heemskerk did at this 200 race can be applicable to 100m race.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/109797241/Capture.JPG
p.s. this chart doesn’t include most recent Ledecky’s 1:54.43 that is basically evenly distributed efforts along the distance.

aswimfan

Yozhik,

By “endurance” in 100 m sprint I mean not to fall off in the back end, 3.5 seconds slower than the first 50, which is what Weitzeil swim was.

Unlike in 200, basically there’s no “tactic” in 100 as Craig mentioned: you swim as fast as you can in the first 50, and try to keep swimming as fast in the back end.

Weitzeil’s improvement from 54.00 to 53.77 was mostly done by swimming faster first 50, hence supporting what I meant by “need to improve her endurance” (ie. swim faster second 50) if she wants to keep improving.
While the problem for KL is obviously the opposite: she needs to improve her raw speed and thus first 50 if she wants to get faster in 100.

Yozhik

What is difference in approaches of swimming 50, 100 and 200? The farther you go from 50 the less one follows your advice about start as fast as you can and then try to complete the race. The 100 is in the middle therefore I believe that there are more options of swimming this race than you ( with reference to Craig) are proposing. You has been qualified as the Historian by Craig Lord. So correct me if I am wrong. Men fastest swimmers at 100 were are those who had strongest back 50. Therefore it is not often we can see 50m specialist to be successful at 100. Sarah Sjostrom also gets even with Campbell sisters on the way home, despite the fact that she is quite comparable with them at 50. So not everything is that simple and strait forward as you described it here.

Yozhik

Weitzeil’s improvement was done exclusively by making her start faster. She gained 0.44 sec at first 50. That made her slower by 0.21 sec at the end. She did exactly what you proposed and it worked. But when one pushes further in this direction gains and losses become very quickly in balance and after that the overall performance will suffer. The optimum is somewhere in the middle. This ‘middle’ is very individual for each swimmer. When I started this discussion I meant just that and was hopeing that Weitzeil hasn’t figured out yet what the best tactic for her is. So we can expect faster races from her. By looking at her splits I saw the sign of the room for improvement. I can be wrong. My supposition was based entirely on observation that her splits don’t follow the pattern of leading sprinters. Of course it may mean nothing.
This conversation went too far and to deep from what I originally was intended to say.

aswimfan

I am actually a bit surprised with the way Sjostrom swam her 100 free in Barcelona and Kazan.

Despite on par with Cate on 50 flat (her 50 free PB is almost as fast and we know about her 50 flu WR), she took out the race more than half a second slower than Cate and almost half a second slower than Bronte, whose 50 free PB is actually slower.

On the back end, however, she was easily the fastest in both finals. I think Sjostrom can go faster in 100 free just by swimming faster first 50. And of course I know it’s nowhere as easily as it sounds 🙂
Kromowidjojo was also intriguingly similar to Sjostroml. Her first 50 in the Kazan final was nowhere near as fast as the Campbells but her back end was second fastest after Sjostrom.

stabilo

To ask something quite naive, is there indeed a general rule that you’re better off with a big back end (so to speak), like Yozhik says? And how much this is affected by what the others in the race do?

For example, Magnusson/McEvoy are small with faster finishes; in comparison to Adrian/Manadou. In London, is it fair to say that the US tactic was to lead off with Adrian, to hit Magnusson with waves off the turn, and break up his stroke? So fast first-lappers may have some advantage (unless you miss the waves by being underwater, a la Phelps; or swim like an idiot on the lanerope and give the swimmer behind a draft (Bernard in Beijing))?

Or is it really just preference to the individual swimmer and where their natural talents lie (no point trying to force 50-100 swimmer to swim like a 100-200 swimmer)?

aswimfan

I’m neither a coach nor an expert but I don’t think there’s a general rule.

HOWEVER, these days where both men and women 100 free is such super competitive and razor thin cutthroat race, surely you must have strong first 50 AND back end if you want to medal. So, for example even though both Campbells are 50/100 sprinters, they still have strong back end.
And, although mcEvoy is more known as 100/200 freestyler, he still went out faster in Kazan final than other more famous 50 sprinter such as Adrian or Chiriegini.

You can’t depend on “coming from behind” to win 100 these days. Likewise, you can’t depend on just trailblazing first 50 and hope the momentum carry you to the finish line. Morozov ridiculously tried it in 2003 Barcelona final to a bad finish.

Sjostrom is in unique position of being the only true 50/100/200 freestyler (Heeemskerk is too, but not as reliably) . And even with her 200 prowess, she could not overhaul Cate and Bronte in Barcelona and Kazan finals respectively because both went out so much faster. The key for Sjostrom to defeat the Campbells is by minimizing the gap in the first 50.

Weitzeil is definitely a 50/100 through and through in the same mold of the Campbells, and therefore as I have proposed above, the obvious way for her to go low 53 is to strengthen her back end while keeping her first 50 as fast.

Magnussen in his peak years were very balanced and strong in both first half and back end. That 47.10 was a perfection.

aswimfan

Also, it’s true about trying not to get hit by the waves from the Giants, so best possible scenario for someone like mcEvoy in Rio is if he swims next to a very fast 50 sprinter that he can use as rabbit but with a small/not too gigantic body, like Morozov. He should wish not to win the lane between Adrian and Manadou.

aswimfan

A little bit of trivia:

The last time a swimmer won medal in 100 free after splitting slowest 50 was Britta Steffen to win gold in Beijing.
It helped that she was in lane 7 while Trickett was in lane 8 (after a miscalculation in the semi) that she used Trickett as the rabbit, she split almost a second slower than Trickett but she tracked her down and just pipped Trickett for the win.

And the last swimmer before that was Ian Thorpe in 2003 Barcelona to win bronze.

Yozhik

Asf, was there any male swimmer who was as good as Sjostrom at 50/100/200 ( among male swimmers of course)? I think that the reason why Sjostrom disliked 200 is not because she doesn’t have speed endurance, but because it involves extra complexity of choosing a right tactic. Mistakes in this area can be costly and painful.

stabilo

Thanks ASF. Kind of a shame everything’s so level (tactics-wise) – always fun to see a sprinter get chased down in the relays!

Yozhik – PvdH!! 2 golds and a bronze (50m) in Sydney; Silver at Worlds 2001 in all 3 events; 2 silvers and a bronze (50m) at 2003 Worlds. Missed the 50m semis in Athens by 0.03s and took gold-silver in 100-200.

Yozhik

Thank you stabilo. I was asking to find out if Sjostrom is unique with such ability. The transition from 50 to 200 ( at world class level of course) is more impressive in my opinion than transition from 1500 to 200 (Ledecky). For all same reasons: the diversity in style reqired is greater at former case than in later one. Those two rarities are intersecting at OG. So will Rio give us finally an answer on eturnal question: who is stronger LION of TIGER 🙂

aswimfan

Yozhik,

As stabilo already mentioned the last true 50/100/200 was PVDH.
And the one before him was Michael Klim and Matt Biondi.

In 1998 Perth world championships, Klim won 50 bronze, 100 free silver, 200 free gold and 100 fly gold.

Biondi won 50/100 free golds and 200 bronze in 1988 Seoul, in addition to 100 fly silver and golds in all three relays.
He also won 100 free gold, 50 silver, 200 bronze, 100 fly bronze in 1986 Madrid.

The difference between PVDH and Biondi is that PVDH was stronger in 200 (WR and gold) While Biondi stronger in 50 (WR and gold).

If Sjostrom swims all her four individual events, she will try to match or exceed Biondi’s achievements.
And if she does it, she will be the busiest girl in Rio: swimming prelims+semis+finals of individuals and prelims+finals of all three relays.
Despite her potential in 200, I think what made Sjostrom not swimming the event at championships is because she has already very busy schedule.

And I agree with you Yozhik, being world class (medal winning in major championships) in 50/100/200 is more rare and difficult than in 200 to 1500, and not just because 50 is more recently introduced (there were a long time when 200 was not an event too and that 1500 is not women Olympics event, but 1500 greats broke 200 WR nevertheless)
Discounting pre-1956 Melbourne era, here’s a list of 1500 to 200 great swimmers:
Hackett (broke 1500 and 200 WR and winning worlds medals across the distances), Sun Yang (medaled in 200 to 1500 at Olympics and Worlds), Katie Ledecky obviously, Janet Evans (won 200 free in 1991 Perth), Tracey Wickham, Tim Shaw, Debbie Meyer, Murray Rose, Shane Gould of course, Tim Shaw, John Konrad, Lorraine Crapp.

Right now, I consider Sjostrom similar to Libby Trickett. Just like Sjostrom, Trickett’s program was also 50/100 free and 50/100 fly and great potential in 200 (her lead off relay swim in 2005 Montreal was the fastest 200 free swim of that year). The difference is that Trickett’s core was freestyle while Sjostrom is fly (Trickett’s broke 50/100 free WRs while none of the free WR, Sjostrom is the opposite), and Sjostrom has better range that extends to 400 (in the vein of van Almsick).

aswimfan

Yozhik,

I don’t know who you meant by Lion and Tiger, but Federica Pellegrini has been known as the Lioness De Verona for years. I guess Sjostrom and Ledecky should get a different nickname 🙂

But first thing first, maybe it’s hard to believe, but Sjostrom needs to win an olympics medal before any bombastic nickname could be attached to her.

Yozhik

🙂 🙂 Aswimfan,
Who is stronger lion or tiger, elegant or whale. These questions occupied our minds when we were five years old and i’m pretty sure that we inherited this unsolved problem from previous generations. It is an example of something that looks comparable but actually isn’t.
I’m not giving any new nicknames. If Federica is the Liones of being gracious and powerful at the same time with her signature strong charge then that is how it is.

Yozhik

*elephant

Yozhik

@asf, I forgot to thank you for answering my question with so many details. Thank you. 🙂

aswimfan

The pleasure is mine, Yozhik.
It’s nice to have a discussion with another passionate swimming fan. 🙂

stabilo

That’s really interesting ASF. Do you think it has changed and is now harder to cover such breadth of events – maybe due to now that there are semifinals, whether or not the standard of competition has got higher? My history of pre-2000 is weak. I might be finding bad information but semis were only introduced for the 2000 Olympics?
(One day I will try to remember the stats about multi-eventers – something that no-one before Phelps had won an IM and also a stroke Gold. Something like that.)

No surprise I guess that the 100Fly is the common non-Freestyle event.

Yozhik – Pellegrini is probably happy with being the Lioness, but probably would need to come up with different names than Elephant and Whale for others 🙂

Craig Lord

stabilo, there were semis in much earlier Olympics – they were dropped… then reintroduced (2000, as you say). Competition generally gets steeper with time but so do opportunities… there were just a handful of Olympic events for many years, the 50 frees came in only from 1988 and the women’s 4×200 1996. Those opportunities also mean that multi-skillers have even more on their plate, potentially. Phelps’s achievements are unique for that reason, in a positive way (some see his relay counts as ‘so what’ because that’s what you get is you’re USA – in fact, you have to put the effort in, big time), among lots of other reasons. As for multi-events – Shane Gould, 1972, 200, 400 free and 200IM gold, 100 and 800 free medals too… a prime example (plus Janet Evans, Krisztina Egerszegi, too) .. so Phelps not the first there overall, among men and Olympics and worlds yes, but it had been done before at European etc championships among men.

stabilo

Thanks Craig, knew there was something fishy about my history on both counts. Maybe he was the first man – sorry, should look it up properly before commenting!

aswimfan

Phelps is the first and only man to have won golds in IM and stroke events at the Olympics. Four women have done it before at the Olympics: Shane Gould (1972), Janet Evans (1988), Kriztina Egerszegi (1992), and MIchelle Smith (1996).

However, Phelps is not the first man to have done it at world championships:
Jesse Vasallo did it in 1978 Berlin (200 back and 400 IM golds).
There are now 4 men to have done it at world championships: Vasallo, Phelps, Cseh (2005) and Lochte (2011 and 2013).

As for women, four women have also done it at worlds championships:
Kristin Otto (1986), Tracey Caulkins (1978), Chen Yan (1998), Klochkova (2001)

aswimfan

I forgot to put in the asterisks on some of the names I wrote above:
MIchelle Smith*, Kristin Otto*, Chen Yan*

Craig Lord

which is why i didn’t list them with the others aswimfan … not the same achievement

aswimfan

Obviously there have been numerous great swimmers who won gold in IM and bronze/silver in stroke event, or the vice versa, at the same olympics or world championships or both, starting from most recent:

women:
Hosszu (2009, 2013, 2015), Coventry (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009), Klochkova (2001, 2000), Guohong* (1994), Lu Bin* (1994), Sanders (1992), Hogshead (1984), Schneider* (1980, 1982), Tauber* (1976), Ender* (1973), Kolb (1968)
Men:
Mellouli* (2009), Thorpe (2003), Rosolino (2000)

stabilo

Thanks very much ASF! I wonder what this history tells us. Since I am quite ignorant and can’t spend so much time going through the list without getting fired from work, it looks like breaststrokers are under-represented (Kolb, Caulkins. I ignored starred names :)).

I heard a top-level coach once say that the IM used to be suited for breaststrokers (since everyone can swim Free anyway, and Breast being the slowest means a specialist there gains more on the field than would a specialist Flyer), but that was changing in recent times to be more Backstroker-oriented. Not sure that makes any sense or is supported by results.

It is fun to watch an IM with differently biased swimmers though (Hannah Miley and Luca Marin whose Fly was, shall we say, relaxed having ground to make up; Leverenz/Kalisz storming through on the breaststroke; or the Freestyle specialists like Ye Shiwen 🙂 :))

aswimfan

Stabilo,

breaststrokers are still represented and won IM medals although may not be gold.

I totally forgot to include Kanako Watanabe (2015, 200 breast gold, 200 IM silver) and Amanda Beard (2004, gold in 200 breast, silver in 200 IM), David Wilkie (1973, 200 breast gold, 200 IM silver).

Other breastrokers who have won medals (not gold) in both IM and breast in the same championships:
Qi Hui (2001, silver in both 200 breast and IM), Eric Shanteau (200 breast silver, 200 IM bronze).

And at the level of regional championships (european, asian, pan pacs, or worlds SC), there have been more breastrokers who also medaled in IM event.

aswimfan

I would suggest that the problem for breaststroke specialist in swimming IM is that they usually do not have great fly, which means they have to expend more energy right from the start. As you also mentioned, Hannah Miley and Luca Marin who are both great in breast have pretty weak fly.

aswimfan

And if you are super great in both breast and fly, then most likely you will be awesome in 400 IM (Caulkins, Seto).

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