When Ukraine’s Yana Klochkova Got Half The Way To Being All-Time Queen Of Medley

Yana Klochkova by Patrick B. Kraemer

This day, September 19, 15 years ago, marked the moment when Yana Klochkova got half-way to becoming the most successful medley swimmer among women all-time. Day 4, the midway point of the Games Down Under and Ukraine was celebrating a double medley champion

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This day, September 19, 15 years ago, marked the moment when Yana Klochkova got half-way to becoming the most successful medley swimmer among women all-time. Day 4, the midway point of the Games Down Under and Ukraine was celebrating a double medley champion

Comments

Bad Anon

Such a phenomenal swimmer, Yana Klochkova! Where can a find the full length video for that Athens 2004 women 200IM final? Beard swam one of the most impressive breaststroke legs ever. It was an awesome race, and ofcourse Coventry making her international mark. Fantastic race that one! And her 400IM race with Kaitlin Sadeno in the long medley was sensational. Hosszu following in Yana’s steps though missing from Hosszu’s credentials is swimming’s holy grail ; an Olympic [gold] medal.

Craig Lord

Yes, phenomenal YK but KH not a challenger to that kind of status, Bad Anon. No Olympic medal at all, so far.

Bad Anon

KH peaked in 2013 after a disappointing london games. She goes to Rio as double medley champion from Barcelona and Kazan and will be the favorite for both. 200/400 medley crowns. Looking at athletes like Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky who won gold medals in London ; they already assume almost legendary status yet neither is 20 years old. They peaked at “right time”. The the significance an Olympic [gold] medal .

aswimfan

It is unfortunate, but it is just the way it is that Olympics holds special place in determining a swimmer’s greatness.

KH has very glaring weakness in her resume: no Olympics medal at all (while having competed in two Olympics), so she needs to win an IM gold next year to be considered one of IM greats.

aswimfan

And yeah, Klochkova is another one of my fave female swimmers!

Tabo To

KH has completed for three Olympics already and Rio is her fourth one.
Maybe the next challenger is Ye Shiwen, she’s got two gold medals in Olympics and one in WC. She is still very young too.

Craig Lord

KH raced at Athens 2004, too… way down the list as a youngster but there she was, so Rio will be her 4th Games, aswimfan

Craig Lord

And, tabo, Ye’s model of progress and decline sits at an opposite end to KH’s on the spectrum of the extremely rare in a number of ways

aswimfan

Wowww… Didn’t realize KH competed in Athens

Tabo To

Ye’s performance in 2014 was quite good, she swam 4:30.84 in 400IM, which was the fastest time in that year. The poor performance in Kazan might be due to the injury of her ankle. She had the surgery to “remove the tooth- sized fracture”from her ankle in the late August this year.

Craig Lord

Even so, a rare career curve, Tabo – and nothing remotely close to that off-the-chart 58.6 close in 2012.

beachmouse

There’s a certain type of female swimmer I tend to call the ‘waterbugs’- teenage girls who have 1-2 years of phenomenal success after their last growth spurt because they have adult height but not adult weight yet and consequently just seem to fly across the water. And after that golden year or two, they either have to make massive changes in technique or they just kind of disappear from the elite scene because what worked so well isn’t going to work like that again for them.

They’re usually breaststrokers like Amanda Beard, who did successfully retool her technique to work with a more adult body,but you do sometimes get girls in other strokes who fit the patten. I’d call Janet Evans in that category. While she was quite good for a long time, her swims at around 16-17 were her most magical. I’m starting to suspect Ye might be similar. The quotes we get from Ye sometimes talk about trying to drop more weight to get back to her London size, but I’m not sure how realistic that would be, and think she is better trying to change her technique to better use the body she has now and not the body she had post-growth spurt.

Yozhik

@beachmouse. As Craig wisely noted there are two opposite ends of spectrum. 🙂 Should I be a paranoiac bounty hunter who is ready to step on the slippery road of suspicion and distrust I would work with the “elderly” group in cases of showing signs of second youth. There is a difference between young cheater who in many cases is a product of environment and is itching to get everything at once and the person who is close to retirement. It could be the last chance to make a history mark or to smooth the uncertainty of retirement life. The disqualification is not a threat any more. I never heard of any government sponsored programs that dealt with such people. It is all personal and all about the integrity of the person. Is it any statistics that shows distribution of cases of violations by age?

Craig Lord

I’m not aware of one, Yozhik (will give it some thought down the road…) but can see at a glance that the majority of cases (by far) belong to that younger category on the spectrum…

Tabo To

Craig, when Ye has a disappointing swim at the big meet, the media in China will give reasons, such as gain of weight or injury, for her. I has always been satisfied by those reasons and never tried to compare her performance with those young and talented swimmers around the world. Your comment – a rare career curve -made me to “rethink” on that. Ye has surprised me that in recent years, she cannot improve or even come near the time that she swam in London Olympics for both 200 and 400 IM whilst the other can do. I have no ideas whether Ye’s performance is due to “waterbugs” as explained by beachmouse or other reasons.

Bad Anon

Whatever the case maybe, just like Klochkova and Steph Rice in recent history, Ye is a double medley (reigning) Olympic champion. Barring illness and injury Ye has a pretty good shot at title defense in Rio, at her best she’ll at the very least make the podium in both IMs ; though Hosszu with no Olympic hardware will seek to shake the monkey off her back at her fourth Olympiad. Its sad when doping suspicion clouds the achievements of athletes. Time will give us a clearer picture perhaps in hindsight to understand Beamonesque performances of our time

Craig Lord

Sad, too, BadAnon that those who were subsequently proven to have cheated don’t hand back their prizes; they keep them, even though we know they cheated and we know those cheated out of their rightful place are left to be forgotten. There are two ways of looking at every scenario

Yozhik

Mike Powell has jumped 5cm farther than Bob Beamon and this record has been standing longer than that one of Bob’s. Do we call this achievement a Beamonesque? No. I would be careful with the usage of this term because it basically indicates the failure to explain, but not a spectacular feat. 48(!) years ago there was very little known about Beamon besides the fact that he had not even had a coach and had a few shots of tequila ( ?! 🙂 ) night before his historical jump. Nowadays with the significant advance in medicine, sport science, training methodology, all sort of measuring gadgets, cameras, tests, surrounding teammates, coaches, doctors etc it is very strange that Ye Shiwen’s case remains unexplained.
Tabo To, if you follow Chinese media have you seen reasonable more or less scientific comments on Ye’s race in London. Did she give her own assessment of what has been happening to her that day? Swimmers are usually well aware how the race is going and are accurate with the time estimation. Did she notice anything unusual? She should because the race was unusually weird and nothing like that has happened to her neither shortly before nor shortly after. If everything is fair the explanation must be found for the benefit of the sport and has to be reused by others. And it should be more serious than “water bugs” one. Whenever there is a failure to explain the conspiracy theories take place.
BadAnon, if that is what you call Beamonesque then I agree with you on that.

Craig Lord

I’m afraid there are many cases in which no explanation and no positive test are present in the story of winning performances regarded with suspicion, Yozhik. It would be wonderful if what you describe could unfold in an open, honest, risk-free way but I suspect we will never hear from Ye what truly happened that day, just as we’ve never heard from lots of others when it comes to moments void of full explanation, such as Michelle Smith, now a barrister, on what precisely happened to cause enough whiskey to be in her urine sample as to have caused her death had the alcohol been ingested and not poured straight into the jar; why that was necessary; why there was a substance there that her own lawyer named at the CAS hearing but which she has avoided talking openly and sincerely about. The failure of full disclosure, discussion and openness is often a clear sign of obfuscation and, in some cases, of malignant control over a young athlete in no position to describe her experience in its fullest version when in an environment in which she would be praised not clobbered for doing so.

Yozhik

I’m impressed as usual with the logic, clearness and cleverness of your arguments and with your style of discussion. Why wouldn’t you follow example of Michelle Smith to become a famous barrister. You will have peaceful and prosperous life 🙂

Craig Lord

I prefer to drink my whiskey – neat, Yozhik 🙂

Yozhik

🙂 🙂

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