Which Champions Will Keep Their Crowns In Kazan? The Form Guide For Men’s Freestyle

2012 Olympic champion and 2013 World champion Yannick Agnel by Patrick B. Kraemer

In our series looking ahead to the World Championships, we start to consider which titles will be defended and how the holder is shaping up. One factor about the Kazan event among men: all 2013 champions among men will be in Kazan, all titles to be defended barring one

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In our series looking ahead to the World Championships, we start to consider which titles will be defended and how the holder is shaping up. One factor about the Kazan event among men: all 2013 champions among men will be in Kazan, all titles to be defended barring one

Comments

JM90

Interesting how, for some races, e.g. not 400 or 1500m the fastest time of the year so far is not quicker than 2013, however the top 10 seem much more bunched up, i.e. the top time is slower but the 10th is quicker than 2013

Rick

Schoeman didn’t quality for World Championships with his 22.35 at SA trials

Rick

He is not going to Worlds. 50’s of strokes not part of the team.

luigi

50 free: is Gkolomeev going to Kazan? If he is, you should watch out for him. I will be cheering for him, for A. Ervin and for my country-fellow Marco Orsi. But honestly gold barring catastrophe is already in the hands of Manaudou.

Bad Anon

Is Lochte qualified for 200free?

Craig Lord

He’s listed as 200Fr on the USA worlds team sheet, Bad Anon.

aswimfan

Manaudou, Magnussen, Agnel, Horton, Yang, Paltrinieri.

That’s my early prediction and may change later.

But if my prediction holds up, it will be the only time aside from the transitional 2007 Melbourne that all men’s freestyle golds won by different swimmers.

Craig Lord

Good, thanks Rick.

Bad Anon

I definitely agree with one of the readers, times are more clustered rather than faster, wouldnt be suprising if finalists are within 0.5 in the 100free or within 2sec of each other in the 400free. since 2012 Olympics men’s, 200free has been slow. right now going 1.44 is enough to medal with a high margin of safety, Shanghai 2011 saw the most 1.44s in a single race, but its doubtful Kazan final will be that’ fast

Danjohnrob

Mr Lord, That was a very thorough, interesting analysis. Thank you!

I’m glad the US at least has “potential” medal contenders in each of these races, but it’s sad to think it would pretty much be an upset if we won ANY of them! I suppose Adrian has the best chance for the US to win gold in a men’s freestyle race (100). It was surprising we won 5 medals in men’s freestyle in Barcelona; I guess I was hopeful it was the start of a trend.

Bad Anon

Will make a bold prediction, Ryan Lochte will win 200free in 1.44.63

aswimfan

Bad Anon,

I must commend you on your highly optimistic outlook towards Lochte in 200 free 🙂

Rafael

I think Manadou and Cielo won´t swim 100 free on Kazan.. Manadou did not swim at French Trials and Cielo dropped the race..

aswimfan

Yeah, Manaudou is not going to swim 100 free in Kazan.

Rafael

aswimfan.. probably a lot of confidence.. I was betting on only 1 Medal for the US mens freestyle. Adrian on 100 free.. if he medals..

Craig Lord

Yes, Rafael, I note Florent’s miss at trials in the article… and on the same basis he has no place in the 4x100m as things stand… but, of course, in all likelihood, he will step up for France. The European champion will do “1 or 2 100m tests in the summer to secure his place”, Romain Barnier is quoted as saying. That means the team is almost a given. The 100 solo is not but if he suddenly went a 47.5, in theory, of course 🙂 France may well find a way of having the European champion take to his blocks in Kazan for the solo (especially as the first two who would have to step aside beyond Stravius are Marseilles teammates). Given the uncertainty and flexibility of it all (not sudden death like US trials) I would rather mention him, just in case… On Cielo, you may well be right but he finished 2nd at nationals and ‘could’ swim…. so happy to leave it open so far out from the meet. Much will change between now and the northern summer – hence the ‘we’ll be looking at the challengers in more detail” later line.

Bad Anon

Challengers are dynamic, a lot of US swimmers for example havent put up top 10 times so far this year, on the big occasion we should see impressive times from swimmers not included in the discussion as yet.

Craig Lord

True, Bad Anon, but the US team list is fixed… and I am naming them as we go, for most of them are indeed challengers … otherwise they wouldn’t be on the USA team 🙂

DDias

Cielo will swim 50fly and free plus relays.

Right now, my free bets are:
Manaudou, McEvoy, Agnel, Horton, Yang, Paltrinieri.

HKSWIMMER

OK – I’m going to throw my hat into the ring here and make some predictions:

50m: Manaudou

100m: Ning Zetao

200m: Agnel

400m: Hagino

800m: Sun

1500m: Paltrinieri

Though to be fair, these predictions all depend on the form of Sun. If Sun’s close to his old (enhanced) form then he’ll be a lock for the 4-8-15. I’m also going bold with Ning as I really think we will see something special from him.

MP

HKSWIMMER – when you say “if Sin Yang gets close to his old enhanced form”, do you mean if he is doped again?!? The rascal has already cheated all of us long enough, hasn’t he? If I was a clean swimmer I know what I would say to him…

MP

I meant Sun Yang

HKSWIMMER

MP, what I meant was whether, now that I presume he is off the heart drug, he will still be able to approach the times he produced during the Olympics. It isn’t a comment about him doping again.

Though obviously Sun has embroiled himself in controversy, it is undeniable that he has one of the best freestyle techniques in the world, and that he is a brilliant swimmer. Though his reputation will forever be tarnished he is still a serious threat in all events that he swims. It just remains to be seen if he will ever swim a PB again.

pvdh

50 free-Bruno Fratus, Manaudou, Vladimir Morozov

100 free- Nathan Adrian, James Magnussen, Cameron Mcevoy

200 free- Yannick Agnel, Ryan Lochte, Kosuke Hagino

400 free- Mack Horton, Sun Yang, Kosuke Hagino

800 free- Sun Yang, Horton, Paltrinieri

1500 free- Sun yang, Paltrinieri, Horton

easyspeed

I think we might see a good performance from Lochte. There are three uncertainties with him: 1. How much is his injury still affecting him/ hampered his training leading up to worlds. 2. Is the coaching change going to help or hurt him 3. Age. I’d say number 2 will be the biggest factor of the three I listed. If he’s “on”, watch out!

Bad Anon

Kazan will be a litmus test for Dave Marsh’s team elite. Lochte is the highest profile swimmer there and we are yet to see Ryan at his best. Injury issues put a damper on his 2014 season. Unless Marsh is overrated I reckon we’ll be seeing Lochte close to his best

easyspeed

True. I personally liked the heavy volume approach of Coach Troy. We will see how the new system is working for Lochte. If he is thriving under Marsh, agree we might see Ryan return to form at worlds. If not, will be interesting to see what he does for training leading up to the Olympics, and if he goes back to Troy.

Viva la Bang

50m Manaudou
100m McEvoy
200m Hagino
400m Horton
800m Sun
1500m Sun

Jason

I think it’s time McEvoy will start hitting his potential and produce sub 47.5 sec swims in the 100m. That should be good enough for victory this year, perhaps not next year.

luigi

I would have serious issues with seeing a medal go to Ning Zetao. too big of a stain on his past, sorry.

aswimfan

Every year I’ve been saying similar thing:
I fear that mcEvoy is hitting his ceiling already, but he has proven me wrong the past two years.
This year is interesting to see if he is indeed touching his top potential of is there still more to come?

Rafael

We had an overall slow year until now..

Hope Kazan proves us wrong.. we could for the first time have 8 finalists under 48 in textile.. we have the swimmers who could do it (Mcevoy, Magnussen, Morozov, Verschuren, Adrian, Zetao, Santana, maybe one more Russian or Cielo/Manadou) Hope to see this..

Craig Lord

Rafael – the year is just about as close in line with 2013 (and others seasons) by May 1 as it could be 🙂

aswimfan

Without the stupid one way jet stream pool of Barcelona, I predict Kazan 100 free will be faster than 2013 BCN

Eugene

“Without the stupid one way jet stream pool of Barcelona, I predict Kazan 100 free will be faster than 2013 BCN”
Even the pools are doped in Russia… is what Eugene followed to add a touch of sarcasm to the head of humour. This note is for you Eugene – with a nod to previous posts of yours that I have removed for reason you know about – and others who need to note it: no harm in some sarcasm, some humour… if it tips over into something else, I will remove it – and not because I don’t want you to have your view but because I am the one who has to monitor it all (for legal reasons, regardless of what anyone else tells you here or elsewhere) and there is a limit on the time I am prepared to do that. Thanks for your attention. – ED

Rafael

aswimfan.. If I remember the jet was circling the pool.. so there was no real advantage.. the guy who had an against current at one point got the current in his favor on the other point..

aswimfan

Rafael,

That’s correct. And I still think Kazan 100 free will be faster.

Danjohnrob

Refael, I hope your prediction of 8 men under 48 in a 100 free race comes true in Kazan or Rio! 🙂

Bad Anon

That’s wishful thinking. someone will crack under pressure and under perform. it ALWAYS happens on the biggest stage!

Rafael

We might have more guys capable of under 48 at Rio.. too bad the 2 person limit (Chalmers, Felipe Ribeiro, Sedov)

Danjohnrob

@Bad Anon, of course you are correct, but it doesn’t hurt to dream (which I know is “wishful thinking”).

@Rafael, good point! Without the 2 person per country rule we’d see a LOT of faster finals. In the US we’d have to accept that the 200 breast final might be filled with British and Japanese athletes, knocking out the Americans, but hopefully other events would make up for that. Overall, all fans would see faster swimming!

Rafael

If we consider the times from last 2 years we Would have this situation
Women 50 free – 1 GBR, 3 AUS, 1 SWE, 1 BAH, 1 NED and 1 Den.
Men 50 free – 2 Brazil, 2 USA, 1 FRA, 1 RUS, 1 ITA, 1 AUS
Women 100 free – 4 AUS, 1 SWE, 2 US, 1 NEW
Men 100 free – 2 AUS, 1 US, 1 BRA, 1 CHN, 1 FRA, 1 RUS and 1 ITA.
Women 200 free – 1 NED, 2 US, 1 AUS, 1 ITA, 1 SWE, 1 GRB and 1 RUS.
Men 200 free – 2 AUS, 1 JPN, 1 KOR, 1 CHN, 1GER, 1 SRB and 1 FRA. With Park Out 1 NED (Verschuren)

Well.. it won´t be much different than without the 2 limit per country.

john26

Considering almost everyone the London final was under 48, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see it this year or in Rio.

Craig Lord

Rafael, the agreements for more than 2 per country run much, much deeper than that. 2 per nation props up a whole sea of ills on the governance front and means that swimming never has a worlds race in which the best in the world are represented, simply the best two from the best nations and a lot of other folk not ranked in the bets 100, 200 or even 300 in the world … so, not the same thing – and I think that’s a pity. The 2 per nation format is the one ingrained at Olympic level and there are some sound arguments why it should be so – but that need not be the universal model for all things. The US team heading for Pan Ams – so-called second tier – will be much stronger than most nations sending teams to the world championships, as we all know. I believe some of those athletes have a right to representation at a world championship when they are ranked in the top-30 in the world, regardless of where their best leaves them in a domestic pecking order. The system punishes nations that develop swimming to the highest of competitive level – and rewards those who don’t.

Craig Lord

roy, I think in such a world, you’d find some others finding an edge they never knew they had…

aswimfan

I would rather have 3 swimmers per country rule with qualifying times in the top 8 in the past two years, rather than all top 30 swimmers get a free pass, regardless of nationality.

This way, the change would not be too dramatic (which means it has good chance to be adopted), while still allowing extremely fast third swimmer from a country to have a chance to medal in a world championships.
Using Rafael data in the above of men/women 50/100/200 free, this kind of change would only affect Australia in w50 and w100 free, and thus still preserving the same swimmer quota for manyother countries.

Top 30 swimmers proposal would be shot down on arrival by FINA and the Bureau because it means many countries will see their chances to send swimmers to Worlds vanish.

Craig Lord

aswimfan: many countries don’t have swimmers ready to be at a world championships and quite a few down the years have swum their one 50m race and spent the rest of the week shopping and sightseeing (quite a lot of evidence to say that many don’t even return to the pool in the evening to watch the finals live..) all on full FINA budget money. I don’t think that is the best way to develop swimming programs in those nations.

aswimfan

CL,

In principle I agree with you. But realistically, that 30 top swimmers rule would never be approved as it means no chance for many countries to send their swimmers on FINA budget to world championships, regardless whether they have swimmers ready at worlds level.

I am proposing a change for the better that has realistic chance to be approved and implemented.

Craig Lord

I’m not sure you’re right there, aswimfan, in terms of chances of getting that through… most nations simply see it as a move that would help the US get a few sweeps… the chances of three from other nations making the podium much smaller. I’ve heard discussions on this theme before and 3 per nation into finals is not very popular, it seems to me. More likely they would go where LEN already is: 4 per nation, best 2 per nation allowed into finals (which came from a proposal from Bill Sweetenham and Britain).

aswimfan

Ok Let’s sweeten the deal for more countries to give approval:
Defending world (or Olympics if the preceding year is Olympics year) champions get free pass and does not eat into quota, make FINA A and B tougher, and allow 3 per countries on if all 3 are in the world’s top 8 from 1 January the preceding year until 1 month before world championship.

Danjohnrob

I would vote for either Mr Lord’s or aswimfan’s last suggestion without hesitation! Is there actually any chance this rule will be modified?

Rafael

aswimfan..

What happens on the situation as below:
The Current World Champions is on top 8.. we will add the 9th world time on quota?

Craig Lord

Danjohnrob, the chance rest on this: the process is that federations have to submit proposals for changes to constitution, rules etc. Via a process of acceptance for the agenda – such proposals are discussed and voted on at the overriding authority in FINA, the ruling Congress (for understanding, not all things go through Congress, however). Congress meets every four years… BUT extraordinary sessions are also called and held… there will be one this summer in Kazan, the purpose to change the constitution so that Julio Maglione can stand for a third term as president even though he came to the seat on a campaign ticket of “two terms only”. So, a structural change to entries for a world champs would come from domestic feds (can come from the top table, the Bureau, too) and then get voted on by delegates from 200-plus nations (or however many show up for the vote…

vespino

No mention at all in the predictions for the Men’s 400 Free of Peter Bernek (HUN) who swam a beautiful race to win the World Short Course in December by 2 seconds. Has he not qualified for Kazan?

Craig Lord

Vespino, yes, I imagine he will be in Kazan. His l/c best is 3:47.31 after a 3:49 shiny in 2009 and a 3:52.15 prev best in textile last year. S/C in isolation is no indication of the l/c season ahead in he absence of a big l/c swim. That s/c win will not grant Peter access to the l/c podium unless he axes a further 4-5 sec off his best for a gain on the year of almost 10sec, which would be quite something, even for a 23-year-old whose found his freestyle wings.

Danjohnrob

Wow, Thanks for your thorough reply, Mr Lord! Logically, it seems like there is very litle chance of a change, but I think an argument could be made for improving both the competition and popularity of our sport if a proposal like yours/aswimfan’s were made. For example, just from a marketing standpoint, ensuring that “known stars” make it to the meet assists people trying to promote it!

A1960swimmer

Armstrong was a swimmer. Just wondering if he had continued swimming. The poor Marion Jones, she was so nice and innocent! What would happen to us and our beloved sport if Phelps…? Yes, I am afraid that our sport will loose its magic. I think we are all in agreement, we want our sport to remain pure.

aswimfan

Yes, We want our sport to remain pure. to do that, more thorough and better testings must be implemented by WADA and national federations as well as strong FINA leaderships that play by the rule and implement the rule as it says.

I was indifferent to Armstrong and I already suspected, but I was such a huge fan of Marion Jones. I thought she would be the least candidate to use PED as she is so talented, supremely more talented than any other athletes (I use the term athletes to refer to track and field). I was sooo disappointed and never really recovered as a huge athletic fan as before.

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