Kings Of Consistency: Mitch & The Mantle Seekers To Test The AUS Vs USA Swingometer

Mitchell Larkin - by Patrick B. Kraemer

After we started our month-long countdown to racing in Rio with a look at some of the most significant swims of Olympic season so far on the clock, we turn our attention to consistency; the rate at which contenders stack up quality efforts in the top 10, top 20 and top 25 performances. In the series so far:…

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After we started our month-long countdown to racing in Rio with a look at some of the most significant swims of Olympic season so far on the clock, we turn our attention to consistency; the rate at which contenders stack up quality efforts in the top 10, top 20 and top 25 performances. In the series so far:… […]



If Australia arrive in Rio in top form, I would put them ahead on gold medals based on Kazan, and what we have seen since.

Bad Anon

For Aussie to have most golds in Rio; Larkin and Seebohm need to sweep backstroke events and Campbell sisters to sweep sprint freestyle relays as well as 2 Aussie relays to win gold ie both sprint freestyle relay…. Larkin and Seebohm look doubtful to be doubling like in Kazan; Ryan Murphy and Hosszu respectively likely to throw a spanner in the Australian works…. Any double by anyone will be incredoble; my safest bet would be Ledecky 400/800 free; C1 50/100 free in the realm of possibilty; on mens roster a double looks super tough; MP 100/200fly? McEvoy 50/100free? Hagino 200/400IM? On paper competition looking very fierce; but races will be swum in a Rio pool close to midnight; the toughest and most orepared will prevail

kevin roose

With heats at midday and finals commencing 10 pm at night it brings a whole new feel to this competition . i beleive we will see the fastest heat times ever for a major competition.
Katinka Hosszu looks good for a double in the medley …..


I think the male backstroke event epitomises the whole US v Australia ‘OLD FIRM’ rivalry for top nation supremacy.
US has won the gold in both events since 1992, we have not had any success since the 1950s, apart from a few minor medals. However, this year Larkin will take it up to Murphy & Plummer.

Australia best gold medal haul was in the 50s (1956), we won 8 golds, a certain Mr Phelps has won that by himself. In London US won 16 golds to Aussie 1.
This year after Kazan & Aussie trials, we have in Campbell sisters, Seebohm, McEvoy, Larkin & Horton, we have a real shot for a few golds & maybe get close to the US’s haul this year, but like Larkin in both backstroke events, we are up against a big history.

Bad Anon

Hosszu will be stronger in the 200IM where she’s 2sec faster than the rest of the world at best; her 2.06wr one of the strongest on the women’s program.. 400IM; Miley , Belmonte, Dirado are all sub 4.30 contenders and gold will be one in that sort of time; unless Hosszu will uncork a 4.26 in Ye-like fashion; yet to be seen… Though AUS-US battle looks stiff on paper me thinks if one AUS swimmer fails to deliver is Larkin, Campbell sisters, Seebohm it’s advantage USA


Seriously, don’t really care about beating the US. The rivalry is a bit of a myth, the only rivals to the US were the East German girls & maybe in the near future China.

I would just like to see Australia get as many golds as possible. Swimming apart from relays is an individual sport. I understand that each federations can implement, spend etc on their swimmers.
I would much rather see Larkin, Campbell sisters, Seebohm, Horton & McEvoy all get gold, or even double then to topple the US.

One thing that is for sure, racing will be tough, those who do get gold will have earnt it.

Bad Anon

Indeed Robbos, even in Kazan where team USA wasnt full strength with some faster swimmers at pan pacs and failing to win medals in relays, and MP on suspension, they still came out tops. Not to say team USA are invincible but they are well rounded and contend in multiple events, Australia just as an example have a huge deficiency in medley events both men and women… If Steph Rice was also at peak and in the mix Aussie would have 5swimmers with potential to win doubles, Larkin, Seebohm, Campbell , McEvoy and Steph Rice, lol…

Craig Lord

Robbos I agree and disagree with ” The rivalry is a bit of a myth” in this sense – agree that that is irrelevant to the kids and coaches when they approach their individual race with folk from many nations – among last things they should have on their mind, if at all, is the national medal tally 🙂 …. and yet, and yet, on a different level and on the deck among folk who don’t get wet and the folk who do get wet but only think about it when the day is won … I recall Fukuoka 2001 and Don-Talbot led victorious Australia, I recall Sydney 2000 a year before; and I recall many a moment when the USA topped the lot … and no, the rivalry was no myth… it was very real indeed – and all involved wanted the world to know 🙂

Bad Anon

And who would forget the controversy around the statement , “we’ll smash them like guitars”… Certainly a rivalry exists moreso in specific events, this time men’s backstroke in the spotlight…. Obviously someone will crack under pressure…

kevin roose

There is a rivalry because Australia beleive now or in the future they can become number one and to accomplish that they need to topple America ….in terms of the overall games gold medal tally all sports its crucial Australia does well in the pool……
As in many of the 42 sports Australia is very weak…..
So as a nation we look to swimming to provide a large percentage of golds…..
Australia aim to be top 5 overall nations total medal count all sports and swimming is fundamental to obtaining that goal…..


Craig & BA, by a myth is that, yes currently, we are experiencing a bit of a boom & US are in a bit of a lull (by their standard) & it may be close. But Aussies are not in the same ballpark as the US.
Australia has got 5 swimmers with the ability to double up, Campbell, McEvoy, Larkin, Seebohm & Horton. All are in top 2 picks in the world, not all will double of course, but they all have a chance.

Since 2000 we have come back & created a little rivalry with the US, we had the ‘swimmer of the century’ in Thorpe & the US said anything you can do I can do better in Phelps. 5 golds against 18? I think.
The Australians can hopefully (wishful thinking) win 8-12 golds this year in Rio & if they can do this for a few Olympics, then I think the US has a rival.
We are no rivals when we win 1 gold in London & the US wins 16.


Some excellent posts on this thread. The rivalry certainly exists but it has “waxed and waned” over time with AUS certainly slipping down the ranks at various points of the past 40 years.

At other times, AUS was 2nd with regards to total medals but only collecting 1-2 golds (and waiting to the final day of competition for those golds – LA,BARC, ATL). It only really came back into the forefront over the past 20 years with strong Sydney & post Sydney generations coming through the AUS system.

Barring major decimation by illness or injury, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that USA will ever be removed from the top of the medals table at any major event simply due to its depth and spread of talent.

Having said that, what is noticeable is that we are currently seeing far fewer events where USA are considered “locks” for gold. Furthermore, at present they appear to have fewer dominant figures who are likely to “hoover up” multiple golds and handfuls of medals. Ledecky is undoubtedly one but are we finally seeing the prospect of diminishing returns for the likes of Phelps/Lochte ?

Other nations do not have the spread of talent to rival the old firm but the presence of 1-2 outstanding individuals or strength in one specific niche capacity/stroke can sometimes see “outsized” results on medal tallies and I cannot see this changing in Rio.

Even the relays may not play out to the usual script of US sweeps/dominance or shared spoils between the “old firm”. Whilst perhaps 4/6 are likely to flow that way, both also have relays that may NOT be contending for gold or even sure bets to land on the podium.

I will tend to agree with BA’s read with regards to AUS prospects of “double golds”. Substitute C2 for C1 and you have probably the best chance of multiple individual golds outside of Ledecky.

Whilst both Larkin & Seebohm must be seen as legitimate chances of doing so; its more realistic to bet on them both batting 1 from 2. Will some Kazan silvers/bronzes step up to the top step and fill in those gaps ….. very realistic chances of this happening.


I feel Larkin has a bigger challenge then Seebohm. The Americans are right up there against Larkin especially in the 100, he has a bigger space in the 200.
As for Seebohm, she is best at 100 & her best is well ahead of her rivals. As for 200, she has the fastest last 50, with Franklin clearly not in 2012/13 form, I struggle to see anyone beating her.


Hhhmm, you certainly have an arguable case, Rob, although I’m not sure I can go “full distance” with you.

Larkin certainly has the more “in his face competition, particularly in the 100 but correspondingly he has very clear technical areas which he can improve on from Trials. Should he have that together in Rio; he most likely draws evens up the 100 with the Americans and potentially gives himself some space over 200. Neither can be seen as gimmes in any case.

In all honesty, I don’t see either of Seebohm’s events as gimmes and see BOTH as being extremely tough for her. We can certainly put up an arguable case that she didn’t need to be at her best at Trials but none of us are in the position of actually knowing what the reality was/is nor the planning.

I see Nielsen as being extraordinarily dangerous and Seebohm will have to be at her best to beat her. 200 looks a very messy event, esp with Franklin looking very off her game.

You make an excellent point re Seebohm’s killer last 50 …. but have we seen it this year ? Whether we like it or not, her PB is only a tick below 2.06 … and that isn’t exactly spelling out ownership. Favourite ….. fair enough call but not a gold that I’m that comfortable marking down as a probable.

She was untouchable in 2015, that is undeniable. The 2016 model, or at least what has been seen so far, has not had that aura …. and I’m not thinking her prime competition in either event are approaching things with the mentality of ” we’re just competing for her scraps”. I think they see her as beatable; extremely formidable but eminently beatable.

kevin roose

i dont see Australia getting more golds than America but i certainly do see America getting far less golds than London….
Apart from Australia many countries boast 1 or 2 excellent gold medal prospects….
Great Britain : Peatty, Guy
Japan: Hagino,kaneto
South Africa: Chad
Hungary Hosszu, Cseh
Sweeden: Sjostrom
France: Manaudou , mens 4 x 100 free
China : Sun Yang*
Italy : Paltrinieri
Germany : Koch , Hentke
Lithuania : Meilutyte
Russia : Ustinova*
Denmark: Nielsen
Combine the above gold medal prospects with what Australia has to offer , given the American team appears some what vunerable ….it will be interesting to see how they respond in Rio …..


Not going to disagree with the vast majority of the countries/individuals you listed. Maybe I’d take out RUS/Ustinova* and put BRA in but otherwise on the money.

However, what I would say is that the international “spread” is likely to eat significantly into the tallies of BOTH USA & AUS.

Bad Anon

On a somber note, Russia’s biggest gold medal prospect will be *Efimova IF and only IF she’s allowed to compete…. With the meldonium scandal far from being finalized, the loophole may give some athletes a reprieve….

Bad Anon

FINA drops **Efimova doping charges. She’ll be racing for gold in Rio 🙁

Craig Lord

So it seems, FINA not even capable to handling the news of its own decision:

Dave Nicholson

Any time the “smash like guitars” story is mentioned, I feel compelled to post what Gary Hall actually said in the article in question:

“I like Australia, in truth. I like Australians. The country is beautiful, and the people are admirable. Good humor and genuine kindness seem a predominant characteristic. My biased opinion says that we will smash them like guitars. Historically the U.S. has always risen to the occasion. But the logic in that remote area of my brain says it won’t be so easy for the United States to dominate the waters this time. Whatever the results, the world will witness great swimming.”


I feel that m100 back is between Murphy and Larkin as I doubt that Plummer will drop much between trials and the Olympics.
This is one of those events where it’s very hard to see the crystal ball very clearly, but then again, it could as much turn out to be a blow out, either in Larkin or Murphy direction.


CW, Seebohm swam 8 of her fastest times in 2015. So unless she has mysteriously lost form this year, I think she knew what is required at trials & working for the big one in August.

ASF, as for Murphy v Larkin, could not agree more.


CW, I fully understand your prognosis and it may be a very valid one but I tend to be evidence based …. and the evidence that she has produced in 2016 is inconclusive in either direction (affirmative or negative).

IS her headspace exactly where it should be ? We would hope so but we cannot know so from this distance. One would hope that both she & Larkin have struck the right balance with the relationship that it hasn’t had negative impacts but none of us are in a position to know. Certainly both coaches had sounded some notes of concern.

Its frankly not somewhere I really “want to go” but it IS a factor that may end up being aired should either/both come up short in Rio.

Fully agree with both of you re Murphy v Larkin.


Sorry, my above post should’ve been addressed to Rob.

I’ll just add the following. There is no difference in what you want to see and what I want to see in this event. Our point of difference is that you are seeing it as somewhat of a “fait accompli” whereas I perceive the “risk factors” to be of sufficient magnitude to render this a more doubtful proposition.

Favourite …. yes but not the odds on proposition she was looking late last year.


CW, no I don’t see it as ‘fait accompi’, I fully understand, Seebohm can be beaten.
You could put the case of McKeon v Ledecky/Sjostrom in the 200 free.
Ledecky has not swam any quicker in any event in 2016 then in 2015, has she plateau, while McKeon has a PB is all her events, she is only .4 sec behind Ledecky. Even Sjostrom hasn’t improved the 200 free this year, so is McKeon the smokie here, to upset the applecart?

All I know if I was a betting man, it’s Seebohm for 100 back & Ledecky for 200 free, just ahead of Sjostrom.

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