Pan Am Games Proving Ground For Several Highly Decorated American Athletes

Natalie Coughlin, by Patrick B. Kraemer

The Pan American Games will be a chance for the likes of Natalie Coughlin, Cullen Jones and Allison Schmitt to prove they can still shine at high levels.

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The Pan American Games will be a chance for the likes of Natalie Coughlin, Cullen Jones and Allison Schmitt to prove they can still shine at high levels.



I believe Coughlin’s biggest chance to qualify for Rio is in the 100 free (as relay alternate). As for 100 back, she may have the chance to qualify if the race is slow (second finisher in 59.50)


American trials are never slow

Bad Anon

Coughlin will probably lead off the medley relay in Toronto . She has the fastest 100back time among America ladies at pan ams (1.00.08). The time she’ll post there will give us an indication of what we can expect in Omaha next summer


John, how real in your opinion is Schmitt’s returning to 1:55 range? Such sharp drop in performance and so slow recovery usually indicates that something irreversible has happened. Hope it is not the case with Allison. It would be so exciting to witness a relay dream team where three legs are faster than 1:55.
Despite the list of contenders at 200 free is full of big names it is not full of big times. After Sjostrom’s refusal to compete whoever left isn’t actually fast at this distance. Just only two of them were once under 1:55. So I believe that Allison is not even needed to return completely to her 2012 form to be considered a threat. Let’s see what she will show tomorrow.

John Lohn

Yozhik, I think she can get back to 1:55, but to believe she can return to London form, that will require something big this week as a true indicator she is on the right path. This week is a real opportunity for Schmitt to catch eyes and show she’s going to be a factor in 2016.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, your definition of fast is very relative. A 1:54 plus for women’s 200 free is very fast… a time Federica Pellegrini has never done in textile, for example. I don’t think one truly outstanding or off-the chart swim should blind us to the speed and fastness of the moons orbiting the big object; same could be said of several events, like W400IM (4:30 is fast) and men’s 200 ‘fly (1:54 is fast but won’t win come the big one, of course)


My concern for Allison Schmitt would be her mental state. She retains all the ability, and once she is content within herself, then that’s what matters most. Depression could easily have ended her career, so it’s great that she’s still swimming.

Craig Lord

Yes, Ger, that’s a triumph in itself


@Yozhik – What is interesting to note, is the Olympic Champion in Athens would not even be featured in the top 20 today.

Doing a comparison between Athens winning times, and 2015 rankings thus far, the biggest improvement in time goes to the woman’s 100 fly, at just on 3%, while the 200 free is a close contender at 2.92%.

The difference lies in the amount of swimmers (in this case, female) that have made such a big progression as mentioned above. Petria’s time from Athens still leaving her 6th on the World Rankings this year.

This echo’s Craig’s sentiment, about the definition of fast. Big names on the list, as well as big times (relative to that of the past).

Interesting to note, Fede’s winning time from 2008 would rank 3rd on today’s World Rankings, just nudging her own self out from the 1:55.00 that she recorded earlier this year.
Exciting times ahead.


Wez, I like discussions when numbers show up. It would be interesting to know how this 2.92% was calculated. No doubts Pellegrini’s 1:55 is fast. I have to run to match this pace. 2 min is also fast. Even in my dreams I never was that good. But this time is still ranked number 95 this year. So we have to return to Craig’s statement that “definition of fast is very relative”. If to forget for a second about Sjostrom’s relay split last year, the fastest time since last Olympics belongs to Heemskerk (1:54.69). If this time is among 10 all-time fastest I would say that it is indeed fast. If it would be ranked above 20-25. I would say that it is just good. Unfortunately I don’t have access to such statistics, but I remember Craig’s article about Mufat where he said that she was consistently under 1:55. After that I started to think that 1:55 is not that spectacular. But I accept your point of view on what the benchmark has to be used because without any doubts you are more experienced in this area.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, all-time textile top 10 includes Heemskerk 1:54.68 at No3; Sjostrom 1:54.77 No4; Pellegrini 1:55.00 No7 – all from this season.


So IT IS fast. I don’t argue any more 🙂 But there are some inaccuracy with your data. How Heemskerk 1:54.68 can be No2 when I know at least Allison’s 1:53 and Muffat’s 1:54.66? Also I was not talking of swimmer’s ranks. I was curious of how many races we know when swimmers went under 1:55. From what is available to me
Muffat – twice
Schmitt – twice
Franklin – once
Sjostrom – once
Heemskerk – once
Is this statistics complete? If so then following my scale Heemskerk is FAST and Pellegrini with her 1:55 flat is VERY GOOD.
The only thing that still puzzles me though is Franklin’s gold medal in Barcelona. Why wasn’t it admitted as superbly fast swim but the win without competition with exception of Pellegrini? Is it just because there were two world records by Ledecky and world records in breast stroke?


To Ger and Craig. It wouldn’t be wise for me to speculate about Schmitt’s condition without having accurate information. But if Ger is right then we hardly see Allison 2012 again. Over excitement that goes with huge races is the last thing one is needed recovering after depression. Also in most cases the treatment goes with drugs and it could be a possibility of conflict with WADA restrictions. But I am still very much optimistic that she will make relay team in Rio and she will add one more gold to her amazing collection.

Craig Lord

We did note the speed of Franklin’s 2013 effort at the time. But yes, Barcelona was full of top lines – Franklin was our swimmer of the year among women in 2013.
Your count is correct but misses Sara Isakovic – she raced in texile at Beijing 2008


Yes, that was probably the reason. In Barcelona another, the world record scale was used to gauge the achievement. With this regard Franlin’s performance was average not being even close to Allison’s one. But now after I realized how actually exclusive is under 1:55 club I have to admit that under this angle Kazan’s final should be considered one of the fastest and Schmitt’s record beamonesque.

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