Pernille Blume 24.07 Makes The Dash A Splash First Gold For Denmark Since 1948

Pernille Blume of Denmark is stunned by the result, with defending champion Ranomi Kromowidjo (NED) in the next lane - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Denmark celebrated its first Olympic gold since 1948 when Pernille Blume stopped the clock at 24.07, 0.02sec ahead of Simone Manuel (USA), the third swimmer home with a clean record Fran Halsall, of Britain, on 23.13.

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Denmark celebrated its first Olympic gold since 1948 when Pernille Blume stopped the clock at 24.07, 0.02sec ahead of Simone Manuel (USA), the third swimmer home with a clean record Fran Halsall, of Britain, on 23.13.



That’s the most shocking result:
Both Campbell sisters come home without a single individual medal.
This is even more shocking than Seebohm+Missy+NIelsen+Hocking+Wilson come home without a single individual medal.

The collapse of Australian swimmers in this Olympics is simply breathtaking. This is more than just one or two swimmers. What made Australian swimmers so fragile as porcelain doll?

Bad Anon

Australian coaches treat their swimmers with kiddie gloves… they were complaining about everything… Americans can even win racing in the ocean, they train to expect the worst


Amen, BA !! Some of the complaints, to be fair, were from the Olympic team itself rather than the swim team, but Horton’s wail to the media about “Sun Yang being a meanie” illustrates the mentality.

This has been the Olympics that AUS, not just the swim team, has needed to have. Too many “tourists”, too many over-hyped teams that have fallen face over apex. The entire AUS Olympic body and too many sporting federations, of which Swimming AUS is just one of the most culpable, are still existing in a mindset of the days of plenty (2000-2008).

London was a warning shot that those days are over and its back to being just a strong 2nd division team with certain powerful “niche capacitities”.


Australian female swimmers in 4×100 medley were fading badly in the final meters.

This is clearly a problem of preparation.


I disagreed about too many tourists. I think the selectors have weaned off tourists pretty good (maybe not enough, there were still hansford and palmer).

Its the collapse of the top swimmers: with the exception of larkin in 200 back NONE of the Australian world champion even medaled in their events.

It’s more than shocking.


OK, I think this is a worse result for Australia than in London despite more golds.
Pre-London, there were ranked #1 in only 2 events: men 100 free and 4×100 free
This time, there were ranked #1 in 10 events!

I predicted 6-7 golds, anything more is excellent, anything less is very poor.
3 golds is a disaster.

Other countries fare worse:
Germany (ZERO medal), France, The Netherlands (did they even win any medal?), Russia (I don’t count Efimova silver)


My comment re tourists was not purely specifying swimming but also the AUS Olympic team in general. Serial non-performing sports & teams are still getting plane tickets.

They were much lesser in numbers and at least one who was tracking that way finally stood up; but I DO totally concur that there was next to no leadership from the “top bracket”. Actually the only clear demonstration on “leadership” that I saw from a senior swimmer was Barratt, not only in the individual 200fr but especially the 4×200.


I forgot, WR to Ryan Murphy!!!

Larkin’s 53.13 clearly cost Australia silver. His teammates swam fantastic times, and yet he, as the current 100 back world champion, faltered badly.


My “bottom line of expectation” was 4 gold & 12 medals with a “worst case scenario” of 2 gold & 10 medals. I was sanguine enough about a “bottom line” end result as it has to be acknowledged that a good number of the expected golds were cases of narrow favourites that could easily fall either way.

What was the shock and leaves a nasty taste is not the close calls not falling AUS way but that almost all the surer bets not only failed to get up but missed podiums …… and the manner in which these occured


I’m happy that Jake Packard and David Morgan win Olympics medal. They swam very well, but Larkin swam terrible and if not for Chalmers’ 46.72 and Chinese DQ, they would have missed out on a medal.

Bad Anon

…and Seebohm gets her first medal of the meet on the women’s last event of the program leading off in 58.83… To say she actually performed better in London is a huge understatement. Rio is an epic disaster for Australia… Sweeping reforms are a must….


“What was the shock and leaves a nasty taste is not the close calls not falling AUS way but that almost all the surer bets not only failed to get up but missed podiums …… and the manner in which these occurred”

Totally agree!

The question for Australia is: Why can’t NONE of their #1 swimmers (with the exception of Groves) swim their best times of the year at the Olympics?
To give more contrast:
Almost all USA #1 swimmers swim their best times of the year in Rio.


Fastest splits:

women’s relay:
back Mie Nielsen 58.75
breast Efimova* 1:04.98 King 1:05.70
Fly Volmer 56.00
Free Campell 52.17

men’s relay
back Murphy 51.85 WR
breast Peaty 56.59 (fastest split ever…!)
fly Phelps 50.33
free Chalmers 46.72


Agree with ASF, this is worse than London, words fail me. They either peaked early or the sports psychologists did not do their job.
Why wouldn’t we try running trials a month before next years world champs, see what happens. And then for Comm games and the following world champs.

Times from American Olympic trials were slowler because it appeared as if some of their swimmers were still in their taper, anyone agree? But yet they stepped up like they always do.


I think Great Britain performed better than Australia as they performed to their expectations and medaled consistently.



I agree that GBR performed better than expectations, although a little worse. I expected James Guy to medal.
I feel sorry for Halsall and Miley who have do not have Olympics medal to show their excellence in the past 8 years.

I don’t believe the Americans did not taper for the trials. The only swimmer who I believe to not tapered in the US OT is Ledecky.
The depth of the American swimming is too great to risk not tapering.

I kept saying throughout the years, the Americans have perfected the art of double taper.
An explanation why their times were slower in the trials: As american olympians themselves have said, the pressure of the trials is greater than the Olympics.
At the Olympics, they swim more relaxed.

This is the opposite of Australians: For most AUS top swimmers, they have little oppositions and thus can swim in less pressured environment.

Steve Levy

ASF, I don’t believe it’s the double taper – all national-level coaches in the “top” swimming countries know how to run a taper.

I do believe that the frequently “ridiculed” college dual meet structure prepares those who swim in the NCAAs to become better racers. Even more, the level of performance at the NCAAs – and the level of team camaraderie – has become an important cultural element (witness how many foreign swimmers at the Olympics take pictures with their US college teammates).

Performance at this level is so between the ears…


Getting back to the actual subject of the head article. major cudos to Blume. Is she the best female 50fr swimmer in the world …..realistically no.

Probably 363 days a year over a 4 year period, the bulk of that final plus a couple who missed the final would beat her. However she, like Manuel (both here and in the 100), rose to the occaision whereas the others palpably failed to do so.

They may never, I suspect, know these peaks again …or even swim to this level again but they have that piece of metal & the title of Olympic Champion ….. the others don’t.


Steve, not sure that’s exactly true re tapers. Some “great” coaches have had their share of monumental “F-ups” with their stars just as they have their triumphs.

Swapping the date of AUS Trials is NOT quite as straight forward as we might think due to our seasons being opposite to 99% of the competition. If you move Trials, then you need to them reschedule the entire AUS competition season accordingly. There may be a few transition pains over the first 2 years.

Taking the NCAA route is no exact science/sure bet; just as many foreign swimmers of promise disappear without trace as those who prosper. Like any coach/team environment; personal chemistry & culture are intangibles.

The question of academics and its level of precedence is also a factor to consider. If the swimmer is academically focused a number of issues have to be considered. With the exception of the Cals & Stanfords; many of the very top swim schools are of lesser rank academically whereas few of the top academic schools have major sports focus, or only in specific sports.


I don’t believe Australian swimmers should go to American colleges.
It worked for Matt Targett, but didn’t work for Ellen Fullerton, Luke Percy, etc.
What they need is more frequent high quality racing, and trials closer to Olympics (to achieve multiple objectives: 1. keeping swimmers honest and on edge, 2. selecting only in-form swimmers 3. limiting media exposure to avoid hype and months of media build up)


ASF, in many ways I’ll agree with you re NCAA. Its certainly an option to be considered but there hasn’t been a top line Australian take that route since Mark Kerry at the end of the 70’s. Matt Targett may’ve been a monster at NCAA but he was only ever upper 2nd tier on the AUS team and fringe intl finalist.

Read a report that Verhaeren will remain for the next 4 years which IS promising in that they haven’t taken THAT cheap avenue. What I feel they need to do is to give him greater executive authority. If that means giving him the power to influence funding directions/calls then so be it. If it means effective “guillotining” of certain international careers, again so be it

Steve Levy

CW, all great points. Both countries have great swimming history, coaches and feeder systems (yes, we have a “few” more bodies to source from).

Both our stables of “great” coaches have had their share successes and failures; at the end of the taper, if the athlete says they feel great, then goes out and underperforms, it’s not the taper that is most often to blame… To me, this sounds like a culture problem.

While I’m quite aware of the seasons wreaking havoc on the outdoor pools in Australia, if the US, Canada, UK, etc. are competitive targets, then I agree with you that at least a conversation needs to happen to discuss flipping the Australian competition season accordingly. The goal has to be either Gold medals or participation trophies…

As far as the NCAA approach – and we clearly have a few more universities that do you – I’m not espousing that all Aussie swimmers come to the States to attend school. What is learned via intercollegiate sports is hard racing, team, and camaraderie. I know others have written this but the US swimmers have always been more excited to compete on relays than to win individual medals; this mindset came from somewhere…

There are also FAR more great schools covering all three NCAA Divisions with tremendous academic and swimming traditions:


Swimmers typically have the highest cumulative GPA of all sports – at all schools:

All I’m suggesting is that it might not be a bad thing to look at what’s taking place up here above the equator and see if some of these things can be adopted below the equator. One thing that is for certain, the Australian and US teams sure do seem to get along with each other. What this has to do with Olympic performance is murky but if I’m a coach on the Aussie I’d start asking my swimmers what they like about us…

CW, thanks for letting me rant a bit.

Barnabas Mandi

asf, about medals
The Netherlands zero as Germany, France 2, Russia 2 without Efimova, Europe wasn’t working.
Only GB 6 and Hungary 7 won more than 3.


Steve, thanks for the reply and the very valid points.

The point about the team ethos of NCAA racing is an extremely valid one. This has not always been a strong point in AUS swimming and has tended to ebb and flow over time.

The women’s side at least since the early 90s has tended to be far superior in this aspect starting with the likes of O’Neill & Thomas not only being example setters performance/professionalism but also a very strong relay focus and this has by & large continued to be the case.

The men have sometimes been “problematic”, not just with the Stillnox/London, Nick D’Arcy incidents but the likes of Perkins were often poor team mates. It wasnt till the later 90s that the likes of Klim, Hackett & Thorpe came through that we saw a better team ethic. Since then its been “variable”.

With regards to the US collegiate experience; some valid points but I’m also not coming from a position of ignorance as I did my post graduate degree in the US. I think its a decision that has to be made on its individual merits of the swimmers actual priorities/academic attainments & aspirations as well as swimming.

If the swimmer is one who has been able to get into a Group of Eight university (ANU, Sydney, UNSW, Melbourne, Monash, UQ or UWA) & is looking at a career in the professions/post career outside the sport then if their current arrangements are working for them then why consider the NCAA route unless the offer is from the likes of Cal/Stanford (maybe a couple of others.

If they are looking at only one of the lesser AUS unis and have somewhat different post swimming aspirations then an offer from a major swim school is certainly worth considering.

Where I, and others here, are 100% on the same page is regarding racing. AUS swimmers race far too little and this needs to change as does the attitude of the swimmers themselves AND that of their coaches. Whilst the JAP links can/should be enhanced & trips to meets like Santa Clara continued; I also think they need to reconsider sending squads to Mare Nostrum & even some US GP series meets ( if they are going to continue). Likewise, they need to be dragged out of their cocoons and made to race at least a couple of legs of the SC World Cup.

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