Which Champions Will Keep Their Crowns In Kazan? Form Guide: Women’s Backstroke

Was that me? Missy Franklin, swimming standard setter, by Patrick B. Kraemer

In our series looking ahead to the World Championships, we’ve started to consider which titles will be defended and how the holder is shaping up. After the men, we turned to the women, medley followed by butterfly, breaststroke and, today, backstroke

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In our series looking ahead to the World Championships, we’ve started to consider which titles will be defended and how the holder is shaping up. After the men, we turned to the women, medley followed by butterfly, breaststroke and, today, backstroke



Well, Franklin in 200 back is the closest to surefire win to Ledecky in 400/800/1500.

I don’t think Seebohm will repeat her 2:06 in Kazan, and I like Nielsen chances in 100 back for a medal. We’ll see if Wilson can repeat her performance as too many Aussies in the past peaking for their trials but swam below par at the major championships.


And I hate predicting 50s events, it’s all crapshoot.


Ms. Medeiros seems very powerful at this stage, but beware of Ms. Fu. The other races are also hard to predict, but I’d be ecstatic if Australia pulls a 1-2 in the 100m with Ms. Seebohm and Ms. Madison, both under world record. And the greater thing ever would be if Ms. Coventry wins the 200m, with Ms. Simmons and Ms. Seebohm second and third.


It’s clear that the start has always been the weakness of Missy Franklin’s races, so I’m curious to see whether the new backstroke start wedges will help her stay a little closer to her competitors at the beginning of her races in Kazan. This summer will tell us a lot about her fitness and mental state heading into the Olympic year.

Bad Anon

Gemma Spofforth was not the “only” woman to stick to lzr 50%, Kirsty Coventry too won 200back in 2.04.81 using the 50% poly suit as well.


If Etiene wins, not only would be the first gold medal for Brazilian girls, but the first EVER medal for Brazilian girls..


Franklin back to her best or even at 95% probably has the 200. Seebohm over 200 is yet not fully proven internationally. The minor medals look somewhat of a raffle.

100 looks much more contentious. We’re yet to have any real 2015 LCM gauge on Franklin. Seebohm has became a consistent sub 59er over the past 12 months and Franklin would have to be right on her best to win should Seebohm go in fully fit and healthy. Having said that, the recent disruption to her coaching situation could not have been helpful.

Wilson has been on a consistent improvement path over the past year and a bit. She did perform very creditably at her senior debut (CG) last year and her breaking the minute was little surprise … the sub 59 WAS ! She has to be regarded a serious contender but this is her first “major”. Nielsen has to be rated … whether she has sub 59 is unknown but if Franklin & Seebohm play “match-racing” she’s certainly there in the medal zone.


Keep in mind that Franklin has been limited to 20 hrs of total practice per week by NCAA rules for the past two collegiate seasons. Now that she has shed that burden I can’t wait to see how she combines her experience at Cal with more time in the LCM pool. I don’t think we have seen her best yet and I wouldn’t be surprised if she surpasses her London success in Rio.


If Halsall swims the 50 I’d watch for her – 27.8 to become Euro champ at a meet where she was slower than Glasgow across the board. Interesting darkhorse – She was 60.2 at Nats so I think her back’ is in good shape.

1. Yuanhui Fu
2. Etiene Medeiros
3. Emily Seebohm

1. Emily Seebohm
2. Melissa Franklin
3. Mie Nielsen

1. Melissa Franklin
2. Emily Seebohm
3. Elizabeth Simmonds

Darkhorses: Fesikova & Ustinova, of course.

Craig Lord

Bad Anon, quite so, they were the two… tweaked accordingly.


The 20 hours a week is for ‘mandatory’ practices. Many a coach will add on ‘voluntary’ practices to the schedule.


Unfortunately Missy put herself at a disadvantage by so much short course racing the past two years and minimal backstroke. Notice I said “racing.” Don’t think the SCY training matters that much and helps in certain ways. Also, what is going on with her training site? Is she going th train at Cal thru Rio? Guess she kind of has to, would be risky to change programs just a year out.

Really, we don’t yet know how good Franklin can be. Glad to see she had a better short course season last year.

Let’s hope she can quickly get back in th swing of LCM racing; team USA needs her!


I’d like to see Madi Wilson medal at worlds as well.. In a weird way, this would relieve the pressure on Seebohm somewhat if another Aussie can share the Olympic responsibility of medalling in the women’s backstroke

Bad Anon

While Seebohm is a lock for a medal on 100back I don’t see her breaking wr, think she has plateaued in this event. I’d liken her 58.23 best to Magnussen ‘s 47.1 on 100free or Lacourt ‘s 52.11 in 2010.. such “perfect” swims are always tough to replicate, moreso when it matters most ie championships finals


I see Franklin winning in mid 58 and seebohm getting silver in 58 high

Bad Anon

Franklin has more room for improving 200free /back than 100free/back. I would project Missy’a times as follows
100back – 58.25
100free – 53.15
200back – 2.04.75
200free – 1.54.25

Bad Anon

*2.03.75 -200back


The women’s 100 back is going to be an exciting race! Seebohm and Franklin should have another great duel, and this is the point in every quadrennial when a young gun like Nielsen usually pops off a great time.



Agreed. In 2011 it was Missy, in 2007 it was Seebohm, in 2003 it was errmmm.. Nobody. Coughlin already smashed the WR the previous year and she was so sick in Barcelona.


Not sure you’ve got your history quite right, Aswim. Firstly, Franklin DIDN’T swim the 100 at 2011 Worlds; US was represented in the 100 by Coughlin & Pelton. She DID post a great time in Shanghai …. but that was the 200. Seebohm DID make her intl debut at 2007 Worlds and showed well but was off the podium in the 100 and her time was 1.00mid rather than anything spectacular. She didn’t break the minute until 2008 Trials.

Bad Anon

I don’t agree with you roy. Franklin’s form thus far is scy of which she’s been the best than she’s ever been, going 1.39 in the 200free, a US record. Not necessarily saying she’s going 2.03 this summer put that’s her potential surely.


Usain World record is is his OR.

I don’t know if Missy is gonna take the WR in 200back, but she is the heavy favourite to win, that’s a given.

Bad Anon

apparently there is a plausible explanation for Flo Jo’s 10.49. It was at the 1988 Olympics trials on a very windy day ,the wind gauge was faulty on that day was faulty and read 0.0m/s; in preceding races it went up to 5m/s (legal limit 2m/s) and the time is largley believed to be wind assisted. Flo jo ‘s 2nd best time is 10.61 which would still be a wr but Carmelita Jeter has been 10.64 while disgraced Marion Jones has been 10.65 at best. Parallel reference can be drawn to Sjostroms, 22.43wr in the 50fly in Boras where wind was queried to have played a role.Suffice to say Franklin is yet to reach her absolute peak which I believe will be in Rio

Bad Anon

Even James Magnussen looked like an undertaker, so serious he was on the medal stand having been edged by 0.01 in that historic final

Bad Anon

I recall one of Kirsty Coventry ‘s interviews after winning her 3rd silver medal in Beijing; having been inside previous wr in ALL events she won silver she described the experience as heartbreaking.

Craig Lord

roy, the view of a silver lining hangs, like so much, on context: high expectation (external heavy in the air) and the knowledge that gold is a strong possibility and what you worked for (the swimmer) on the one side but on the other side of the coin silvers that were sensational and the source of great happiness for many others, including swathes of folk with a target of making the final only to find that they were better than that.


Trickett had been strongly expected to win 100 free gold in Beijing, and yet when she won “only” silver, she was really truly happy.

And that’s because she’d missed 100 free final by a fingerprint, and if not for the DQ of the Chinese sprinter, she’d have totally missed the final.

Life is all about perspective.


Trickett also missed the Athens final won by Jodie Henry, when Trickett came into Olympics as World record holder.


We’ll see. If Franklin disappoints I blame Teri/Cal.


And I suppose bronze medallists are a whisker away from winning nothing, so I can see why they are happier than the silver medallist!

Of course a silver medallist is only a drug test away from gold…..

Bad Anon

Seebohm could swim 2.10 at Aussie trials and make finals. no such privilege in Kazan or rio. By the time Seebohm races the 200back final in Kazan, she’d have gone through 3rounds of 100back, 50back and 2rounds of 200back, of which 2.10low for semis and 2.08mid to final. so if seebohm improves from trials time she will be favourite to upset Missy


You just won’t let the Terri McKeever doubt thing go will you. Can you tell us why McKeever has to jump through higher hoops than every other coach to get your approval? Two Olympic Champions and various other Olympic medalists, was head coach for one of the most successful USA Olympic teams ever not enough for you? I hear a dog whistle and I think it is whispering “female”. If I am wrong, then enlighten us.


I wouldn’t hold your breath for that enlightenment. I suspect there is little McKeever can do to gain Pol’s respect. And indeed, I do suspect some latent, if not explicit, gender bias as well. I agree, he certainly does not hold any other coach to the same exacting standards which he holds McKeever.

For Pol, it would seem, McKeever is a one-swimmer coach, with all her value based on the performance of Franklin alone. He has already admitted that he will consider Franklin a “failure” if she “only” wins a few medals. For Pol, anything below what Franklin did in 2013–-which verged on the miraculous–-will prove his point, which he has stated numerous times: McKeever, with all her successes and credentials is somehow “overrated”, and Missy is a “loser” for deciding to fulfill her dream of competing in college.

Bad Anon

Its such a shame that readers like pol make such unfortunate remarks. McKeever is a great coach and her credentials speak for themselves. Missy is a great athlete; winning anything less than 6golds in Kazan won’t make Missy a lesser athlete nor Mckeever a poor coach. The collegiate experience was truly beneficial to Missy and she remains one of the finest female athletes to grace the sport of swimming

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