Another day of awesome swimming. Today we once again had 5 finals, and in the morning heats we saw a true legend of the sport return to the pool, as Grant Hackett swam the first leg of the 4x200m relay for
Israel Australia. Sadly, he didn’t get a chance to participate in the final, even though he swam a decent split and won his leg. Anyway, let’s move on to the afternoon swims, shall we?
Women’s 100m Freestyle – Final
The evening started out with a bang. My personal favorite, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, had a bad start and was only 6th at the halfway point. She accelerated in the second half and recorded the second best second 50m, but it was only enough for 4th place overall. So no medal for Ranomi, the Olympic champion. I hoped that Sarah Sjostrom will get a medal as well, after her heroic swim in the relay yesterday. And indeed, she swam beautifully and had the fastest split of them all in the second 50m, which was enough for a silver medal. She squeezed in between the awesome Campbell sisters. Surprisingly it was the younger sister – Bronte, who won the gold in a time of 52.52. Cate, who strongly remind me of Sansa Stark, finished third to complete the podium. Two sisters on the podium! This was Bronte’s second gold here after the one in the 4*100m freestyle relay, and Cate had to settle for the bronze after winning the gold medal two years ago. BTW, they may be sisters but they really don’t look alike. Missy Franklin had a weak swim, but it was expected of her – she’s not a sprinter after all. She finished 7th. So after 5 swims Missy has 1 gold medal, two bronzes… and that’s it. What a downgrade from two years ago…
Men’s 200m Backstroke – Final
Irie started out strong an led at the halfway point. But then he faded quickly (had the worse final 50m) and was left without a medal. What a disappointing Championship for this great swimmer. Mitch Larkin, the great Aussie, looked in control for the whole race. He was second after Irie at first, and in the second 100m moved forward and didn’t relinquish his position until the end. Quite an easy victory for him, and a double title here, after winning the 100m as well. The new king of backstroke, Mitchell Larkin, first of his name. Radoslaw Kawecki the Pole repeated his silver medal from two years ago, and Yevgeny Rylov brought some joy to the local fans by winning the bronze, after a strong finish. Tyler Clary really disappointed with his 7th place. Oh, and Larkin’s time was still a far cry from Aaaron Piersol’s amazing WR – 1:53.58 vs. 1:51.92.
Women’s 200m Backstroke – Semifinals
Missy Franklin jumped into the pool a mere 15 minutes after her 100m freestyle final, but this is an event in which she was THE most dominant swimmer in the past few years. Just remember how she won this event two years ago, miles ahead of second place. She easily won her semi, but she’ll have a very strong competition from Katinka Hosszu, who swam in the other semi like she has something to prove, and won it with the best time overall, 1.61 seconds faster than Missy. Emily Seebohm also swam faster than Franklin, but that was the result of her being in the same heat with Katinka. I reckon Emily will be third in the final tomorrow. As for the winner, I really hope Franklin will finally bring her true A-Game to the final, beating Katinka with a marvelous display. If she won’t, Katinka will eat her alive. The Iron Lady means business.
Men’s 50m Freestyle – Semifinals
I reckon Florent Manaudou will win it. He looked awesome in the semis, he’s the 50m butterfly champion, and he qualified for the final with the second best time. Surprisingly – at least for me, Nathan Adrian set the best time overall. Can he be on the podium? Sadly, my favorite swimmer here – Anthony Ervin, didn’t make it to the final after losing the swim-off to Vlad Morozov. BTW, you thought the Russain Eurosport commentators were finished with the whole false-start issue of Morozov in the 100m? Hell no! They complained today how come Italian Marco Orsi was given the green light with his 0.58 reaction and Morozov was DQ’d for his 0.47 reaction… Jesus, I can’t take this anymore. I try to go some place else in my mind whenever they start talking about it, somewhere peaceful… Otherwise I might just break the goddamn TV.
Women’s 200m Breaststroke – Final
Once again Rikke Moller Pedersen fucked this one up. Jesus. It’s 2013 all over again. She started out really fast, probably too damn fast. She led at the 50m point, at the 100m point and at the 150m point, before completely drowning in the pool in the final 50m. Seriously, her final 50m were the slowest in the pool by a margin of over a whole fucking second!!! She must be thankful that she even won a medal after all this. In an amazing turn of events, three swimmers recorded the same third best time, and thus we had three bronze medalists – Pedersen, Jessica Vall from Spain (she way the most jubilant by far), and Shi Jinglin from China. The silver medal went to our newest member of the All-Prettiest Team of the Championships, Micah Lawrence. Well, maybe not a full-time member, just a candidate for now. The committee will decide on her later on. Anyway, she upgrades her bronze from two years ago to silver this time. The gold went to Kanako Watanabe, an easy victory for her and a second medal here after the silver in the 200m medley.
Men’s 100m Butterfly – Semifinals
What an interesting final we’ll have here! Laszlo Cseh looked great, and after medals in the 50m and the 200m, he wants to complete a treble of medals in the butterfly. Chad Le Clos also looked – at his fellow swimmers. He has this habit of looking at them during his swims. He looked good as well, and finished with the third best time. Cseh had the best time actually, but he shared it with Tom Shields, a new swimmer whom I don’t really know but he looked awesome in the semis. Those three, and perhaps Konrad Czerniak, the big Pole, are the favorites for the podium tomorrow. Will Cseh and Le Clos switch their positions from the 200m? Remember, Le Clos IS the defending champion, beating Cseh two years ago. Can’t wait!
Women’s 50m Butterfly – Semifinals
I don’t think anyone will bet against Sjostrom here. This girl is really one of the greatest swimmers of these Championships, and personally I think I put her in the top 3 so far, alongside Ledecky and Hosszu/Franklin, depending on their battle tomorrow in the 200m backstroke (wait Michael, you said “so far”. So how come you write about tomorrow?! You make no fucking sense!). Sarah is the WR holder and she looked FANTASTIC in the semis, easily recording the best time and once again relegating pretty Jeanette Ottesen to silver medal favoritism. BTW, I think Sjostrom is really growing up on me. She might be an honorary member of the All-Loveliest Team of the Championships. Fran Halsall, the awesome Brit, is a favorite to complete the podium picture. Oh, and don’t miss out on Inge Dekker in the final! I don’t think she can win a medal, but jesus – mucho respect for her, as she’ll be 30 in 11 days and she swam next to the legendary Inge De Brujn back in the Athens Olympics!
Men’s 200m Breaststroke – Final
I really hoped Daniel Gyurta will win it, but it was more wishful thinking than anything else. However, at times it looked as if he can pull this off. After trailing for the first 150m, he used his famous finish abilities and moved to first place, only to be overtaken with about 25m left to go by Marco Coch and then by Kevin Cordes. So no fourth consecutive World title for Gyurta, which just further shows how Lochte’s and Hackett’s achievement is unique. But at least it’s a bronze medal. Marco Coch won the silver two years ago and now he moved up one place, coming quite close to Gyurta’s WR – Koch’s time was 2:07.76, the WR – 2:07.01. Kevin Cordes won his third medal in Kazan, a bronze, after two silvers in the 50m breaststroke and in the abomination.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay – Final
The men’s relay wasn’t as exciting as the women’s yesterday, but it still was very fun to watch. China didn’t make it to the final, and thus we were denied of the opportunity to see Sun Yang once again. I betted on the USA team to win, but had my eye on the Brits as well, since their last guy was Guy (ba-dum-tss!), the phenomenal 200m champion. The Russians were supposed to be strong as well. After all, they were the silver medalists two years ago.
Ryan Lochte was the Americans’ first swimmer, and he won the first 200m. The Russians were solid second, and the Australians third. USA continued to lead throughout the first 600m, with the Russians keeping their second place and the Brits and the Aussies battling between them for the number 3 spot. With 200m left to go, the Americans had a lead of 1.63 second over Team GB who were third. I thought that this is definitely a gap that Guy can close. Plus I wasn’t familiar with the Americans’ last guy – Michael Weiss. He swam his leg in a decent time, 1:46.79, but the trouble was that he went against arguably the best 200m swimmer in the world today. Guy’s split was the best in the pool – 1:44.74, and it was amazing to see him first chase down the Russians, and then closing in on the Americans. When he was near Weiss I had no doubt in my mind that he will pass him en route for the gold medal, and so he did. What a great swim from Guy! And what an awesome Championship he’s having – two golds, one silver! His split was great but it wasn’t phenomenal. I remember Sun Yang doing splits of 1:43 something – now that was something otherworldly. This is why I was really sorry to see China out of this final.
To complete their awful home Championships, the Russians fucked up this relay as well. Their last guy swam two seconds slower than the Aussies’ last swimmer, and so they ended up without a medal, while the Aussies grabbed the bronze. BTW, Paul Biedermann swam last for Germany, and he recorded the second best split after Guy, 1:44.80, singlehandedly pulling Germany from 8th place to 5th. Well done, Paul. I never really liked you, especially after you beat Phelps and Broke Thorpe’s WR in Rome 2009, but I guess you’re a good swimmer after all.
Aaaaand that’s it for today. I’ll go for the abrupt finish today.