Swimming: Peaty dominates sprint breaststroke
Top British swimmers hiking in the Far East stood on the starting block again in Tokyo at the Japan Open after a nine-day intense training camp in Thailand. As anticipated, Adam Peaty, the champion of Rio and world record holder in men’s 100m breaststroke won his primary event, although he arrived only second in the previous heat.
„I knew the Chinese would be fast and the Japanese would also step up. I knew I had to get in the right frame of mind for the final despite how hard my training is at the moment. I didn't want to lose this race; I never like to lose. I learnt so much from being in second place in the heats that I just pushed on tonight. It was a great learning curve for me. I can learn so much more from coming here and experiencing the travel and competing against a different field." – said Peaty, who proved to be the best in his other event, 50m breaststroke as well at the Japan Open.
Olympic silver medallist James Guy clinched gold in men’s 400m freestyle and bronze in 200m butterfly. „I was surprised that I did so well in backstroke at this stage of the training. It is a good sign and makes me confident about the upcoming period” – he said. Guy collected a third medal on the closing day in men’s 100m butterfly at 51.50, marking his new personal best. „That is a great time,” said the Olympic swimmer. “It's a new personal best for me and is a bit of a surprise considering the workloads I'm currently under and off the back of a tough camp in Thailand. There's more hard work to come but when I'm rested and tapered it will put me in a good place by the time Budapest comes around.”
Bill Furniss, head coach of the team summarised the Far Eastern trip with a positive tone: „We had a tough camp in Thailand and then came into a really difficult competition, stacked with a great depth of Japanese talent. We knew we would have to swim the event in a compromised state, off the back of some very hard work, but we were very close to a 100% strike rate of our swimmers moving it on from heats to finals and I’m delighted by this. I’m pleased with how the team has coped with the travel and it’s back to the UK now for a few days’ recovery before phase two begins, the hard work continues and we head to the Seven Hills meet in Rome next month.”
Hosting Japanese swimmers demonstrated again that they have a successful history of medley events. Concerning men’s 400m Olympic bronze medallist Daiya Seto made a decisive victory by 4:10,18 acquiring third place in the world ranking of this event and his fellow swimmer, second placed Takeharu Fujimori could make it to the top 10 world times of this year by his time of 4:10,90. Shorter events were dominated by the other Japanese medley swimmer talent, Kosuke Hagino by 1:56.30, very close to his own world ranking top time of this year.
Open water swimming: The American roster for the World Championships is soon complete
USA Swimming Open Water Nationals were held between 19 and 21 May at Lake Castaic in LA qualifying for the World Championships in Budapest. The 10 km event was held on the first day of the tournament and both in men and women’s event double American victory was achieved – as expected. Ashley Twichell arrived first at 2:04:17.84 qualifying for the World Champs for the fourth time now and achieving her third American champion title as well. Haley Anderson finished second at 2:05:10.85. This will be her fourth World Championships, what is more, in the shorter, 5 km event she will participate as title defender as she clinched gold both in Barcelona, 2013 and Kazan, 2015: „An Italian girl (Rachele Bruni finishing third in the end at 1:01:55.06 – editor’s comment) took off, and I followed her and looked behind me and was kind of surprised to see that we had a 10-15 meter lead and I just went with it.” – said the winner, 27-year-old American swimmer.
As for men, Jordan Wilimovsky finished first at 1:57:45.61 while Brendan Casey finished runner up swimming 1:58:37.38. He arrived at the World Championships in Kazan also as the American champion and finished the World Champs with a gold in this event. He may manage to double again if clinching gold in Hungary. After the World Champs qualification he said: „I’m just excited to make the team again – make Team USA – and I’ll get back in the pool Monday full training and put in some solid work before Budapest.”
Two American victories were claimed in the 5 km event for men on Sunday, David Heron finished first at 57:25.75, Andrew Gemmel arrived second at 57:26.08 while the third place was taken by British swimmer Caleb Hughes at 57:28.35. Heron will attend the World Champs for the second while Gemmel for the fourth time this summer.
In the shorter course for women the list of qualifiers contains 2 names which feature that of the 10 km event: Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell. The difference is the order only, in the shorter course Anderson won at 1:01:52.23 whereas Twichell finished fourth. Haley Anderson is looking forward to the World Championships with great hopes since she was the champion of this event during in previous 2 tournaments so she has a good chance to triple in Balatonfüred.
The roster for the World Championships in Hungary will be announced officially at the Nationals in Indianapolis between 27 June and 1 July.
Swimming: Polish rising star on the horizon
The Polish Swimming Nationals kicked off on Thursday in Lublin with some astonishing achievements. Pawel Juraszek – practically unknown in the international field so far- became champion in 50m freestyle by world class time. The 23-year-old swimmer did 21.68, four hundredth better than the Polish record time of World Champs medallist Konrad Czerniak. This time he claimed silver swimming 22.09. By this result Juraszek, who managed to improve his time by almost half a second in a half year, came fourth in the world ranking.
Radoslaw Kawecki had quite a good start, too. In 200m backstroke he made 1:55.79, 6th best time in the world ranking.
Swimming: Olympic swimmer Kyle Chalmers is ahead of surgery instead of the World Championships in Budapest
A month after James Magnusson announced that in order to prepare for the British Commonwealth Games he would not be participating in the World Championships hosted by Budapest another Australian swimmer, Kyle Chalmers has made a similar decision. However, the champion of the 100m freestyle in Rio was forced to cancel his participation not because of targeted preparation but health issues. He is about to undergo heart surgery in a few weeks. The 18-year-old swimmer had an operation before due to heart rhythm abnormality but he needs to undergo surgery again because his heart rhythm is too high during the trainings and competitions. It is never a good time for a top athlete to have a compulsory break. Kyle Chalmers focuses on the long run and thought that the first year of a new 4-year Olympic cycle is the best time for such a break. Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren said in an interview that health is the top priority for all their athletes. According to him Chalmers made a hard but good decision after consulting with doctors and his coach, Peter Bishop about the situation and future prospects.
French are preparing for the World Championships in the course of their nationals
The French National Championships were held between 23 and 25 May in Strasbourg where –similarly to the tournaments in spring- qualification for the 17th FINA World Championships was the issue at stake.
The first day brought the surprise of the young backstroker, Geoffroy Matthieu ensuring his attendance in Budapest in the 200m event. His time of 1:57.04 was almost 3 seconds better than his personal best (1:59.96). „My coach, Bruno Verweirde and I aimed at achieving 1:58,5, but during the heat my strokes were so powerful that I took the lead and it proved to be efficient” – summarised the 20-year-old French swimming talent (preparing for the Tokyo Olympics) participating in the Gavroche programme for talented youngsters after his victory.
Freestyle relay Olympic bronze medallist and world champion in Kazan, Mehdy Metella made a decisive victory in 50m butterfly (23.61 – close to her personal best of this year) qualifying for the World Champs in Budapest by achieving A level.
The champion of 10 km open water swimming Aurélie Muller qualified for 1500m freestyle as well, so it is not yet decided if she would enter in the pool as well regarding that her primary event is open water long course.
On the 3rd day of the Championships Charlotte Bonnet swam 1:55.80, the third best time of this year in women’s 200m freestyle. It is only the Swedish swimmer, Michelle Coleman and Australian McKeon are ahead of her in the world ranking. Last year Bonnet finished 8th in this event at the Olympics and her great time was almost as fast as the record of 2012 by Camille Muffat
Men’s 100m backstroke was won by the veteran, Benjamin Stasiulis in the absence of Camille Lacourt. Lacourt has recently announced that he would retire from swimming after the World Championships in Budapest and he will enter the 50m event only.