2012 medal projection update: Swimming and synchro

One of the few good ideas on this blog last year was to hold off on the original swimming projections until after the World Championships. Swimmers peaked for that, and they’ll obviously peak for the Olympics. So don’t expect many changes in this.

Thankfully, somewhere in FINA’s truly horrid site, they have lists of the swimmers who qualified for each event along with their entry times, so we can do a reality check on who’s in what event and who’s really capable of going really fast.

Dive on in …



50: Five countries — Brazil, France, Australia, Russia and the USA — have two swimmers under 22 seconds. Hungary, Trinidad and Tobago, and Italy each have one. World champion César Cielo Filho (Brazil) is fastest at 21.38. The U.S. swimmers (Cullen Jones 21.59, Anthony Ervin 21.60) are next. France’s Fred Bousquet won’t be there, and his replacements aren’t as fast. So we’ll make a change. Projection was BRA-FRA-USA; now Brazil, USA, Australia

100: Australian world champ James Magnussen (47.10 on entry list) is still an easy call, and the next fastest on the entry list is teammate James Roberts (47.63). The only other swimmers on the list under 48 are Cielo Filho and Canada’s Brent Hayden. The USA’s Nathan Adrian (48.05) is very close; Cullen Jones isn’t far off, either. Again, we might need to drop France — their two swimmers are close to 48, but there’s no compelling reason to pick them over the Aussies, Cielo Filho and Hayden. Was AUS-FRA-CAN; now Australia, Brazil, Canada

200: Original post: “This is the event in which Phelps might have the toughest time catching Lochte.” Update: “Phelps will not be swimming in this event.” So this should be gold for Lochte, but France’s Yannick Agnel actually has a faster time (1:44.42 to 1:44.44), so it could be close. The other contenders were mentioned last time, and they’re all under 1:45 — Germany’s Paul Biedermann, South Korean silver medalist Tae-Kwan Park and China’s Sun Yang. Ricky Berens has an outside shot at joining Lochte on the podium. Was USA-USA-KOR; now USA, France, Germany

400: Sun is fast. We’re talking “nearly two seconds ahead of everyone else” fast. He’s at 3:40.29; Park is at 3:42.04. Then it’s another couple of seconds back to Biedermann and the USA’s Peter Vanderkaay. Conor Dwyer is a little farther back but could make the final. We’ll stick with China, South Korea, Germany

1,500: Sun leads the entry list by about 10 seconds at 14:34.14. Other members of the sub-15 club: Canada’s Ryan Cochrane, Hungary’s Gergo Kis, Denmark’s Pal Joensen, Park, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, Britain’s Daniel Fogg, the USA’s Andrew Gemmill, the USA’s Connor Jaeger and the Netherlands’ Job Kienhuis. We’re a little less excited about Joensen now that we know he isn’t swimming under the flag of the tiny Faroe Islands, but we’re sticking with China, Canada, Denmark


100: American silver medalist Matt Grevers has come on strong and leads the entry list at 52.08. France’s Camille Lacourt, our favorite last time, is at 52.44. The only others under 53 are Japan’s Ryosuke Irie and the USA’s Nick Thoman. Britain’s Liam Tancock is close enough to compete. Was FRA-GBR-USA; now USA, France, Britain

200: Let’s save some time — it’s Ryan Lochte for gold, then a battle between Irie and Tyler Clary for silver. We’ll stick with USA, Japan, USA


100: Eight swimmers are under 1 minute. One, Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima, is under 59 seconds. Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli and South Africa’s Cameron van den Burgh are next on the list, but we’ll need to keep an eye on the comeback of American Brendan Hansen. We won’t rule out Eric Shanteau, either. Was NOR-JPN-ITA; now Japan, Italy, USA

Our condolences to the family and friends of the great Norwegian world champion Alexander Dale Oen. Such a terrible loss.

200: Kitajima’s closest competitor here is fellow Japanese swimmer Ryo Tateishi. Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta and both German swimmers are within a second as well. American Scott Weltz is close, and Clark Burckle may make the final. Was JPN-HUN-GER; now Japan, Hungary, Japan


100: No, we haven’t forgotten that Phelps guy. He’s here. So are the others from Worlds — Poland’s Konrad Czerniak and American Tyler McGill. Also lurking: Serbia’s Milorad Čavić and Kenya’s Jason Dunford. We’ll stick with USA, Poland, USA

200: Phelps and Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda are still the top two. Our last question last time was whether Nick D’Arcy would be on the Australian team. He is, though he’ll be sent home after he competes. That gives Tyler Clary a big fight to make the podium. Projection remains USA, Japan, Australia


200: Remember all the hype about the Phelps-Lochte duels? Yeah — this is it. And it’s not just hype — barring a complete collapse or injury, everyone else is racing for bronze. Best bets for that on the time sheet are Hungarian silver medalist László Cseh and Brazil’s Thiago Pereira, but British hopeful James Goddard isn’t that far off. We’re still changing the picks slightly. Was USA-USA-GBR; now USA, USA, Hungary

400: Phelps-Lochte, Part Two. They’re under 4:08. Then we have four under 4:11, including two Japanese swimmers (Kosuke Hagino, Yuya Horihata). Cseh has dropped off a bit. Was USA-HUN-USA; now USA, USA, Japan


4×100 free: We’ll peek at the world rankings to see who’s deepest in this one. It’s the same as we projected earlier: Australia, USA, France

4×200 free: Still much better odds for the USA here. Then France, then either Russia or China. Not sure what happened to Germany or Australia. Was USA-FRA-GER; now USA, France, Russia

4×100 medley: Grevers’ backstroke form makes picking the USA that much easier. We’ll watch for Germany, but the picks aren’t changing: USA, Japan, Australia


10k: A quick peek at the rankings shows us that Greece’s Spyros Giannotis is pretty much unbeatable — except when Germany’s evergreen Thomas Lurz beat him in Cancun. (Christian Reichert is second in the World Cup rankings but isn’t on the team.) They finished 1-2 in Worlds. Russia’s Sergey Bolshakov and the USA’s Alex Meyer were next, but they haven’t posted significant World Cup results. (No reason why that’s a priority, though.) Was GER-RUS-USA; now Greece, Germany, Russia



50: Going through the entry list, we may take Togo’s Adzo Kpossi, who has the entry time of 44.60. Or Lesotho’s Masempe Theko (49.75). Or maybe the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.10). Actually, stick with that last one. And then Britain’s Francesca Halsall (24.13) and Swedish vet Therese Alshammar (24.14), with another Dutch swimmer — Marleen Veldhuis — back at 24.10. Random fact: Halsall is exactly 20 years younger than your rapidly aging SportsMyriad blogger. Defending gold medalist Britta Steffen (24.37) of Germany is making a nice comeback as well. The USA’s Jessica Hardy (24.50) and Kara Lynn Joyce (24.73) may well make the final, and then at this short distance, who knows? Well, we do — change SWE-NED-GER to Netherlands, Germany, Britain

100: Kromowidjojo. Learn the name. At 52.75 on the entry list, she’s well ahead of Sweden’s Sarah Sjoestrom (53.05). We had a tie for first at Worlds between Belarus’s Aliaksandra Herasimenia and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen, both swimming 53.45 in the final. Halsall has posted a 53.48. The next tier of swimmers includes the USA’s Missy Franklin, who may win multiple medals in London but isn’t the favorite here. Neither is Hardy. Steffen won this event in 2008 but isn’t near the top of the list now. Was DEN-BLR-NED; now Netherlands, Sweden, Britain  

200: Cancel the soap opera — Italy’s Federica Pellegrini is here, but France’s Laure Manadou is not. Everyone has surely moved on, anyway. Except the Italian media, who seem to call Pellegrini “Man-Eater.” Anyway — Pellegrini is fast but not quite as fast as Americans Allison Schmitt and Franklin, plus France’s Camille Muffat. Sjostrom, the Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk and the two Australians also are under 1:56. That should be your final. Was ITA-AUS-NED; now USA, France, Sweden

400: We were looking at a possible Manadou-Pellegrini showdown here, but Camille Muffat is more than ready to fill Manadou’s shoes, posting a 4:01.13 in a French meet. That’s way faster than Pellegrini’s 4:01.97 from Worlds last year. And that is a good bit ahead of Britain’s Rebecca Adlington (the 2008 gold medalist) and the USA’s Schmitt. Chloe Sutton, back in the pool after some open-water success, may be able to pare some time off her recent best and contend. Was ITA-GBR-AUS; now France, Italy, Britain

800: The 1-2 finish of Adlington (8:17.51) and Denmark’s Lotte Fris (8:18.20) at Worlds still accounts for the top two times on the list. Next up are the two Americans, Katie Ledecky (8:19.78) and Northern Virginia’s own Kate Ziegler (8:21.87). Then a couple of Chinese swimmers are relatively close, but we’re sticking with original picks of Britain, Denmark, USA


100: Oh, here’s Manaudou. But this is where the Americans start to pick it up, and Franklin’s 58.85 tops the list. Russia’s Anastasia Zueva is the other swimmer under 59. The other contenders are closely packed: China’s Zhao Jing, Japan’s Aya Terakawa, the USA’s Rachel Bootsma and the two Aussies. Was RUS-CHN-USA; now USA, Russia, China

200: All Franklin in this one. Australia’s Belinda Hocking still has the second-fastest time, set last year at Worlds. Zueva moved up to third this year, ahead of Australia’s Meagen Nay. Next up: British hopeful Elizabeth Simmonds and the USA’s Elizabeth Beisel. (If they finish 1-2, would they be Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II?) Was USA-AUS-GBR; now USA, Australia, Russia


100: All Rebecca Soni here. The American’s Worlds-winning time is nearly a second ahead of the next-best time, posted by the USA’s Jessica Hardy earlier in 2011. Hardy isn’t even in this event — Breeja Larson, just slightly behind Hardy in the rankings, has that spot. Then it’s a little ways back to Australian legend and 2008 gold medalist Leisel Jones, who’ll need to fend off challenges from China, Russia and Japan for the podium. We’ll stick with USA, Australia, USA

200: Top two times are still from last year’s Worlds — Soni (2:21.03) and Russia’s Yulia Efimova (2:22.22). Japan’s national championships this year account for four of the seven times in the world rankings, with Satomi Suzuki (2:22.29) and Kanako Watanabe (2:23.56) getting the Olympic berths. In between them, with a time posted at U.S. trials, is Micah Lawrence (2:23.03). Was USA-RUS-AUS; now USA, Russia, Japan


100: Thrilling finish at Worlds between the USA’s Dana Vollmer, Australia’s Alicia Coutts and China’s Ying Lu. But then Vollmer and Sweden’s Sarah Sjoestrom have both gone faster, ahead of Coutts and Ying on the entry list. British swimmers Ellen Gandy and Francesca Halsall aren’t far back. Claire Donahue should give the USA a second finalist. Was USA-AUS-SWE; now USA, Sweden, Australia

200: China dominates this one. Jiao Liuyang and Liu Zige are 1-2 on the entry list. Britain has a good shot, too — Gandy was second in Worlds, and Jemma Lowe is fourth on the list. But coming in third is Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi. Americans Kathleen Hersey and Cammile Adams are farther back. We’ll figure home-pool examine will help, and we’ll stick with China, Britain, China


200: The medalists’ swims from Worlds are still the fastest times on the entry list — China’s Ye Shiwen, Australia’s Alicia Coutts and the USA’s Ariana Kukors. Australia’s Stephanie Rice, who finished fourth, has shaved a little bit off her Worlds time and is listed just ahead of the USA’s Caitlin Leverenz. No one else is close. Sticking with Australia, China, USA

400: Elizabeth Beisel won the world title in 4:31.78 and won the U.S. trials in 4:31.74. That’s nearly a half-second ahead of Zheng Rongrong, who isn’t on the Chinese team, and nearly a second ahead of Britain’s Hannah Miley. (We can only hope she isn’t dating someone named Cyrus Montana.) Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (2009 world champion) is close behind Miley, and then it’s a bit farther to China’s Li Xuanxu, Australia’s Stephanie Rice and China’s Ye Shiwen. Was USA-GBR-AUS; now USA, Britain, Hungary


4×100 free: The USA and the Netherlands should be set for a replay of their duel at Worlds. The Dutch have three swimmers in the top 14, but the USA is still deeper. Then it’s Australia, which really shouldn’t labor to get on the podium ahead of Germany and China this time. Let’s stick with USA, Netherlands, Australia

4×200 free: Schmitt, Franklin, Vollmer and … it’s a long way down the rankings to the next American. Australia may not have anyone who can keep up with Schmitt or Franklin, but they have six swimmers who should be able to put some distance on the next American. We’ll stick with China for bronze. Was USA-AUS-CHN; now Australia, USA, China

4×100 medley: Consider this — we’ve picked the USA to win three of the four events at 100 meters. No real reason to change the other two places, either. Still USA, China, Australia


10k: World champion Keri-Anne Payne of Britain hasn’t bothered with the World Cup but will surely be ready. Runner-up Martina Grimaldi (Italy) won the season opener. U.S. entry Haley Anderson finished second (behind fellow American Eva Fabian, who isn’t competing) in a World Cup race earlier this year. No reason to change the picks: Britain, Italy, Greece


Duet: There is absolutely no reason to change these projections. The U.S. entry will be Maria Koroleva and Mary Killman, who seems a little too nonchalant about the six concussions she says she has received in synchro. In any case, it’s Russia, China, Spain

Team: There is absolutely no reason to change these projections, and the USA didn’t qualify. Russia, China, Spain




  1. I can’t seem to find the open water rankings. Can you post a link? I didn’t even know that Greece has a medal contender in the women’s competition…

  2. So many new amazing male swimmers. I think the logic that Phelps and Lochte automatically win whatever events they are in does not hold anymore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s