2022 FINA World Championships Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day Five
Competition Day Five
Two events today, Lewis in the second half of the medley double, the 200, and the girls 2 x 200 free relay.
Lewis was caught in the wake of a great first 100 by the huge Hungarian in the lane next to him and spent the breaststroke leg fighting the wash from his opponent. Despite coming home strong he had to settle for 7th. That was still an improvement from last year’s Olympic final and again showed his all around ability as NZs most successful medley swimmer ever.
4x 200m Relay Heats
We targeted the 4 x200 relay as a potential final, even after Chelsey Edwards was sick during training camp and the first day or so in Budapest. Laura Littlejohn came in and a tough decision was made to scratch her from the individual 100m freestyle to really give the relay a good shot of the final.
It was always going to be a tough ask as on paper we were a good 5 seconds slower than the 8th placed team and not much faster than the 10th. But the girls are all young and the relay has a bright future so we went for it.
In the heat they showed how determined they are with their aggressive approach which cost them dear in the final 50 each time. Rookie mistakes but valuable lessons learned as well as proving, in the case of Eve and Caitlin, that they have the ability to swim fast! It is now a case of swimming fast and controlled.
The coaching staff were pleased with the overall performance as each girl had given their all - knowing it was going to need big PBS to get close to an 8th place. Big lessons were learned but it’s a long wait for next year. So when we returned to the hotel and found out the GB had withdrawn from the final and we were in our team whatsapp went crazy!!
Elliot Sneddon showed Caitlin some excellent comparisons between her heat swim today and her 200 freestyle from the NZ trials which showed her how much more energy she had used in the first 50 this morning. By making that adjustment she dropped 1.5 seconds in the final. Eve Thomas made a similar adjustment to swim a 1:59.17 and With Erika leasing off faster than her heat swim too, we managed to get ourselves into a real race for the minor places on the final. Laura Littlejohn then produced a 2:00.10 anchor leg against three girls who on paper had much faster PBS. We finished 7th just being popped for 6th by about 0.5. But most importantly the girls know they are close to being really competitive with the nations fighting for the 5th rank and the whole team, including Chelsey know they can improve so much.
Experience and Skill
Tonight we also saw how much experience coupled with great skill can really make all the difference at this level. Ryan Murphy, one of the all-time great backstrokers cruised through the first 150m of his backstroke semi-final, sitting in 4th-5thplace about a body length down on the leaders. His final turn, a full 15m breakout left him ½ a body length ahead of the field and he won comfortably to qualify fastest for the final. The experience only comes from years of success but the skills can be worked at from day 1 and we need to look at what the rest of the world are doing and measure the best against our own skills. Only then will we know how much we need to improve to match the best. Having the analyst here means every race is being filmed, analysed and data produced. This is going to help us a lot with our skill development.
Tomorrow we see the Sprint family in action again, with Michael Pickett in the Men’s 50m Freestyle. A much healthier Helena will also sprint off in the 50m Butterfly while Eve Thomas backs up her great 200m relay swim in her main event, the 800m freestyle.
Day Six Athlete Schedule
Mens 50m Freestyle Thursday 23rd June - 7:33pm
Womens 50m Butterfly Thursday 23rd June - 7:56pm