2022 FINA World Championships Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day Seven
Competition Day Seven
The last 24 hours have been an emotional roller coaster for the squad. We had our first positive COVID test. Erika called me early evening with the bad news that she was positive, fortunately with almost no symptoms other than a scratchy throat.
The preparations we had made in setting protocols came into their own as we isolated Erika and shifted some athletes and coaches around to create a second isolation room for Mya who was rooming with Erika. It wasn’t very nice for those who had to pack up their stuff and move but it was for the team and we eventually got things sorted. Special thanks to Caitlin, Eve, Chelsey and Gary H who were all effected by the reshuffle. Also thanks to Dr Gerrard whose expertise and FINA connections were very helpful in getting the correct advice of how we should proceed within the FINA regulations. The hotline with Lynne Coleman and the Calmness of Alex Lowen, our physio and medical lead has also be vital and will be key in Erika’s return to training over the next couple of weeks
Our race day planning needed a reshuffle and Coach Nairn took responsibility for the Mixed Freestyle Relay, and Chelsey came in for Erika. Chelsey hasn’t raced all week so I made the call to swim her in the 50m free first up before the relay - day 7 is a long wait for a sprinter so rather than be a potential threat to her relay performance I felt it would help.
The first three swims this morning were all 50’s. Chelsey in the free, Andrew in the back and Helena in the breaststroke. Andrew swam very well to qualify 11th for the semi- final. The 50 backstroke is definitely one of the deepest fields here and many good swimmers missed out on a second swim. Helena doesn’t swim the 50 breaststroke often and it was planned as a race to her preparations for the 200IM in Birmingham. But she swam very well, fractionally outside her PB to finish 20th and only just missing a second swim.
The final swim for SNZ this morning was the mixed relay. unlike the women’s 4 x 200 we didn’t think we would have a chance to final with nearly 30 teams entered including all the big guns.However, our 4, Lewis, Carter, Chelsey and Laura smashed our National record and only a very good last 50 by the Chinese swimmer in the final heat edged us out of the final. This time there was no second chance which means we just have to keep working on being faster if we want to enjoy the feelings from Wednesday night more often. The good thing to take from the relays was the fact we were the best team in each event on takeovers, our swimmers held their own on the underwater phase of the starts and turns and they learned immensely from the gung-ho approach of the 4 x 200 heat to a much more measured and controlled way of being aggressive by the 4 x 100 free.
Tonight we had two swimmers in. The pool - Andrew in the 50 back semi and Eve in her first Individual World Final. Andrew improved from his heat but this event is blisteringly quick at the moment and he finished joint 13th. He has learned a huge amount and knows that the small technical improvements he can make are absolutely significant when you are dealing with 0.1 between top 8 and missing out. He certainly looks very competitive going into the Commonwealth Games as only one Australian swimmer beat him here and he is ahead of the swimmers from all other Commonwealth nations. He is also getting closer and closer to the level of fitness and performance that he was at in April.
Eve’s 800 was also another chance for us all to marvel at the brilliance of Katie Ledecky. She crushed the field with her 8:08.04. She now has the 28 fastest times ever in this event, including 10 under 8:10!!
Eve did a magnificent job, backing up her PB from yesterday morning for about 600m before the gap between her and the 6th placed swimmer became too much for her to continue chasing and she eventually slowed slightly to finish with a very respectable 8:30.37. Afterwards she admitted that trying to back-up an 800 for the first time in her career was harder than she thought and she had learned for the next time that she will need to be more mentally prepared. That’s the beauty of making your first final – you learn for the next time!! It’s also interesting how even a tiny miscalculation in pacing early on in a race can really effect the latter part. Eve’s second 50 was about 0.5 faster than her heat time. Not a lot faster in real terms but she swam it much harder. Higher Stroke rate and one more stroke in the lap. She maintained the gain throughout the first 400 metres but steadily fell off her target pace times. She really felt that second 50 had been the problem, as she tried to stay on the shoulder of the swimmer alongside her – something that’s not a priority at that early stage in the race.. Another lesson learned!
Last Day Fast Day
Last day tomorrow and the whole team will be at the pool for the first event of the morning when Mya Rasmussen finally gets her swim in the 400m IM. The last 24 hours have been quite traumatic for her as she had to isolate today until a PCR test (as close contact of Erika) came back negative. She is a really tough character and if anyone can shrug this disruption aside it will be Mya!
Day Seven Athlete Schedule
Womens 400m Individual Medley Saturday 25th June - 7:00pm
How to Watch
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