2022 FINA World Championships Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day Two
Competition Day Two
An early start for the sprint group led by Mitch Nairn on day 2 of competition.
Andrew Jeffcoat was off at 9:29 in the final heat of the 100 backstroke so ideally he would have taken the 7:00am bus. But FINA’s bus service was not reliable on day 1 so we played safe and took the 6:40am. Cam Gray had the 200 free just over half an hour later than Andrew so he was also on the early bus. But the sprint group are very much a family so Michael P and Carter were there too - they would get their training done early so they could support their brothers!
Andrew’s backstroke was a solid performance but the interruptions suffered by himin the build- up meant that he wasn’t comfortable with his backend endurance and it showed. We have already withdrawn him from the 200 back for the same reasons but his first 50 today did give him a lot of confidence for the 50 back later in the week. One thing that Andrew has enjoyed is the deep pool (3m) which really helps his start and turns. The top turners can really dominate here as demonstrated by both Female USA backstrokers this morning who destroyed the rest of the field with their turns. The underwater cameras really show how deep they are swimming off the turns - I would say they are 2m or more under the water 8-10 m off the wall!
Cameron Gray followed my instructions to the letter this morning which is why I take the blame for him falling off the last 75m of his 200 free. I told him to swim aggressively and fearlessly but didn’t remind him about protecting his kick in the first 50. As a result he really suffered down the last part of the race. But Cameron leaves at the end of the week for a short return home having gained so much precious experience from Mare Nostrum and Budapest. He will come back for the Commonwealth Games a wiser and better swimmer. We have to get more of our swimmers this kind of experience so they don’t have to learn on the World Championship stage!!
The final swim of the day was from Caitlin Deans in the 1500 free. She is maturing into a really good athlete and developing strong performance based behaviours. Her swim today was very solid, less than 0.3% outside her PB but it gave her a final ranking of 13 which is a big jump and hopefully gives her the belief to know she can be better still.
PB’s are proving hard to come by but I am seeing a lot more good performance behaviours that will lead to more racing consistency. Helena was very disappointed yesterday but did not make any excuses for her performance. She has been a great example both in and out of the pool to her teammates despite the fact she also had the dreaded tummy bug that struck down Lewis. Like him she worked through it but she wasn’t fully over it until the weekend. Zac Incerti from Australia also had the bug at the same time and this morning he struggled home in the 200 free having been a pre-championship favourite. We are going to scratch Helena from the 200 Butterfly but like Andrew we think she will be ok for the shorter event, the 50m fly.
We held a short team meeting this afternoon which was led by Coach Crosland. He reminded our team that very rarely do all the planets align and you have to be prepared for hardships, unknowns and surprises. He evidenced Lani Pallister from Australia who last night swam the same final as Erika and then was called for both urine and blood samples by the anti-doping team. That meant a minimum two hour wait, which turned into 3.5 because she couldn’t pee! But despite getting back to hotel we’ll after midnight she was back in this morning qualifying 3rd fastest for the 1500m free. A great lesson for all of our team!
We watched another great night of swimming. starts, turns and finishes featured so much in our coaches poolside discussion. The best practitioners seemed to win! Also it is very clear to see how controlled the best swimmers are over the first half of the race. Michael Weston was quick to point this out that their stroke rates are high but not rushed and they aren’t over kicking or swimming too ‘hard’ early on. There is a huge difference between swimming fast and swimming hard. This is definitely something we in NZ must continue to improve upon when coaching our ‘front end speed’ and our general approach to technique at race pace.
Day Three Athlete Schedule
Womens 200m Freestyle
20th June - 7:16pm NZT
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