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Olympics, Swimming: Flash Australia Smashes Women's 800 Free Relay World Record -- August 13, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 14. THAT the world record was crushed in the women's 800 freestyle relay wasn't much of a surprise. The team that took the gold and did the most smashing? Well, that's a different story. While four teams went under the former world record in the event, it was Australia which blasted the field.

Benefiting from an opening split of 1:56.60 by double-medley winner Stephanie Rice, Australia registered a time of 7:44.31 to wipe out the 7:50.09 global standard posted by the United States at last year's World Championships in Melbourne. Rice was followed by Bronte Barratt (1:56.58), Kylie Palmer (1:55.22) and Linda Mackenzie (1:55.91).


China, on the way to an Asian record, was second in 7:45.93. The home nation relied on the efforts of Yang Yu (1:56.79), Zhu Qianwei (1:56.64), Tan Miao (1:58.11) and Pang Jiaying (1:54.39) to better the United States, which took the bronze in 7:46.33. The U.S. was led by the foursome of Allison Schmitt (1:57.71), Natalie Coughlin (1:57.19), Caroline Burckle (1:56.70) and Katie Hoff (1:54.73).

Posting a European record of 7:49.76, Italy was fourth in 7:49.76. The Italians went with the quartet of Renata Fabiola Spagnolo (1:58.31), Alessia Filippi (1:56.68), Flavia Zoccari (1:59.80) and Federica Pellegrini (1:54.97). France followed in fifth in 7:50.66 and sixth went to Hungary in 7:55.53. Japan placed seventh in 7:57.56 and Sweden was eighth in 7:59.83.




Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming


Reaction Time Comments

August 13, 2008 China just broke their previous personal best (prior to this contest from the Athens Olympics) by 10 seconds.

Something smells.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 13, 2008 Had Allison repeated her 1:55.9 from trials, and Natalie matched her split from World's (but with a flying start here) than gold would have been for the U.S. by a healthy margin. Hoff had a very good split.
Submitted by: crafto
August 13, 2008 Call it human nature finding it difficult to forget, but after reading the results from the women's 200 fly, something didn't feel "right" in my gut......And then the 800 relay? Where did these swimmers come from?????? Suspicions are going to run pretty high now.
Submitted by: paddles
August 13, 2008 schmitt did not go out fast enough and coughlin didn't split fast enough either...burckle caught them up for a chance at the silver but hoff was very very fast but it wasnt enough, i think burckle and hoff were the only swimmers to swim best times and were the true winners on that relay...schmitt wasnt recovered from the bug and what happend to coughlin?
Submitted by: swimmergal242
August 13, 2008 It's the usual routine.....

Some Chinese girl wins a race and here come the PED accusations. Maybe, maybe not. They have got 1.4 billion people. You would think that they must have some good athletes. God knows, their coaches are probably hard core ass kickers.

I'm a white American by the way. Innocent until proven guilty.
Submitted by: WEK5000
August 13, 2008 the chinese came on the scene pretty quick though which does raise some superstition
Submitted by: swimmergal242
August 13, 2008 Very tough to be able to point fingers at one group of people and wonder if they are cheating but at the same time not pay any attention to the massive time drops that are occurring in the entire meet and throughout the world in the last 18 months, from swimmers from every country. Is it an anomolous performance? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it's hard at this point to point a finger at one girl or group of girls because they had a massive time drop. And it was not like the Chinese girls 800 relay hasn't been competitive for years now. Weren't they second in Athens? Not exactly coming out of the woodwork. And it is important to note. This was the FIRST meet that the Chinese swim team was able to put on LZR's. So you have to factor that in. They haven't worn the new suits before this meet (or so I heard).
But kudos to the Aussie girls! There was discussion that they really needed to be watched out for if all their girls were "on". Some of them haven't been swimming that well, but those 4 girls really stepped up to reach potential.
Also, anyone notice that the French basically "benched" Mandaudou? Wonder if that was because she was swimming so bad, or if it was because the French would rather have a "team" swimming for whatever place they got and not need someone who was going to pull a pout partway through the race and quit on them. Tip of the hat to the French for going for the "team" option.
Great split for Hoff! 1:54! Too bad the U.S. was just a little off tonight, otherwise they would have been right in it.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 13, 2008 I understand the reasoning about innocent until proven guilty, but there is a history here that is not easily forgotten. 1992. 1994. 1998.
Submitted by: paddles
August 13, 2008 Just look at some of the Chinese "girls". See the square jaw and muscles on Pang, the gal who got DQd.

But they haven't failed a drug test yet.

The Aussie really put together a great realy. Good on.
Submitted by: Brasse
August 13, 2008 Wow Great job heck of a swim by the Chinese in the 800 free relay and the 2 "women" on the 200 fly. Surely these were true breakthtrough swims and not doping under the table. Way to go China!! This record surely isn't tainted!
Submitted by: swimlegend
August 13, 2008 Absolutely agree with you paddles. But the problem now is that with everyone else doing the same thing (dropping times), it's really hard to pick them out and say "ooh...look at them, they must be cheating", without being willing to ask hard questions about everyone else out there that has dropped big chunks lately.
How many outraged respones here will I get if I were to question the massive time drop of the U.S. men's 800 Free relay (and they have all worn the LZR suit before this meet)?
And two words should have people realize that it's hard to point fingers at this point "Jessica" and "Hardy". No matter what the real situation with her may be, the bottom line is that the rest of the world would look at her and say "see the Americans are the ones getting caught cheating right NOW...not the Chinese". It could really come out as sour grapes.
I would like to say that I DON'T agree with what I am suggesting (questioning other relays or countries that is), but it's what will be the response. Questionable results? Yes. Arguable....probably not at this point.
Want to do the math and see what their old best relay time was and then drop the 2% per swimmer that they are claiming the LZR makes and see what the end time comes out to and compare their swim tonight with where they were at with the adjustment.
I am actually a little surprised the Chinese women are not winning more and truly coming out of the woodwork. I think we all kind of dreaded that this might have happened.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 13, 2008 If we suspect the Chinese gals simply because they dropped huge times, then Misty Hyman's performance in Sydney 2000 was even more suspcious --- at least the Chinese gals can explain it away with the LZR suit.
Submitted by: chris
August 13, 2008 Not sure of the math on this, because I did it really quickly, but if you take the Chinese time from Athens, which I believe was a 7:55 and take 2% of this (the effect of the LZR racer on performance as told to us by the suit maker)....you have to take 9.5 seconds off their final time in Athens.
That would move them from 7:55 down to 7:45-46.
That is completely in line with what they went tonight.
Of course, this is a really "simple" adjustment which doesn't call in the individual girls and their individual splits, body types, how the suit affect each one, etc.etc.etc.
But one can see how much this suit really could be attributable to a massive time drop if they really haven't been in these suits until now.
So are they doping, or is it the suit?
Very interesting times we live in.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 13, 2008 This is a really prickly topic because on the one hand, we want to give the benefit of the doubt to all competitors, but then there is still the Chinese history of doping. Right now it is nothing more than suspicions with a while lot of questions. Heck, I have read on other message boards that people are CERTAIN Phelps is doping. In the end, it's all a matter of opinion. I guess that the memories of Rome1994 and Perth 1998 will never go away. Perhaps it is unfair to the Chinese female swimmers of today to pay for the sins of their elders. But still......
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 That's the problem, Chris; doping that happens this year could be even more easily missed than usual by the inadequate testing process, due to the 2% or so drop across the board from the LZRs. Hyman stood out and WAS widely suspected that year, some still do. Rcoach, two more words: "Ouyang" and "Kunpeng", banned for life for same stimulant as Hardy.

I'm guessing the Aussies are clean though, and they swam great. Rice (tied the Australian record) and Barratt about what I expected, and Palmer and McKenzie better than I expected. They swam the race I had envisioned for th US; but Coughlin and Schmitt were a couple seconds off what I expected, and Hoff and Burkle's slightly better-than-expected splits weren't enough to make up for it. I am wondering if Coughlin had the stomach bug; she said she wasn't feeling well the last couple days before and first day or two of the meet. As in the 400 FR, she was the furthest off what was expected. Still, 4 seconds under the previous WR when not at their best is nothing to sneeze at and they may all be back for the next Worlds.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 14, 2008 It's probably the suit but then again we'll probably never know will we? That's why I'm [upset] Speedo debuted the LZR so close to the Olympics. There's all these massive time drops, and now massive confusion.

Maybe I'll become a curling fan, although come to think of it. someone told me they dope with beta blockers to steady their hands :-P I feel like I"m becoming the forum curmudgeon here, or like "Debbie Downer" on Saturday NIght Live. So it's time to sleep.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 14, 2008 Great win for the aussie girls completely unexpected. I was really suprised with the split of Kylie Palmer she might be a dark horse for the 800 based on that swim.
Submitted by: coz
August 14, 2008 Is the LZR responsible for the HUGE time drops????? This is unheard of...World records and personal bests being chewed up and spit out like common age group records. What is going on here??????
Based on everything we have seen this past year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Janet Evans' 800 record go down to about a 12 or 13.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 Rcoach - the US mens 4x200 relay ALL of them split times which were within their expected ability. Not one of them can you point out and say "where did that come from". Also, it was less than a 5 second drop. The Chinese dropped 10.04 seconds. Similar story in the 4x100 relay, the 200 Free, and the 200 Fly.

I guess the LZR suit is working almost exclusively with the Chinese on that 2 time drop.

I simply find it suspicious, to say the least, that not just the relay, but the 2 200 Flyers, who went 2:04, and never before had gone below 2:07. The only other team in the final that had a great drop were the Aussies, but they proved they had that potential already at their trials.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 14, 2008 There are a number of swimmers here with the "Square Jaw" issue. Look at some of the French men's 400 free relay swimmers. Chinese men is gymnastics, on and on.
Submitted by: Park528
August 14, 2008 mario2007...if you go with the belief that this was the first time the Chinese have been able to get into the LZR's then as I stated above, then yes, the LZR suit adjustment does apply here, since the rest of the world, or at least the vast majority of them have already been in the suits and shaved and tapered in them.
So as I showed above, if you go with 2% then the time drop is exactly what it should be for their relay from their Athens time (no improvement in actual swimming ability needed).
The other results are very much faster than outside of 18 months before now, but now not out of range from where the rest of the world have been lately.
And not sure you read my entire part where I said that someone would get all bent out of shape by suggesting the US men's 4x200. Below I said that I didn't believe what I was writing.....I was just using it to play "devil's advocate" on what people MIGHT argue back. One could suggest that even 5 seconds under a world record is a ludicrous amount of time in the 1984-2004 era, and in fact an excellent Sports Illustrated article came out ripping our sport in this new LZR age because the world records are so meaningless right now.
2% for the Chinese women should be, as stated above, 9.5 seconds if the LZR did their job on "fresh" swimmers (people who hadn't used them). They were 10.0.
I absolutely agree that with their 'dubious' past that if you cheat once, it's probably not a long stretch to do it a second time. But in this age, with massive time drops that were not conceivable 4 years ago, it is now very hard to point a finger.
It IS curious that the Chinese women in the last 36 hours seem to be coming on like gangbusters. Anyone else notice that they are starting to surge to the front in the last day or so like crazy??
I don't disagree that results are suspicious, but you can point to some other results and say the same thing. But we are at a point in the sport where we are like in a cloud right now. And we don't know really what's what thanks to all this crazy improvement.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 Looking ahead.....Will Rome 2009 be a repeat of Rome 1994 with the Chinese ladies? Sorry about coming across a little paranoid, but after living through the 70s & 80s with the DDR and then the Chinese in the 90s, I would rather err on the side of paranoia than bury my head and NOT take a long and very hard look at their performances. The way the 200 fly record went down yesterday and now with the emergence of their sprinters, it looked very very familiar!
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 It is very unfortunate that these accusations start flying almost immediately after a few Chinese swimmers win medals. I swear that I could almost anticipate these comments right after the Chinese swimmers won. It really is unfair to them, because now we are saying that any success and improvement achieved by Chinese swimmers would be automatically be under speculation for drug use. The most troubling part is that similar acheivements by swimmers from other countries don't seem to generate anywhere close to the same speculation.

To mario2007 and others: I don't know why you find it more suspicious for the Chinese flyer to drop 3 seconds in the 200 fly from 2:07 to 2:04 then for Stephanie Rice to drop her 400 IM time from 4:41 at 2007 worlds (her PB at that time) to 4:29 - a whopping 12 seconds in one year. If you think about that, the 10 seconds drop over 4 years in an 800 relay pales in the face of the 12 seconds drop over 1 year for Rice's 400 IM.
Submitted by: wub
August 14, 2008 Great point wub: Noone has mentioned the incredibly huge drop the Aussies made in THEIR women's 800 free relay. Not sure of their previous national record, but it might very well have been an even greater drop than the Chinese.

And, other swimmers in the past who were clean have made similar drops in the women's 200 fly. Back in 79, Meagher had some huge drops in that event. She went from a 2:09 high in July at Pan Am's and then at nationals in Ft Lauderdale as a 14 yr old, she went a 2:07.01
Submitted by: Park528
August 14, 2008 Let me repeat....The Chinese have the history so there really isn't a mystery. Meagher wasn't a doper. The Aussies don't have a track record of doping. The Chinese DO.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 I share the same concerns as previous posts that specualate on the possiblility of doping by the chinese. The issue is their history -- they do have a legacy of cheating in the past...and as we can see from the opening ceremony (where the "unfortunate looking" 7 year old girl with the amazing voice, MUST be replaced with the "beautiful" 9 year old lipsyncher for the sake of national pride / appearing legitimate to the billions watching) the chinese will do WHATEVER it takes to win / be the best / convey to the world that they are powerful force to be contended with.
Submitted by: cyndee77
August 14, 2008 Paddles: I am aware of everything you wrote. I was just adding to the depth of what was written. A different way to look at it. I think by bringing up Meagher, what I was presenting, was the idea that dropping that much, whether suspected of drug use of not, is still more than possible to do when NOT on drugs. I don't disagree with history thats already written, paddles.
Submitted by: Park528
August 14, 2008 While I think that it is reasonable to keep a level of skepticism with time drops, I don't think athletes should be singled out just because of where they are from. The last doping scandal involving the Chinese women were almost ten years ago. Since then, there might still have been the rare cases of individual swimmers found doping, but the rate has not been much different from the rest of the world, including the US. Therefore, to start singling them out when their time drops are completely on par with the rest of the world is unfair. I feel bad for these Chinese swimmers because they are in a lose-lose situation: they swim slow, they lose; they swim fast, accusations start flying. Maybe they should just not bother competing already.
Submitted by: wub
August 14, 2008 Good point
Submitted by: Park528
August 14, 2008 It's hard with the Chinese having such a history, but we still have to go on the innocent until proven otherwise. That was a good point about Stephanie Rice wub. You could also point to Sullivan in the 50 too. And I think you could probably go to EVERY country in the world right now and pick out at least one to many swimmers whose improvement could be categorized as "meteoric" based off what we considered pre-2007 as 'anomolous' on a normal improvement curve over the course of an Olympic quadrennial for an athlete.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 Always two sides to the coin. Believe the lies once, shame on them. Believe them twice, shame on you. Sorry for the skepticism, but the Chinese did this to themselves. Defend them all you want, their history speaks for themselves. It is human nature to doubt ANYONE who has a history of lying, cheating, etc. I don't doubt the Chinese....I simply don't believe them at all.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 Paddles, I guess my wondering here is this.
By casting such a focused eye on the Chinese for any and every possible anomoly in their performance and improvement, are we allowing other just as questionable performances to go free? I definitely don't want to defend the Chinese....but if we are to catch them cheating, let's at least keep an eye out for any others too. A cheat is a cheat, no matter what country they come from.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 It is not meant as a defense just as another possiblity. It is in China where people are guilty until proven innocent, NOT in the US.

Your point is well taken. In your logic, are we wrong not to be concerned about any swimmers living in what is now former East Germany? What if they are Germans now, but WERE born in the former DDR? And lets say their coaches are former East German coaches? It is a lot to think about. Doubt will always be there for some people indeed.
Submitted by: Park528
August 14, 2008 You know folks, defend them all you want. Come up with a defense....anything that you feel is "fair". I stand behind my feelings. Just remember that it is nothing but an opinion. You have one and I have one. I won't change your mind and you won't change mine. So, let's just agree to disagree, leave it at that and move on to the rest of the swimming events.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 paddles, the rest of the world could have the same feeling about the us team of track and field with the all balco scandal, the american are all cheaters in track and field.
Submitted by: maly
August 14, 2008 Paddles, what you said is exactly why I think it is unfair to the current Chinese swimmers. When the Chinese doping scandal occurred in 94-98, the current group of swimmers were less than 10. It is absolutely unfortunate that they have to pay for the mistakes made by those before them. Now I am not saying that we should blindly accept every performance as clean. I simply think that, just as rcoach says, we should treat everyone fairly and question all performances. In this case, the improvement by the Chinese are pretty ordinary compared to the amount of time the rest of the world is dropping, especially since they are using the LZR suits for the first time compared to swimmers from other countries. Honestly, if I HAVE TO pick out time drops that I think are most dramatic and anormalous over the past year, the first ones that come to my mind would be people like Stephanie Rice, Sullivan, the British swimmers in the 400 free, etc. (note: I'm NOT insinuating anything here). Paddles, give people a chance (especially if they are not the ones making the original mistakes in the first place). Otherwise, by your logic, anyone who wins a medal, improves his/her time, or performs well on the US track team should be immediately assumed to be doping, given their "history". Why should we bother sending a team, then?
Submitted by: wub
August 14, 2008 Earlier in the week I was excited by all the records; then that changed to confusion, now I'm just numb to it all. I think we have to accept for the next year or two, until we get used to the new technology, assuming it more or less stabilizes for awhile, the times/records will be relatively less meaningul and difficult to interpret. If there is doping going on during that time, it may be harder to detect patterns.

But the answer to that is really more adequate testing with harsher/more consistent pentalties, rather than speculation about who's cheating, which I've realize now is often pointless for the time being. In the meantime I will just forget about the times and try to enjoy the racing aspect of it. Hopefully next year we'll get a better idea of what times to get really excited about. Right now we're at 47 LCM records, which is more than the 33 from 2000 (first year of the full bodysuit) and short of the 66 in 1976 (first Olympics with widespread oral steroids and GOGGLES!!). There is a good article about this on swimnews.com for anyone who isn't convinced about the impact of the suit.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 14, 2008 Next.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 The worst part of this debate between us all right now is that this is exactly why sports in general have taken such a hit in the mainstream public's eye. And why the Olympics in general don't carry as much prestiege as they did years and years ago. For some, it is automatically assumed that if you win, or break a world record or do something phenomenal, then you are automatically are cheating. But it is the place that we put ourselves (in all sports, cycling, track, baseball, swimming, etc, etc.)because we don't question ALL anomolous performances, just the ones we know to be the 'safe' calls (in this case in this sport, the Chinese) and demand that something be changed to catch these people.
Our drug testing for sports is 50 years behind the times and will never catch the determined cheater. Want to catch a drug cheat? Send them to the nearest area hospital. EVERY hospital worth it's salt in the world has the ability to screen almost everything in a person's bloodstream....lives depend on knowing this when someone comes in.
But we can't even find something easy to detect like HGH or EPO and are still using urine tests and no comprehensive blood testing....cost prohibitive...and do we REALLY want to know how dirty things might be?
This is a great argumeent, but one that has no good answer for either side in this conversation.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 Rcoach,

You make very good points. It's just that we've seen this pattern before with the Chinese, and they have, to quote a Chinese expression, "thick faces" (they're more easily disposed to lie and cheat in order to win). A good example, their 3:37.91 WR in the 400 Relay at the Rome WC was done by a doping team. Thirteen years later they never ONCE cracked the 3:40 barrier. This Olympics they go 3:35.6. No other top 10 team can say the same. And you cannot chalk that up to "superior training". On the same note, there is virtually no comparison at all in the performances parlayed by the Chinese men. Can anyone say East Germany? Same EXACT scenario. Coincidence? Doubtful.

I will go as far as saying that it would not surprise me to see the Chinese girl who made the final for the 100M Free tonight to medal. Guess what her best time is for 2008 (fina.org) - 54.8. But she'll probably go 53.4 Who else does that? Compare that to Natalie Coughlin who went 53.4 at the 2007 WC without the LZR, and has gone 53.39 with the LZR. 2% - not exactly truth in marketing. I think if you look at the overall improvements it's more like 1% (which is still impressive). The 2% plus comes from "special vitamins". There's been 1 silver medal by a Chinese man (legitimate in my opinion - within his historical performances), but so far things are not smelling quite right. We Americans are not guilt free, but there's no comparison with the Chinese.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 14, 2008 OK...paddles is bored.
So I will throw this out there for him/her.
I put this up on another area. Any takers?
My prediction is that the Aussie men are a whole lot closer to the US in the Medley relay than it might look...and the Aussies will have nothing to lose on the last event of the meet, so watch for them to fly on those relay starts.....damn the torpedoes, while the US goes safe to 'save 8' possibly.
But here are my predictions for the two relays.....if one person on the US relays slips, the Aussies could play huge spoilers to the Phelps coronation.
Here it is.....
....but that's a whole lot closer than the U.S. probably thought they were going to have to deal with 3-4 weeks ago.
...Peirsol is a big race swimmer and will be the difference right out of the gate. Here are my split predictions (US first/AUS second)-- 52.2/52.8//59.6/59.3//49.9/50.8//46.4/46.2
3:28.10 to 3:29.10. Lezak will have to come through again I think. But I am not sure he will pull another 46.0 out.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 wub, I share your suspicion about Stephanie Rice (12 second drop in the 400IM since the 2007 WC) and Eamon Sullivan (1.4 seconds drop). On the other hand, how come none of the Chinese men have had comparable time drops to what their own women have had? And the rest of the world has not dropped as dramatically as the Chinese. I think if we could show this in a line graph comparison, the differences would be pronounced.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 14, 2008 Mario, thank you. The DDR got away with their handiwork because no one wanted to say anything to upset the status quo or come across as sour grapes EXCEPT Shirley Babashoff who was CRUCIFIED for expressing what she KNEW was going on without the data on paper. Time vindicated Shirley.
I have been in this sport for far too many years and know far too many high level coaches and swimmers to not have learned a thing or two about what is at stake. I can listen to blah blah blah for just so long.....This has nothing to do with being unfair, closed minded or racist. This has to do with fairness in sport and my gut tells me that something isn't smelling right at the Cube. I am done with this.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 SilverMedalMel: I don't know enough about training and tapers to understand the debate compltely so please forgive all the questions,; but what happens in the 5 week post Trials camp, do they crank up yardage really high and then do another complete taper? I remember one of the swmimmers saying they just tapered starting last week, is that long enough? Are they all on different schedules? Why would they get "stale" as you said? As an example, Hicks or Gaines made comment that one of the coaches said Hersey was doing so well in the camp that she might take it all, then both she and Breeden tanked. Is that what you meant by getting stale that they worked too hard for too long? One thing about Hoff; I remember after her 8:20.8 800 at Trials she was really upbeat and saying she could handle it and I was thinking "Really? you look exhausted and you didn't even make the 400 free relay". Phelps didn't have to do a 400 IM/400 Free back to back, and he didn't do the 200's free/IM in the same night; he also didn't do an 800. Both of those are very daunting. Her program to this point was arguably harder. I'm interested to see how Lochte will do with his double tonight.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 14, 2008 Well, next is Lochte splitting his energy vs. Peirsol and Phelps. Maybe he could have shot for one gold instead of two silvers??
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 14, 2008 im sick of hearing about the lzr IF THEY ALL GET TO WEAR IT and have the option its not cheating that is like not a variable anymore if they all have it... it makes an equal playing field if people choose not to and then try to say that speedo is giving swimmers an illegal aid (cough cough tyr) that is ridiculous ALL SWIMMERS are given the option if their company doesnt support the decision well its not an unfair advantage its their own stupidity choosing not to wear it, they can either pick their contracts or try and work it out with their companies i was very impressed with how nike handled it
Submitted by: swimmergal242
August 14, 2008 Quote "I feel bad for these Chinese swimmers because they are in a lose-lose situation: they swim slow, they lose; they swim fast, accusations start flying. Maybe they should just not bother competing already."

Your feelings about these doping atletes are completely nieve, the Chinese are laughing at how stupid you are. It's obvious and right there for anyone to see, this group of women swimmers have no honer. Your defense of these performances show how little you know about this level of swimming.

Submitted by: swimlegend
August 14, 2008 Paddles, I echo your sentiment.

Rcoach, your medley analysis is spot on.
Submitted by: mario2007
August 14, 2008 Americans would never dope to improve their performances!

Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Antonio Pettigrew, Justin Gatlin, C.J. Hunter, Jessica Hardy, the list ain't short!
Submitted by: WEK5000
August 14, 2008 mario....I am just worried about Lezak being able to capture lightning in a bottle a second time. I thought he looked pretty rough in his individual swims. Hopefully he didn't use all the gas in the tank already. Kind of have this feeling that they are going to need it/him.
Anyone on the Aussies has a 'miracle' swim could put Sullivan into the hero role and we haven't seen him get amped up just yet like Lezak did, so who knows what he might pull out if it's close for gold.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 Yawn
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 rcoach. the yawn wasn't intended for you. I love reading your insightful postings. I appreciate what you have to say.
Submitted by: paddles
August 15, 2008 Rcoach: I thought we now DO have a test for HgH, and that they were using it in Beijing. Did I misunderstand that for something else?

Paddles: Since you also swam in the DDR era, you will remember that Babshoff was NOT the only on to talk out about the DDR girls, but that Wendy Boglioli also vocalizd her opinions, and when I read an article about her in an issue from late 76 or early 77, she said she had received death threats for her opions. So not just Babashoff.


Submitted by: Park528
August 15, 2008 I don't know if this falls into any category: doping, suits, etc. Liu who won 200fly trained with Jessica Schipper in Australia for about half a year and Liu's coach was the assistant of Schipper's coach for a period of time. As you can see after the race, the 1st thing after Schipper finished the race was to give a congrad touch on Liu's head.
Submitted by: Will
August 15, 2008 Shirley's opinions were plastered on newspaper headlines around the world. NO ONE could not know the hell she went through after having four gold medals stolen from her by the DDR swimmers. I appreciate Wendy's experiences as well. I was using Shirley as the headliner...plain and simple.

But thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate the reminder. :o)
Submitted by: paddles
August 15, 2008 Will; I didn't know that, training with Schipper could certainaly explain some of the time drop; look how well Spann and Shanteau did when they came to train with Hansen, although Spann's was sorta last minute, wasn't it?
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 15, 2008 I don't know if this is weired in terms of the improvement. I've been following Pang Jiaying's career (Bronze in 200free) since 2001 when she medalled in the notorious Chinese National Games. She did 1:58 in 2001 and sunk to 1:59, 2:00 in the next 2 years. In 2004, she made it to the Olympics final and did 1:58. In 2005, she dipped below 1:58 (also in the National Games) for the 1st time. Since then, she had 1:58 times in the next 2 years. In Olympic trial this year, she swam a low-1:58. For other relay swimmers, Yang Yu who swam 1:56.49 in the 1st leg of 4x200free had 2 sub-1:58 times in her portfolio (2003 and 2005) and heaps of 1:58 performances in her career. She was also a triple medalist of 200free in 3 world champ. She is also a 3-time Olympian. Zhu Qianwei is a newcomer training side by side with Pang. Late last year, she did 2:00 and have dished out 2 1:58 performances this year. Tan Miao has been a 1:59, 2:00 swimmer for a couple years and she was also part of the 4x200free team in world champ and Japan Open last year.

Submitted by: Will
August 15, 2008 That does not seem like improvements that are unusual at that level. Allison Shmitt has had more drastic time drops in the last two years. Wasn't she Junior National champ in 200 free only two years ago or so and just at 2:00?

That swimmer is a hard call for me to make about whether I would be willing to cast doubt on her. But definitely many other Chinese swimmers have done very ridiculous suspicious time drops.
Submitted by: Park528
August 15, 2008 I don't know too much about US swimming so I can't judge Allison. I only heard of her after she won her place in Olympic Trial. I noticed she didn't make it to the final in 200m free with 1:55.9pb in her belt.

Beside Liu's time in 200m fly, who do you think is the most suspicious Chinese swimmer this time? Let me give some choices and their progress here:

1. Sun Yang (17yo) in men's 1500free
2007: 15:14
2008: 15:00 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 14:48

2. Li Zeshi (14yo) in women's 50free
2007: 25.40
2008: 25.5 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 25.00 (h), 24.90 (sf)

3. Li Xuanxu (14yo) in women's 400m IM
2006: 4:48
2007: 4:37.56
2008: 4:39 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 4:36

or her in 800m free
2007: 8:27
2008: 8:31 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 8:24 (h), 8:26 (f)

4. Shi Feng (22yo) in men's 100m fly
2005: 53 low
2006: 53.01
2007: 52.61
2008: 51.8 (h), 51.7(sf)

5. Zhu Yingwen (27yo) in 100m free
2005: 54.03
2006: 55.4
2007: 54.9
2008: 54.8 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 54.01 (h), 53.8 (sf), 54.12 (f)

or her in 50m free
2005: 24.58, also went 24.9 to win bronze in world champ
2006: 25.5
2007: 25.1
2008: 25.1 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 24.91 (h), 24.76 (sf), no time drop, actually

6. Zhou Yafei in women's 100m fly
2002: 58.8
2003: 59 low
2004: 59 low
2005: 58.4
2006: 58.3
2007: 58.20 (sf in world champ)
2008 before Olympics: 57.95
2008 Oly: 57.70 (h), 57.68 (sf), 57.84 (f)

7. Wu Peng in men's 200m fly
2001: 1:58
2002: 1:56
2003: 1:56
2004: 1:56
2005: 1:55 (bronze in world champ)
2006: 1:54.91
2007: 1:55.15 (silver in world champ)
2008: 1:54.8 before Olympics)
2008 Oly: 1:54.4 (f)

8. Jiao Liuyang (17yo) in women's 200mfly
2005: 2:09
2006: 2:08.54
2007: 2:07.06 (4th in world champ)
2008: 2:08 before Olympics
2008 Olympics: 2:06 (h, sf), 2:04.7 (f)

9. Yang Yu (23yo) in women's 4x200m free (leadoff)
2000: 1:59
2000: 1:55 (short course world champ)
2001: 1:58.3
2002: 1:58 low
2003: 1:57.70
2004: 1:59 low
2005: 1:57.9
2006: 1:59 low
2006: 1:54 high (short course world champ)
2007: 1:59.90
2008: 1:59.6 before Olympics
2008 Olympics: 1:57.4 (h), 1:56.49 (f)

10. Zhang Lin (21yo) in men's 400m free
2004: 3:52
2005: 3:48
2006: 3:48/49
2007: 3:46.27
2008: 3:44.9 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 3:43 (h) and 3:41 (f)

11. Pang Jiaying (23yo) in 100m free
2005: 54 low
2006: 54 high
2007: 54.5
2008: 54.17 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 2x 52 high in relay and 54.01 in heats and DQ time of 53.49 in semi to save Trikett.

12. Xutian Longzi (17yo) in women's 100m back
2005: 1:02 low
2006: 1:01.2
2007: 1:01.06 (leadoff time in world champ 4x100 medley, Chinese won bronze)
2008: 1:00.97 before Olympics
2008 Oly: 1:00.83 (h)

These are the Chinese swimmers that I know they did time drops so far in the Games. Let me know if their improvements are unusual or it is the consequence of long-term doping. I think the 1st 4 swimmers I mentioned above probably had the biggest time drops. Sorry for being unable to produce accurate times for these swimmers since I am not statistician in swimming:).
Submitted by: Will
August 16, 2008 Will, you are awesome!
Submitted by: paddles
August 16, 2008 will; wow thanks for all that work. Although I was originally asking about Pang and the 200 flyers I hadn't heard of, overall, these don't look too different from the other drops like Rice (12 seconds in 400 IM), Sullivan, etc. Chalk it up to the suits and Olympic fever so far; next year will be more telling at World Champs.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 16, 2008 I always think Australia is not very strong in women's 400IM. Probably I am wrong. For the last 8 years, the most names I heard from them are Jennifier Reiley and Lara Caroll. They are both consistent 4:40-4:43 swimmers. 4:40-4:43 probably can qualify to the finals in many major competitions (except for this Olympics) but it is not good enough to medal in most of the occasions. The 1st time Aussie women broke 4:40 was about 2 years ago with Riley's swim (4:38) in Commonwealth Games. Therefore, their 400IM record progressed relatively slow compared to other events although their women's sprinting free has also just been picking up like rocket after the new millenium. Rice was 4:41 swimmer back in 2006 and had another 4:41 to win bronze in world champ 2007. She dipped down to 4:37 in Japan Open 2007 (August) before she reached to that 4:31 in 2008 trials and then 4:29 in Olympics. The improvement is tremendous. Who knows how she can drop time from 4:41 to 4:37 and then 4:31? The focus should probably be in what she did between August after that 4:37 swim in Japan and Olympic trials. In terms of split, Her 1st half has been improved in a crazy manner from 2:16 high (in world champ 2007) to 2:09-10 region which made her stick with Conventry after backstroke leg comfortably. On the other hand, Hoff just lost too much of ground in her 1st half which she really needs to work on in the future and let these girls break away. As you know, Rice swam 1:56 in 4x200m free relay while Conventry is also a 4:07 swimmer in 400free and wouldn't let you outsprint her easy.
Submitted by: Will
August 16, 2008 schmitt was very sick and didnt preform at her best
Submitted by: swimmergal242
August 16, 2008 Yes, Schmitt did have that bug that some of the other swimmers on the US team were suffering from. What a shame that it happens at this type of meet. Larsen tonight is another.
Submitted by: Park528
August 16, 2008 After considering what most of us know about the tremendous time drop by Rice in the 400 IM, and her age (under 20, correct?), I am have chosen to hold back on judging her harshly. I am leery about the insane improvement by Veldhuis in her events at her late age. And her size. Similar improvments for DeBruijn in 2000, and once again that wide jaw bone seem all over these games, but most prolific on Inky in 2000. Also, what about Annika Lurz being so up and down over the past several years in her times....so inconsistent; and at her more advanced age (than that of a younger swimmer who might make such drops acceptable or plausible)?

One thing separating these older women I have mentioned who swim the sprints, from Dara Torres, who had world class times from age 14 and up, breaking three 50 m free WR's in her younger years is that these other women did NOT have such an early success nationally and internationally. Yet continuing to be able to show improvement as technology improved and her experience at such a meet as the Olympics. Just a thought
Submitted by: Park528
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