Olympics, Swimming: Rebecca Adlington Sets Olympic Record in 800 Free Prelims -- August 14, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 14. CLEARLY, Rebecca Adlington and Camelia Potec were not concerned about expending too much energy in the preliminaries of the women's 800 freestyle. Both women hovered around world-record pace for much of their swims before falling off the pace toward the finish. No worries, though, as the final still remains.

Adlington established an Olympic record while winning her heat, clocking in at 8:18.06 to take down the 2000 record of Brooke Bennett, which sat at 8:19.67. Adlington has been superb this week as she already owns the gold medal in the 400 freestyle. As for Potec, she won her heat in 8:19.70, a good indicator for a final that will be missing a pair of big names.

In a shocking development, Americans Kate Ziegler and Katie Hoff did not qualify for the championship final after turning in preliminary efforts of 8:26.98 and 8:27.78, respectively. The times were eight seconds off their personal bests. Having tackled an arduous schedule, a slate that has yielded silver in the 400 freestyle and bronze in the 400 individual medley, Hoff appeared tired. As for Ziegler, it was her second surprise miss of a final, going with the 400 freestyle.

Qualifying in the third spot for the final was Denmark's Lotte Friis, thanks to a career-best showing of 8:21.74. Italian Alessia Filippi, who registered a swim of 8:21.95, was fourth into the final and fifth went to Australian Kylie Palmer (8:22.81). Rounding out the field for the final were Russian Elena Sokolova (8:23.07), China's Li Xuanxu (8:24.37) and Great Britain's Cassandra Patten (8:25.91).

Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

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Reaction Time Comments

August 14, 2008 Wow! That's a shame about Ziegler and Hoff... Especially Ziegler who hasn't had a bunch of swims leading up to this event... Sad for her in Beijing... I'd love to hear her thoughts on the race....

Based upon those times from the others, it looks like Evans' mark will fall.... :-( But who knows with the morning finals and all..... I just think it'd be neat to have a WR around from the 80's....
Submitted by: Hodori88
August 14, 2008 Hoff left it all on the table with the 800 free relay. Does anyone know if Ziegler caught the bug going around?
Submitted by: crafto
August 14, 2008 Poor Hoff..... Can you believe that with all the hype on her being the "Female Phelps", she will walk away with just one silver and two bronzes?
Submitted by: chris
August 14, 2008 I think it's safe to say that the morning vs evening finals debate can be put to rest. How many world and national records have been set so far at this meet? Swimmers will step up for the finals regardless of what time of day it is.
Submitted by: robbertv
August 14, 2008 It was pretty obvious from the 400 that this was coming for Ziegler. Think we all discussed that on that thread a few days ago.
She, like Hansen, has not looked good for several months now. Her swims at Trials all looked forced and that they were struggles to get through there. Be interesting to see the coverage of her swim to see what she looks like in the water. She was really being pushed too by USA-S for the last year or so, maybe the pressure was just too much.
Agree, that probably Hoff is just wiped out at this point from swimming some tough doubles and a big relay swim where she had to pull the weight of a couple of the others who weren't quite in top form just to save that bronze. I think Katie gets the nod for even attempting this program. An 800 Free to end things off??? That's double tough. Just so much a human body will do, no matter how hard she trains.
Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 The women have been pretty disappointing all-around. They all look scared with the exception of Couglin. I kind of feel like Zieger has been over training all this time and her body can't take it anymore. It's a shame both Hoff and Ziegler both went pro and have no gold to show for it. Ouch!
Submitted by: awesomeness
August 14, 2008 Anyone know what Ziegler's workouts were like in the final 6-8 months before Trials/Olympics?
Seems like the same thing happened to Benko in 04. Overtrained and was wiped out by the time she got to competition time.
Hoff's program seemed like maybe it was just too crammed together to work like Phelps. There were some tough doubles in there along the way.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 Hoff is no Phelps. She didn't have the greatest meet but still had a PR or two and wasn't that far off in most of her swims (other than the 800). She was simply beaten by much faster swimmers.
Submitted by: gaash
August 14, 2008 the women have not been any means. Soni second in the 100. Magnuson second in fly with a new american record. the 800 free relay, yeah it was a bronze but they crushed the world record by 4 seconds. Hoelzer 3rd in back, I can go on and on and its not over yet!
Submitted by: Swim7712
August 14, 2008 I'm not sure the backstrokers will be quite that fast, rcoach, and remember, Hansen was fourth in the 100 in 59.57, so I think a 59.0 split is definitely within reach right now for Hansen (remember '04?). I think the relay atmosphere will help him put together something solid as Kitajima closes on him.
Submitted by: SwimDER94
August 14, 2008 The little-known, silver-medal contending women, I agree, have really had some meet, we just have not seen quite the best from girls like Hoff, Ziegler, Schmitt, and Beisel (though she could redeem herself in the 200 Back).
Submitted by: SwimDER94
August 14, 2008 Anyone want to take this bet? I wager that the US 2012 Olympic Trials will be held no closer than 3.5 months before the Olympics. Based on the performances so far, it certainly looks like the majority of the US team peaked six weeks ago. Especially the women. . . . The US team did well (Hoff and Ziegler, e.g.) in the March '07 World Championships, and the selection meet was Summer Nat'ls held in August '06 — 7 months before. In 1996, there was some carping from some the college coaches because the early March '96 Trials interfered with the NCAA prep and taper. Since the athletes are older now (more of them out of college compared to 12 years ago) there might be less complaining. But I would still expect some college coaches to be against a March or April Trials. On a different note, I wonder if the 5-week post Trials "bonding and training" camps led some of the swimmers to get stale. Just a thought.
Submitted by: SilverMedalMel
August 14, 2008 Mel, I agree with you completely.
Submitted by: paddles
August 14, 2008 Quite frankly, we shouldn't give two thoughts as to what the NCAA or NCAA coaches 'want'.
It has been painfully obvious that the world has caught the U.S. in this sport. Part of that has to do with the athletes from other countries swimming here in the NCAA. Another part has to do with the fact that simply the rest of the world is doing better at training and producing more and better swimmers who are beating American swimmers.
There is conjecture that the U.S. may be in jeopardy of not winning the Olympics in 2012.
This is not to bash the NCAA. The NCAA is a primary reason why the U.S. over the decades has been so dominant.
But. The USOC and USA-S with some foresight should tell firmly the NCAA that in Olympic years, the results of the USA in Olympic competition will come first and foremost and if that means that the NCAA's are held in December and Trials are held in February, then that's when they will be. Period. No dicsussion, no debate.
(by the way...I am just making up a really odd date for this for arguments sake...not really suggesting Trials should be in February). But they should be whenever it is figured out that the Trials will be at an optimal time for performance at the Olympics. If that's June, then make it June. At another time, then set the date and TELL the NCAA when it will be and to adjust their schedule around it.

Submitted by: rcoach
August 14, 2008 I totally agree with the observations about World's last year. I think the US team as a whole performed MUCH better during that meet, and I really believe that it is because the swimmers didn't have to retaper in a short period of time or hold an extended taper. Why can't the trials be held in March and have the NCAA right after? This way, collegiate swimmers can taper once for both meets.
Submitted by: wub
August 14, 2008 SilverMedalMel: I don't know enough about training and tapers to understand the debate compltely so please forgive all the questions,(SemiColon replaced here) 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(SemiColon replaced here) 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(SemiColon replaced here) 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 15, 2008 I think having trials in March still might be a bit risky. People have up and down seasons. You never know what will happen in six weeks between a July trials and August Olympics, much less in a 5 month span between March and August. One of the ideas behind moving trials to July was to ensure that we put the fastest people AT THAT TIME on the team. What happens if two people qualify in an event in March and are only the 3rd and 4th fastest by the time August rolls around? It's possible in some of our events, given how close they have been in recent years. The system isn't perfect, but it's the best thing we have right now.

As for the Olympics vs. NCAA issue, don't forget that many of the NCAA coaches have a huge influence on the Olympics. Even if they don't get the final say, when coaches like Eddie Reese and Dave Marsh speak, people listen. And besides, NCAA swimmers still have managed to do great at the Olympics. Eddie Reese has contributed about a third of the men's team for the past 3 Olympics. Sure, some have graduated, but not all.
Submitted by: Dizzy1203
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