Photo courtesy British Swimming
Each day through August 17, Swimming World’s Jeff Commings and David Rieder will offer medal predictions in the 19 swimming events on tap at the European Championships, which begins August 18 in Berlin, Germany. We invite you to offer your picks in our comments section below!
Commentary by Jeff Commings
PHOENIX, Arizona, August 15. IF Sarah Sjostrom wasn’t so focused on the 100 freestyle at the European championships, the crowd would have the opportunity to see her go after new world record in the 50 butterfly. The Swedish sprinter’s absence will be the opportunity for three swimmers to see if they can also get under 25 seconds this year.
Therese Alshammar is back in the race pool after giving birth, and prospects look good for her to win a third Euro medal in the event to go with her 2006 and 2010 wins. She’ll have to beat out Great Britain’s Fran Halsall, who is coming into her own in the butterfly after many years of excelling in the sprint freestyles. Halsall won the Commonwealth Games title in the event with a 25.20, and that is just a few hundredths faster than Jeanette Ottesen’s 25.27 from the Mare Nostrum circuit. Also in the running is Inge Dekker, who posted a 25.50 in Italy.
Therese Alshammar, returning to the race pool about a year after giving birth, is in medal contention, but might not be able to take the leap to the 25-low range.
Women’s 50 butterfly medal predictions:
Gold: Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark
Silver: Fran Halsall, Great Britain
Bronze: Inge Dekker, Netherlands
Though the women’s 50 fly will be without the world leader, Ben Proud will go to the European championships as the best swimmer of the year with his Commonwealth Games-winning time of 22.93. He’s the only one under 23 seconds in the world, but a few are also primed to break the magical barrier and give Proud a reason to be nervous.
There’s Belarusian Yauheni Tsurkin, who surprised at the Belarus Open with a 23.11 to sit fourth in the world; Andrey Govorov of Ukraine with a fifth-ranked 23.17; and France’s Florent Manaudou, who is in medal contention with his 23.18 to rank sixth in the world.
The seventh, eighth and tenth spots in the world rankings are held by Europeans: world record holder Rafael Munoz of Spain (23.21), Steffen Deibler of Germany (23.23) and Evgeny Sedov of Russia (23.28). Flip a coin for this one, because it looks just as close as the women’s race. The winner will be the one who hits the wall with a perfect stroke. A long glide in a 50 fly will put anyone out of contention in a matter of a tenth of a second.
Men’s 50 butterfly medal prediction:
Gold: Ben Proud, Great Britain
Silver Andrey Govorov, Russia
Bronze:Florent Manaudou, France
Previous European championships medal predictions: