Each day through August 17, Swimming Worldâ€™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 Reaction Time comments section below!
Commentary by David Rieder
CHARLESTON, South Carolina, August 4. FIVE teams from Europe qualified for the final of the menâ€™s medley relay at last yearâ€™s World Championships, and the gold medal in the event ended up going to France as the dominant American team was disqualified. However, with no Camille Lacourt at the meet due to injury, France could shift Jeremy Stravius to backstroke and insert Mehdy Metella on the fly to join breaststroker Giaocomo Perez dâ€™Ortona and one from a stable of freestlyers, most likely Fabien Gilot. Russia, Germany, Italy, and Hungary finished fourth through seventh in Barcelona last year, and all should be in the mix again.
Last year, Russia was forced to use Vlad Morozov on the backstroke leg in the absence of now-countryless Arkady Vyatchanin, but he leaves the free leg in the capable hands of Andrey Grechin. Germany, meanwhile, can benefit from using Steffen Deibler on the fly leg if Paul Biedermann can handle anchor duties. Hendrik Feldwehr provides a big boost to the Germans on the breaststroke leg. The big darkhorse, though, could be Great Britain.
The Brits finished ninth at the World Championships, but the English team of Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty, Adam Barrett, and Adam Brown shocked Australia to win the event at the Commonwealth Games last week in Scotland. Their winning time of 3:31.51 matched the time France swam at the World Championships last year in what ended up winning the gold medal. All but Brown will reunite for Europeans under the Union Jack flag, with Ben Proud likely to take over freestyle duties. Iâ€™m not sure theyâ€™ll swim as fast away from their home soil, but they will be in the conversation for gold.
Menâ€™s 400 medley relay medal predictions
Silver: Great Britain
Like their male counterparts, the English medley relay team put a scare into the Australians at the Commonwealth Games, and they might have won the gold if not for Cate Campbellâ€™s ridiculous anchor split of 51.59. Breakout 200 IM star Siobhan-Marie Oâ€™Connor joined the team to provide a 57.89 fly split, joining Lauren Quigley, Sophie Taylor, and Fran Halsall to tie the British record with a 3:57.03. Georgia Davies will take over for Quigley in Berlin, and that British squad enters Berlin as the seeming favorites, but one team few associate with relays is flying under the radar.
Denmarkâ€™s Mie Neilsen enters the meet with the second-fastest time in the world in the 100 back at 59.36, and she will be followed by 200 breast world record-holder Rikke Moeller Pederson and then world-class sprinters Jeanette Ottesen and Pernille Blume. This team has legitimate potential of finishing as the top squad in the world for 2014, with other countries â€“ including the U.S. with butterfly â€“ all having major holes. Meanwhile, the host Germans could contend for a medal after finishing eighth at the World Championships, while Sarah Sjostrom anchors Swedenâ€™s hopes in this event.
Womenâ€™s 400 medley relay medal predictions
Gold : Denmark
Silver: Great Britain
Check out our previous medal predictions for the European championships!