Photo by Pamela Roberts
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 5. THE hopes of the host nation in the men’s 200 freestyle will be fixed on Paul Biedermann as the world record holder and 2009 world champion will be making his return to international racing after illness kept him from qualifying for last year’s world championships.
This could be a redemption meet of sorts for Biedermann, who has failed to reach the same heights he attained in 2009, setting world records in the 200 and 400 freestyles. He’s the 2010 European champion in the event, and comes into the event as the second-fastest European this year behind Yannick Agnel. Because Agnel has not been sidelined by illness or injury – and because he’s the reigning Olympic and world champion – he’s the prohibitive favorite.
This meet will be Agnel’s first championship meet since joining Bob Bowman’s elite squad at North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Anything in the 1:45-low range should signal a positive step forward.
Robbie Renwick of Great Britain and Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev could also be in the medal hunt, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Italy’s Andrea D’Arrigo will be the darkhorse. He had a stellar freshman season at Florida, and could make a major long course breakthrough in Berlin.
Men’s 200 freestyle medal prediction:
Gold: Yannick Agnel, France
Silver: Paul Biedermann, Germany
Bronze: Nikita Lobintsev, Russia
Federica Pellegrini is in jeopardy of losing her title as the European queen of the 200 free, and Sarah Sjostrom is primed to make it happen. Pellegrini will be ready to race in Berlin, looking to not only keep her European title but end 2014 as the fastest in the world. How her time ranks against those at the Pan Pacific championships happening the same week remains to be seen, but it will be one of the great virtual battles of the week.
And don’t forget about Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain. She had a great Commonwealth Games, just missing the gold in the 200 free to Australia’s Emma McKeon. This could be a major upset if O’Connor can get to the wall ahead of Sjostrom and Pellegrini, but the 18-year-old showed no fear at the Commonwealth Games, and will need that attitude against the major stars in Berlin.
Women’s 200 freestyle medal prediction:
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
Silver: Federica Pellegrini, Italy
Bronze: Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Great Britain
Check out our previous medal predictions for the European championships!