Japan Breaststroke Contingent Will Be Hard To Beat At Pan Pacs (Medal Predictions)

Photo Courtesy: Tobiuo Japan

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PHOENIX, Arizona, August 16. KEVIN Cordes was primed to take last year’s world championships by storm after his blazing performances at the world championships a couple of weeks earlier. But the short course yards American record holder was unable to realize that promise, leaving Barcelona with no medals.

Let’s hope Cordes has learned the lessons from last year and will equal or improve on his performances from Irvine at the Pan Pacific championships. He’ll need to swim as fast as he did in Irvine to win a medal, as the breaststroke races will be the closest in the meet.

In the 100 breaststroke, Cordes comes in as the fastest swimmer among the Commonwealth countries with Christian Sprenger’s withdrawal at 59.83. Tied for eighth in the world are American Cody Miller, Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki and Brazil’s Felipe Silva with matching times of 59.91. Also in the mix are Nic Fink of the United States, New Zealander Glenn Snyders and Brazilian Joao Gomes. It’s likely that the top eight will be separated by just a few tenths.

The 100 breast is almost too close to call, but if Cordes can replicate his 2:07.86 from nationals, he’ll be a clear favorite for gold. Koseki’s best time of the season is just five tenths off, but the key to the race will be how Cordes swims. If he can pace his 200 a little better, we might see him break Eric Shanteau’s American record – or push Akihiro Yamaguchi’s world record. Another close battle could shape up between Fink and Kazuki Kohinata, as they are just hundredths apart on their best time of the year.

Men’s breaststroke medal predictions:
100:
Gold:
Kevin Cordes, USA
Silver: Yasuhiro Koseki, Japan
Bronze: Felipe Silva, Brazil

200:
Gold:
Kevin Cordes, USA
Silver: Yasuhiro Koseki, Japan
Bronze: Nic Fink, USA

Here’s something I didn’t think I would write: Micah Lawrence could sweep the breaststrokes at the Pan Pacific championships. Lawrence tied with Jessica Hardy for gold at nationals, and the two go in as USA’s best chance to beat the Japanese duo of Kanako Watanabe and Satomi Suzuki. Hardy was 1:05.52 at the world championships last year, and that’s faster than Watanabe has swum this year. I believe Hardy is capable of a sub-1:06 this year, but can she drop a full second from her winning time from nationals? Lawrence will need a major drop from her Irvine swim as well, but Japan looks like they are in position for a 1-2 sweep in the sprint breaststroke.

As for the 200 breast, Lawrence will have to post the best swim of her life to get gold. As the bronze medalist from last year’s worlds, Lawrence would seem like the easy gold medal choice, but once again, Japan is looking like serious contenders. Watanabe will be joined by Rie Kaneto in this race, and the pair’s 2:21s from the Japanese nationals puts them second and third in the world. Lawrence “only” went 2:23 at nationals, but I believe another week of rest will give her the ability to challenge the Japanese. With those three separating themselves from the pack, no one else is in the hunt for a medal.

Women’s breaststroke medal predictions:
100:
Gold:
Satomi Suzuki, Japan
Silver: Kanako Watanabe, Japan
Bronze: Jessica Hardy, USA

200:
Gold:
Micah Lawrence, USA
Silver: Kanako Watanabe, Japan
Bronze: Rie Kaneto, Japan

Previous Pan Pacs medal predictions:

400 and 800 freestyle

100 and 200 butterfly

200 and 400 individual medley

100 and 200 backstroke

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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