Photo by Griffin Scott
Editorial coverage for the Pan Pacific Championships is proudly sponsored by Master Spas!
Each day through August 19 (US), Swimming World will provide medal predictions for the Pan Pacific championships. We invite you to offer your thoughts on who is in line to win medals in the comments section!
Commentary by Jeff Commings
PHOENIX, Arizona, August 13. JUST as it was at the USA Swimming nationals, the men’s 200 individual medley will fall on the last day of the competition at the Pan Pacific championships. It will be one of the most intense races of the meet, which is a common way to describe a 200 IM final that will likely feature Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.
The two are likely to be the headliners of a loaded field that will also feature world leader Kosuke Hagino of Japan and perennial threat Thiago Pereira of Brazil. Hagino and Pereira were the silver and bronze medalists, respectively, at last year’s world championships in the 200 IM, and will be looking to take down the American duo. I feel Lochte and Phelps have a faster swim in them than the 1:56-low they posted in Irvine, but will it be enough to get one of them on the top of the podium?
Many believe the Japanese will not be fully rested as they prepare for the Asian Games, which takes place two weeks later. I can’t imagine why Hagino and others won’t be fully tapered to have the ability to win multiple gold medals. This is just one event in which Hagino is a gold medal threat, and if he’s not at his best, it would be a surprise. If he can replicate that amazing 1:55.38 from the April nationals, he is in position to steal gold.
Pereira will take the race out hard and will have to hold off everyone if he wants to get a medal this year after placing third to Lochte in the 2010 Pan Pacs. I also see Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Daniel Tranter of Australia in the hunt, but they’ll need to be in the lead pack after backstroke to stay in contention.
As for the 400 IM, this will be a rematch of the great final we saw at world championships. The top fiive finishers from that race are likely going to swim in Australia, so it will be exciting to see if the medals in Australia match up with what took place in Barcelona. World champion Daiya Seto and Hagino will be Japan’s representatives, while Chase Kalisz has been hungry for revenge after getting silver to Seto last year. Pereira got bronze after Hagino faded badly to fourth. Kalisz has shown the most improvement this year in the event, but Japan’s dynamic duo will be tough to beat. Tyler Clary was fourth last year and will need to be a bit faster than his 4:09 from nationals to get a medal.
Men’s individual medley predictions:
Gold: Ryan Lochte, USA
Silver: Kosuke Hagino, Japan
Bronze: Michael Phelps, USA
Gold: Chase Kalisz, USA
Silver: Daiya Seto, Japan
Bronze: Kosuke Hagino, Japan
Elizabeth Beisel won her first international 400 IM at the 2010 Pan Pacific championships, and all signs point to a repeat for the 21-year-old. She’s a full three seconds ahead of the rest of the field, and I sense there’s a 4:31 in the cards for her. The key will be swimming her own race, which this very seasoned veteran knows how to do well.
If anyone threatens Beisel for gold, it would be one of the biggest upsets of the meet. Maya DiRado should get on the podium, and could be a part of an American 1-2 sweep. But Japan’s Miho Takahashi stands in the way. I don’t sense anyone else making a serious challenge for medals, but the 400 IM can be such a fickle event that if one of your strokes is off on the day, it could mean the difference between second and fourth.
Alicia Coutts will need to bounce back in a big way if Australia is to win gold in the women’s 200 IM. Coutts will have to post a sub-2:10 if she wants to beat American Melanie Margalis, who has now become the fastest in the event after hiding in the shadows for a few years. Margalis could be motivated to break 2:09 if Coutts gives her the pace to do so. I suspect DiRado will be the second American in the field, and is on the cusp of a 2:09 as well.
Kanako Watanabe of Japan could be in the hunt, as could 2010 champion Emily Seebohm, who broke 2:10 for the first time on the way to winning gold four year ago.
Women’s individual medley predictions:
Gold Alicia Coutts, Australia
Silver: Melanie Margalis, USA
Bronze: Maya DiRado, USA
Gold: Elizabeth Beisel, USA
Silver: Maya DiRado, USA
Bronze: Miho Takahashi, Japan
Previous Pan Pacs medal predictions: