Photo by Pia Ellegaard Mortensen
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 comments section below!
Commentary by Jeff Commings
IRVINE, California, August 9. AS close as the womenâ€™s 100 backstroke field looks for the European championships, the race for gold in the 50-meter version will be just as intense.
Georgia Davies is hot off her gold medal in the 50 back at the Commonwealth Games, and will likely need to go faster than the 27.56 she posted in Glasgow to secure a win. Mie Nielsen is likely going to put up a time faster than her 27.76 from earlier this year as well. Also swimming under 28 seconds so far in 2014 among European swimmers is Belarusian Aliaksandra Herasimenia with a 27.96.
The 50 back final comes two days after the 100 back final, and the result of the longer sprint backstroke will likely affect the outcome of the splash-and-dash. I picked Nielsen to take this event, and the excitement could carry over to another gold medal.
Womenâ€™s 50 backstroke medal predictions:
Gold: Mie Nielsen, Denmark
Silver: Georgia Davies, Great Britain
Bronze: Aliaksandra Herasimenia, Belarus
With Camille Lacourt out of the European championships, the menâ€™s 50 back field will be without the reigning world champion. Lacourt posted a world-leading 24.37 at French nationals before sustaining his hip injury, leaving the door open for Vlad Morozov to take a non-freestyle title. Morozov is second in the world with his 24.52, though Italyâ€™s Niccolo Bonacchi is right behind with a 24.65. The only thing affecting Morozov is the fact that the 100 free semifinal takes place earlier in the same session as the 50 back final, but I imagine Morozov wonâ€™t need to put forth 100 percent of his effort in the 100 free semis.
If Jeremy Stravius of France races the 50 back, heâ€™ll be in the mix as well. Two other Russians, Nikita Ulyanov and Sergey Fesikov, also posted swims under 25 seconds this year, but only two per country are allowed to swim in finals.
Menâ€™s 50 backstroke medal predictions:
Gold: Vlad Morozov, Russia
Silver: Jeremy Stravius, France
Bronze: Niccolo Bonacchi, Italy