ATHENS, Greece, August 17. EACH morning Swiminfo will be posting the heat sheets for the day’s events at the Olympic Games in Athens. Be sure to check them out so you have the best information provided to make your medal predictions! Enjoy Swiminfo’s coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games and be sure to check back frequently to get all the action from Athens!!
Here's how the morning's prelims are shaping up:
Men's 100 Freestyle
Pieter van den Hoogenband swam 46.79 on the Dutch 400 free relay on Sunday night, more than a second ahead of any other rolling start split. He should defend his title here in a breeze. For the minor medals look to the entries from the South African relay champions, Roland Shoeman and Ryk Neethling. Jason Lezak, Alex Popov and Ian Thorpe should be factors.
Pieter the Great, Roland and Alex will be on the podium.
Women's 200 Butterfly
Any question that this is a two woman race? No.
Australia's Petria Thomas and Poland's Otylia Jedrejczak will dominate this one. Thomas won the 100 distance and was on the Aussie winning 4 x 100 free relay; Jedrejczak has won silver in both the 100 fly and the 400 freestyle. They both want this one badly. Each passed on the 200 freestyle (which, it now appears, either might have won) to concentrate on what each sees as her main event. Jedrejczak holds the world record but Thomas' PB is only .23 slower. This is a pick'em.
For bronze you could find Galvez, Kirk, Lee, Nakanishi (the Japanese are swimming almost uniformly well), Risztov or Sandeno who is having a great meet. Another intriguing choice is Germany's Annike Mellhorn, with a PB of 2:06.97 from Fukuoka 2001.
We'll go with Jedrejczak, Thomas, and Nakanishi.
Men's 200 Breaststroke
Hansen will be extremely motivated after his loss and the Kitajima scream next to him; Kitajima will be cautious about his dolphin "boost" off the walls. Advantage Hansen. Medal contenders are Jim Piper of Australia, Ian Edmond of Great Britain, former world record holder Dimitry Komornikov of Russia and USA's inexperienced second entrant, Scott Usher.
Let's go with Hansen, Piper and Usher, and throw in a DQ on Kitajima.
Men's 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay
Thorpe and Hackett gain Australia only a small margin over Phelps and Keller, less than half a second. The US will gain more than that with its remaining legs. Italy appears to be alone in the third position.