Pan Pacific Championships: Picking The Medals in Distance Freestyle

Photo by Griffin Scott

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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 11. LET’S get the medal predictions for Pan Pacs started with three very easy picks in women’s distance freestyles. There is no way Katie Ledecky can lose the 400 or 800 freestyles in Australia. We’re not sure if she will swim the 1500 free, but that seems like a very likely scenario, to give herself the opportunity to swim the race again fully tapered in front of a boisterous crowd and possibly break her two-month-old world record.

Whether or not Ledecky breaks any of her distance world records in Australia, the margin she’ll have between her and second place will be extreme. Right now, New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle feels like a solid lock for second in all three events. Boyle won bronze medals in the 400, 800 and 1500 at last year’s world championships, and had a great Commonwealth Games to give her momentum to grab silver on the Gold Coast. Canadian Brittany MacLean and Australian Jessica Ashwood will battle for bronze in the 800 and 1500, but Bronte Barratt will have the home crowd on its feet if she can secure bronze in the 400 ahead of Cierra Runge, who is now making a statement in distance freestyle.

Women’s distance freestyle medal predictions:
400:
Gold
Katie Ledecky, USA
Silver: Lauren Boyle, New Zealand
Bronze: Bronte Barratt, Australia

800:
Gold:
Katie Ledecky, USA
Silver: Lauren Boyle, New Zealand
Bronze: Brittany MacLean, Canada

1500:
Gold:
Katie Ledecky, USA
Silver: Lauren Boyle, New Zealand
Bronze: Brittany MacLean, Canada

Ryan Cochrane seems like a sure thing when it comes to winning distance events, and that is likely to happen at the Pan Pacific championships in the 800 and 1500 freestyles. The Canadian won both of those events at the 2010 Pan Pacs, and did so quite comfortably over Chad La Tourette both times. La Tourette is retired, and in his place and Connor Jaeger and Michael McBroom. The two won distance freestyle medals at world championships but didn’t post times at nationals last week that would make Cochrane concerned. Jaeger and McBroom will need to swim much closer to the times they posted last year in Barcelona to be competitive.

Cochrane will also be challenged in the 800 and 1500 freestyles by Australian Mack Horton, who improves every times he tapers. If Horton learned pacing lessons swimming with Cochrane at the Commonwealth Games, it could affect the longer races

Kosuke Hagino is the danger in the 400 free. Hagino won silver ahead of Jaeger at worlds, where Cochrane was just a few ticks back in fourth. This could be one of the most epic races of the meet, with these three swimmers battling for medals and the young Aussies challenging as well.

Men’s distance freestyle medal predictions:
400:
Gold:
Kosuke Hagino, Japan
Silver: Ryan Cochrane, Canada
Bronze: David McKeon, Australia

800:
Gold:
Ryan Cochrane, Canada
Silver: Mack Horton, Australia
Bronze: Jordan Harrison, Australia

1500:
Gold:
Ryan Cochrane, Australia
Silver: Mack Horton, Australia
Bronze: Jordan Harrison, Australia

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Wynne

    I definitely think Jaeger or McBroom can beat out Harrison for bronze medals in the 800 and 1500. Jaeger was off his game at Nats and is already 4 seconds quicker than Harrison in the 1500, and McBroom is the defending silver medalist at Worlds after all.

  2. David Rieder

    Ledecky winning all three distance events? I think the only thing that can stop her will be exactly what you suggested, Jeff – if she doesn’t swim the mile because she has so many other events!

    Much more to talk about on the men’s side. I’m much higher on Jaeger than Jeff, mostly because he got 3rd in the 400 and 4th in the 800/1500 at Worlds. He’s much better than he showed at Nationals, like many of the U.S. team. I’d pick him second to Cochrane in the mile, where I think he’ll chase the American record, and he or McBroom will break it by next year, I think. At least one American (maybe two) medals in the 800.

    The 400 could be on the most interesting races of the meet. After the world record in the women’s 400 on Saturday night, it became an ultimate WTF session – a tie in the women’s 100 breast, and big favorites Cordes and Jaeger having horrible swims (neither of which I read too much into). Between Hagino, Jaeger, Cochrane (2-3-4 at Worlds), McKeon, and not to forget Park Tae Hwan… that will rock.

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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