Will Tom Shields Leave Pan Pacs With Double Butterfly Gold? (Medal Predictions)

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 12. TODAY’S medal predictions for the Pan Pacific championships focuses on the four butterfly races among men and women in Australia. The four Pan Pac charter nations – Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States – look to dominate the medal podium.

Tom Shields is going into the meet as the only American automatically picked for the team in the 100 and 200 fly, but he’ll have his hands full with a few swimmers looking to supplant him and try to get into the championship final.

Michael Phelps swam faster in the 100 fly prelims than Shields’ winning time in finals at nationals, so I believe Phelps will be the one to beat in Australia. I am surprised that Phelps is swimming the 100 fly faster in 2014 than he did at the 2012 Olympics, but sometimes that’s the nature of the sport. I still believe there’s a 50-point swim in Phelps, but the chilly weather in Australia (high temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit) might keep him from that next week.

Shields needs to keep his momentum going from nationals, because Japan’s butterfly crew will be tough in the 200 fly. Takeshi Matsuda, the reigning 200 fly Olympic bronze medalist, will have a challenge just to get in the final, as countrymen Daiya Seto and Masato Sakai will be looking to get those two championship final spots allowed per country.

A few swimmers in the 1:56 range will help field an impressive final. Tyler Clary (USA), Leonardo de Deus (Brazil), and Grant Irvine (Australia) have the potential to make the fight for medals a wide-open field. Clary has the potential to be faster, and Irvine will be boosted by a home crowd. De Deus is the dark horse, but anything is possible in the final.

As for the 100 fly, the most interesting thing about it will be the fight among the Americans to get into the championship final. Again, only two per country get into the A final and a third can swim in the B final. That means Shields, Phelps, Tim Phillips and perhaps Ryan Lochte will be putting together strong prelim swims and I can’t wait to see how that shakes out on the scoreboard. This could be a case of the B final winner swimming fast enough to get a medal.

After the Americans, the field drops off a bit, with Japan’s Takuro Fujii and Hirofumi Ikebata the only others in the field posting 51-second swims this year. I suspect Chris Wright of Australia might get under 52 as well, but going from 52.16 to 51-low is a big ask for Wright.

Men’s butterfly medal predictions:
Michael Phelps, USA
Silver: Tom Shields, USA
Bronze: Takuro Fujii, Japan

Daiya Seto, Japan
Silver: Tom Shields, USA
Bronze: Tyler Clary, USA

It’s been said many times that the women’s butterfly events for the United States looks very weak, but last week’s nationals shows that the Americans are making a resurgence. In Dana Vollmer’s absence, a few are stepping up to post times that will challenge for medals next week at the Pan Pacific championships and for championship final places in the big 2015 and 2016 meets.

In the 100 fly, Canada’s Katerine Savard will be riding the wave of her Commonwealth Games victory, while Alicia Coutts will be looking to brush aside a subpar Commonwealth Games with a victory at home. Only two swimmers per country are allowed in the A final of any event at the Pan Pacific championships, so Australia’s trio of Coutts, Emma McKeon and Madeline Groves will be battling each other in the heats.

Americans Kendyl Stewart, Claire Donahue and Felicia Lee have the ability to challenge for a medal, but will need to be in the 57-low range.

As for the 200 fly, Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi is well above the rest. Her world-leading time of 2:05.98 is about a second ahead of Groves, her closest competitor. Cammile Adams will need to hope that competing at the Commonwealth Games took some of the edge off the Aussies, but she’ll need to put up a 2:06 on the scoreboard to be in the hunt for a silver medal. She swam a 2:06.75 at worlds last summer, and that could be enough to place second if Groves isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Women’s butterfly medal predictions:
Alicia Coutts, Australia
Silver: Katerine Savard, Canada
Bronze: Emma McKeon, Australia

Natsumi Hoshi, Japan
Silver: Madeline Groves, Australia
Bronze: Cammile Adams, USA

Previous Pan Pacs medal predictions:

Women’s 400 and 800 freestyles


  1. avatar
    David Rieder

    Women’s 100 fly definitely still looking bleak for the U.S. I was hoping for more from Nationals. As for the 200, I don’t feel like Adams needed to prove much. I’d slot her in for silver, and I think the race comes down to her, Gandy, and Hoshi. I’m not totally ready to trust this young group of Australians until I see them develop a track record.

    When I saw these picks, I started wondering about Chad Le Clos and whether he would be at Pan Pacs. Then I found Swimming South Africa’s roster (posted below). No one of much name value. This might be why: “This is a self-funded tour for all Squad Members. The cost of the tour, for each team
    member, will be approximately R30000.00 excluding visas.”


  2. avatar
    Neil Jones

    Just a correction, Katerine Savard is Canadian. And she is my pick to win the 100!

    • avatar
      Jeff Commings

      Thanks, Neil. I had her country correct in the article, but had her wrong in the medal picks. Thanks for that catch! We’ll see if she can replicate that Commonwealth Games swim in Australia.

  3. avatar
    domingos afonso

    Interesting yous comments. I agree with you that the Brazilian swimmer Leonardo de Deus is an Dark horse. However, like you said, everything is possible in the final.
    link the brazilian swimming blog:

  4. avatar

    I think Phelps may well go the 200 fly – its on day 1, after the 200 free (which I think he will do to get a relay qualifying time), and his best is over 2 seconds better than anyone else in the field – he may not swim both at night, since anytime counts for relays for worlds he can post a fast time in the am to ensure he is top 4 (which I think he does easily), then drop the event for the evening and go the 200 fly (since a Worlds qualifying time needs to be swum in the finals) – that clinches a spot on the worlds team, a spot on the 800 free relay, and liely gives the US a gold in an event that would have otherwise been very much at risk. His 200 IM time at Nationals showed he is in better shape than he let on (and I suspect he was not fuly tapered). Plus it grabs a headline on day 1 – something that’s important for a pro swimmer and his endorsement value.

    • avatar
      David Rieder

      I don’t think so, Wahooswimfan. Phelps made it clear when he spoke in Charlotte he had no interest in the 200 fly, and he said the same thing in his pre-meet press conference on Tuesday. Not that he hasn’t been known to change things up on us last minute (see 400 IM in 2010), but I really doubt it. 200 free makes a lot of sense for the relay, so I bet he does that on Wednesday.

  5. avatar

    Can’t see the GIAT going the 200 fly as he hasn’t trained for it (and once I say that he’ll do,it and go 1:52f flat!)

    I don’t think the Japanese and Park’ll kill themselves here. They’ll go thru the motions as their focus’ll be on next month’s Asian Games. Just like I don’t think the Aussies went all- out @ Glasgow or the Brits’ll swim well @ Berlin next week.

    One and done although the Aussies will go al-out against us I am quite sure.

    Hopefully the GOAT Jr, (Ledecky’ll) swim the mile so she can swim it next year @ Kazan unless USS had a hard-and-fast qualifying policy of only Top 2 per event @ Irvine swim same event(s) @ the World Championships ( no se).

    And as a note if history: Anthony Ervin won the 50-100 frees @ the U.S. WCTs in ‘ 01 and then won both @ Fukuoka (World Championships). I don’t believe he won another national title last Sunday so I would say he’s only U.S. male National titlest to win crowns more than a dozen years apart. Phelos won the 200 fly @ the same meet (world-record no less) but husband last title came. @ the London Trials — 11 years apart.

    ‘Course “grandma Dara” swam @ ’92 Olympic a Trials and made the team but I don’t think she won an event and in Y2k she also made Olympic team but didn’t win @ Trials.
    She did vin @ ’08 Trials but she had competed eight years earlier. And when she won @ WCTs a year later (age 42) she reinforced her status as USA’s oldest nationals winner for either gender.

    So, Anthony, you better keep going until Tokyo ( 2020!!!)

  6. avatar

    I think Phelps went 50.8 in London semi-final so he’s not swimming faster than 2012. 51.1 is still impressive given the training he’s done so far.

  7. avatar

    1) Leonardo De Deus BRA
    2) tyler USA
    3) Tom Shiwlds USA