For the past year, Craig Lord has been spreading lying propoganda via his perch atop Swimnews.com (yes, I know Nick Thierry is in charge but Craig produced most of the content). Craig has made many outrageous claims, but now guest writer Cecil Colwin has taken the fight to a new low. In an article appearing yesterday, he makes the following claim about the world championships that took place this summer in Rome:
"At the Rome world championships, many hitherto unknown swimmers, used the shiny suits as virtual implements to set marks that, in the normal course of events, would have needed ten strong men pulling them through the water on a rope, to replicate their recent "world-record-breaking" feats"
I have tremendous respect for the breadth of literature that Colwin is produced. Perhaps that is why it is so shocking for him to make such an ignorant statement. I will forgive the comment about "ten strong men" and a rope, after all this is just for dramatic effect. We all know one person can tow an average swimmer into the wall at speeds faster than the fastest swimmers in the world. However, lets examine the less subjective part of this comment, that "unknown swimmers used the shiny suits" to achieve "world record breaking" times. The following are world record performances from the Rome World Championships:
Men's 100m Free: Cesar Cielo 46.91. Oh you mean the guy who was the fastest scy sprinter before the "suits" and who also finaled in both the 50 and 100 at just 20 years old (very young for a sprinter) at the 2007 world champs. Yeah, no one had heard of him.
Men's 200m Free: Paul Biedermann 1:42.00- Totally right here. I never heard of this guy when he was European Junior Champion, or when he finaled at the Olympics the year before, or when he set the SCM world record in a textile suit earlier in the year. Totally unknown
Men's 400m Free: Ditto, 3:40.07. Need I say more?
Men's 800m Free: Zhang Lin 7:32.12. Totally anonymously got a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in the 400, where the 800 was not contested at the event. Also 22 and male. Completely unexpected that he would drop time at that age.
Men's 50m Back: Liam Tancock 24.04. Had medaled in the two previous world champs. 2008 SCM World Champ in the 100 back. 2006 Commonwealth Games Champ in the 100 back. I would think above any other meets, Cecil would pay attention to the Commonwealth games.
Men's 200m Back: Aaron Peirsol 1:51.92. Aaron who?
Men's 50m Breaststroke: Cameron Van Der Burgh 26.67. 2007 Bronze Medalist at the World Champs in the 50 breaststroke at just 19 years old (i.e well ahead of any other 19 year old 50 breaststrokers at that point).
Men's 100m Breaststroke: Brenton Rickard 58.58. Was a bronze medalist at the 2007 World Champs. 2008 Olympic silver medalist. I dare you to walk into his hometown of Brisbane and see whether he is unknown.
Men's 100 and 200m Fly: Michael Phelps 49.82 and 1:51.51. Managed to dominate the sport for the last two Olympic periods without anyone noticing.
Men's 200 IM: Ryan Lochte 1:54.10. #2 all time performer in the event prior to the meet besides Phelps, who didn't contest this one this summer.
Had enough? Too bad. Lets look at the women:
Women's 50 and 100m free: Britta Steffen 23.73, 52.07. European Champ in 2006. Double gold at the Beijing games despite racing in textile. But she's German, so she was definitely cheating even though East Germany crumbled twenty years ago.
Women's 200 and 400 Free: Federica Pellegrini 1:52.98, 3:59.15. 2004 Silver medalist in the 200 free at barely 16 years old. 2005 Silver medalist. 2008 Gold Medalist in the 200 free. Most importantly, stole Laure Manadou's boyfriend. How could you miss that?
Women's 50m Back: Zhao Jing 27.06. Swam on China's 4x100 medley at the 2008 Olympics as a 17 year old. Set a 2006 continental record in the 50 back (28.50) as just a 15 year old. Totally unbelievable that one of the best junior swimmers in the world panned out this way.
Women's 100m Back: Gemma Spofforth 58.12. Probably one of the least "known" swimmers on this list. Still, was an NCAA champion in 2007 pre "shiny suit".
Women's 200m Back: Kirsty Coventry 2:04.81. I suppose you could have missed her 4 medals at the 2008 Olympics or the three medals from the 2004 games while representing swimming powerhouse Zimbabwe.
Women's 100m Breaststroke: Rebecca Soni 1:04.84 (Since broken by Jessica Hardy). Silver medalist from 2008 and beat the fastest breaststroker of her era (Leisel Jones) in the 200m that summer.
Women's 200m Breaststroke: Annamay Pierse 2:20.12. Also the SCM WR holder from the prior March. You could make an argument for this. But she was 6th in the world in 2007, pre "shiny suits". So its not like she was chopped liver.
Women's 50m Fly: Therese Alshammar. Has won more than 30 medals in international competition (World Champs, Olympics or European Champs). I'm not going to waste time listing them, lets just agree she's been pretty good over the last decade.
Women's 100 Fly: Sarah Sjostrom 56.06. I will forgive her for not having too many international results before 2008 considering she was still 15 when she swam at World Champs this summer. Was 2008 Euro Champ at just 14 years old.
Women's 200m Fly: Jessica Schipper 2:03.41 (Since broken). 2005 World Champ. gold medalist in both the 100 and 200 fly, 2007 World Champ. gold medalist in the 200 fly.
Women's 200 IM: Ariana Kukors 2:06.15. Ok possibly just as unknown as Spofforth. Still, we are talking about the silver medalist at the 2006 Pan Pacs. American swimming fans hve been waiting for her to break out and swim to her ability level for years. She would have represented any other country besides the US in the 200 IM in 2008 and would have likely made the final. She was 11th in the world in this event as a 16 year old in 2005 then posted three straight years in the top ten in one of the IMs. So I'd say she was pretty well established as one of the best IM swimmers in the world.
And thats it, all the world records that were set at the world championships this summer. It makes me sad to see a great like Cecil Colwin say something so incorrect because his words deservedly carry a ton of weight. I really wish Craig (or Nick) would stop trotting out greats like Cecil to bolster their point.