Friday, May 13, 2011

Greatest Swim Offs That Never Happened

In light of today's gargantuan swim-off between Cullen Jones and Josh Schneider at the Charlotte Grand Prix, today we'll be looking at epic swim-offs than never happened. There are no rules. (It's like asking who's hotter: Meg Ryan, or Jack Nicholson c.1974?) And if you complain about the logistics of this exercise by pointing out "swim times are swim times, idiot" then you're the same person who ruins Time Travel movies by pointing out plot holes and space time continuum flaws.

Gus' Pick: '09 Michael Phelps vs. '05 Ian Crocker, 100m butterfly. The reasons are simple. Phelps' only "blemish" (if you can call it a blemish (Jesus I'm picky)) during his 2008 Beijing streak-week was his non-world-record-breaking swim in the 100m butterfly. Crocker's 2005 100m butterfly lasted through Phelps' magical 8 Gold medal run, and for that reason, I'd love to see these two suit up and battle out the 100m fly. No lengthy event programs. No full-body suits. Because when you analyze it, '05 Crocker was the only person to beat Phelps at the 2008 Olympics. He just did it 3 years earlier. Prediction: Crocker flies out to an early lead, and he nips Phelps at the finish... only because '05 Crocker knows to put his head down at the finish. 

DeSantis' Pick: Tom Jager vs Matt Biondi: Oh you mean we already saw that literally dozens of times? My bad. Anthony Ervin vs Gary Hall Jr: You might say this literally should have happened. In 2000 Ervin and Hall tied for gold in the 50 free. In the aftermath, there was a lot of "Oh good for Team USA, we're friends, we train together with Mike Bottom, blah blah blah". I don't believe it for a second. These guys were pure sprinters - do you think they really enjoyed the tie? I call BS - unfortunately Ervin retired before the next Olympic games and Gary basically laid low until the next Olympic games, so we never got a totally satisfying rematch. Oh and by the way, I think Ervin smokes Hall and completely changes his legacy- no back-to-back 50 titles for Hall, and just the one individual gold that he shared with Ervin.

Viking's Pick:  '88 Evans vs '09 Pellegrini 400m Freestyle:  Janet Evans' 400m free record was broken a few times during the tech era and the record currently stands over four and a half seconds faster than her 4:03.85 from Seoul with Federica Pellegrini’s 3:59.15 from World Champs in Rome ‘09.  Four seconds makes Janet sound like small beans instead of the big deal she really was.  Some of her records didn’t even have anyone knocking on the door until we started wearing suits with arms, legs and plastic.  If I had a time machine and could set up the ultimate swim-off, I would pit Pellegrini vs. Evans with all things equal.  The suit Janet swam in was essentially a practice suit by today’s standards, even after plastic was banned.  I say we would let them play rock, paper, scissors to decide if it was with 2009 suits or the 1988 antique model and they would get up and rock a 400 free.  My guess is that Janet would win, and if they were in shiny suits she would go about a 3:54.  And then she would want to go out with me because I have a time machine and I wear a helmet with horns and that is just awesome.  By the way, this scenario will be a chapter in my upcoming book “A Completely Made-Up History of Competitive Swimming.”  Reserve your copy today by emailing me at swim


  1. yeah, i considered that one with Bousquet on the anchor. good one.

  2. #1. It would be cool to see all the distance guys that were close to Chris Thompson's 1650 Free NCAA go at it.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but Larsen Jensen, Ous Mellouli, Troyden Prinsloo, Sebastian Rouault, Erik Vendt, Tom Dolan (who swam his 14:29 in the early heats at NCAAs) and have Chris Thompson in there as well. All were 14:26-14:29 so I think that would have been a great race to see.

    #2. It would be cool to see all the international swimmers swim the Olympics in SCY just to see what kind of crazy times we would get.

    --Thorpe in a 200 Free SCY; sub 1:30?
    --Libby Tricket/Britta Steffen in the 100 Free; 45s or better

    The best match up would probably be all the stud 50 guys go at it in a SCY Olympic race.
    -Bousquet, Cielo, Levauex, Bernard, Sullivan, Popov, Hall, Biondi, Jager, Targett, Adrian, etc.

  3. I'd pay a lot of money to see #1, Art. Or just to watch Tom Dolan and Chris Thompson go at it (I believe at the '95 NCAAs Dolan had a mid-race asthma attack in the 1650, which is why he didn't swim as fast as he could?)