June 4th, 2015

Thumbs up from Adam Peaty by Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresseThumbs up from Adam Peaty by Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresse

This Saturday as the Mare Nostrum Tour gets underway in Canet, Adam Peaty will take to his blocks in the 100m breaststroke for the first time since crunching the world record below 58sec at British Championships in April.

The 57.92 global mark with which he stole the show at the London Aquatics Centre stands like a lighthouse on the edge of the seascape of world swimming this season as the single most spectacular moment, the speed of it unlikely to be replicated in the Centre de Natation Arlette Franco this weekend.

Peaty is racing all three breaststroke events and will be up against a Who’s’ Who of breaststroke aces. On the start list beyond the man who followed him home at world-title trials when the world record fell, Britain teammate and Commonwealth 200m champion for Scotland last year, Ross Murdoch, are Olympic champion Cameron Van Der Burgh, of South Africa, and King Frog himself, Kosuke Kitajima, with his four Olympic titles in tow and as mentor to the next wave of Japanese challengers.

Caba Siladji, Giedrius Titenis, Giacomo Perez Dortona and Marco Koch will be among those keen to see the breakthrough swimmer of 2014 in action since his status reached the next level as a world record holder in an Olympic event the years after the Commonwealth crown ahead of Van Der Burgh and the European title, one of four wins in Berlin.

A week after taking on Daniel Gyurta, Germany’s Koch, European 200m champion a touch ahead of Murdoch last year, will find himself in a pincer of Brits knowing that at least one of them won’t make it to the blocks at world titles over 200m. At British trials, Peaty pipped the four-lap aces, the podium all 2:08s and Murdoch, beyond a winter of illness-driven setback, found himself third behind London 2012 Olympic finalist Andrew Willis. Locked out altogether was Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson, who has picked himself up, dusted down and will race in Canet on a team of those bound for world titles plus those with Rio 2016 in mind.

While Kitajima features on a national team of quality, Japan has left at home the depth of ranks of world-class breaststrokers that might benefit from international exposure.  The competition in the British breaststroke ranks will be on show on the 2015 Tour, Craig Benson, Chris Steeples, Calum Tait and Mark Tully all set to test themselves at a time of training.

Those last five words are critical to understanding as events unfold in Canet: many are racing much, some sticking to main events, many not, some avoiding what will be their target come the bigger moment at worlds in August.

The race, the practicing of skills, the win where possible, all play a part. Watch, too, for consistency. Peaty arrives in Canet with an impressive run of speed in his sails this season:

  • 26.88 tops a list of 5 dashes inside 27.2 (just seven men got inside 27.2 in the whole of 2014)
  • 57.92 tops 5 two-lappers inside the minute, a 1:00.01 in the mix, too (in 2014, only seven men got inside the slowest of his 59s efforts so far this season)
  • 2:08.34, a new 200m high, tops six solid 200m swims this year, four of them 2:12 or better (his new best is equal to world No 6 last year)

More consistency of skill, mindset and speed are among the things coach Mel Marshall will be looking for as Peaty puts more meat on the bones of growing experience.

The Brits arrive on tour from a national team camp in Vichy, France, head coach Bill Furniss happy with the way the crew are shaping up for sumer.

“I’m pleased with the camp. We’ve seen a lot of great work by athletes and coaches in what is a fantastic venue here in Vichy. It’s been good to see athletes training with the coaches they will be working with at the World Championships this summer. Those relationships are vital and to be able to develop these before the major event of the year is important.”

One of the key focusses in Vichy has been big-event preparation and recovery. Says Furniss:

“There have been a number of key sessions delivered across the camp aimed at preparation for the World Championships but also looking further ahead towards the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As a team we will now take the learning from this week, together with our team behaviours, and apply these in a competitive environment across two very high-standard events in Canet and Barcelona.

“Several of the big swimming nations will be sending many of their best swimmers and I think these events will offer the highest standard of competition we’ve seen at the Mare Nostrum for many years.”

Very true, quality leading the pace at the helm of every race. Take this lot as an example:

Chad Le Clos - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Chad Le Clos – by Patrick B. Kraemer

  • Men’s medley: Ryan Lochte, Kosuke Hagino, Daiya Seto, Ryosuke Irie, Roberto Pavoni, Laszlo Cseh, Dan Wallace, David Verraszto
  • Men’s butterfly: Chad le Clos, Masato Sakai, Viktor Bromer, Cseh, Louis Croenen, Hagino, Lochte, Medhy Metella, Takuro Fujii, Adam Barrett
  • Women’s breatstsroke: Ruta Meilutyte, Rikke Pedersen, Micah Lawrence, Moniek Nijhuis, Jessica Vall, Sally Hunter
  • Women’s sprint free: Fran Halsall, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Jeanette Ottesen, Femke Heemskerk, Pernille Blume, Therese Alshammar
  • Women’s distance free: Jazmin Carlin, Maria Vilas, Jess Thielmann, Alice Mizzau, all taking on the 1500m
  • Women’s ‘fly: Ottesen, Katherine Savard, Inge Dekker, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Rachael Kelly, Liliana Szilagyi
  • Women’s backstroke: Kirsty Coventry back in international waters alongside Lizzie Simmonds and Co over 200m once more
  • Women’s medley: Katinka Hosszu, Hannah Miley, Aimee Willmott, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, Lara Grangeon
  • Men’s sprints: Andrey Grechin, Sebastiaan Verschuren, Konrad Czerniak, Jérémy Stravius, William Meynard, Clément Mignon, Metella, Ben Proud, Katsumi Nakamura, Matt and Andrew Abood
  • Men’s free: Ryan Cochrane, James Guy, Myles Brown, Nick Grainger, Robbie Renwick, Jay Lelliot, Yuki Kobori, Pal Joensen, Stephen Milne, Mykhaylo Romanchuk, Sergiy Frolov, Sören Meissner
  • Men’s back: Irie, Stravius, Camille Lacourt, Masaki Kaneko, Liam Tancock, Ben Stasiulis, Radoslaw Kawecki, Christian Diener … and Lochte.

Furniss summed it up nicely when he said that all there would face …

“a tough test on the back of a hard week of work against some of the highest profile swimmers in the world”


Source : Swim Vortex