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Day 1 of the Swimming World Championships

July 26, 2009

Ever have one of those days where you wake up and have a very specific goal in mind for the day, and then it seems like everything in the world begins to conspire in an effort to completely derail you? Boy oh boy, am I having one of those days. The goal I had in mind was very simple — watch and liveblog Day 1 of the FINA World Championships for Swimming. I caught only recaps of Diving and ignored water polo and synchro, but I was excited for Swimming and bringing you recaps and liveblogs of all the amazingness going on in Rome right now.

4 hours after NBC’s coverage for the day ended, I am only now beginning this liveblog, and I apologize for the hefty delay. It’s just been one of those days, man.

Before I begin, just a reminder that the only days after today that NBC will be covering of the Swimming World Championships this week, are this coming Saturday and Sunday, starting at 12 noon, EST. Universal Sports, however, has live feeds coming out of Rome every day, and if you can’t catch them live (or if you have the crappiest internet on the planet, like I do), they have video of every event since the Worlds began last Friday. Here’s the link for the site.

Okay, hopefully without any further interruptions, let’s get this party staaaaarted!

Before the races begin, there are some clips of Michael Phelps from the Beijing Olympics last year, and I get all gooey over the gorgeous Watercube, wishing  had been there. And now it’s a clip of Garrett Weber-Gale molesting Milky after the relay. Remember that?! Still hilarious. Oh good, this broadcast is brought to us by Subway. I could go for a nice foot-long right now. Where’s that cutie Nathan Adrian? omg omg omg ok jk.

The first event is the Women’s 100m Butterfly First Semifinal. Lane assignments:

  1. Daynara De Paula (Brazil)
  2. Jiao Liuyang (China)
  3. Jeanette Ottesen (Denmark)
  4. Dana Vollmer (US)
  5. Zhou Yafei (China)
  6. Aurore Mongel (France)
  7. Marleen Veldhuis (Netherlands)
  8. Gabriella Silva (Brazil)

The announcers are talking about how this is a bounce-back year for Vollmer, who missed making the Olympic team last year. The other announcer mentions that she’ll have no problem moving on to the finals in this event. The other athlete to watch in this race is Marleen Veldhuis. The ladies get into the water and apparently the oldest world record on the books is in jeopardy in this race. Vollmer is in the lead but she doesn’t look like she’s gonna beat the record. Vollmer touches first but misses the record by one second.

Now that the new swimsuits are officially illegal for all races following the World Championships, I think a lot of the records made over the past 6 months are so are gonna hold for a long time.

In any case, results:

  1. Dana Vollmer
  2. Jiao Liuyang
  3. Aurore Mongel
  4. Gabriella Silva

Veldhuis tied for 5th with China’s Zhou Yafei. See, that’s what happens when the announcers hype you up. Prime example: KATIE HOFF.

Next up is the Second Semifinal and here are the lane assignments:

  1. Ellen Gandy (Great Britain)
  2. Felicity Galvez (Australia)
  3. Christine Magnusun (US)
  4. Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden)
  5. Jessicah Schipper (AUS)
  6. Ingvild Snildal (Norway)
  7. Aniika Mehlhorn (Germany)
  8. Yuka Kato (Japan)

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden is being heralded as the girl to watch in this race. Apparently she’s only 15 years old and won the European Championships. That’s pretty hardcore. The buzzer goes off, ladies go flying, and Sjostrom seems to be in the lead thus far. Sjostrom and Schipper are just behind the world record, and Sjostrom sneaks under and hits the wall, breaking the record! She is exciiiiited, and that’s really cute. Magnuson doesn’t make it to the finals. Oh well. Standings!

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (WR)
  2. Jessicah Schipper
  3. Ingvild Snildal
  4. Christine Magnuson

So the eight women moving on to tomorrow’s finals are: Sarah Sjostrom, Jessicah Schipper, Dana Vollmer, Ingvild Snildal, Jiao Liuyang, Aurore Mongel, Gabriella Silva, Zhou Yafei, and Marleen Veldhuis.

The Men’s 400M Freestyle Final is up next, and I managed to get spoiled to this one, I think. Dang. Lane assignments:

  1. Ryan Cochrane (Canada)
  2. Photobomber Extraordinaire Peter Vanderkaay (US)
  3. Ous Mellouli, aka the Tunisian hottie who won the 1500M Free last year in Beijing. 1500M, dude!
  4. Paul Biedermann (Germany)
  5. Zhang Lin (China)
  6. Mads Glaesner (Denmark)
  7. David Davies (GBR)
  8. Gergo Kis (Hungary)

I love how I have to pause this every five seconds to make sure I got the names and countries right. Oy. The men are in the water! 400M’s are so long, so let’s sit back and relax for a bit. I kinda like 200M’s the best. Who cares? You’re not here to read about my race length preferences. ANYWAY.  All the men seem to be a good length behind the world record, and thus far, it seems like Ous Melloili is in the lead, but the camera angle is so awkward that I’m not really sure. Oh, Cochrane has the lead, actually, with Mellouli inching ahead of him! Vanderkaay doesn’t look like he’s gonna make it thus far, but there’s still time. They’re at the 300M and Mellouli is still ahead. Cochrane seems to have fallen off the radar! Biedermann is in second, Lin in third, and UHOH Biedermann gets ahead of Mellouli! He’s close to the record! ACK HE BEAT THE RECORD HOLY CRAP. The two oldest Swimming records broken today in Rome, DANG.  Biedermann beat the record by 1/100th of a second. Standings!

  1. Paul Biedermann (WR)
  2. Ous Mellouli
  3. Zhang Lin

Aw, Peter Vanderkaay. He came in 4th. I don’t know what happened, but better luck next time, homie. Go bomb some more pictures to make yourself feel better. Apparently the record Biedermann just beat was set in 2002 by — get this — the Australian Thorpedo, Ian Thorpe! Hilariousssss. I miss him. Why do Aussie hotties have to retire? Grant Hackett, I’m lookin’ at you, mister banker.

Oh, NBC is hosting a poll. Whose World Record is Most Likely to Fall in Rome? Lemme put in a poll and see. Actually, WordPress does not want to host a poll, apparently. Greeeeat. Anyway, the options are A. Eamon Sullivan (AUS) 100M Free, B. Aaron Peirsol (USA) 200M Back, C. Michael Phelps (USA) 100M Fly, and D. Grant Hackett (AUS) 1500M Free. Soooo many records have already been broken this year, it’s hard to think any one of those wouldn’t fall this week in Rome. I think I’ll go with A, Eamon Sullivan’s record. Just cos. Whose record do you think will fall?! Leave comments with your choice!

AHA I figured out the poll.

AAAAND wonderful, my lappy wire just broke. Brb. Alright. Back in business. That took way, way, way longer than I wanted it to. The next race is the Women’s 200M Individual Medley First Semifinal. Lanes:

  1. Tomoyo Fukuda (Japan)
  2. Evelyn Verraszto (Hungary)
  3. Julie Hjorth-Hansen (Denmark)
  4. Katinka Hosszu (Hungary)
  5. Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe)
  6. Emily Seebohm (GBR)
  7. Joanna Maranhan-Melo (Brazil)
  8. Li Jiaxing (China)

Kirsty Coventry, of course, is the athlete to watch in this race. Assuming she and Stephanie Rice (who is swimming in the next Semifinal) both make it to the finals, it’s gonna be a helluva race to watch. Out of the two of them, I don’t really have a favorite — I like them both a lot.

The race starts, and the butterfly is the starting stroke. The announcers are saying that this isn’t Coventry‘s best stroke but that the backstroke and the freestyle are really strong for her. So far, she’s in seventh pllace, but most of the ladies are all around the same place so there’s still time for her to pull up. Evelyn Verraszto has the lead as they inch up to the 150.  Coventry is pulling up for the last 50, but Hjorth-Hansen has the lead. Hjorth-Hansen with the impossible name to Liveblog hits the wall first, and gets a Danish national record, while Coventry and Verraszto both tie for second. Standings!

  • Julie Hjorth-Hansen
  • Kirsty Coventry
  • Evelyn Verraszto
  • Katinka Hosszu

Women’s 200M IM Semifinal 2 is up next, and they’re showing clips from last year of Rice and Coventry’s infamous rivalry. Kirsty Coventry’s accent always makes me laugh. She sounds like a California girl. Wikipedia says she’s born and raised in Zimbabwe, although she attended and swam for Auburn University in Alabama. Weird. Moving on! Lane assignments for the Second Semifinal:

  1. Francesca Segat (Italy)
  2. Camille Muffat (France)
  3. Hannah Miley (GBR)
  4. Ariana Kukors (US)
  5. Stephanie Rice (AUS)
  6. Julia Smit (US)
  7. Liu Jing (China)
  8. Daria Belyakina (Russia)

Stephanie Rice isn’t wearing her signature green earrings (at least not that I can see), but she is sporting some hot pink nailpolish, which I can totally appreciate. I think half the reason I like her is cos she knows how to accessorize. Yep. Hannah Miley is in this race, aka the girl who constantly reminds everyone of Miley Cyrus’ Hannah Montana. Poor thing. Maybe that’s just me? I don’t know, I know we mentioned it a few times last year. Anyway!

Kukors is kind of up-and-coming, isn’t she? She wasn’t at Beijing so I’m guessing she’s the girl to watch in this race, but if she makes it to the Final she’s gonna have some heavy, heavy competition. Anyway, the buzzer goes off and the women go in. As of the 50m, Rice seems to be in the lead, but not by much. Kukors pulls ahead of her during the backstroke. They’re both ahead of the current world record, and now they turn for the 150 and Kukors is actually way ahead, wow. Rice is way in second. Kukors is WAY ahead of the world record and she’s stealing it away from Rice. Dang, Rice didn’t even break the existing record. Way to go, Ariana! This is her first world record. Awww.

Stephanie makes it a point to reach over and congratulate and hug Ariana, which is sweet, although the announcers are being CYNICAL by saying it was a fake smile. Pshhhh. Here are the results:

  1. Ariana Kukors (WR)
  2. Stephanie Rice
  3. Hannah Miley
  4. Camille Muffat

Moving on to the finals are the following ladies: Ariana Kukors, Stephanie Rice, Hannah Miley, Julia Hjorth-Hansen, Evelyn Verraszto, Kirsty Coventry, Katinka Hosszu, Camille Muffat, and Julia Smit.

The Men’s 50M Butterfly is next. It’s a semifinal, but I just realized that I’m not even half finished with this liveblog and it’s already SO long, so I’m gonna skip the semi’s and just tell you who’s moving on to the finals: Rafael Munoz (SP), Milorad Cavic (Serbia) [you might remember Cabbage as the guy who ALMOST beat Milky last year during the 100m Fly. He’s from California. Random!], Nicholas Santos (Brazil), Duje Draganja (Croatia), Matthew Targett (GBR), Albert Subirats (Venezuela), Jason Dunford (Kenya), Jakob Sciøtt Andkjær (Denmark), Roland Schoeman (South Africa).

Clips of Milky and the boyz from Beijing. They’re going through all eight of his golds, actually. Dang. I skip ahead cos we’ve all seen that 234823948 times.

Okay, I’m at the half-point of the broadcast and I have genuinely no idea which event is up next, but the ladies are filing out, and they cut to a shot of a very annoyed looking Federica Pellegrini. AH okay, it’s the Women’s 400M Freestyle Final. Lanes!:

  1. Lotte Friis (Denmark)
  2. Camelia Potec (Romania)
  3. Joanne Jackson (GBR)
  4. Federica Pellegrini (ITA)
  5. Allison Schmitt (US)
  6. Coralie Balmy (France)
  7. Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne (France)
  8. Rebecca Adlington (GBR)

Let’s do this. There are a lot of colorful suits in this race. Someone is wearing bright pink, I think. Another is wearing orange. I love that this is what I choose to comment on. Nice work, Celisse. Anyway, so far it looks like Joanne Jackson is in first, and literally 2 seconds after I say that, Pellegrini overtakes her at the 100m. At the 150, Pellegrini is still in the lead and Jackson is only a tiny bit behind her. Apparently Allison Schmitt is in third but I can’t even see her.  Oh wait, Adlington is in third, I believe. Schmitt is in 7th, dang. Pellegrini and Jackson are almost neck and neck, although Pellegrini is slightly more ahead. They’re at the 250 now and Jackson is falling back, and Pellegrini is just under the world record pace. Adlington is still in 3rd with Schmitt in 4th, and at the 350, Pellegrini is still way ahead, and shes above the world record! She hits the wall and everyone basically FREAKS OUT. Wowwww. Aww, she sits on the lane line and waves to her country and they freak out, and it’s really sweet. Results:

  1. Federica Pellegrini (WR)
  2. Joanne Jackson
  3. Rebecca Adlington

Someone needs to explain the lane assignments to me, cos you very rarely see someone get a medal whos on one of the end lanes. I read about how they’re assigned, but I didn’t quite understand, or I don’t remember, or I dunno. Either way, that was a great race.

More semifinals coming up, so I’ll skip that and let you know who’s gonna be swimming the Men’s 100M Breaststroke Final. For the record, one of the semi-finalists is Giedrius Titenis, which is as epic a name as Rexford Tullius. Just so you know. Anyhow: Eric Shanteau (US), Cameron Van Der Burgh (South Africa), Hendrik Feldwehr (Germany), Brenton Rickard (AUS), Igor Borysik (Ukraine), Giedrius Titenis (Lithuania), Hugues Duboscq (France), Henrique Barbosa (Brazil).

And now comes the part of the races where I get really tired of liveblogging cos sitting here for 2+ hours and constantly pausing and FF and RW is killin’ me, maaaaanz. Like I said during Nationals, I’m way more used to liveblogging the Olympics, where there’s 23893209 other events going on in between each Swimming event I’d liveblog. Sheesh!

Up next is the Women’s 4x100M Freestyle Relay Final. I love relays, they’re probably my favorite, since each swimmer is different so from one swimmer to the next, the whole game can change. Here are the lanes:

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Australia
  4. Germany
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Great Britain
  8. Hungary

Dara Torres is gonna be swimming second for the US, after she just recently had a crazy knee surgery that she’s hoping will carry her through the rest of the week. One of the announcers said something like: “You have to have surgeries like that when you’re 42,” and he immediately shut up as if it was kind of a shitty thing to say, cos it was a shitty thing to say.  So far, Australia and Germany is neck and neck for the lead, with the US waaaay behind. Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands are all way ahead of world record pace. The Netherlands are ahead of everyone, and the US is way behind. Like, WAY behind. UHOH it looks like Germany is sneaking up to the Netherlands and they are sooo close. Germany pulls ahead! Netherlands gets ahead in the last few feet! More world records. Ladies screaming. Dara does not look happy. Alas. Standings!

  1. Netherlands (WR)
  2. Germany
  3. Australia

With the sad, sad US team coming in 4th. Oh well.

The Men’s 4x100M Freestyle Relay Final is up next and they’re talking about last year’s show down with those jerkfaced Frenchies. That was such an amazing race, guys. Nothing pisses off a bunch of Americans like a bunch of arrogant French guys talkin’ smack. That was, 100%, my favorite moment of the Beijing games, with Lezak coming back from way into 2nd place and taking away the Gold. Amaaazing. Also the Milky molestation by Weber-Gale, of course.

In any case, Milky is making his World Championships debut here in Rome tonight in this event, so it’s guaranteed to be an amazing one. The men are coming out and OOH I see Nathan Adrian standing behind Lochte, while Michael Phelps wipes down the block and gets ready to start the team. Who’s the 4th man? I can’t see him. OH hahaha it’s Matt Grevers. SUP, KIM?! ahahaha. Right next to the US is the French team again, and there’s that crapfaced Alain Bernard, who will be swimming 2nd for his team. Here are the lane assignments:

  1. Australia
  2. Italy
  3. Great Britain
  4. Brazil
  5. France
  6. USA
  7. South Africa
  8. Russia

To be honest, I THINK I’m spoiled for this race, but I closed the window so fast that I’m not sure. We’ll see. Oh God, the buzzer goes off and the men legitimately FLY into the pool. As of the first 100M, Phelps was 3rd, and Lochte is swimming second for the US.  The US is still third behind Brazil in first and France in second. Oh maaaan! France is in the lead as of the 250! Matt Grevers is pulling a little ahead! THE US IS CLOSING IN. Nathan Adrian is swimming anchor and he’s pulling ahead!  AGH OH MY GOD HE PULLS WAY AHEAD AND HE TAKES IT


I love how I managed to use minimal caps UNTIL this friggen event HOLY GUAC. AW, DANG, I CAN’T STOP SMILING. I love the US Men’s Swimming Team, guys. Results:

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. France rofl.

And that was the last event of the night and I get up off this compy and go get some real life stuff done. I’ll be back tonight with some pictures of today’s events. Have a good evening!

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