Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eamon Sullivan in Beijing: "...Fell into swimming's oldest trap."

I think Sullivan placed 6th in the 50-free at the Beijing Olympics because of the overwhelming talent in the pool not because he looked around to check out where Alain Bernard was.

The fact that every competitor in that final swam a :21 should validate the amount of ability and talent in the pool that day.

However, it does bring up many questions about how the swimmers swam their races in Beijing. Remember Katie Hoff, who didn't want to "break a nail" as Clay Evans noted to this blog; Milord Cavic, who looked up and lost by a 100th-of-a-second to Phelps in the 200 'fly 100-meter 'fly; and even Jason Lezak who looked over at the end of the 4x100 relay at Bernard?

From The Age.com:

Let's get this straight: Sullivan didn't choke. What he did do, however - just like Ian Thorpe in his favourite 200-metre freestyle event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when he was a sure thing beaten by Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband - was fall into swimming's oldest trap.

"You see little kids when they're swimming and their coaches tell them not to look around," Sullivan says, "and they're doing breaststroke and they're in front and [he motions with his head turning like a side-show clown] they look back to see where the others are. I guess you never lose that sort of thing, and when you see someone next to you, that's when instinct tells you to try harder and that's when your technique goes. ..."

[Link]

This is how close the Beijing Olympics, 50-free final went; Hail Cesar:
21.30 - Cesar Cielo
21.45 - Amaury Leveaux
21.49 - Alain Bernard
21.62 - Ashley Callus
21.64 - Ben Wildman-Tobriner
21.65 - Eamon Sullivan
21.67 - Roland Schoeman
21.72 - Stefan Nystrand

14 comments:

Owen said...

That's so ridiculously close. 4th-8th place all was within .1 second. That's crazy.

Chong said...

Tony, you have a great blog, please keep it up. BTW, you wrote: "Milord Cavic, who looked up and lost by a 100th-of-a-second to Phelps in the 200 'fly", I believe it was the 100 fly.

Tony Austin said...

DOH!!!!!!!!!!!! - I got it mixed up with the goggle failure race. I am such a loser. i will fix it now.

Ahelee said...

Something is special about Sullivan... swimming so fast with a beautiful natural body.
I do wish him well and hope he continues.

Tony - you rock! Your blog is a favorite for so many of us - definitely puts a smile on my face most days!

Clay has a blog?
How is it possible the swimming world does not know about this?
:)

Anonymous said...

The article is referring to the 100m race, not the 50m.
I sense that you don't like that Eamon guy very much. However, you are right in that there are many great swimmers out there swimming those two events.
T-Bird.

Anonymous said...

P/S Also, Eamon had said that his goggles got flooded upon diving into the pool for the 50m final. Therefore, there was not much looking around in that event.

And i believe that the 50m free is an event where you just put your head down and...swim.
t-bird

Tony Austin said...

Thank you, I am flattered, Are you sure you reading hard enough? ;-)

This is what Clay sad to this blog on 8/11/08:

Clay Evans: "... Katie Hoff gave away the 400 free with horrible beginner's finish/ touch. She looped down and up touching with almost a completely flat hand like she did not want to break a nail. Meanwhile the Brit lunged forward plunging in a direct STRAIGHT line to the electronic pad making up at least one foot. It was plain as day in the under water shot. I was dumbfounded at that error.

Tony Austin said...

Sheesh! two mistakes in one article. I will edit it and cross out the 50 free. I admire Sullivan's talent and I am sure he is a nice guy. I think he should measure his words more.

Tony Austin said...

I reviewed the article again, he was talking about the 50-free:

also finished sixth in the 50-metre freestyle at Beijing, despite being the world-record holder in that event as well. "There are a lot of times I sit back and think, 'Shit, how different my life would be.' I've still got that burning desire to go back in time and have it over again."

He may not be able to change how he swam in Beijing, but he can change how he swims next time. Let's get this straight: Sullivan didn't choke. What he did do, however - just like Ian Thorpe in his favourite 200-metre freestyle event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when he was a sure thing beaten by Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband - was fall into swimming's oldest trap.

Tony Austin said...

Cielo looks down but I feel you have to look up, that is what makes me swim faster.

Anonymous said...

To correct myself, the article is about Eamon Sullivan. However, the bit about 'fell into swimming's oldest trap' was definitely about him swimming in the 100m.

quote from the LONG article:

Sullivan swam himself into a battle with Bernard, going stroke-for-stroke down the first lap, trying to tire him out. But, as he swam, Sullivan realised it wasn't working. So did his coach Grant Stoelwinder.

"He got caught up in watching Bernard down the first 50 metres when he should have been going," Stoelwinder says. "He got locked into a one-on-one with Bernard, looking at him..."


My point being that since the 50m dash is such a short event that requires only one or two breaths (if at all), it is not so natural for swimmers to 'look around' as compared to 100m where one breaths more.

I do like your biased opinions on things.

t-bird.

Anonymous said...

Kristin Otto was the first swimmer to really look up instead of the traditional looking down swimming style. She was probably so drugged up, regardless of how she position her head or if she fell into swimming's oldest trap, she would have still won those six gold medals.

In the same era, Janet Evans has her head popping up, swinging around above water, then splashes down...but she is really one of a kind.

Looking up or down depends a lot on body shape, style and distance. the kick is more powerful if you look up, but that tends to tire you out more, therefore distance swimmer USUALLY don't look as high up as sprinters. shorter swimmer tends to look lower too.

Tony Austin said...

I am down with that! In regards to my asymmetrical body, I agree 100% on your point of view on head position

maly said...

alain bernard said on french tv after winning the 100 free , his coach had defined a tactic for the final , his coach had remarked after seeing a lot of video of eamon racing , if you were with him at 75 meter , you had a big chance to win because he would tense up. alain went with that tactic following eamon like his shadow until the 75 meters .