The First Go-Slow Of The Week
Aug 1, 2009 - Craig Lord
And on the seventh day, the 1,500m men rested. Well, not quite - but this was the only event all week that has produced a set of qualification times almost identical to those from Melbourne 2007.
Towards the end of a fast-forward week, the 30-lappers struggled this morning. Was it because the water twixt body and suit was heating up in the sun, wetsuit-style? Was it because they'd all had "an emotional and long week with two hard 800m", as David Davies suggested? Was it because they were conserving energy? Lots of theories around but the answers will only be delivered in the final tomorrow.
One thing was certain: the race was much, much slower than the Beijing evening heats in which it took a 14:49 to get through.
This morning, Sun Yang (CHN) and Olympic champ Oussama Mellouli (TUN) reached the touchpad on the same stroke in the same heat: 14:54.54 to 14:54.56 in favour of Sun on the way to a final tipped to place Grant Hackett's remaining monument in the shade.
The Australian holds the world record at 14:34.56. Mellouli and his shiny suit are at the helm of those who could get there. Third through this morning was Olympic bronze medallist Ryan Cochrane (CAN), on 14:56.56, with Marco Rivera (ESP) the only man to make the final with a best time: he came in with 15:08.48 and goes into his first senior international final on 14:57.47.
The other finalists: Zhang Lin (CHN), Federico Colbertaldo (ITA), David Davies (GBR) and Samuel Pizzetti (ITA), all potential pretenders to the podium.
The 1,500m in Rome is the only event so far (by an ocean) in which qualification for the final is comparable to that it was in Melbourne 2007.