Precisely a year before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, SwimNews put together a form guide for events in Beijing. It was August 2007. A year on, we continue our preview of the Games in Beijing with a look at how the seascape has changed, who is still in the race, who is out and where the medals are likely to go.
The world records are intact at a time when all around the women's 'fly, the book of global standards has been under serious assault since February 2008. That is not to say that there has not been a significant shift on butterfly, despite the relative calm (before the storm, perhaps) that has characterised the efforts of Schipper and Jedrzejczak of late. Consider this: Susie O'Neill's 1996 Olympic crown would now rate at 27th best all-time and the bronze of Petria Thomas in Sydney 2000 would languish in 19th, while Nakanishi's bronze from 2004 fits in the list at 31st best all-time. Her world-leading time this year takes her up to seventh place. Here's a snapshot of the overall numbers at the surface:
100m: 2/10 all-time performers from 2008; 12/30 entries from 2008
200m: 3/10 all-time performers from 2008; 14/30 entries from 2008
The burning questions: who can join Trickett on her journey to cracking De Bruijn's 2000 sizzler in the 100m? Who can join Schipper and Jedrzejczak in a sub 2:06 battle and what will it take for gold? And what would Mary T think of the bodysuit. She might have gone 2:03 back in Brown Deer. Crikey!
And on that note, here's what's in store:
THE BEIJING FORM GUIDE
World Record: 56.61 - Inge de Bruijn (NED), Sydney, 17.9.00
Olympic champion 2004: Petria Thomas (AUS) 57.72
World champion 2007: Libby Lenton (AUS) 57.15
The picture in August 2007:
3 Proven Protagonists From 2007: Lenton; Jessica Schipper (AUS); Coughlin
2 Breakers: Inge Dekker (NED); Jemma Lowe (GBR)
2 Bubbling Under: Rachel Komisarz (USA); Zhou Yafei (CHN)
1 On The Edge: Alena Popchanka (FRA)
Don't forget: Dana Vollmer (USA); Felicty Galvez (AUS); Irina Bespalova (RUS)
All-time top 10, end 2007:
56.61 de Bruijn, Inge NED 2000
57.15 Schipper, Jessicah AUS 2006
57.15 Lenton/Trickett, Lisbeth AUS 2007
57.20 Moravcova, Martina SVK 2002
57.34 Coughlin, Natalie USA 2007
57.36 Thomas, Petria AUS 2004
57.58 Torres, Dara USA 2000
57.59 Thompson, Jenny USA 2000
57.60 Komisarz, Rachel USA 2007
57.82 Dekker, Inge NED 2007
New impact on all-time top 10: Lenton; Coughlin; Dekker
The picture in August 2008:
The current year top 10 is not far shy of being on a par with what was the all-time list just eight months ago. The Games have never witnessed a sub-59sec final, while De Bruijn's bronze in 2004 provided the first sub 58-sec podium. Could Beijing witness a sub-59 qualification fort the final? Or will it take sub-58sec given that the cut takes place in the evening?
The World Top 10, 2008:
56.81 Lenton/Trickett, Lisbeth AUS 2007 57.15
57.31 Schipper, Jessicah AUS 2007 57.24
57.50 Magnuson, Christine USA 2007 58.56
57.60 Galvez, Felicity AUS 2007 58.51
57.78 Lowe, Jemma GBR 2007 58.71
57.92 Komisarz, Rachel USA 2007 57.60
58.03 Breeden, Elaine USA 2007 59.63
58.13 Dekker, Inge NED 2007 57.82
58.13 Veldhuis, Marleen NED 2007 59.08
58.16 Halsall, Francesca GBR 2007 59.33
Danger just outside the top 10: watch for improvers Jeannette Ottesen (DEN) and 15-year-old Sarah Sjostrom (SWE).
The Battle: Trickett (nee Lenton) has taken charge of the sprint 'fly by challenging Inge de Bruijn's 2000 thunderbolt world record. Like the Dutchwoman in 2000, the Australian is now chasing gold in the 50m and 100m free and the 100m butterfly, while she can count on teammates to help her to reach the podium at least a couple more times. Trickett is just 0.20sec away from De Bruijn's best. Schipper is closest but it remains to be seen just what kind of impact a generation of fast-improving teenagers can have, while Dekker is dangerous and Jedrzejczak can never be discounted.
Most consistent: Magnuson - with three times in the top 11
History: The first Olympic crown went Shelly Mann (USA) in 1:11.0 in 1956. The world record holder, Aartje 'Attie' Voorbij (NED), was absent because of a Dutch boycott of the Games in support of Hungary and against the lack of international response to the Soviet invasion. Crippled by polio at the age of six, Mann learned to swim at 10 after doctors advised her parents that exercise in water would help their daughter recover physical strength. By 12, Mann was training under the guidance of coaches Jim Campbell and Stan Tinkham at 6:00am most mornings in a hot hospital pool designed with restorative swimming for patients in mind. By 14 she won the first of her 24 US titles on freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and in relays. A year later, she set her first world records and became Olympic champion at 17 over 100m (1:11.0).
Americans have claimed five Olympic titles (1956; 1960, 1964; 1984, 1996), the GDR on three and Australia two titles. Of the 39 medals on offer since 1956, 15 have gone to Americans, with the GDR claiming eight between 1972 and 1988. The title has never been retained. The USA won the first three titles, all by exactly the same margin 0.9sec. As nations, only the USA and GDR have retained the crown, the last to do so Caren Metschuk in 1980. Of late she has been coaching the likes Thomas Rupprath in Rostock.
Kornelia Ender's 1976 win ? while undoubtedly the result of State Plan 14:25 ? has been written up as a moment of great Olympic history. At 7:48pm, she won the 100 'fly in Montreal, walked off the medal podium at 8:03pm, walked out for the 200m free at 8:08 and at 8:13 took the plunge on her way to a second gold and world record by 8:15. The 27 minutes moment had been practised more than 50 times at home in a flume tank and pool in East Germany, where sports scientists tried to replicate precisely what Ender would have to do on that July 2 in Montreal.
Fastest: 56.61: Inge de Bruijn (NED)
World Record wins: Sharon Stouder (USA), 1964; Mayumi Aoki (JPN), 1972; Kornelia Ender (GDR), 1976; Inge de Bruijn (NED), 2000.
Biggest margin: De Bruijn is the only champion to have won by more than a second, her triumph in 56.61 leaving her 1.36sec ahead of Martina Moravcova (SVK) in 2000.
Closest shave: Amy Van Dyken's 59.13 win in 1996 left her 0.01sec ahead of Liu Limin (CHN), while Angel Martino (USA), back from a doping ban, took brone in 59.23.
Most controversial: There's nothing like drugs to temper the spirit, and the victories of the GDR and medals won by China in the 1990s are all tainted by what we know to be true.
World Record: 2:05.40 - Jessicah Schipper (AUS), Victoria, 17.8.06
Olympic champion: Otylia Jedrzejczak (Poland) 2:06.05
World champion: Jessicah Schipper 2:06.39
The picture in August 2007:
3 Proven Protagonists From 2007: Schipper; Kim Vanderberg (USA); Jedrzejczak
2 Breakers: Kathleen Hersey (USA); Franziska Hentke (GER)
2 Bubbling Under: Audrey Lacroix (CAN); Jiao Liuyang (CHN)
1 On The Edge: Yuko Nakanishi (JPN)
Don't forget: Mary Descenza (USA); Galvez; Bea Boulsevicz (HUN) Emese Kovacs (HUN)
All-time top 10, end 2007:
2:05.40 Schipper, Jessicah AUS 2006
2:05.61 Jedrzejczak, Otylia POL 2005
2:05.81 O'Neill, Susan AUS 2000
2:05.88 Hyman, Misty USA 2000
2:05.96 Meagher, Mary T. USA 1981
2:06.01 Thomas, Petria AUS 2004
2:06.52 Nakanishi, Yuko JPN 2006
2:06.71 Vandenberg, Kim USA 2007
2:06.77 Liu, Limin CHN 1994
2:06.83 Lacroix, Audrey CAN 2007
New impact on all-time top 10: Vandenberg
The picture in August 2008:
It is 27 years since Mary T blew the socks of her crowd at Brown Deer with the first sub-2:06 effort over 200m. The gate she left on the latch was opened by Susie O'Neill in 2000 and battered down by Jedrzejczak and then Schipper. Are they ready to challenge 2:05? They may have to be, for the five women ahead of them on paper this year could just be in a mood to pay homage to the memory of magnificent Meagher.
The World Top 10, 2008:
2:06.38 Nakanishi, Yuko JPN 2007 2:07.65
2:06.59 Mongel, Aurore FRA 2007 2:09.21
2:06.64 Lowe, Jemma GBR 2007 2:09.52
2:06.71 Kovacs, Emese HUN 2007 2:08.55
2:06.75 Breeden, Elaine USA 2007 2:09.68
2:06.82 Schipper, Jessicah AUS 2007 2:06.39
2:07.04 Hoshi, Natsumi JPN 2007 2:10.15
2:07.05 Isakovic, Sara SLO 2007 2:08.69
2:07.12 Jedrzejczak, Otylia POL 2007 2:05.92
2:07.13 Hersey, Kathleen USA 2007 2:07.19
Danger just outside the top 10: anyone of those ranked up to 16th best this year and racing well inside 2:08.
The Battle: Less than a second separates the top 10 this year, with the top five heading fast in the right direction in a top 10 stacked with hungry youngsters with age and enthusiasm, but not experience, on their side. The reigning champion, Jedrzejczak, nestles back in ninth. Don't be fooled - and keep an eye on the turn of speed off the wall at 100m. Take heed, too, of the fact that Schipper's newly coloured suit is unlikely to be waterlogged in the Watercube as it was back at Aussie trials.
Most consistent: not many multiple shows high up in this event, but Lowe has the most entries - 3 - in the top 20
History:The first Olympic crown went to Ada Kok, Dutch legend and one of the biggest personalities of the sport to this day. She arrived at the 1964 Games as world record holder (1:05.1) but Sharon Stouder got the better of her and there was no 200m to go for. Four years on, on October 21, Kok entered the final of the 100m butterfly as world record holder again, on 1:04.5 but emerged with the same time as the bronze medallist (1:06.2) and was awarded fourth. She was not out for the count yet. Three days later, she was third at the half-way turn 1.4sec behind East German Helga Lindner but fought back stroke by stroke and drew level with just three strokes to go before claiming the crown by 0.1 over Lindner, in 2:24.7. So delighted was Kok that at a reception at the Dutch Embassy in Mexico she accepted a bet to go and bounce on the ambassador?s bed, and got caught in the act. The ambassador just smiled. Phew! Americans have claimed four Olympic titles (1972; 1984, 1992; 2000), the GDR three and Australia and Holland one each. Of the 30 medals on offer since 1968, eight have gone to Americans and eight to Australians. The title has never been retained.
Fastest: 2:05.88: Misty Hyman (USA), 2000
World Record wins: Karen Moe (USA), 1972.
Biggest margin: Mary T Meagher (USA), clocked 2:06.90 to win the 1984 title, giving her a 3.66sec advantage over Karen Phillips (AUS).
Closest shave: Innes Geissler beat GDR teammate Sybille Schonrock by 0.01sec in Moscow, 1980.
Most controversial: The GDR doping era colours everything. Not in the same school, but Hyman?s 2000 victory was regarded with raised eyebrows, not only because of the margin of her improvement but also because the swimmer referred in a press conference to the'42 different kind of tablets I have to take like every five minutes'. The team doctor explained that they were amino acids and other non-illegal substances that gave the US its edge and therefore he would not be divulging more details. Hyman?s victory kept Susie O?Neill (AUS) from becoming the first woman to defend a butterfly crown.