With the Tokyo Olympics just 184 days away, let the predictions begin.
Women's 100 Free
There are four big names here (best times in parenthesis):
Cate Campbell (52.03) v. Simone Manuel (52.04) v. Sarah Sjostrom (51.71) v. Penny Oleksiak (52.48)
*Simone & Penny are the reigning Olympic Champions
*Simone won the world title in 2017
*Simone won the world title in 2019
Cate Campbell has been quite dominant in her career except seemingly when it comes to the biggest races. Brett Hawke a couple days ago mentioned she made a huge mistake at the 2016 Olympics and won't make it again. I believe the mistake was between her ears -- her two 50's were +3.46 seconds apart -- that's a meltdown.
When you analyze Cate's fastest races, she is all over the place. She's gone 52.03 with a +1.85 differential and she's also gone 52.06 with a +2.28 differential. On the low end she's been 52.12 with a +1.24 (that is crazy crazy crazy).
Nobody has been under 53 more times than her. She's put up relay splits that make your eyeballs pop out of your head. But, she also gets touched out by Simone Manuel all the time.
Some might believe the trend in the 100 Freestyle is to make sure you come home the fastest but there are more than a couple ways to skin a cat. Simone Manuel's fastest 100 Freestyle (52.04) is also her worst differential (+2.42). She was out in 24.81 in that race. Penny Oleksiak's fastest 100 Free (52.48) follows the same pattern: +2.50. Sarah Sjostrom was out (24.83) I believe faster than any female swimmer ever on the way to her World Record (51.71). Though, her differential was spot on with a +2.05, Sjostrom is the most consistent out of the 4 swimmers.
While I sense the American bias, I can't bet against Simone Manuel. She's got the Eye of the Tiger. She won in 2016. She won in 2017. She won in 2019.
Cate Campbell typically goes out fast but maybe it is time to change up her game plan ala her compatriot Kyle Chalmers.
25.0/26.8 is 51.8
Pre Olympic Trials Predictions
1. Simone Manuel 51.98 (24.82 + 27.16) +2.34
2. Sarah Sjostrom 52.04 (24.96 + 27.08) +2.12
3. Cate Campbell 52.06 (24.89 + 27.17) +2.28
Watch Out For
She's 25 and in her prime. She just went her best time last year (52.4). If she wins the Australian bid to swim the 100 Free in Tokyo my predictions will change. She swims big in big meets and there is no meet bigger than the Olympics.
The slender girl from Scottsdale, Arizona redshirted this year at Stanford to focus on the Olympics. She split a mind boggling 51.7 at Pan Pacs in 2018. The secret to her success will be her health. Can see stay healthy to perform at her peak? If so, watch out for her 2nd 50. She might be the best in the field.