Selasa, 05 Juli 2011

FINA World Championship Podium Predictions: Women's Edition

Column by John Lohn, Swimming World senior writer 

BASKING RIDGE, New Jersey, July 4. WITH less than three weeks separating us from the start of the World Championships in Shanghai, we begin our predictions for the competition with a look at the women's events. In two weeks, we'll provide picks for the men's events. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. 

50 Freestyle 

Gold: Ranomi Kromowidjojo 
Silver: Britta Steffen 
Bronze: Therese Alshammar 
**The way the Dutchwoman has been performing this year prevented my selection of the reigning Olympic titlist. 

100 Freestyle 
Gold: Femke Heemskerk 
Silver: Britta Steffen 
Bronze: Fran Halsall 
**Yep, another Dutch pick in a sprint-freestyle event, with Britta Steffen earning her second silver medal. 

200 Freestyle 
Gold: Federica Pellegrini 
Silver: Kylie Palmer 
Bronze: Allison Schmitt 
**The way Palmer looks heading into Shanghai, she made me pause for a second before going with the incumbent. 

400 Freestyle 
Gold: Rebecca Adlington 
Silver: Federica Pellegrini 
Bronze: Camille Muffat 
**This event should provide one of the finest duels of the women's competition. Expect Chloe Sutton to make a push for a podium position. 

800 Freestyle 
Gold: Rebecca Adlington 
Silver: Chloe Sutton 
Bronze: Kate Ziegler 
**The pick of Ziegler sneaking in for the bronze medal is a hunch that she'll ratchet it up for her first World Champs since 2007. 

1500 Freestyle 
Gold: Chloe Sutton 
Silver: Lotte Friis 
Bronze: Kate Ziegler 
**The longer the race, the better for Sutton. Not only is she an extreme talent, she's one of the more likable people in the sport. Everything about Sutton oozes a feel-good sense. 

50 Backstroke 
Gold: Aya Terakawa 
Silver: Anastasia Zueva 
Bronze: Gao Chang 
**Not going to lie. I'm not a fan at all of the 50-meter stroke events. My preference sits with the Olympic program. 

100 Backstroke 
Gold: Aya Terakawa 
Silver: Natalie Coughlin 
Bronze: Anastasia Zueva 
**Terakawa put down the world's top time of the year in April, but Coughlin has the experience and it wouldn't be a surprise if the two-time Olympic champ ruled. 

200 Backstroke 
Gold: Kirsty Coventry 
Silver: Elizabeth Beisel 
Bronze: Belinda Hocking 
**Coventry hasn't done much this year, but history suggests she'll rise up. 

50 Breaststroke 
Gold: Rebecca Soni 
Silver: Yulia Efimova 
Bronze: Leisel Jones 
**This event will be the toughest for Soni in her pursuit of a breaststroke sweep. 

100 Breaststroke 
Gold: Rebecca Soni 
Silver: Leisel Jones 
Bronze: Yulia Efimova 
**Looking for Soni to go 1:04 and reaffirm her standing over Jones. 

200 Breaststroke 
Gold: Rebecca Soni 
Silver: Yulia Efimova 
Bronze: Amanda Beard 
**There was a real urge to pick Amanda Beard for the bronze-medal slot, so I went with it. 

50 Butterfly 
Gold: Therese Alshammar 
Silver: Sarah Sjostrom 
Bronze: Marieke Guehrer 
**The veteran Alshammar has long been the class of this event. 

100 Butterfly 
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom 
Silver: Dana Vollmer 
Bronze: Alicia Coutts 
**With her home country behind her, Liu Zige is a strong pick for medal in her weaker butterfly event. 

200 Butterfly 
Gold: Liu Zige 
Silver: Jiao Liuyang 
Bronze: Kathleen Hersey 
**Another hunch pick with Hersey in the bronze position. 

200 Individual Medley 
Gold: Ariana Kukors 
Silver: Stephanie Rice 
Bronze: Ye Shiwen 
**Alicia Coutts would have been a medal pick, but her 100 fly final earlier in the night will take some out of the Australian. 

400 Individual Medley 
Gold: Stephanie Rice 
Silver: Elizabeth Beisel 
Bronze: Li Xuanxu 
**Had a real tough time picking what is a jammed-up event. 

400 Freestyle Relay 
Gold: Netherlands 
Silver: United States 
Bronze: Australia 
**This was a fairly easy selection given the way the Dutch have looked this year. 

800 Freestyle Relay 
Gold: Australia 
Silver: United States 
Bronze: China 
**The Aussies made themselves the favorites with that impressive demonstration of power and depth at their World Champs Trials. 

400 Medley Relay 
Gold: United States 
Silver: China 
Bronze: Australia 
**Not a good feeling for this event. It could go a lot of different ways. 

Follow me on Twitter: @johnlohn

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