World Championships 2019 Daily Report – Friday

I was in a North Shore Hospital clinic yesterday when a patient came by and asked for my opinion on the Sun Yang drug saga. “I don’t know,” was my rather lame answer. I am conflicted between dismissing a guy who has been caught for taking banned substances and wondering whether his bottle smashing act may have been the last desperate act of a man provoked beyond belief.

I have no time for drug cheats – none at all. Sun Yang is a drug cheat from a country with a bad history of cheating. But I have also witnessed drug agencies screw over athletes in ways that might provoke me to stop at Mitre10 and buy a hammer.

Take for example the case of my daughter, Jane, who was tested after the National Championships in Dunedin. She signed and kept the receipt of her sample number 12345. A month later the Sydney testing laboratory sent her the results of the test. Sample number 67890 had been tested and was clear. I contacted the New Zealand drug agency and asked the obvious question. Jane’s sample was 12345 and the sample tested was 67890. What was going on? Oh, don’t worry I was told. The New Zealand drug agency had lost the paperwork in transporting the sample to Australia. A new number was allocated but rest assured it was Jane’s sample. When a person’s sporting life is at stake, that incompetence is not good enough.

And consider the case of Trent Bray whose sample lay in the sun, unrefrigerated, in the Sydney testing facility for a month over Christmas before being tested. That was an injustice beyond belief. The sample should have been thrown away and a new test performed. In that case I would have gladly bought Trent a hammer. It would have been a cheaper and more just reaction than the thousands he spent clearing his name.

Having said all that, in Sun Yang’s case his past history combined with the reputation of swimming in China would lead me to believe the guy’s a crook. Certainly for the good of the sport Sun Yang’s case should have been dealt with far sooner. The drug spectacle that has distracted the Championships is as much the fault of WADA’s incompetence as it is of Sun Yang.

And, in case you have forgotten, remember there is a Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) link to WADA’s stunning ineptitude. SNZ might struggle in the pool but will not be left out when it comes to incompetence. One of the leading lights of WADA – the SNZ link – is SNZ President, Dr Dave Gerrard.

So what happened in Korea today? Did New Zealand swimming make progress on day six of the championship – Friday 26 July 2019?

New Zealand had a big day in the pool – Ashby (100 fly), Galyer (200 back), Pickett (50 free), Thomas (800 free) and the men’s 4×200 free relay team of Hunter, Clareburt, Stanley and Reid were involved in the competition.

The 4×200 men’s relay team swam 7:13.06 and broke the New Zealand record for the event. The new time however failed to make the final. Their ranking improved from 22 to 14. A good result but still an indication of how far there is to go.

Ashby failed to make the semi-final in the 100 fly. He recorded a personal best time of 53.73. His ranking improved from 42 to 36. A PB is always a good result.

Galyer qualified 8th for the semi-final. She was 0.21s away from her personal best time. Her ranking improved from 19 to 8. New Zealand’s first semi-finalist. It is an open question as to whether American-nurtured Galyer’s success reflects the different policies followed by a diversified American system and the centralised control imposed on New Zealand by Cameron and Miskimmin. Diversification works.

Pickett failed to make the semi-final. He was 38th, 0.25s away from his personal best time. His ranking stayed the same at 38th.

Thomas failed to make the semi-final. She was 21st, 3.34s away from her personal best time. Her ranking improved from 24 to 21.

After today’s heats the teams PB ratio is 3 PBs (Ashby 100 fly, men’s 4×200 relay and Galyer 100 back) from 15 swims or 20%; not good at all.

The relay team was 4.61s (1.1%) behind qualifying for the final.

Ashby was 1.29s (2.4%) behind qualifying for the final.

Galyer qualified for the semi-final.

Pickett was 0.38s (1.7%) behind qualifying for the final.

Thomas was 14.95s (2.9%) behind qualifying for the final.

Excluding Galyer who has qualified for the semi-final, the fifteen swims by New Zealand swimmers to date have averaged 1.8% behind the time required to progress to the next round. If the world stood still and New Zealand swimming progressed at the 3% rate recommended by ASCA we are 7 months behind making finals in international competition. We know the world is not going to stand still waiting for New Zealand to catch up. I guess that means the only question is – are we going to improve at the ASCA 3% rate or faster?

The new New Zealand record in the men’s 4x200m freestyle of 7:13.06 failed to qualify for the final.

The New Zealand record in the men’s 50m freestyle of 22.27 would have been 20th in the heats and still not qualified for the final.

The New Zealand record in the women’s 800m freestyle of 8:17.65 would have qualified 3rd for the final. Lauren Boyle could swim a bit.

The New Zealand record in the men’s 100m butterfly of 51.61 would have qualified 5th for the semi-final.

The New Zealand record in the women’s 200m backstroke of 2:09.13 would have qualified 4th for the semi-final.

Friday 26 July

Name Event PB Swum Ranking Swum
ASHBY 100 Fly 53.75 53.73 42 36
GALYER 200m Back 2:09.77 2:09.98 19 8
PICKETT 50m Free 22.34 22.59 38 38
THOMAS 800m Free 8:41.31 8:44.65 24 21
RELAY MEN’S 4x200m Free 7:13.83 7:13.06 22 14


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