#Rio2016 Swimming Picks — Men’s 400m IM
Saturday August 6, 2016
What happened in 2012: By all accounts the London Olympics were a dark time for Michael Phelps and it started with a lackluster performance in the 400 IM final. This event is notoriously grueling and an out of shape Phelps had no business coming in as the favorite. His 4th place overall and failure to medal firmly established the narrative that his reign in the pool was coming to an end. Meanwhile the next big star for USA Swimming, Ryan Lochte, kicked off his campaign with an solid gold medal performance, continuing the dominance of US Men in the 400 IM with a streak of gold that goes back to Tom Dolan in 1996. Thiago Pereira of Brazil took silver and Kosuke Hagino of Japan took bronze.
Outlook for 2016: This years field is devoid of the big names Phelps and Lochte; Phelps wisely dropping the event from his program and Lochte failing to qualify. The current favorite at -250 is Kosuke Hagino of Japan and you have to look hard to find a less inspiring favorite in that price range. Hagino is the most experienced competitor in the field, at the Olympic level, but his last international win in this event was the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships where he swam a relatively unimpressive 4:08.31 (Lochte’s gold medal swim was 4:05.18). Hagino’s countryman Daiya Seto is currently lined at +225 and has had noteworthy success in the past four years that makes him a realistic threat to win. Honestly wonder why Seto isn’t the favorite in this event. A +225 line is nice value and may be worth a sniff, however, an underdog with even longer odds draws the eye in this event, US swimmer Chase Kalisz. Hailing from the same club team a Michael Phelps and with his fastest swims ahead of him, Kalisz is the long shot with upside to back at +700. The 400 IM is the sole focus for Kalisz in these Olympics and he’ll carry on the legacy for the US Men by bringing home gold on day 1 for the sixth consecutive games. Kalisz at +700 for 0.2u on the Day 1 card. 🐳
(photo credit: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160626/sports/306269890/)