#Rio2016 Swimming Picks — Women’s 400m IM
Saturday August 6, 2016
What happened in 2012: The 2012 Women’s race was memorable. 16 year old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen came in as relative long shot and ran away with the gold while setting a new World Record in a time of 4:28.43. What made her swim particularly noteworthy was her final 100 free when Ye zipped by the race leader and presumptive favorite Elizabeth Beisel in a split of 58.68, 4 seconds faster than Beisel, 2 seconds faster than the next fastest Women’s split in history and on pace with the Men’s 400 IM winner Ryan Lochte. It was jaw-dropping watching live and Beisel’s wtf just happened face after the race told the story well. Beisel went into the race as a -125 favorite, GBR’s Hannah Miley (who went on to get 5th) was +400, defending gold medalist Stephanie Rice (who went on to get 6th) was +500, Katinka Hosszu (who many expected to win and went on to get 4th) was +800 and the eventual race winner Ye Shiwen was lined at +900 prior to the event. The bronze medal went to Li Xuanxu of China; she was a +1600 underdog to win gold and +500 to medal at all.
Outlook for 2016: This race is completely lopsided on paper, Katinka Hosszu from Hungary comes in as a -750 favorite. For context, no swimmer or relay team in 2012 was lined higher than -500; ironically that was Michael Phelps in the 200 Fly and he lost to +4000 long shot Chad le Clos. Hosszu is the overwhelming favorite for a reason, her best time in the last four years is 4:29.89 which is almost 1.5 seconds faster than the next fastest women (Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, 4:31.21). Hosszu qualified with ease and is poised to break the World Record, short of a complete mental breakdown. That last bit is not totally out of the question, this NYT piece paints a very troubling picture of Hosszu’s relationship with her coach/husband and raises questions about the pressure she has put on herself to perform in these games. Hosszu likely wins in style, and if you can find a WR prop in the +200 range grab it. Strong potential for Hosszu to fade throughout her remaining Olympic schedule if she wins her first gold in this event due to the emotional relief of delivering a gold medal to the swimming-crazy country of Hungary (who knew?). Another athlete of note in this event is US swimmer Maya Dirado who has a solid look at silver; haven’t seen props for silver medal in this so grabbing a lottery ticket on her at +700 to win gold for 0.1 unit. Long shots win surprisingly often in swimming as we saw in the Women’s 400 IM in 2012… maybe Dirado steals it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
(photo credit: http://www.swimvortex.com/)