Round-up 2011: Swimming

Michael Phelps of the USA
Swimming (in pools, as opposed to Open Water Swimming) is always the richest category at the World Aquatics Championships.
The swimming events, in four styles and two genders, were worth 4.680 GSN points at the Shanghai 2011 FINA World Aquatics Championships.
Predictably, overall victory went to the USA, just as in the last edition (Rome, 2009). There the Americans claimed 16,2% of the points, a very respectable booty, and in Shanghai they did even better, winning  with as much as 20,6% of the points.
Second-placed Australia (11% of points) and third-placed China(10,3%) made it a tight race among themselves but could never compete with the Stars & Stripes giants.
The USA also topped the points-per-count (ppc) ranking, always a key indicator of performance in a multi-event tournament as the World Aquatics Championships. Their 2011 figure was 18,6 ppc, well up from the 2009 result of 17,1 ppc, which was only the fourth best two years ago. The surprise came from Italy, 9th overall but third in the ppc ranking (16,8), where China beat them (17,3) but where Australia finished only 6th.
Another confirmation of the USA dominance comes from the gender rankings: the Americans scored 22,1% of the points in the Men, 8 golds included, where the runners up, France, only picked up 9,7% (one gold, four silvers)!
Australia, second-placed in Swimming overall as in 2009, gave the US a good run for their money in the Ladies ranking, earning a respectable 15,3% of the points, behind the USA’s 19,2%. But the Aussies were only 5th in the Men ranking, no real threat to the USA for overall victory.
China (3rd overall), France (4th), Japan (6th) and the Netherlands (7th) were markedly improved over 2009, Italy lost one position while Russia and Brazil, the latter winning gold in the Men 50m Free-style, slipped several places behind their ranking in 2009.
A mention for Germany, fourth in Swimming in 2009 and leader of the ppc ranking (20,2 ppc)then: they sunk to 12th place this year, with only 12,1 ppc.
There’s much more consistency if we look at the gender tables: the USA, China and Australia were in the top five in both Men and Women, and six of the top ten countries (USA, Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan) were the same across genders: they are, to all intents and purposes, the real powers in world swimming.
As a statistical quirk as much as for their consistency, Canada earns a mention for being 11th both in the Men and Women rankings and, guess what, 11th overall.
Finally, the styles, with the Men first: the USA won four out of five styles: the exception was Breast Stroke, that went to Italy ahead of Norway and Japan. In all the others (Free style, Back stroke, Butterfly and Medley), it was simply no contest against the likes of Brian Lochte and Michael Phelps.
And the Women? The USA won the overall Ladies title with a narrow margin over Australia, and the styles’ results reflect this. The USA women won Freestyle by a mere 21 points over Australia, with Denmark and the Netherlands close behind. In Back stroke it was an even closer affair, Australia trailing by 9 points, while in Breast stroke the Americans won more comfortably over Russia and Australia, with China a close fourth. In the Medley the USA won by a slim margin over China and Australia. The newsworthy style was Butterfly: China won comfortably over Sweden and Australia, and the US finished “only” fifth, behind Great Britain.