2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
After a lightning-quick opening morning of prelims, the first finals session from the 2022 World Championships has arrived.
With the men’s 400 IM being moved up from the last day to the first day for this year’s edition, we’ll have five medal events during Day 1 finals rather than the usual four.
Swimmers will vie for a spot on the podium in the men’s 400 free and 400 IM, the women’s 400 free, and then both the men’s and women’s 400 free relays.
The highlight of the heats was arguably the blistering splits we saw in the men’s 400 free relay, as there were a total of 15 sub-48 legs, including three from the top-seeded Americans. This immediately put the US camp in an interesting situation regarding lineup decisions, with Drew Kibler being left off the prelim relay and Ryan Held (47.11), Justin Ress (47.57) and Brooks Curry (47.76) all putting up splits that would normally earn them a spot in the final.
As it turns out, Kibler was left off the finals relay and all three will join Caeleb Dressel tonight.
Update: Kibler didn’t swim due to COVID-19 protocols.
We also saw four men crack 23 in the 50 fly, led by Dylan Carter (22.87), while one of the pre-race favorites, Nicholas Santoswas a bit off and finds himself out in Lane 1 of the second semi after clocking 23.46.
In the women’s 200 IM, American Alex Walsh picked up the top seed in 2: 09.41, while her teammate Leah Hayes qualified second in 2: 09.81 to break her 15-16 National Age Group Record.
In the individual finals, Felix Auboeck comes in with the top seed in the men’s 400 free, a spot he also held in 2017 before placing fifth in the final. The most notable miss this morning was Australian Mack Hortonlocked out of the final in ninth (3: 46.57).
In the women’s 400 free it was all Katie Ledecky in the prelims, adding another sub-4: 00 to her list in 3: 59.79. Canada’s Summer McIntosh sits second in 4: 03.19, while China’s Li Bingjiethe Olympic bronze medalist last year, was off the pace and finished back in 10th at 4: 08.25.
The projected top four had strong showings in the men’s 400 IM heats, led by Leon Marchandwho broke his French Record in 4: 09.09. Carson Foster had an impressive LC Worlds debut at 4: 09.60, and Chase Kalisz sits third at 4: 10.32 (all three were in the same heat) and qualifies for the final after missing in 2019.
Daiya Setothe defending champion who has won this event at three of the last four World Championships, won the final heat to qualify fourth as he appears to be on significantly better form than he was at the 2021 Olympics.
The Aussie women and American men were the big favorites in the 400 free relays coming in, and things didn’t change much in the prelims. Australia, keeping their big guns in the holster, still had a 52.9 lead-off from Madi Wilson and a 52.98 leg from Meg Harris.
Men’s 400 Free – Final
- World Record: 3: 40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER) – 2009 World Championships
- Championship Record: 3: 40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER) – 2009 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN), 3: 43.36
- 2019 World Champion: Sun Yang (CHN), 3: 42.44
- Elijah Winnington (AUS), 3: 41.22
- Lukas Märtens (GER), 3: 42.85
- Guilherme Costa (BRA), 3: 43.31
- Felix Auboeck (AUT), 3: 43.58
- Marco de Tullio (ITA), 3: 44.14
- Kim Woomin (KOR), 3: 45.64
- Kieran Smith (USA), 3: 46.43
- Trey Freeman (USA), 3: 46.53
The men’s 400 freestyle was everything we could’ve asked for, as the fastest swimmers in the world over the past two years when head-to-head in an epic showdown.
Australian Elijah Winnington got out to a fast start, was overtaken by Germany’s Lukas Märtens on the fifth 50, and then roared home at 26.50 to solidify the victory in a time of 3: 41.22.
The swim for Winnington improves his previous best of 3: 42.65, set at the 2021 Olympic Trials, and moves him up into # 5 on the all-time performers’ list (# 3 in a textile suit).
All-Time Performers, Men’s 400 Freestyle (LCM)
- Paul Biedermann (GER), 3: 40.07 – 2009
- Ian Thorpe (AUS), 3: 40.08 – 2002
- Sun Yang (CHN), 3: 40.14 – 2012
- Oussama Mellouli (TUN), 3: 41.11 – 2009
- Elijah Winnington (AUS), 3: 41.22–2022
The victory was also Australia’s first since the nation won five straight titles from 1994 until 2005. Additionally, it’s the first time an Asian nation doesn’t win the 400 free since 2009, with China’s Sun Yang having won the last four and South Korean Tae Hwan Park earning the victory in 2011.
Märtens, who came as the fastest swimmer in the world this year at 3:41 p.m., might’ve made his move a little too early as he had no response when Winnington exploded off the last turn. However, the German held on for silver in 3: 42.85, fending off another South American Record for Brazilian Guilherme Costa (3: 43.31), who picked up bronze.
Felix Auboeckthe top seed out of the prelims in an Austrian Record of 3: 43.83, re-lowered that time down to 3: 43.58 to take fourth.
The top three swimmers were all faster than the time it took to win Olympic gold last year (3: 43.36).
Women’s 100 Fly – Semi-finals
- World Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2016 Olympic Games
- Championship Record: 55.53, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2017 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.59
- 2019 World Champion: Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.83
- Torri Huske (USA), 56.29
- Marie Wattel (FRA), 56.80
- Claire Curzan (USA), 56.93
- Brianna Throssell (AUS), 56.96
- Louise Hansson (SWE), 56.97
- Zhang Yufei (CHN), 57.03
- Lana Pudar (BIH), 57.67
- Farida Osman (EGY), 57.91
American Torri Huske looked strong en route to claiming the top seed into the final of the women’s 100 butterfly, dominating the second semi in a time of 56.29.
Huske was the only swimmer in the field out sub-26, turning in 25.82, and will be the swimmer to beat on Sunday as she holds more than a half-second gap on the next-fastest swimmer.
France’s Marie Wattel (56.80) and American Claire Curzan (56.93) both put up 56-highs to go 1-2 in the first semi, while Aussie Brianna Throssell broke 57 seconds for the first time in 56.93 to qualify fourth.
The most notable thing coming out of this event is the form of China’s Zhang Yufei, who appeared a bit off form and only qualified sixth in 57.03. Zhang is the third-fastest swimmer in history with her Asian Record of 55.62, set in September 2020.
Overall this event has been significantly slower than it was at the Tokyo Olympics, which isn’t a huge surprise given that we’re missing half of last year’s final. Last summer it took 57.19 to make the final, 57.91 this year.
Men’s 50 fly – Semi-finals
- Ben Proud (GBR), 22.76
- Caeleb Dressel (USA) / Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 22.79
- Michael Andrew (USA), 22.87
- Szebasztian Szabo (HUN), 22.91
- Dylan Carter (TTO), 22.98
- Tzen Wei Teong (SGP), 23.03
- Nicholas Santos (BRA), 23.04
British sprinting star I’m Proud appears to be on excellent form here in Budapest, blasting his way to the top seed for tomorrow’s final in the men’s 50 fly in a time of 22.76.
The swim falls just .01 shy of Proud’s PB and British Record of 22.75, set back at the 2017 World Championships when he won the gold medal.
Proud will go head-to-head tomorrow night with the reigning world champion, Caeleb Dresselwho topped the opening semi in a time of 22.79.
Dressel finished tied for second overall with Thomas Cecconwho broke his Italian Record for the second time today after clocking 22.88 in the prelims.
American Michael Andrew (22.87), Hungarian Szebasztian Szabo (22.91) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter (22.98) also cracked 23 seconds, with Carter having qualified first this morning in a best time and National Record of 22.87.
42-year-old Nicholas Santosthe fourth-fastest swimmer in history and winner of three straight medals in this event at the World Championships, narrowly squeaked into the final in eighth at 23.04.
Women’s 400 free – Final
- World Record: 3: 56.40, Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 2022 Australian Championships
Championship Record: 3: 58.34, Katie Ledecky (USA) – 2017 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3: 56.69
- 2019 World Champion: Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3: 58.76
- Katie Ledecky (USA), 3: 58.15
- Summer McIntosh (CAN), 3: 59.39
- Leah Smith (USA), 4: 02.08
- Lani Pallister (AUS), 4: 02.16
- Isabel Gose (GER), 4: 03.47
- Erika Fairweather (NZL), 4: 04.73
- Kiah Melverton (AUS), 4: 05.62
- Tang Muhan (CHN), 4: 10.70
Katie Ledecky reclaims the World Championship title she lost three years ago in the women’s 400 freestyle, getting out to an early lead before holding Summer McIntosh at bay and touching first in a time of 3: 58.15.
The time for Ledecky breaks her previous Championship Record of 3: 58.34, set in 2017, although it falls well shy of the world record set by Australian Ariarne Titmus (3: 56.40) last month. Titmus opted not to compete here in Budapest.
McIntosh, just 15, had an unbelievable performance, nearly matching Ledecky over the back-half (Ledecky closed in 2: 01.04, McIntosh 2: 01.36) to become the fourth swimmer in history under four minutes at 3: 59.39.
McIntosh also smashes her Canadian Record of 4: 01.59 by more than two seconds, and joins Titmus and Ledecky as the only women sub-4: 00 in a textile suit.
American Leah Smithwho missed the US Olympic team last year, gutted out a bronze-medal-worthy swim in 4: 02.08, narrowly edging out Australian Lani Pallister (4: 02.16). The two were neck-and-neck over the final 150 meters of the race.
Smith’s bronze gives her three straight medals in this event, having won silver in 2017 and bronze in 2019. Pallister’s time inches past her PB set last month of 4: 02.21.
Men’s 100 breast – Semi-finals
- World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019 World Championships
- Championship Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.37
- 2019 World Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.14
Women’s 200 IM – Semi-finals
- World Record: 2: 06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015 World Championships
- Championship Record: 2: 06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Yui Ohashi (JPN), 2: 08.52
- 2019 World Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2: 07.53
Men’s 400 IM – Final
- World Record: 4: 03.84, Michael Phelps (USA) – 2008 Olympic Games
- Championship Record: 4: 05.90, Chase Kalisz (USA) – 2017 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Chase Kalisz (USA), 4: 09.42
- 2019 World Champion: Daiya Seto (JPN), 4: 08.95
Men’s 4 × 100 free relay – Final
- World Record: 3: 08.24, United States – 2008 Olympic Games
- Championship Record: 3: 09.06, United States – 2019 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: United States, 3: 08.97
- 2019 World Champion: United States, 3: 09.06
Women’s 4 × 100 free relay – Final
- World Record: 3: 29.69, Australia – 2021 Olympic Games
- Championship Record: 3: 30.21, Australia – 2019 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Australia, 3: 29.69
- 2019 World Champion: Australia, 3: 30.21