2022 FINA WORLD AQUATIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- June 18-25, 2022 (pool)
- Budapest, Hungary
- LCM (50 meter format)
- Meet Central
In numbers :
- World record: César Cielo (BRA) – 46.91 (2009)
- Junior world record: David Popovici (ROU) – 47.30 (2021)
- 2020 Olympic Champion: Caeleb Dressel (US) – 47.02
- 2019 World Champion: Caeleb Dressel (US) – 46.96
In our preview of US Trials, we wrote that behind Caeleb Dressel, the race for relay places was up for grabs. It looks like that will be the case at the World Championships as well, with Dressel being the heavy favorite and the race behind him wide open.
At the 2019 World Championships and 2021 Olympics, Dressel had a pair of epic matchups with the Australian Kyle Chalmers, emerging narrowly victorious both times. This year, Chalmers will only race the 100m butterfly individually at Worlds, and the field will also miss the other Tokyo Olympic podium member, the Russian Kliment Kolesnikov.
With these two absent, the race for the podium has a myriad of contenders, although it must be recognized that Dressel is far from untouchable given the wealth of young talent in this race.
Last year’s Olympic final recorded the fastest qualifying times in history, and we’re set for another close race where any number of contenders could qualify.
THE CLUB IN SEASON 47
Five swimmers have managed 48 seconds this season and four are competing at the Worlds: Dressel, Alessandro Miressi, lewis burraand Raphael Miroslaw.
Let’s not beat around the bush, Dressel is the favorite here. He is the reigning Olympic and World Champion, and his lifetime best of 46.96 makes him the third fastest ever and fastest ever in a textile suit. This season, his best is a 47.79 in the US Trials. Dressel told Greensboro that the 100 freestyle is still his last event to “come back” during the discount.
Olympic finalist Miressi is tied with Burras for the third fastest time in the world this year at 47.88. Miressi is the Italian record holder with his lifetime best of 47.45, while Burras exploded 47.88 for a new PB at the UK Trials, becoming Britain’s second under-48 at the event. He hit the wall a hundredth of a way Duncan ScottNational record. Burras has burst onto the sprint scene in a big way and is using that momentum to head to Budapest.
Miroslaw’s 47.92 at the Berlin Open was also his first time under 48 seconds. Moreover, he became the first German under the threshold, establishing himself as the new national record holder. Like Burras, he had a good spring, also improving in the 200 freestyle. As long as he hasn’t shown his cards too early and can match or improve his time, he could very well grab a lane in the final.
Miroslaw, 21, is coming off a successful freshman year at Indiana University that included winning the Big Ten title in the 200 freestyle.
OLYMPIC FINALISTS WISH TO MAKE A MOVE
With Chalmers and Kolesnikov not racing in Budapest, the other Olympic finalists will be big medal threats. The, Maxime Grousset finished just off the podium in fourth position. Of the finalists we haven’t mentioned yet, he holds the fastest time this season at 48.03, about half a second off his lifetime best of 47.52.
Fifth place in Tokyo goes to South Korea Hwang Sunwoo after passing 47.56 in the semi-finals for a new lifetime best and an Asian record. This season, his 48.42 is the 12th fastest among men running in Budapest. He turned 19 on May 21.
17 years David Popovici is often mentioned alongside Hwang as a rising teenage phenom and is also one to watch at Paris 2024. Popovici is the junior world record holder at 47.30, a time he set at the European Junior Championships in Paris. ‘last year. He has been in 48.11 this season, setting himself up well to improve on his seventh-place finish in Tokyo.
Nandor Nemeth completes Olympic finalists competing at Worlds. His best time is 47.81, although it was about a second slower than at the Hungarian National Championships (48.87). Watch his closing speed – in the Olympic final he had the fastest back half on the court (24.56).
BEST TIMES ALL AROUND
In addition to Burras and Miroslaw, many other swimmers set new personal bests this season. The fastest of them is Brooks Curry, who clocked a time of 48.04 at the US Trials. Curry had a stellar year in 2021, qualifying for his first Olympic team, and he hasn’t slowed down this season, sweeping the sprints to the NCAA championships. Look for him to break under the 48 second barrier for the first time in Budapest.
Tom Dean will also attempt to break through this barrier for the first time. At the British Trials, he finished second to Burras in 48.06, making him a threat here as well as being a favorite in the 200 freestyle. More recently he won the 100m freestyle at the Mare Nostrum stop in Canet and he will try to ride that momentum in a few weeks. As a 200 specialist, the key for him will be to get out within striking distance of the field at 50.
France Hadrian Salvan and australia William Yang swam lifetime bests of 48.51 and 48.55, respectively this season. They’ll probably have to drop again to make the final, but if they hit their cones, they could be in the game to snag a lane.
OTHER END THREATS
In case you’re worried we’re running out of swimmers to talk to, fear not. There are still several names that we haven’t mentioned yet that could be in the running for a place in the Worlds final.
One of these athletes is a 19-year-old Canadian Joshua Liendo, who made her major international debut at the 2019 World Championships in Canada’s 400 freestyle relay. Three years and the Olympics later, he’s back and competing in three individual races. In this one, he was in 48.35 this season, about two-tenths off his best time of 48.13.
At the Olympics, Liendo finished 14th in 48.19, but since then he has established himself as someone who can step up to the big times, winning two individual medals, including bronze in the 100m freestyle, at Worlds in small basin in December. .
from Brazil Gabriel Santos won a thrilling Brazil Trophy race to qualify for this event in 48.64, after setting a lifetime best of 47.98 from 2018. If he can come back then he could play the spoiler to some of the other athletes looking for a route at night.
Serbian Andrej Barna finished ninth in this event in Tokyo. Provided he is on the pitch, the 24-year-old will likely be among the semi-finalists in contention for a place in the last eight. His best time is 47.94, set in the Olympic semifinals, and this season the Louisville graduate clocked a time of 48.44 at the US Open in December. Most recently, he won the 100 freestyle at the Pro Swim Series stop in San Antonio in early April clocking 49.13, faster than at a similar point in the season last year.
Along with Chalmers and Kolesnikov, another notable absence from the pitch is the Italian Thomas Cecon, who led the Olympic preliminaries last year in 47.71 and then finished 12th in the semifinals (48.05). The 21-year-old placed sixth at the Italian Championships, more than a second off his personal best of 48.79.
Dark Horse – Zac Incerti (AUS): Incerti finished behind Yang for second place at the Australian Trials in 48.65, just short of his best time of 48.51. Like his compatriot, he will have to give up if he wants to be in the conversation for a semi-final or a final. He swam the best of his life in the 200m freestyle at the trials, so he could also be entitled to a fall in his 100m. If that happens, he could find himself in the thick of the fight for a place in the final.