2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
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Saturday’s opening session of pool swimming at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships is packed with veteran world record holders and rising stars alike in Budapest, Hungary. Five of the nine events featured on the first day will forgo the semifinals and go straight to evening finals where medals will be awarded: the men’s 400 free, women’s 400 free, men’s 400 IM, men’s 4×100 free relay, and women’s 4×100 free relay.
Saturday morning’s schedule will also include prelims for the women’s 100 fly, men’s 50 fly, men’s 100 breast, and women’s 200 IM. Medal rounds for those events will come on Sunday night (Budapest time).
Day 1 Morning Events:
- Women’s 200 IM – Prelims
- Men’s 400 free – Prelims
- Women’s 100 fly – Prelims
- Men’s 50 fly – Prelims
- Women’s 400 free – Prelims
- Men’s 100 breast – Prelims
- Men’s 400 IM – Prelims
- Women’s 4×100 free relay – Prelims
- Men’s 4×100 free relay – Prelims
Two of the seven individual events have a world record holder racing – sixth-seeded Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in the women’s 200 IM and fifth-seeded Ukrainian Andrii Govorov in the men’s 50 fly.
The relays are also headlined by an Australian women’s 4×100 free team that broke the world record last summer in Tokyo, but only one swimmer from that squad – Meg Harris – is competing in Budapest.
Day 1 Morning Session’s Top Storylines to Follow:
- After dominating the 200 IM at major international meets from 2013-19, Katinka Hosszu’s reign came to an end last summer in Tokyo, where she placed 7th well off her world record pace. The battle for the throne figures to be a two-way tilt between a pair of 20-year-olds, University of Virginia sophomore Alex Walsh and Australian phenom Kaylee McKeown. Walsh may be the more inexperienced of the two, but her 2:07.84 from April’s U.S. trials ranks as the fastest time in the world this year – more than a second faster than McKeown’s 2:09.15 from Australian trials that was about a second off her lifetime best.
- Top-seeded German Lukas Martens looks to continue momentum in the men’s 400 free after an electric spring that saw him clock a 3:41.60 at the Stockholm Open, more than three seconds faster than his previous best. That time makes him the 8th-fastest performer of all time, and the fastest since 2017. Martens’ main challengers are expected to be Elijah Winnington – whose 3:43.10 from Australian trials was .55 seconds slower than his entry time – and fellow German Hennig Bennet Muhlleitner. Surprise Olympic gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui was absent from the psych sheet released Thursday.
- Even after a couple late scratches from Kyle Chalmers and Kristof Milak, the men’s 50 fly still features a star-studded cast. There’s long course world record holder Andrii Govorov, co-short course world record holders Nicholas Santos and Szebasztian Szabo, and the last three long course world champions: Caeleb Dressel (2019), Ben Proud (2017), and Florent Manaudou (2015). And that’s without mentioning Michael Andrew, who was just .03 seconds behind Dressel at U.S. trials.
- Katie Ledecky is the heavy favorite in the women’s 400 free after Ariarne Titmus opted not to make the trip to Budapest. But Titmus’ new world record of 3:56.40 from Australian trials might just serve as motivation for Ledecky to push herself even if she’s way ahead of a field that includes rising Canadian star Summer McIntosh.
- 26-year-old Dutchman Arno Kamminga appears poised to pick up his first long course Worlds gold medal in the men’s 100 breast following last month’s withdrawal of 27-year-old Brit Adam Peaty. The reigning Olympic and world champion and world record holder in the event, Peaty is sitting out the World Championships while recovering from a fractured bone in his foot. Michael Andrew could be Kamminga’s closest competition with an entry time of 58.14 just .34 seconds off the top seed.
- The men’s 400 IM includes reigning Olympic gold medalist Chase Kalisz and defending world champion Daiya Seto, but a new champion could be crowned if Carson Foster can pull off a big swim at his first long course Worlds.
- In the men’s 4×100 free relay, the Americans are attempting to continue a stretch of dominance that dates back to the 2016 Olympics. In Tokyo, they clocked a 3:08.97, the fastest time in 13 years and more than a second ahead of the 2nd-place Italians (3:10.11). Although Caeleb Dressel is the only member of the gold-medal-winning quartet from Tokyo racing in Budapest (Brooks Curry swam on the prelims relay), the squad’s aggregate time of season-best flat starts is more than a second faster than Italy, the team with the next-fastest time.
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