11 Gold Medalists from 2021 Short Course Worlds Won’t Try to Defend Titles in 2022


The 2022 Short Course World Championships will have a very different feel from the last edition, for a number of reasons. The meet will be outdoors, it will be in a swimming-mad nation Australia rather than a swimming desert Qatar, and the fields will be much, much deeper.

With the world, generally, normalizing and learning to live among COVID-19, many more big-name athletes (which includes a full Australian team) will attend this year’s Short Course World Championships. Last year’s field started thin and got worse with athletes ending their competition early either because they got the super-viral omicron variant that was becoming that dominant variant, or for fear that they might and would be stuck quarantining in a foreign country over the holidays.

While the 2022 Short Course Worlds will, overall, have more competitive fields, that doesn’t mean that everyone is attending. In fact, a whopping 38 individual medals from 2021 won’t be defending in 2022. That includes 11 event titles.

There are a wide array of reasons for this. Athletes from Russia and Belarus, who won 10 medals in 2021, are banned from competing after their country invaded Ukraine in February 2022. That includes event champions Ilya Shymanovich (men’s 100 breast) and Kliment Kolesnikov (men’s 50 back, men’s 100 IM).

In some cases, swimmers are still entered in the meet, but won’t defend medals they won in 2021. Examples of that are American Shaine Casas, who was the champion in the 100 back last year but didn’t qualify this year; and Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, who will defend her gold medals in the 100 and 200 free but not her bronze medal in the 400 free.

Other swimmers have retired, like Dutch 50 fly champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo and American 200 breast champion Emily Escobedo. Others have simply chosen not to come while nursing injuries, focusing on training blocks, because of academic commitments, or various other reasons. In a rare few cases, medalists from last year simply didn’t qualify for this year’s team because of domestic selection procedures.

And after all of that, the expectation is still a deeper field than last round. The field this year includes names like Kyle Chalmers, a favorite in the men’s 100 free, and Emma McKeon, who won four Olympic gold medals in Tokyo and is a very good short course racer as well. Medals for either swimmer would be their first at Short Course Worlds.

The women’s breaststrokes too, for example, have ratcheted up, with American Lilly King joining the field alongside the revival of Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania.

Ryan Murphy will fill the void left by Kolesnikov’s absence in the men’s backstroke races, and Australians Kaylee McKeown and Minna Atherton will ratchet up the intensity in the women’s races.

See below a table of which medalists will and won’t return from last year.


Gold Silver Bronze
50m free Ben Proud, Great Britain – 20.45 Ryan Held, USA – 20.70 Josh Liendo, Canada – 20.76
100m free Alessandro Miressi, Italy – 45.57 Ryan Held, USA – 45.63 Josh Liendo, Canada – 45.82
200m free Hwang Sun-Woo, South Korea – 1:41.60 Aleksander Shchegolev, Russia – 1:41.63 Danas Rapsys, Lithuania – 1:41.73
400m free Felix Auboeck, Austria – 3:35.90 Danas Rapsys, Lithuania – 3:36.234 Antonio Djakovic, Switzerland – 3:36.83
1500m free Florian Wellbrock, Germany – 14:06.88 (WR) Ahmed Hafnaoui, Tunisia – 14:10.94 Mykhailo Romanchuk, Ukraine – 14:11.47
50m back Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 22.66 Christian Diener, Germany – 22.90
Lorenzo Mara, Italy – 22.90
100m back Shaine Casas, USA – 49.23 Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 49.46 Robert Glinta, Romania – 49.60
200m back Radoslaw Kawecki, Poland – 1:48.68 Shaine Casas, USA – 1:48.81 Christian Diener, Germany – 1:48.97
50m breast Nic Fink, USA – 25.53 Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy – 25.55 Joao Gomes Junior, Brazil – 25.80
100m breast Ilya Shymanovich, Belarus – 55.70 Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy – 55.80 Nic Fink, USA – 55.87
200m breast Nic Fink, USA – 2:02.28 Arno Kamminga, Netherlands – 2:02.42 Will Licon, USA – 2:02.84
50m fly Nicholas Santos, Brazil – 21.93 Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago – 21.98 Matteo Rivolta, Italy – 22.02
100m fly Matteo Rivolta, Italy – 48.87 Chad le Clos, South Africa – 49.04 Andrei Minakov, Russia – 49.21
200m fly Alberto Razzetti, Italy – 1:49.05 Noe Ponti, Switzerland – 1:49.81 Chad le Clos, South Africa – 1:49.84
100m IM Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 51.09 Tomoe Hvas, Norway – 51.35 Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.40
200m IM Daiya Seto, Japan – 1:51.15 Carson Foster, USA – 1:51.35 Alberto Razzetti, Italy – 1:51.54
400m IM Daiya Seto, Japan – 3:56.26 Ilya Borodin, Russia – 3:56.47 Carson Foster, USA – 3:57.99


Gold Silver Bronze
50m free Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 23.08 Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands – 23.31 Kasia Wasick, Poland – 23.40
100m free Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong – 50.98 Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 51.31 Abbey Weitzeil, USA – 51.64
200m free Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong – 1:50.31 (WR) Rebecca Smith, Canada – 1:52.24 Paige Madden, USA – 1:53.01
400m free Li Bingjie, China – 3:55.83 Summer McIntosh, Canada – 3:57.87 Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong – 3:58.12
800m free Li Bingjie, China – 8:02.90 Anastasia Kirpichinkova, Russia – 8:06.44 Simona Quadarella, Italy – 8:07.99
50m back Maggie MacNeil, Canada – 25.27 (WR) Kylie Masse, Canada – 25.62 Louise Hansson, Sweden – 25.86
100m back Louise Hansson, Sweden – 55.20 Kylie Masse, Canada – 55.22 Katharine Berkoff, USA – 55.40
200m back Rhyan White, USA – 2:01.58 Kylie Masse, Canada – 2:02.07 Isabelle Stadden – 2:02.20
50m breast Anastasia Gorbeko, Israel – 29.34 Benedetta Pilato, Italy – 29.50 Sophie Hansson, Sweden – 29.55
100m breast Tang Qianting, China – 1:03.47 Sophie Hansson, Sweden – 1:03.50 Mona McSharry, Ireland – 1:03.92
200m breast Emily Escobedo, USA – 2:17.85 Evegniia Chikunova, Russia – 2:17.88 Molly Renshaw, Great Britain – 2:17.96
50m fly Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands – 24.44 Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 24.51 Claire Curzan, USA – 24.55
100m fly Maggie MacNeil, Canada – 55.04 Louise Hansson, Sweden – 55.10 Claire Curzan, USA – 55.39
200m fly Zhang Yufei, China – 2:03.01 Charlotte Hook, USA – 2:04.35
Lana Pudar, Bosnia & Herzegovina – 2:04.88
100m IM Anastasia Gorbenko, Isarel – 57.80 Beryl Gastaldello, France – 57.96 Maria Kameneva, Russia – 58.15
200m IM Sydney Pickrem, Canada – 2:04.29 Yu Yiting, China – 2:04.48 Kate Douglass, USA – 2:04.68
400m IM Tess Cieplucha, Canada – 4:25.55 Ellen Walshe, Ireland – 4:26.52 Melanie Margalis, USA – 4:26.63


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Obese Legend
1 year ago

Is Hafnaoui racing? Didn’t see his name on the start list.

1 year ago

I miss Ranomi.

Sherry Smit
1 year ago

Curzan is gonna win a world title in the 50 fly!

Christopher DeBari
1 year ago

Does anyone know where Dressel my essel is?

The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

Shows the relative value placed on this event.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

Yeah, even many of the finest “locals” are not making the effort to go to Melbourne and race.

Reply to  SHRKB8
1 year ago

Yes, as an Australian it is disappointing that our super stars like Titmus, McKeon, a Campbell etc wont be there 🙁

Reply to  torcchbearer
1 year ago

I stand corrected, the following story says McKeon is coming- hooray!

Gen D
1 year ago

Josh Liendo wasn’t on the original list you posted in September for the Canadian team. Has he changed his mind?

1 year ago

Personally very excited to see Hafnaoui swim

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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