The 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships roll into the halfway mark on Wednesday, July 31st at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona Spain, and there will be four finals on the day. That’s only after the meet gets rolling with two semi-finals, including of the men’s 100 free: the race that has been more talked about for this World Championships than any.
We’ll be updating this page with recaps as the events happen. As a reminder, here’s what you need to know for day 4:
Men’s 100 free (SEMIFINALS)
Women’s 50 backstroke (SEMIFINALS)
Men’s 200 fly (FINALS)
Women’s 200 free (FINALS)
Men’s 50 breast (FINALS)
Women’s 200 fly (SEMIFINALS)
Men’s 200 IM (SEMIFINALS)
Men’s 800 free (FINALS)
Men’s 100 Free – SEMIFINALS
Whatever funk, illness, or whatever has plagued American Nathan Adrian through his first two swims in the Palau seems to have been shaken; he came out for this semi-final looking very focused and comfortable as he won heat 1 in 47.95. That puts him as the top overall seed. But his wasn’t even the best bounce-back story of these semi-finals.
Immediately afterward, Longhorn Aquatics’ Jimmy Feigen stepped onto the blocks and won heat 2 in 48.07 – the best swim he’s had of this meet after getting a lot of criticism for his performance on the men’s 400 free relay. The ability to channel his struggles into that sort of swim speaks well for his future as a professional athlete, where that sort of amnesia is a huge hallmark of success.
They weren’t the only two that recovered from poor prelims swims; Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini barely snuck into the 100 free semi-final as the 15th seed, but will be 3rd in the finals with a 48.11 behind Feigen.
Vlad Morozov and James Magnussen were matching 48.20’s, with Magnussen playing with fire a little bit after having easily taken the top swim in the morning. That means the four big favorites coming into the meet, plus Feigen, will hold center stage.
France’s Fabien Gilot, who was great in France’s 400 free relay victory, is the 6th seed in 48.21, followed by Australian Cameron McEvoy in 48.43 and Italy’s Luca Dotto in just 48.46. With the way this race came in seeded, nobody would have guessed that a 48.46 would have final’ed, but alas it did.
That means Cuba’s Hanser Garcia, whose potential has so many swim fans in the western hemisphere excited, failed to advance to the finals with a 48.54 for 11th, as did the Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren, who scratched the 200 free final earlier in the meet to focus on this event. Verschuren was tied for 13th in 48.73.
Women’s 50 Backstroke – SEMIFINALS
China’s Fu Yuanhui was the second-fastest swimmer to the turn in the women’s 100 backstroke final (behind only Missy Franklin, who scratched out of this 50 back), and she backed that up here with a 27.40 to take the top seed in the women’s 50 backstroke.
That put her three-tenths of a second ahead of Japan’s Aya Terakawa: a huge margin in a 50-meter race. Spain continued to be very strong, as Mercedes Peris Minguet took the 3rd seed in 27.71 to cut two-tenths off of her own Spanish National Record. By our count, that’s at least 11 National Records for Spain already at this meet.
The other Chinese swimmer Jing Zhao also made the final, placing 4th in 27.87, followed by Etiene Medeiros (27.89) and lone American representative Rachel Bootsma (27.93). Great Britain’s Lauren Quigley made her first big international final with a 28.02 for the 7th seed, and her countrymate Georgia Davies will join her as the bookends for this race in 28.05.
Australian Emily Seebohm, who took silver in the 50 backstroke but didn’t have as much speed early there as we normally see from her, was 12th in 28.29.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS
Another Olympic Champion at this meet who has rolled into a World Championship: South Africa’s Chad le Clos began a South African medal run on Wednesday by winning the men’s 200 fly in 1:54.32. That time shows just how different this 200 fly is last year than this year: le Clos is the only swimmer from last year’s Olympic top 4 to make the final this year, and his winning time from Barcelona would not have medaled in London.
As it is, though, he did all he needed to do to complete his medal case in this event: he was the winner of the Short Course World Championship in 2010 and 2012, the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the Olympic Games in 2012, the All-Africa Games in 2011, and now has a World Championship from 2013 as well. The only little chip is one he can’t get back: in 2010, at the Youth Olympics, he earned only silver, behind Hungary’s Bence Biczo.
Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski, the 2005 World Champion in this event, led about half of this race, but wound up 2nd in 1:55.01 when le Clos had a great finish. China’s Wu Peng was 3rd in 1:55.09, followed by his countrymate Yin Chen in 1:55.47.
The top-finishing American was Tom Luchsinger in 1:55.70 for 5th place, which comes up just short of the time that won him the National Title in the U.S. this year. Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsvo was 6th in 1:56.02, followed by Tyler Clary (1:56.34) and Leonardo de Deus (1;56.44).
Women’s 200 Free – FINALS
Missy Franklin has been nothing but golden at this meet. Though she scratched the 50 backstroke semifinal, her most vulnerable event, she is now three-for-three in finals with gold medals, swimming a 1:54.81 for victory in the women’s 200 free. This one was the best of the group, however, as it was her first lifetime best of the meet so far. That means she broke a full second off of her 17-18 National Age Group Record set at the Olympics last year.
Italy’s Federica Pellegrini once again had a big closing kick, about what we saw from her in the semi-finals, and found herself back on the podium in 1:55.14. She was unable to repeat her gold medal from 2011, but after the year she had in 2012, that silver medal will feel really good around her neck.
France’s Camille Muffat, the Olympic Champion, took bronze in 1:55.72, and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom was 4th in 1:56.63.
Spain’s Melanie Costa-Schmid was 5th in 1;57.04, missing her Spanish Record from the semi’s, and the top 8 were rounded out by Australia’s Kylie Palmer (1:57.14), American Shannon Vreeland (1:57.41), and the second Frenchwoman Charlotte Bonnet (1:57.56).
Men’s 50 Breaststroke – FINALS
The South African day four medal haul jumped to three when teammates and training partners Cameron van der Burgh and Giulio Zorzi took gold and bronze in the men’s 50 breaststroke, with times of 26.77 and 27.04, respectively.
That gold from van der Burgh could have just as easily been a silver, though, with Christian Sprenger breaking an Australian National Record by going 26.78 – missing his second title by just .01 seconds.
That small margin shows the importance of every tiny detail in these 50’s, and reared its head again as Slovenia’s Damir Dugonjic was 4th in 27.05 – missing bronze by just .01 seconds himself.
Brazil’s Joao Gomes Junior was 5th in 27.20, just ,01 seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders, and then things were relatively spread out as Swedish teenager Johannes Skagius took 7th (27.48) and Italy’s Mattia Pesce was 8th (27.53).
Women’s 200 Fly – SEMIFINALS
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu looked really good in the 200 fly semi-finals, with times of 2:06.53 and 2:06.85, respectively, for the 1st and 3rd seeds headed into the finals.
Cammile Adams, however, looked just as good, going 2:06.75 to split-the-difference and take lane 5 for the final. These three, its no coincidence, are the three best finishers in the field. NCAA visions of both Hosszu and Adams running away from fields haunt nightmares of American 200 butterfliers, and in this race, Belmonte was every bit as good in the last 50 meters.
Adams’ big advantage is the lack of competition at the U.S. World Championship Trials; without Kathleen Hersey, the runner-up was Maya DiRado, who isn’t even a butterflier (she was 12th in these semis in 2:08.28). That meant that Adams could largely train through that meet, and with dual coaching from David Marsh and Steve Bultman, two of the best in the country, her taper looks to have been played just right.
Still lurking, though, are China’s two swimmers Liu Zige (4th seed – 2:07.18) and Jiao Liuyang (7th seed – 2:07.70). Liuyang is the defending Olympic Champion, but neither of them has looked nearly as good through these first two rounds as they did in 2012.
Natsumi Hoshi from Japan tied Zige for 4th, and also in the final will be Hungary’s Zsu Jakabos (6th – 2:07.31) and Spain’s Judit Ignacio Sorribes (8th – 2:07.86). That gives Spain two swimmers in this final.
Men’s 200 IM – SEMIFINAL
Ryan Lochte again looked very easy in his 200 IM, taking the top seed headed into finals in 1:57.07. As we saw in the 200 free, though, that’s not to say that he’s by any means a guarantee to win ahead of Kosuke Hagino (1:57.38), Laszlo Cseh (1:57.41), and Thiago Pereira (1:57.52), the next three seeds.
Lochte has taken over the mantle of the best IM breaststroker, which will be his big advantage over Hagino. Lochte actually played this race very smart – going hard on his breaststroke, and coasting everywhere else. It’s rather demoralizing in an IM when you see yourself getting crushed on a breaststroke and panic because there’s nothing you can do about it. The bulk of the work comes from the kick, where Lochte has gotten so good, and with that being largely a different style of muscular expenditure than the fly, back, and freestyle kicks, he could push his breaststroke without burning himself out for finals.
Hagino, meanwhile, struggles on the breaststroke – he was one of the slowest breaststroke splits of the entire top 16.
In 5th behind those star was China’s Wang Shun in 1:57.80; he’s had a very good year in 2013, which makes him one of the few Chinese elites who can say that. Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:58.03), Australia’s Daniel Tranter (1:58.10), and Sweden’s Simon Sjodin (1:58.17) also are in the final. For Sjodin, that’s somewhat of redemption after he was left off of the Olympic Team (among much outcry from Sweden’s elites).
Men’s 800 Free – FINALS
This was not the two-man race between Sun Yang and Ryan Cochrane that we expected. In fact, it was a four man race between those two and the two Americans, Michael McBroom and Connor Jaeger.
Ultimately, though, Sun was leading the pack the entire way, and nobody could make a lasting-move on any prolonged basis against Sun’s ultra-efficient stroke.
The only swimmer who at any point got close to passing Sun was McBroom (somewhat surprisingly him and not Jaeger). as he pulled within half-a-second around the 500 meter mark.
McBroom was in trouble early, as he was 8th after 150 meters and was in danger of losing contact. He really climbed back into the race though, and won silver as a part of his first ever International Team. He also broke the American Record of 7:45.63 that Larsen Jensen had held since 2005.
Cochrane outswam Jaeger on the last 50 to get bronze in 7:43.70, and Jaeger wound up 4th in 7:44.26, also under the old American Record. For Cochrane, that was the first Canadian swimming medal of these Championships.
After that tight grouping at the top, the results began to spread out quite a big. Australia’s Jordan Harrison had a much better swim than in the 400 to finish 5th in 7:47.38.
Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri was 6th in 7:50.29, followed by Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands (7:52.57), and Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli (7:52.79).