2015 FINA World Championships: Day 5 Finals Preview


Women’s 100m Freestyle Semi-Final

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden continued her strong championships posting the top time in the heats of the women’s 100 free in 53.22. Australian Cate Campbell also posted a 53.22 this morning. Campbell will have lane 4 in the first semi-final tonight, and Sjostrom will have it in the second semi. In the first semi-final Campbell will be joined by Missy Franklin (USA), Shen Duo (CHN) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED). Joining Sjostrom in the second semi-final will be Femke Heemskerk (NED), Bronte Campbell (AUS), and Simone Manuel (USA). Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR) will swim in the second semi after tying with Veronika Popova for 16th place. It appears Popova scratched the swim-off to focus on the freestyle relay. Notably, both Katinka Hosszu and Federica Pellegrini didn’t swim in the 100m free prelims after initially being entered in the event.

Men’s 200m IM Final

Ryan Lochte will be in search of his 4th straight title in this event, and continue the American winning streak in the event as they have won the last 7 titles, with 3 from Michael Phelps before Lochte took over. Lochte qualified 1st out of the semi-finals in a time of 1:56.81, and looked very smooth. He was especially fast in the first 100m, out in 53.61 just off world record pace before cruising home on the freestyle as per usual for him in any 200 IM that isn’t the final. Wang Shun of China closed on Lochte significantly in the freestyle in the second semi-final, finishing just behind him qualifying in 2nd in 1:57.07. 2013 bronze medalist Thiago Pereira of Brazil qualified 3rd overall in 1:57.33. He was followed by Dan Wallace (GBR), Simon Sjodin (SWE), Marcin Cieslak (POL) and Henrique Rodrigues (BRA). Wallace, Sjodin and Cieslak all swam personal bests to make the final and Rodrigues is coming off a gold medal at the Pan American games earlier this summer, where he defeated his countryman Pereira. Conor Dwyer (USA) and Roberto Pavoni (GBR) tied for 8th in the semi’s leaving a swim-off to decide who would swim in the final. It was close, but ultimately Dwyer’s aggressiveness in the first 100m paid off as he won 1:58.18 to 1:58.26, both swimming faster than their semi-final time of 1:58.54. One of the biggest surprises was Daiya Seto of Japan, who came into this event with the top time for 2015 out of anyone swimming at these world championships (2nd in the world overall to Kosuke Hagino). After failing to medal in the 200m butterfly earlier in the session, an event in which he was a serious gold medal contender, Seto floundered in the second semi finishing 14th overall in a disastrous 2:00.05. Seto will look to salvage something out of these championships later on in the 400 IM, where he is the defending champion.

Women’s 200m Breastroke Semi-Final

Kanako Watanabe of Japan led the way in the 200 breast prelims posting a time of 2:23.29. Qualifying right behind her were Micah Lawrence (USA) and Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (ISL). The top three qualifiers were all from heat 4 this morning. Lawrence will swim in the first semi-final tonight. Joining her will be Shi Jinglin of China, world record holder Rikke Pedersen of Denmark and 4th seed after prelims Fanny Lecluyse (BEL). Lecluyse broke the Belgian national record with that swim, going 2:23.77. Watanabe and Luthersdottir will be joined in the second semi-final by Viktoria Gunes (TUR) and Rie Kaneto (JPN) who almost missed the semi’s after finishing 15th in prelims. Shockingly, former world champion in this event and hometown favorite Yuliya Efimova missed the semi-finals after swimming a 17th ranked 2:26.11 this morning. Also missing the top 16 was American Breeja Larson and Canadian Martha McCabe.

Men’s 100m Freestyle Final

The men’s 100m freestyle was one of the most highly anticipated events coming into these championships, and the final is going to be spectacular, but it will be missing arguably the biggest star in the field. After posting a blistering 46.95 split in the 400 free relay, Vladimir Morozov looked poised to win his first world championship title on home soil. Unfortunately, that is no longer possible, as Morozov false started in the second semi-final meaning he will be in the stands for the 100m final. He initially won the semi-final in 48.12 before being disqualified. With Morozov out of the final, Australia’s Cameron McEvoy looked great in the semi-finals and will be tough to beat tonight. He posted the top time in the world this year of 47.94, qualifying 1st overall. He was followed by Ning Zetao (CHN), Federico Grabich (ARG), and Pieter Timmers (BEL). All three swimmers swam well in the semi, and Grabich has seemingly come out of nowhere after winning the Pan Am title in this event in July. The 5th seed for the final is America’s lone hope, Nathan Adrian. After winning 2012 Olympic gold, Adrian hasn’t swum up to his standards the last few years but is always reliable to perform well. The 2013 bronze medalist took the semi’s out very fast in 22.45, the fastest of anyone, but faltered down the last 50 closing in 25.91, the slowest of anyone in the semi-finals (including non-finalists). Adrian needs his second 50 to be closer to 25.0 rather than 26.0 if he wants to contend in this final. Adrian hopes to be the first American to win this event since Anthony Ervin in 2001. Rounding out the final will be Marcelo Chierighini (BRA), Alexander Sukhorukov (RUS) and Santo Condorelli (CAN), who benefitted greatly from Morozov’s false start. Coming into the meet Condorelli shared the top time in the world for the year with Morozov at 47.98, and he certainly is an outside medal contender. Look for him and Adrian to lead through the first 50m of the race.  Along with Morozov, Matheus Santana (BRA), Fabien Gilot and Jeremy Stravius (FRA) and Sebastiaan Verschuren (NED) didn’t qualify for the final.

Women’s 200m Butterfly Final

The women’s 200 fly final will be full of women searching for their first world championship success. None of the finalists have ever medaled at a world championships, but that will change tonight. Natsumi Hoshi has an Olympic medal, and will look to win her first world championship medal tonight. She qualified 1st in 2:06.36. She was followed by world #1 Franziska Hentke of Germany, Liliana Szilagyi of Hungary and Zhang Yufei of China. These top four qualifiers all swam in the second semi-final, which proved to be much quicker than the 1st. However, qualifiers 5th through 8th all came from the first semi. Katie McLaughlin led the way, posting a 2:07.52 and qualifying for her first career individual world championship final. She was followed by her American teammate Cammile Adams, Australian Brianna Throssell, and Zhou Yilin of China. Madeline Groves of Australia was 2nd ranked in the world coming into the meet, but just missed the final in 9th. Also missing the final was 2013 bronze medalist Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who didn’t have much time to recover after the 200m free final. All eight finalists have a chance to win.

Men’s 200m Breastroke Semi-Final

In what was a very fast preliminary race, Germany’s Marco Koch leads 8 different swimmers who swam sub-2:10 this morning. Koch posted the top time of 2:09.12 out of heat 6, and Andrew Willis (GBR) and Mao Feilian (CHN) followed him with the 2nd and 3rd fastest times this morning also from the 6th heat. Also swimming under 2:10 this morning was Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ), Daniel Gyurta (HUN), Matti Mattsson (FIN), Kevin Cordes (USA) and Anton Chupkov (RUS). Cordes is coming off a medal performance in the 50 breastroke, while Mattsson won the bronze medal in this event in 2013 but hasn’t swum anywhere close to that level since, as he swam over 2 seconds faster than his entry time this morning. The first semi-final will feature Mattsson, Willis, Balandin and Chupkov, along with Giedrius Titenis (LTU) and Nic Fink (USA). The second semi-final features Gyurta, Koch, Mao and Cordes, along with Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan in lane 1. It is going to be a very fast semi-final and expect maybe even a sub-2:09 to be necessary to qualify for the final tomorrow. After dominating the 50 and 100 breastroke events so far this meet, both Cameron van der Burgh (21st) and Adam Peaty (26th) failed to advance to the semi-finals. Also missing out was Ryo Tateishi (JPN) and Thiago Simon (BRA).

Women’s 50m Backstroke Final

Fu Yuanhui of China scared the world record in the semi-finals of the 50 back, ultimately finishing 0.12 off it in 27.18 and qualifying 1st for tonights final by a sizeable margin. She was followed by Etiene Medeiros, who held down the top spot in the world rankings this year until Fu stole it here. She qualified 2nd in 27.41, and was followed by 100m backstroke bronze medalist Mie Nielsen of Denmark, Liu Xiang of China and the Australian gold and silver medalists from the 100 Emily Seebohm and Madison Wilson. The field is rounded out by Lauren Quigley (GBR) and Theodora Drakou (8th). Fu will be tough to beat, but look for Medeiros and Seebohm to challenge her for gold. Fu’s countrywoman Zhao Jing has her world record in jeopardy tonight. The record has stood since 2009.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Semi-Final

Mitchell Larkin of Australia continued his phenomenal meet topping the men’s 200 back prelims in 1:55.88. Larkin was the only one under 1:56. He was followed by Ryosuke Irie (JPN), Ryan Murphy (USA), Evgeny Rylov (RUS), Xu Jiayu (CHN) and Tyler Clary (USA) who all swam 1:56. Tonight the first semi-final will feature Clary, Irie and Rylov along with Leonardo de Deus of Brazil and Joshua Beaver of Australia. The second semi will have Xu, Larkin and Murphy, along with Christian Diener of Germany and 2013 silver medalist in this event Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland, who qualified just 13th in 1:58.09. Look for a much better swim from him tonight. Swimmers will have to approach 1:56 if they want to make the final. Among those missing the final was Benjamin Stasiulis of France in 20th and Omar Pinzon of Columbia in 22nd.

Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final

This morning the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay had an amazing seven out of eight teams from heat 2 qualify for the final, with only the United States qualifying out of heat 1. The U.S. led the first heat with Leah Smith, Cierra Runge, Chelsea Chenault and Shannon Vreeland posting a time of 7:52.61. The Americans will have Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin join the team for the finals, along with most likely Smith (1:57.52 lead off) and Chenault (1:58.04) who posted the fastest splits this morning. With the additions of Ledecky and Franklin, the Americans will be tough to beat. Also in heat 1 was Russia (9th), Brazil (10th) and Canada (11th) who just missed the final. The second heat was led by Italy who posted the top time of the morning of 7:52.51. Federica Pellegrini anchored the team in 1:56.60. Australia followed, posting the 3rd fastest qualifying time of 7:52.66. Bronte Barratt, Jessica Ashwood, Leah Neale and Emma McKeon swam for Australia in the heats. They will likely sub-in Melanie Wright in exchange for Ashwood for the final. Also making the final out of heat 2 was Sweden, China, Japan, Great Britain and France. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostorm had the fastest split in the field of 1:55.69 to anchor Sweden. This sets up a great final tonight, as all 8 teams are within just 2.57 of each other after the heats. The Americans would have to be considered the gold medal favorites, but it’s anyones game for the medals.

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James DO please do some proof-reading/fact checking before publishing ! Brit Elmslie withdrew from the AUS Worlds squad some months back due to a cyst removal from her breast. The AUS substitution is likely to be Mel Wright for Jess Ashwood.


Lochte’s got no competition this evening
He’s gonna win it by a mile

Joel Lin

I expect Lochte will put up a great time. Hopefully sub 1:55. His 200 free was fast and he is very fit.


His breatstroke leg in the heat was ridiculous

Joel Lin

This is the event where his improved underwaters have the biggest impact. Fly start, fly to back turn then breast to free turn are 3 places he is 1/2 body to 1 body length better than the fast field. I can’t believe I just wrote his improved underwaters considering they were so incredible before this tweak and improvement.


Looking at Lochte’s IM preparation this meet is kind of interesting. Prelims: coast fly and back, work the breast, coast home. Semis: Work fly and back, coast breast and free (although his breast split was still 33.9). So now all he has to do is put it all together and hold on for dear life on the freestyle. He’ll definitely be in the 1:55’s at least, hopefully he can be 1:54 though.

lane Four

I don’t know…..the Chinese swimmer scared me during semis. He is a mystery and looked strong on the last 50.


Australia cannot sub in Brittany Elmsie she is not in Kazan. She withdrew from the team due to some health issues.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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