2015 World Championship Preview: Women’s 200 Butterfly

Women’s 200 Butterfly: 2015 World Championships Preview

  • Day 6, Friday August 7th (Day 11)
  • 2013 World Champion: Liu Zige, CHN – 2:04.59
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Mireia Belmonte, ESP – 2:04.78
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Katinka Hosszu, HUN – 2:05.59

The women’s 200 butterfly is going through a changing of the guard, as recently the event has been dominated by Otylia Jedrzecjczak of Poland, Jessicah Schipper of Australia and the Chinese duo of Liu Zige and Jiao Liuyang. These four women combined to win every Olympic and world title in the event for ten consecutive years, from 2003 to 2013. Jedrzecjczak had two world titles to go with an Olympic title, Jaio and Zige both had one of each, and Schipper had a couple of world titles. This run will finally come to an end this year, as for the first time in over a decade none of these women will be competing at the world championships. The winning time has historically come in the 2:05-2:06 area (with the anomaly of 2009 where 2:03 won and Zige set a ridiculous world record of 2:01.8). 2013 was the fastest championship excluding 2009, as two swimmers went 2:04 in the final. Only one women has broken 2:05 in the last two years, Mireia Belmonte, and she has withdrawn from the meet. Despite this, I believe it will have to take a sub-2:05 to win and most likely sub-2:06 to medal.

2014-2015 LCM Women 200 Fly

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Germany’s Franziska Hentke has slowly but surely become a top contender in the 200 fly. After swimming a personal best of 2:08.00 in 2008, Hentke had a difficult few years where she didn’t come close to that time. She finally did at the 2013 world championships, where she just missed the final finishing 9th. Her best international performances have come at the European short course championships, where she won bronze in 2009 and silver in 2013 (both in the 200 fly). In 2014 she won the German national title in a new personal best of 2:07.67, and capped off her summer with a solid 6th place at the European championships. 2015 has been her best year yet, as she has improved her personal best all the way down to 2:05.26 ranking her 1st in the world. Coming in as the top seed at the world championships is obviously something Hentke has never experienced before and it will be interesting to see if she lets the pressure get to her. I think she has enough experience behind her that will let her stay focused on the job at hand. I see her taking home her first world title.

Recently Madeline Groves has proven herself to be Australia’s top threat in the 200 fly. At the end of 2013 she swam a personal best of 2:07.19 at the Queensland Championships that made her the fastest Australian for the year and would’ve put her into contention to final at the world championships had she been swimming there. She further established herself in 2014, winning the Australian championships and swimming a personal best 2:06.81 early in the year. She got her first taste of international experience that summer, finishing 3rd at the Commonwealth games and 7th at the Pan Pacs. This year she won her second consecutive 200 fly title at the Australian championships swimming a new personal best of 2:05.41 which ranks her 2nd in the world heading into Kazan. It will be interesting to see if Groves can improve this year swimming internationally, as last year she was off her best time at both championship meets by a fair margin. Like Hentke, I think Groves swims well in Kazan and pushes Hentke for the title, ultimately finishing 2nd.

There was much speculation about what events Katinka Hosszu would enter in at worlds, and now that the psych sheets have been released we have a better idea (as she still could scratch out of some events). Despite speculation that the she would drop the 200 fly in favour of other events, she is entered in it and for good reason. Hosszu has 4 medals each from the world championships and European championships in the 200 fly (short and long course combined). She is the 5th fastest performer in the event all-time, and with an arguably weaker field this year than in 2013 (where she won bronze), not swimming this would be foolish. The only potential obstacle for her in this event would be that she would potentially have the 200 free final the same session as the 200 fly semi. Hosszu has proven her ability to swim multiple times in a session over and over and if she wanted to drop one of those events, well, its pretty clear the 200 free field is a lot stronger than the 200 fly this year. I think she’ll swim the event, around the same time she did two years ago, and win bronze like she did two years ago.

Natsumi Hoshi of Japan will be one of the most experienced women in the field. Hoshi got her international start at the 2008 Olympics, at just 18 years of age. She swam well and just missed the final finishing 10th. After a few years off of the international scene Hoshi returned in 2011 finishing 4th at the world championships in a new best time of 2:05.91. Hoshi’s best season came in 2012, where she won the Olympic bronze medal and also established a new personal best at the Japanese championships of 2:04.69, making her the 6th fastest woman in history. Hoshi had another strong showing at the 2013 world champnships, with her second consecutive 4th place finish. Hoshi had another good year in 2014, finishing 2nd to Cammile Adams at the Pan Pacs and posting the 2nd fastest time in the world with a time of 2:05.98. Hoshi has looked solid again this season, swimming a 5th ranked 2:06.66. Despite all of her experience, Hoshi is still young at just 24. She’ll be in the fight for a medal, but ultimately I see her winding up 4th for the 3rd consecutive world championships.

Katie McLaughlin has seen enormous improvements the last few years, which has lead her to her first world championships. After competing at the US Olympic trials at just 15, McLaughlin made some big drops in 2013. She narrowly missed the world championship team, finishing 3rd in the 200 fly at the American trials. She continued her strong year with victories in the 100 and 200 fly at US junior nationals and then won gold in the 200 at the world junior championships with a personal best 2:08.72. She carried her success over into 2014, finishing 2nd at US nationals in the 200 qualifying her for the Pan Pacs. She had a terrific meet there, swimming personal bests in the prelims and finals of the 200 ultimately finishing with a bronze and a new world junior record of 2:07.08. This also qualified her for the world championships this year. That time ranked her 8th last year and this year she is ranked 11th in the world, with a solid 2:07.93. I think we’ll see her dip below 2:07 for the first time in Kazan and she certainly has potential to nab a medal. At a home meet in late June McLaughlin also broke the 17-18 national age group in the 100 fly, swimming a remarkable 57.87, a personal best by almost a full second. That swim should put her in consideration for the American medley relay as well, as it is the fastest time an American has done this year that is competing at worlds.

American Cammile Adams broke out at the 2012 US Olympic trials, swimming a personal best 2:06.52 and qualifying for her first Olympic team. Adams swam well at the Olympics, ultimately finishing 5th. She has had some strong results since, finishing 7th at the 2013 world championships and then winning the 2014 Pan Pacs just missing her personal best swimming a 2:06.61. That swim placed her 4th in the world for the year, and she has backed it up this year with a 6th ranked 2:07.52. Adams should make her 2nd consecutive world championship final and improve on her 7th place from two years ago.

Brianna Throssel broke into the Australian swimming scene in 2014 finishing 3rd at the Australian championships in the 200 fly in a time of 2:09.83. She continued her success in 2014 winning three bronze medals at the Youth Olympic games. She then swam on her first senior national team at the 2014 short course world championships, swimming very well and finishing 7th in the 200 fly and winning a silver medal for her efforts in the prelims of the medley relay. In early 2015 Throssel pushed her best time all the way down to 2:06.60, and then at the Australian championships a few months later she qualified for the world championships by finishing in 2nd to Madeline Groves. She is ranked 4th in the world this year and should be a good bet to make the final. If she can swim another personal best, she has a shot at a medal.

Judit Ignacio will be Spain’s only entry in the women’s 200 fly after perennial favourite Mireia Belmonte withdrew a few days ago. Ignacio is young, but already has years of international experience under her belt. She debuted at the 2010 Youth Olympic games where she won a pair of silver medals in the butterfly events, and then went onto win the 200 fly at the 2011 world juniors. In 2011 she established a personal best of 2:07.87 at just 17 years of age. She then competed at the 2012 Olympcis, finishing 15th in the 200 fly and 26th in the 100. At her first world championships in 2013 she made the final in the 200 finishing in 8th place. Her most successful season came last year, when she won silver at the European championships in a new personal best of 2:06.66. That swim had her ranked 5th in the world, and this year she sits 20th.

Hungarian Liliana Szilgyi is my darkhorse pick. In 2012 she won two medals at the European junior championships, including a gold in the 200 fly. In 2013 she then won a pair of silvers in both butterfly events at the world junior championships, and then made the progression over to gold with two of them at the 2014 Youth Olympic games. Her 200 was particularly impressive, as she won in a  massive personal best of 2:06.59 which ranked her 3rd overall in the world. She has yet to come close to that time again, with her best this year being 2:08.25 ranking her 14th. It will be interesting to see if the young Szilagyi (just 18) will thrive under the pressure at her first world championships or crack. It will certainly be valuable experience for her moving forward in her career and it will be interesting to see how she swims.

Others to watch for in this event include Canadians Audrey Lacroix and Katerine Savard, Jinyoung Park of Korea, Hannah Miley of Great Britain, Alessia Polieri of Italy, Martina van Berkel of Switzerland, and the Chinese contingent of Zhou Yilin and Zhang Yufei.


  1. Franziska Hentke, GER          2:04.68
  2. Madeline Groves, AUS           2:05.06
  3. Katinka Hosszu, HUN            2:05.74
  4. Natsumi Hoshi, JPN               2:05.99
  5. Katie McLaughlin, USA          2:06.43
  6. Cammile Adams, USA             2:06.66
  7. Brianna Throssel AUS             2:07.06
  8. Judit Ignacio, ESP                   2:07.37

Darkhorse: Liliana Szilgyi, HUN


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

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7 years ago

In my opinion there is a very good chance that Hungary will win at least one medal, of course only if Hosszu will swim this event. In my opinion she should drop the 100 free and only swim 2 events out of 100 back/200 free/200 fly. I think Hosszu will be at least in 2.05 low shape if she decides to swim this event. Szilagy is the darkhorse in this event, she clearly improved her PB at 2014 youth olympic games and i think she very well might be able to do that again this year, she could even swim sub 2.05. I think there is a realistic chance that Hungary will win 2 medals in this event.

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
7 years ago

Interesting that the author thinks Hosszu will swim slower than her PB!
One thing that could happen is that the winner is slower than a certain US lady from 36 years ago.

7 years ago

Hoshi is my sentimental favorite here. I hope she can pull out the gold medal; she’s been so consistent for so long, and the video of her swimming the 2:04 is something to behold.

7 years ago

i am not sure why you think katinka will be shining in this event. it has been her weakest event this past year. i am surprised they didn’t use the other two good hungarians here. i don’t think she medals. it could be weak enough event that both americans have a shot. don’t see katinka medaling this year in 2fly….sorry.

7 years ago

I think Hoshi or Hosszu will win it. They’re extremely experienced in this event and probably didn’t fully taper for their Nationals. If Hoshi can repeat her past performances the gold is hers. I think the bronze will go to Adams. Hentke and Groves, I believe, fully tapered for their National and will not be as fast. Adams is one of the most consistent and experienced Americans. She swam very well at Pan Pacs and has time to drop and has learned to take the race out a bit more aggressively after the 2013 finals. McLaughlin will be with the pack as well.
Hoshi: 2:04.6
Hosszu: 2:05.0
Adams: 2:05.2
Hentke Groves McLaughlin: 2:05.5-2:06
… Read more »

Reply to  Deraj
7 years ago

Of course i respect your prediction, but you should at least try to get the facts right.
Hentke didnt swim her PB at the german championships (in April), but at the German Open (in July).

Germany has a rather complicated qualification system:
You have to be in top 2 at german championships and swim certain times in prelims and finals. Hentke had to swim 2.18.24 and 2.10.72.
You also have to swim certain times in prelims and finals at a second qualification event. Every swimmer can choose “his own” second qualification event. You have to swim these times either at Mare Nostrum Tour, at german age group championships, at the golden tour meeting in Nancy, at the… Read more »

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
7 years ago

Sorry, of course it should be sub 2.04 at line 18 (not sub 2.03).

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
7 years ago

I seem to recall quotes from Hentke’s coach that suggested she went into that meet in top shape – He spoke of her having to try and “maintain” her current form for Kazan. We in Britain had the same in 2011 – Jemma Lowe went 2.05.4 a month before Worlds and ended up struggling to break 2.07 in Shanghai.

I hope Hentke can deliver, it is great to see new names medalling – But I don’t see her going under 2.05 let alone 2.04.. 2.06low will medal, without a doubt, she should aim for that in my opinion. We have to remember her 2.05 came out of the blue, even to Hentke, and it could end up being one… Read more »

7 years ago

I really can see the medal going anywhere – 2.07low could get a medal in my opinion. Really strange event without Jiao & Mireia.

7 years ago

With the world champs about to start in just over 24hrs, are you going to do the relay predictions as well? With women’s 50 fly to go as well..

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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