2016 Rio Olympics Preview: Hosszu Seeks Gold and WR in Women’s 200 IM

Women’s 200 IM

Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu may need to rebrand herself with a new element after the Olympics, which kick off this Friday, August 5th, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Hosszu, already the SwimSwam favorite in the 400 IM, is heavily favored to reap gold again in the 200 IM.  After lowering Ariana Kukors‘ world record by 0.03 last summer in a dominant performance in Kazan, Hosszu has shown no signs of slowing down.  Also the world record holder in the 100, 200, and 400 short course meters IMs (and the 100 and 200 SCM backstrokes), Hosszu is light-years ahead of the rest of the world in the medleys.  In 2012 Hosszu placed 8th in the 200 IM, nearly 7 seconds behind the double-gold-medalist in the IMs, Ye Shiwen of China.  Ye is entered in the 200 IM in Rio, but was not on the podium in either the 2013 or 2015 World Championships, placing 4th and 8th, respectively.  In 2013 Hosszu was world champion with a time that would have gotten her the silver medal in London just one year earlier.

The 200 is, however, a short enough distance that even Hosszu probably won’t pull so far ahead that the camera has to pan back just to get the other swimmers in the shot.  Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain is the likely silver-medalist in this spectacular field.  O’Connor, who currently sits at 2nd in world rankings behind Hosszu in the 200 IM in both short course and long course has improved immensely over the past three years.  After placing 8th in the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, O’Connor went on to win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, setting a new competition record in the event with a 2:08.21.

Maya DiRado and Melanie Margalis. Photo credit Tim Binning, theswimpictures.com

Maya DiRado and Melanie Margalis. (Courtesy Tim Binning, theswimpictures.com)

Maya DiRado of Team USA stands a great shot at making the podium in this event, after an amazing Trials where she qualified for Rio in three races, winning each one by a wide margin. DiRado, with her excellent freestyle, will keep the race thrilling until the end.  Teammate Melanie Margalis also has a good shot at making the finals in the 200 IM.  Margalis narrowly edged 2012 Olympic bronze-medalist Caitlin Leverenz for the opportunity to swim this event in Rio.  An elite breaststroker and an alternate for the Team USA’s 800 freestyle relay, Margalis will have the resources to finish the race exceptionally well.  But even with her phenomenal second-half and after knocking out Leverenz, Margalis will have to pick up the pace in Rio to stand a chance at making the podium.

Mireia Belmonte Garcia, 800 freestyle relay prelim, 2013 FINA Worlds (Photo Credit Victor Puig, victorpuig.com)

Mireia Belmonte-Garcia (Courtesy Victor Puig)

Spain’s multitalented Mireia Belmonte will swim the finals of the 200 IM shortly after she swims the semifinals of the 200 fly.  Belmonte is not the only swimmer in the field who will take on this double–Hosszu, the 2013 world bronze-medalist in the 200 fly–will also try her hand with this grueling double barring any scratches. Belmonte placed 3rd in the 200 IM at the World Championships in 2013, but chose not to contest it in Kazan last summer.  Due to her long and rigorous schedule, Belmonte, who is better at butterfly and distance freestyle, may have trouble getting on the podium in this shorter and more speed-oriented event.

2014 Pan Pacific Championships (courtesy of Scott Davis)

Alicia Coutts (Courtesy of Scott Davis)

2012 Olympic silver-medalist Alicia Coutts has maintained a spot on the podium at various large international competitions since London, including the 2013 World Championships (silver), 2014 Pan Pacs in her native Australia (silver), and at at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scottland (silver).  However, Coutts has not bettered her time since London 2012.  Now 28-years-old, Coutts will likely be the oldest woman in the finals of this event.

Storming onto the scene in 2016 is Russia’s Viktoriya Andreeva.  Andreeva, who did not even make the semifinals at the World Championships last summer in her native Russia (2:16.85), blasted a 2:09.56 this year, taking nearly 2 seconds off the previous Russian record.  Now ranked 4th in the world going into Rio, Andreeva will have to prove herself on swimming’s largest stage.  Also a talented butterflyer and freestyler, expect Andreeva to take it out fast and have the resources to finish well.

Finally, Miho Teramura of Japan is going to be a major contender for a spot in the finals in the women’s 200 IM.  While she is ranked 5th in the world in this event, she possesses significantly less experience on the major international stage than the other 7 women mentioned above.

Teramura will try to carry on the legacy of 2015 World silver medalist Kanako Watanabe, who won’t contest this event in Rio, instead focusing solely on the breaststroke races.

Also keep an eye on young Japanese swimmer Runa Imai, who could challenge the junior world record. That record (though not yet confirmed by FINA) is held by China’s Zhou Min, who is also in the race.

One more name to keep an eye on is Canada’s Sydney Pickremwho had a great 2015 but hasn’t been at her best yet this year. For what it’s worth Pickrem trains at Texas A&M University in the U.S. alongside Bethany Galat, who has blown up domestically this summer – that could hint at some Galat-like explosion for Pickrem on the big stage.

Place Swimmer Country Best Time Since 2012 Predicted Time in Rio
1 Katinka Hosszu Hungary 2:06.12 2:05.9 (WR)
2 Siobhan-Marie O’Connor Great Britain 2:08.21 2:07.9
3 Maya Dirado USA 2:08.99 2:08.5
4 Mireia Belmonte-Garcia Spain 2:09.45 2:09.6
5 Alicia Coutts Australia 2:09.39 2:09.8
6 Viktoriya Andreeeva Russia 2:09.56 2:10.7
7 Miho Teramura Japan 2:09.87 2:10.8
8 Melanie Margalis USA 2:10.11 2:11.1

Dark Horse: Hannah Miley of Great Britain will also contend for a spot in the finals of the women’s 200 IM.  Though 5th in last year’s World Championships and 7th in the London Games in 2012 (and 5th in the 400 IM in London), Miley has not been at her best so far in 2016.  Going into Rio Miley sits at 19th in the world with a 2:11.84 swum at the 2016 LEN European Championships.  If she can get back to near her best time (2:10.19), she will be a finalist, and a drop from there could give her an outside shot at some hardware.


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7 years ago

If 2:11 low or 2:10 high will be enough to make the final, then Wenk should be able to do it. I am really excited to see what Belmonte can do in this event, she should final but i dont know if she can beat at least one out of SMOC/Dirado for a medal. I think gold will go to Hosszu, silver will go to SMOC and bronze should be between Dirado, Belmonte and maybe the japanese girls.
Dark horse: Solnceva (if she swims it) and Shiwen

7 years ago

Totally admire Maya. Stanford grad with a job lined up in Atlanta after trials. To me she has already won. A metal would be icing on the cake. Wishing her all the best!

Stay Human
Reply to  Maya
7 years ago

I’m secretly hoping that she takes McKinsey by storm and wins all kinds of records there, gets bored after two years, and decides to make a comeback for 2020 😉

Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

The Hungarian Iron Lady (duuhh..)
The British Rocket Girl
The McKinsey Consultant

King in da norf
Reply to  Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

You stole my shtick 🙁

The Iron Lady
The English Lass
The Stanford Graduate

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
7 years ago

Stop copying and mocking people on here be creative and come up with your own comments.

7 years ago

Hosszu gets the record in the 400 IM, but not the 200, while he schedule is lighter that usuall, it is still tough and she will be tired.

7 years ago

I trust that the WR and Gold will go to Hosszu ,then I’d like to see Belmonte silver and for nostalgia and patriotism Coutts get bronze.

7 years ago

Why do you think Belmonte will not improve at all?
Swimswam is predicting none PBs in 200m fly, 400m IM, 200m IM
And Mireia is also underestimated in 400m free, 800m free, which mean also no PBs in your picks
Mireia was working very hard after her shoulder injury, her coach is predicting a 2:03 200m fly based on her training possibilities, she is a great racer, got’s very strong mentality, she hasn’t tapered this year
She will be fighting for win (200m fly, 400m IM) and minor medals (200m IM, 400m free, 800m free)
Her endurance is maybe the best of all women swimmers in Rio, because of swimming open water, her backhalfs will be astonishing

Reply to  Nick
7 years ago

I’ve noticed they do that a lot, but take heart they hardly ever do it to an American swimmer! ????

Reply to  Daza
7 years ago

No, they have go look at some of the past previews..

Stay Human
Reply to  Nick
7 years ago

Nick, she’s going to need that endurance– 2/4IM, 2FL, 4/800Free is brutal!!! Will she have relays, too?

7 years ago

Wow, no way Melanie adds a full second from trials. She’s been doing 2:11 at all the grand prixs, I wouldn’t be shocked if she went 2:09.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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