WOMEN’S 200 IM
- 2015 World Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:06.12
- 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:06.58
- World Record Holder: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:06.12
When people think of IM right now, Katinka Hosszu is the name that sticks. For IM, especially the 400, Hosszu is taking things to new heights– much like Katie Ledecky in the distance free and Sarah Sjöström in the 100 fly.
That said, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor gave her a run for her money in Rio, taking silver in this event just three tenths behind the Iron Lady with a 2:06.88 national record swim. She was DQ’d in this race at British Trials, but nobody made the British qualifying standard in this event at that meet, and since she’s already qualified in the 100 breast, she’ll likely be swimming this race in Budapest. Her season best is a 2:10.01 from the Sette Colli meet in Italy in June, which is solid considering she was 2:09.66 in April of 2016 to qualify for Rio. Hosszu might have the upper hand, but she could get run down at the wall if she takes on too tough a schedule in Budapest.
Past those two, it’s anyone’s guess for bronze, or any possible newcomers to challenge for gold.
The Americans and the Japanese have two swimmers each who are in the 2:09’s this year. Melanie Margalis has been 2:09 plenty of times in her career, but if she isn’t able to get down into the 2:08 range, she might be out of a medal, like in Rio. Madisyn Cox, after a disappointing meet overall, roared back for a sub-2:10 swim at U.S. Worlds Trials to qualify alongside Margalis in this event. If that was a swim born out of emotion from her frustrating meet, it doesn’t seem likely she’ll go much faster in Budapest. That said, she had a fantastic 1:52.58 in the 200y IM at NCAAs, suggesting that she’s still riding an improvement curve that could take her into medal territory this summer.
For the Japanese, Yui Ohhashi (2:09.96) and Runa Imai (2:10.41) were selected to swim in Budapest in this race. Ohhashi did not swim this in Rio last year, though Imai did. No Japanese women made the final last summer, but Ohhashi and Imai are both ranked in the world’s top 10 this year, with Ohhashi sitting 5th. In total, 7 Japanese women rank in the world’s top 18, so the depth is definitely there for them– Ohhashi or Imai will have to perform better than they ever have, though, to medal in Budapest.
Sydney Pickrem could also screw it all up for the Americans and Japanese– she’s part of the Canadian youth revolution that continues to grow, and she was 5th in this race in Rio. Her 2:09.56 from Canadian Trials this spring puts her 2nd in the world this year, .01 ahead of Margalis. Her teammate Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was a Rio semifinalist in this event, and her 2:10.97 ranks 13th this year.
Victoria Andreeva has been Russia’s go-to swimmer in this race. She’s been 2:11.75 this year– not stellar, but she was a finalist in Rio last summer. She’s a big name who has a solid shot at making this final in Budapest.
|PLACE||SWIMMER||COUNTRY||BEST TIME SINCE RIO||PREDICTED TIME AT WORLDS|
|2||Siobhan-Marie O’Connor||Great Britain||2:06.88||2:07.1|
Dark horse: Ye Shiwen of China. She’s been nearly impossible to predict of late, and though she made the final in Rio, she tanked in that race. We know she’s capable of swimming very fast, but what we’re going to get in Budapest is a question too elusive to answer.