2017 Worlds Preview: 200IM Gold to Hosszu… Then Who?

You can find links to all of our event-by-event previews and a compilation of our predicted medal-winners here.

WOMEN’S 200 IM

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
1 Katinka Hosszu Hungary 2:06.58 2:06.4
2 Siobhan-Marie O’Connor Great Britain 2:06.88 2:07.1
3 Melanie Margalis USA 2:09.21 2:08.5
4 Sydney Pickrem Canada 2:09.56 2:09.3
5 Yui Ohhashi Japan 2:09.96 2:09.8
6 Madisyn Cox USA 2:09.69 2:10.5
7 Runa Imai Japan 2:10.41 2:10.8
8 Victoria Andreeva Russia 2:10.87 2:11.1

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.

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Sydney
5 years ago

Go Sydney go

IMs for days
5 years ago

Hosszu will have the benifit of this being her first event, the same way her 400 IM benefited in rio. I think she will be fast here, but again, I’m not sure she will ever get into her 2015/2016 shape again.
I think O’Connor is still far ahead of everyone else, and while I think she’ll be slower than Rio, she will still have a second over the field. Ohhashi has looked great this year, and I think she might break out in Budapest. I don’t see Maragalis or Cox improvimg much more on their trials times. Pickrem is one to watch for Tokyo, and I think she will be part of an awesome Candian Womens team their, but… Read more »

Anonymous
Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

I think a lot of people are underestimating Margalis a little. She was 2:10.11 at trials last year and then 2:09.6/2:10.1/2:09.2 in Rio. She was 2:09.5 this year at trials so she should drop a fair amount from trials to worlds. Plus she’s also been looking very good this year, best times in the 100/200/400 Free and right on her breaststroke bests she will be dangerous on the back half.

75M FREE
5 years ago

“I predict that one swimmer will win the gold medal, unless there is a tie for first.” – John Madden

aquajosh
5 years ago

Watch out for Ohhashi. The 200 IM was her better event before she popped that 4:31 400 IM.

75M FREE
Reply to  aquajosh
5 years ago

Ohhashi-M-G.

KRB
5 years ago

1. Hosszu
2. Margalis
3. O’Connor

Dee
Reply to  KRB
5 years ago

Interesting: Are we expecting a 2.07 from Margalis, or a sub par O’Connor? Latter certainly possible this year.

Dee
5 years ago

1. Hosszu
2. O’Connor
3. Margalis

In a normal year, pretty easy top 2 to pick – Hosszu & O’Connor are on a different level to the other ladies. But, it’s not a normal year, and while Hosszu looks strong, SMOC has struggled a little after a long break and I expect her about 1s off her Rio swim. Comfortable Hosszu gold, O’Connor a relatively clear silver. Margalis winning the low 2.09 scrap for bronze.

Riez
5 years ago

My prediction is a brutal WR in the semi-final the day before, then a “usual” sub 2:07 in the final, whatever is needed to keep SMOC at her legs, an hour after making the final in 100 back. I don’t see anyone else as a podium favourite, especially not Shiwen as a dark horse.

Prickle
Reply to  Riez
5 years ago

I’m not sure how “brutal” this semi-final will be but it will definitely answer a lot of question about Hosszu’s form. Her 2017 season results are very puzzling that makes the predilection process difficult. She had earned much more money by this time last year. So what is this sacrifice for to perform significantly slower? Or it is what she is capable of and the Age finally get to her

Riez
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

She has been training even harder. https://www.facebook.com/katinkahosszu/photos/a.272891512784831.64172.252908511449798/1655257337881568/?type=3&theater
Rumours from the training pool say that she is faster in back than ever. She definitely needs that on day #2.
As for the 200IM semi, I would say a sub 2:06.

Riez
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

Sorry, your question was the money. She earns it over the autumn world cup series. Last year’s was sth like 370k.

Prickle
Reply to  Riez
5 years ago

You are much closer to the source of rumors so I will take it as you said. But should I be faster at routine training exercises than ever at any competitions then why would I miss some earnings at FFN Golden Tour, Swedish Open and Mare Nostrum? It is so not like we are used to be said about Hosszu and how she brands herself: all year long highest performance at any meet. If Sarah is fast in training pool then we have a pleasure to see it in competition as well.
One may say that she is not honey-bee any more that feeds from any flower but invests into major meet of the year. But last year was… Read more »

Riez
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

We cannot compare those earnings to the world cup series’ prize, it’s a far cry in her case.
True, she doesn’t like to give interviews, however can be seen at different (not swimming) local events saying at least a few related words, so it’s not only rumor based.
Also, don’t forget what she did at Windsor, then all of a sudden (right away as the 2017 season started) the great times stopped to come, whilst nothing special happened to her.
For me the most convincing reason is knowing her personality. KL and SS most probably grab 4 individual golds each. It’s a must by nature for Hosszu to keep up with them, and if she didn’t have… Read more »

Prickle
Reply to  Riez
5 years ago

What interesting is that all predictions of Hosszu’s performance in Budapest are based not on her results shown during last nine months and not on her Schooling like statements but exceptionally on her last year performance. I would say even more precisely: on her first day in Rio when she made this absolutely stunning world record. After winning her second race (no competition 100 back) she gave an impression that she would leave Rio with five gold medals.
This year we have no information but just rumors that that she is training as twice hard than before. So hard that it affects her performance at in-season meets but at the same time allows her to swim faster than ever… Read more »

bobo gigi
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

I would not put my money in stock market right now knowing the risks of a crash very soon. 😆

Prickle
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Good, you got my point: risk of crash of four year long run of accelerating improvements of 28 yo swimmer is high. I would prefer to see some convincing signs that she isn’t at least slowing down to bet confidently.

jeki
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

I do not know it, I just have the feeling that she will go for the world record of 100m back. A WR performance might be needed anyway for the gold, considering this years performances from Seebohm and Masse. Although it is impossible to predict 100m in a tough competition, a bad start or turn and you are out.

I think in 2016 Hosszu already did not perform as good on small meets as in 2015 (Except for the 4:29 and 4:30s in 400IMs). I can not recall 2:08 200IMs and 200backs from last year (on small meets). Might be the result of going to small competitions from training to perform better when it really matters.

Prickle
5 years ago

If it would be the race in Budapest where Hosszu fails badly, then it would be 400IM – the toughest race in her repertoire on the last day of competition.

swammer
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

But I feel like the 400 im is also her least challenged event. Her best time is leagues ahead of her competitors. In the 100 and 200 back she’ll have some tough competition from Masse, Baker and Seebohm. And SMOC is uncomfortably close for Hosszu in 200im.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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