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.


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.

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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Cox could contend for a medal as well. She won’t be over 2:10.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Hswimmer
3 years ago

Yes. She’s a strong contender for bronze. She qualified in Indianapolis despite a very hard week before the meet.
I’ve read she was really sick on June 23. She couldn’t go to practice the next morning. She couldn’t eat and could hardly drink water. She even considered not to fly to Indianapolis. But she traveled and then went to the hospital to rehydrate her body. The next day, less than 48 hours before her first race, she was back in the pool but she felt terrible. She finished 11th in the 200 breast prelims. Then as the meet went on, she felt better and better physically and took the 5th place in the 400 IM. Which gave her confidence.… Read more »

Reply to  Hswimmer
3 years ago

A healthy Madisyn Cox is totally gonna medal. All of you having to deal with it <333.

3 years ago

Shouldnt it be predicted time in worlds not predicted time in rio

3 years ago

O’Connor is dangerous I think

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.

Read More »