2017 Worlds Previews: Can McEvoy Replicate 47.0 in Men’s 100 Free?

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

2017 FINA World Championships

Cameron McEvoy (Photo: Tim Binning)

With Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers out of the 2017 FINA World Championships, Australia’s Cameron McEvoy will step up to try and keep the Aussies on top of the podium in the event. Last season, McEvoy clocked the fastest textile 100 free ever when he went 47.04 at the Australian Olympic Trials, coming up just .13 shy of the World Record. When Rio rolled around, McEvoy wasn’t at his best, as he placed 7th in the final with a 48.12. This season, he’s been as fast as 47.91 so far, but probably hasn’t shown all of his cards yet. If he can replicate that incredible 47.04, he would be head and shoulders above the field, but he has yet to dip back into the 47-mid to 47-low range.

One of the major threats to take gold ahead of McEvoy is Great Britain’s Duncan Scott, who put up a lifetime best 47.90 at British Nationals. Scott placed 5th in the 2016 Olympic final and became the first British man to break 48 seconds with his performance at Nationals. Heading into Worlds, he’s the fastest man of 2017 by a hundredth over McEvoy.

Olympic silver medalist Pieter Timmers returns after making the final in this race at 2015 Worlds. Last summer, Belgium’s Timmers had a huge swim in Rio, putting up a lifetime best 47.80 to make the podium. He’s been in the 48-high range this year with a season best of 48.72, so it’s possible that he’s saving up for a big performance at Worlds. He has been doing very well in the other freestyle events this season, however, as he put up personal bests in the 50 free and 200 free at the Belgium Open.

Team USA’s Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic champ and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in this race, has been very consistent with his sub-48 performances at major international meets, but had trouble with a shoulder injury in 2015 and wound up tying for 7th in the final with Timmers. This could be a redeeming performance for Adrian, who could return to the top of the podium if he improves slightly on his season best 47.96. Of course, he’ll have to get by teammate Caeleb Dressel, who looks very good after his performances at U.S. Nationals. Dressel was just hundredths shy of his best with his 47.97 at Nationals

Brazil will field Olympic finalist Marcelo Chierighini (48.46) and up-and-coming sprinter Gabriel Santos (48.11) in this event, giving them 2 potential finalists. Santos is a medal contender with his season best, especially if he can dip into the 47-high range. Likewise, Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura (48.26) and Shinri Shioura (48.66) could give the Japanese 2 finalists, but Nakamura has a shot at a medal if he can match his best. He became the first Japanese man to swim below 48 seconds with his 47.99 relay leadoff at the Rio Olympics.

There are a handful of men competing who have been below 48 already in their careers and could land on the podium if they’re able to replicate their bests. Italy’s Luca Dotto (48.66) and Russia’s Vlad Morozov (48.28). Dotto became the first Italian man to swim sub-48 with his lifetime best 47.96 last season. Morozov has been as fast as a 47.62 from 2013 WUGs and would be in contention for gold if he could get back down to a 47-mid, but he hasn’t been sub-48 since his 47.98 in 2015. France’s Mehdy Metella (48.23) has yet to break the 48-barrier, but almost fits into this category because he’s come so close with his 48.08 leadoff split in Rio.

Joseph Schooling (photo: Tim Binning)

Singapore’s Joseph Schooling ripped a new National Record with his 48.27 in prelims at the Rio Olympics. He fell off the mark in semis, placing 8th in his heat with a 48.70. He’s been nearly as fast as his time in the Olympic final already this season with a 48.74 at Austin Sectionals. If he nails his strategy and gets back to the 48-low range, he could be a finalist. He showed some big improvements in his speed during the yards season, improving his relay split by nearly a full second at NCAAs (from a 41.9 in 2016 to a 41.0 in 2017) and taking nearly a second off his individual swim with a 42.24 at the Big 12 meet. If he can translate his speed improvements into the long course pool, he could land on the podium.

Argentina’s Federico Grabich, the 2015 Worlds silver medalist, is also worth noting here. In Kazan, he posted a National Record-setting 48.12 to land on the podium, but hasn’t been close to that time since. His current season best is a 49.43 from the Arena Pro Swim in Indianapolis, but he did swim below 49 last summer with his 48.78 in Rio.

When making these predictions, the heavy schedules of some of the favorites versus the lighter schedules of others should be taken into account since this race comes on day 4. Many of the top contenders will be competing in the 400 free relay on day 1, but some have additional events lined up. For example, McEvoy and Adrian will be pretty fresh for this race as they’ll only swim the 400 free relay on day 1 before it, but Scott and Timmers will have 200 free on day 2 and a possible final on day 3. Dressel and Schooling will compete on day 1 and day 2 (granted they make the final) in the 50 fly, but will have a full day of rest before the 100 free starts.


Place Swimmer Country Season Best Predicted Time
1 Nathan Adrian USA 47.96 47.7
2 Cameron McEvoy AUS 47.91 47.8
3 Caeleb Dressel USA 47.97 47.8
4 Duncan Scott GBR 47.9 47.9
5 Vlad Morozov RUS 48.28 48.1
6 Pieter Timmers BEL 48.72 48.2
7 Joseph Schooling SIN 48.74 48.2
8 Gabriel Santos BRA 48.11 48.3

DARKHORSE: Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter was very successful in the yards portion of 2016-17, citing harder work and a better focus. In March, he put up a blistering 41.73 at NCAAs. All-in-all, he took almost a second off his former best time throughout the season. Like Schooling, he’ll need to translate his speed improvements to the long course pool to grab a finals spot. His current best time in meters is a 48.80 from the Rio Olympics.

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6 years ago

If Dressel can go 40.0 100 yard free, he has to be in the 47.3-47.7 range. McEvoy, Dressel, Adrian and Scott are the only ones capable of almost certainly going under 48 and possibly going a 47.6. I think only Dressel and McEvoy could push a sub 47.5 swim (if McEvoy is back in close to his best form) however, Duncan is an unknown with how fast he could go- he may be able to go 47.5? I think Dressel will win if its sub 47.6 for gold (Dressel, McEvoy, Scott) , but if it’s 47.7 or higher, I think Adrian has a good shot for the win (Adrian, Dressel, Scott).

Jon Nap
6 years ago

Been waiting for the 100 free predictions.. it’ll definitely be a good one and hopefully many under 48.0.
I don’t have my personal picks but instead wanted to pose a question and theory so hear me out for a second.
Do you think that the “ideal” 100 free body frame is changing? I mean this in the most efficient height and weight for winning gold. The last 3 gold medalists have all been under 200lbs (McEvoy, Zetao, Chalmers) and relatively shorter with the exception of Chalmers (6’4″). I tried running a regression analysis over gold medalists since the 2000 Olympics but didn’t find a strong correlation between the height/weight and actually winning the race. But I still think… Read more »

Reply to  Jon Nap
6 years ago

Interesting hypothesis but one key error; McEvoy has never been World Champ in the 100free (he was silver behind Zetao in 2015). The progression line has been:2012 – Adrian; 2013 – Magnussen; 2015 – Zetao; 2016 – Chalmers.

I would also contend that Chalmers is already one big, powerful unit (and arguably may fill out more with full physical maturity/strength work). Magnussen of 2011-2012 (arguably his peak) was a significantly less “filled out specimen than he was by 2014. How will the Dressel of 2016 measure up against the Dressel of 2012 ? In other words, I think you also need to bring age and stage of physical maturity into your equation.

Jon Nap
Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

I also counted Pan Pacs in my study! So that’s where McEvoy comes from.
But yeah I see what you’re saying, Chalmers is about 198, 6’4″ which is not small by any means. I think he’ll definitely fill out more before 2020.
However, of the 8 listed above, 1 is above 200 lbs (Nathan) and 2-3 are at or above 6’4″ (Nathan 6’6″, Chalmers 6’4″, Timmers 6’7″). At least in the top 8 here, the rein of the lighter, smaller swimmer looks to be prominent.

I think age would add an interesting dynamic to the study. When I get time, I plan to add a few more parameters as well as take some averages from the finals… Read more »

gator fan
6 years ago

Although I’m American and typically cheer for Americans, I’m really hoping McEvoy can win it. Classy, smart guy.

1. McEvoy – 47.4
2. Dressel – 47.7
3. Adrian – 47.8
4. Scott – 47.8

6 years ago

I think this is between Dressel and McEvoy, unless he bombs again. Adrian, no idea what he has in store.

Hater of swimvortex
Reply to  SLAB
6 years ago

What he has in store is the speed to beat Dressel by 0.01 second at trial.

Reply to  Hater of swimvortex
6 years ago

and that was not his best yet …..

6 years ago

My pick: Mcevoy (47.2), Scott (47.6), Adrian (47.8)

6 years ago

Yep Cam first, easily the best swimmer in the field & Carthwright surprising the world like Chalmers & get 2nd. Australia 1 -2.

Reply to  Robbos
6 years ago

Love your optimism but just not sold on what McEvoy’s been producing this year. Hey, he could win but not particularly confident he will.

Some fair grounds for optimism with Cartwright but we haven’t seen him race post Trials. This will be a completely new preparation and we know what that risk factor can entail ! I’m hopeful that he WILL stand up and perform well in Budapest and I’d see making the final as a very solid pass mark … if there is a sizeable (2-3 tenths) PB then all the better..

What I WOULD like to see in the slightly longer term w Cartwright in that he finishes top 3 at Trials for TBCF (thus shutting out… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

I’m a fan, so hence my optimism. My optimism is that on what he has produced this year, is equal to or better then anyone else this year, but he alone has gone much quicker.

Reply to  Robbos
6 years ago

Granted, his Trials 50 and 100 were fast ….. his 200 poor. I’m going off what he has produced since …. and what he showed at Mare Nostrum was, shall we say, nothing to write home to Mum about. Wasn’t expecting earth-shattering times but in the past, his in-season times have been significantly quicker. Maybe they ARE changing approach this year …. or maybe there’s something somewhat amiss.

Whilst I’d like to see him win, I’m can’t say that I’m particularly confident that will occur … some others appear hungrier this year.

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

“Maybe they ARE changing approach this year …. or maybe there’s something somewhat amiss.”
This is the big question, none of the big swimmers from last year from Australia swimming fast times. so are they foxing or did the failure last year just blow them out of water.

6 years ago

I just have a weird feeling there will be a tie for first place.

1. Dressel
McEvoy 47.70

3. Adrian 47.84

4.Scott 47.85 – just off podium
5. Garcia 48.00
6. Timmers 48.08
7. Nakamura 48.22
8. Cartwright 48.33

Jon Nap
Reply to  MrBriefStroke
6 years ago

These times look realistic

6 years ago

Possible …. certainly. Likely …… colour me sceptical.

Win …. has to be seen as a chance. Do I think he will win …. I’d be surprised (albeit a pleasant one) if he did

Medal … think he has to be seen amongst the 4 most likely contenders but I’m leaning towards a podium of the 2 Americans & Scott (order …. not sure)

Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

The skepticism is real.
I can see McEvoy unloading a 47mid semi time, only to go 47high for a minor medal in the final.
Would love to see him put it all together though.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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