2017 Worlds Previews: Cseh, Kenderesi Battle for Home Gold in 200 Fly

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

Laszlo Cseh (Photo: Peter Sukenik)

Hungary’s defending World Champion Laszlo Cseh seeks to keep the host nation on top of the podium in front of the home crowd at the 2017 FINA World Championships, but we could see a new Hungarian with a gold medal around his neck. Though Kristof Milak is the fastest Hungarian this season, it’ll be Cseh and Olympic bronze medalist Tamas Kenderesi (1:54.33) representing their country in Budapest in this race. Kenderesi swam his personal best 1:53.62 in the Rio final as he ran down the field to land a spot on the podium. He’s been within a second of that this season despite battling a virus during his rest meet (Hungarian Nationals). Cseh, on the other hand, took a long break after Rio and doesn’t look like a lock for the podium with his season best 1:56.08. He got significantly faster as he got back into the swing of things throughout this season, so he should make a big drop from his season best and at least make it to the final.

The biggest obstacles for the Hungarians as they try to snag gold at home are Japan’s Masato Sakai and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Le Clos missed the podium last summer with a 4th place finish and wasn’t able to break the 1:54-barrier, but he’s definitely in the gold medal conversation with a 1:52.96 lifetime best and a 1:53-mid on his resume from the 2015 World Championships. Like Kenderesi, Sakai used his back half speed to power to a personal best 1:53.40, taking silver and nearly running down Michael Phelps for gold. Sakai is the fastest man in the world this season, and the only swimmer to break 1:54 with his 1:53.79 from the Japan Swim. Teammate Daiya Seto is also a likely finalist and a medal contender, as he’s already been as fast as 1:54.28 this season, missing his best time by just 2 tenths.

Jack Conger (photo: Tim Binning)

The Americans may also see 2 of their swimmers in the final, as Jack Conger (1:54.48) and Pace Clark (1:54.58) turned in a pair of lifetime best 1:54-mids last month. While some swimmers have the luxury of not needing a full taper to qualify for Worlds, this was one of the more competitive events at U.S. Trials, so Conger and Clark probably needed a full taper for that meet. They’ll need to maintain their Trials times or make some adjustments to get a little faster to land 2 in the final for the USA, but since it’s the first World Championships meet for both of them, it’s hard to predict how much they’ll improve with 2 taper meets so close together. Some may argue that the NCAA format gives them the experience of resting for conference and then NCAAs shortly after, but neither really had to rest for conference as they’d already qualified for NCAAs, so this is a little bit different. In his post-race interview, Conger expressed that his time was a little slow and he believes there’s a lot more to come at Worlds. With the confidence he’s built after winning his first individual NCAA title and winning this race at U.S. Nationals, we could see a statement swim from him in Budapest.

China’s Li Zhuhao (1:55.08) has great momentum in this event after smashing the Junior World Record with a 1:55.09 at 2017 Chinese Nationals, and could bring that record down into the 1:54-range to make the final. Other frontrunners for a finals spot to keep an eye on are Italy’s Giacomo Carini (1:55.40), Australia’s David Morgan (1:55.70), Poland’s Jan Switkowski (1:55.94), and Brazil’s Leonardo De Deus (1:54.91). Rio finalists Viktor Bromer (1:56.47) of Denmark and Louis Croenen of Belgium will also be in the mix.


Place Swimmer Country Season Best Predicted Time
1 Tamas Kenderesi HUN 1:54.33 1:53.2
2 Masato Sakai JPN 1:53.71 1:53.4
3 Chad Le Clos RSA 1:54.87 1:53.8
4 Jack Conger USA 1:54.47 1:54.2
5 Daiya Seto JPN 1:54.28 1:54.3
6 Laszlo Cseh HUN 1:56.08 1:54.5
7 Pace Clark USA 1:54.58 1:54.6
8 Li Zhuhao CHN 1:55.09 1:54.9

DARKHORSE: Singapore’s Joseph Schooling swapped out this event for the 100 free last summer in Rio, so we didn’t get a chance to see what he could do in the 200 fly at his peak. His lifetime best is a 1:55.73 from 2015 SEA Games, but he’s already been within tenths of that with his season best time of 1:56.45. With the improvement he showed in 2016, it’s not inconceivable to think he’ll be at least 1:55-low to 1:55-mid. 

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Two Hungarians will be on the podium.


Hmm.., Milak won’t be swimming the 200 fly?


I know, in that impossible case there would be 3 ?


If Kenderesi is in a 100 % shape, first time at an adult world event, he is good for a 1:52 low or mid.
With due respect, I don’t think so that Cseh can manage mentally that he missed his one and only Olympic gold lastyear. If I were the head coach, I would let Milak instead to go for that 1-2.

crooked donald

Cseh rebounded after the London disappointment incredibly well at Kazan. I doubt the Rio disappointment will effect the veteran.


I think the same.


Riez, at the end of the Nationals the two swimmers of this event was “sold”. Doesn’t matter Milak or anybody else (e.g Biczo) will/can swim better after that date. It was clear for every swimmer and coach. Only the free spots (one person with “A” cut per event) could be taken till the end of June. Let’s see Burian 200 back (Budapest Open) or Akos Molnar 400 (Hodmezovasarhely, Junior Nationals ) and 1500 free (Netanja).


Kalmar, not Molnar….


Burián will swim 200 back.


I know, let’s read Riez’s comment and my answer again. She and Akos got the possibility after the date of the Nationals because there were free paces in that events. In 200 fly there wasn’t any.


Seems to me Schooling scratched the 200 Fly (His name isn’t on the heat sheets posted by Omega

crooked donald

He didn’t enter it. He’s not a 200 LCM flyer anymore. Based on his 1:45 at NCAAs, not a SCY one either. The best flyers in the world (Cseh, LeClos) can do all distances of fly.


Well, his name was on the psych sheet and there hasn’t been news of him scratching it

crooked donald

Given how slow Cseh’s reaction time was in the 50 fly (0.1 sec slower than the leaders), I’d say he’s primed for the 200 fly and all the slow twitchiness that goes along with that. To still be competitive in the 50 fly with that RT is impressive.


Just as usual (0.73) Everything under 0.7 is a fairly good start from Laszlo.

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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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