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
We’re just weeks away from the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary and the women’s 100 free could be a historic event. No woman has ever broken 52 seconds in the 100 meter free, though Australia’s Cate Cambpell nearly did so when she set the World Record at 52.06 last summer. Campbell will be absent from this summer’s Worlds, but Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom is up to the challenge. Sjostrom was narrowly off the World Record with her 52.08 at the Mare Nostrum.
In Budapest, we’ll get a chance to see what Sjostrom can do with a full taper. The big challenge concerning most swimming fans is that the 100 free comes on day 5 of the meet. However, Sjostrom will skip out on the 200 free this summer, meaning she’ll only be swimming the 100 fly ahead of the 100 free and will be significantly fresher than she was in Rio. After the 100 fly final on day 2, she’ll have 2 whole days to recharge before prelims of the 100 free on day 5.
Though Cate Campbell won’t be in Budapest to challenge Sjostrom, her sister, Bronte Campbell, will be in the mix for a medal. Bronte Campbell is the defending World Champion in this event after she won the race in Kazan with her personal best 52.52. She’s already been 52.89 this year, which is almost 2 tenths faster than she was when she placed 4th in the Olympic final and just a few tenths shy of her best. The Aussies will also send out Emma McKeon, who boasts a season best 53.12. McKeon has been under 53 before with her 52.80 form last April, so she definitely has the speed for a top 5 finish.
Olympic co-champions Simone Manuel (USA) and Penny Oleksiak (CAN) will go head-to-head in the long course pool for the first time since they tied for gold in Rio. Neither seems to have shown too many of their cards yet this season, as they haven’t dipped under 53 yet, but both were able to qualify for their respective worlds teams relatively easily without a full taper.
Things could get interesting in the race for the American Record between Manuel and Nationals winner Mallory Comerford. In Indianapolis, Comerford became just the 2nd American woman to ever break 53 seconds, taking down Sjostrom’s U.S. Open Record with a 52.81. The American Record currently stands at a 52.70 done by Manuel in last summer’s Olympic final, but with Comerford only a tenth off the mark, we could see the record change hands at some point during the meet.
Dutch sprint star Ranomi Kromowidjojo has already been faster in-season this year than she was in the Olympic final last summer. Her 53.07 is also the fastest she’s been since December of 2012 when she set her personal best 52.75 at the Swim Cup Eindhoven. If she breaks 53 in Budapest, that’ll mark her first sub-53 swim in almost 5 years.
Japanese youngster Rikako Ikee has been crushing Junior World Records over the last couple of seasons. In February, she showed the world that she was only getting faster, as she set the Junior World Record at 24.48 in the 50 free. She set a personal best 53.83 in the 100 free at the 2017 Japan Swim, and seems to have the speed and endurance to move up into the top 8 with a few tenths of improvement. A handful of women will be fighting for those final few spots in the final, though, and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman is looking great this season with her 53.36 from the Mare Nostrum. China’s Zhu Menghui (53.42), Denmark’s Olympic 50 free champ Pernille Blume (53.52), and France’s Charlotte Bonnet (53.65) should also be up there fighting for a finals spot.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:
|Place||Swimmer||Country||Season Best||Predicted Time|
|1||Sarah Sjostrom||SWE||52.08||51.9* WR|
DARKHORSE: Dutch Record holder Femke Heemskerk wasn’t at her best when she swam this event in Rio, as she failed to qualify for the semifinals with a 54.63 in prelims. She’s been significantly faster than that already this year with a 53.75 from the Swim Cup Eindhoven, and she’s been as fast as a 52.69 in 2015.