2017 Worlds Previews: Kalisz, Seto on Fire in Men’s 400 IM

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

Daiya Seto (Photo: Tim Binning)

After landing on the podium in Rio, the Japanese 400 IM contingent of Olympic champ Kosuke Hagino and bronze medalist Daiya Seto will return for the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest. Since his Japanese Record-breaking performance in Rio, Hagino has put up a 2017 best of 4:10.45. With that time in-season, he’s probably in good shape to challenge for gold again, but Seto is actually looking like even more of a threat this year. Seto, who won gold in this event at 2015 Worlds, rocked a lifetime best 4:07.99 at the Sette Colli meet, so he’s better than ever heading into Budapest.

Team USA’s Chase Kalisz has been on fire this season, and has a serious shot at challenging for gold after he took silver at the Rio Olympics. Before his massive time drop in Rio, Kalisz hadn’t broken 4:10 last summer until Olympic Trials, where he put up a 4:09.54. He knocked nearly 3 seconds off that at the Olympics, where he swam his lifetime best 4:06.75. This season, Kaisz was under 4:10 by the time May rolled around, and came within 2 tenths of his lifetime best to win U.S. Nationals in a world-leading 4:06.99. Kalisz has been consistent with his drops from Trials to big international meets, so he has the potential to dip into the 4:05-range.

Also returning from the Rio final will be the USA’s Jay Litherland, Great Britain’s Max Litchfield, and Spain’s Joan Lluis Pons. At U.S. Nationals, Litherland was nearly 2 seconds faster than he went in last summer’s Olympic final, putting up a lifetime best 4:09.31 to break 4:10 for the first time. Litchfield shined at the 2017 British Championships as he took down the British Record in the 400 IM. In doing so, he took a second off his lifetime best to touch in 4:10.63. He’s now on track to become the first British man to swim under 4:10 in the event. Pons Ramon’s season best is a 4:16.57, but he’s been as fast as a 4:13.55 from prelims in Rio.

David Verraszto (Photo: Tim Binning)

Hungarian David Verraszto is looking especially dangerous with his personal best 4:07.47. Verraszto and teammate Gergely Gyurta, who boasts a lifetime best 4:12.81 from the 2017 Hungarian Championships, will have the home field advantage at this meet. Verraszto will have that extra little bit of motivation to get the home country on the podium, and he’s likely to end up on the medal stand if he’s near his season best from the Sette Colli meet, where he took down Olympic medalist Seto. He was the silver medalist in this event at 2015 Worlds before falling off the mark in Rio and missing the final, but he’s definitely on track to redeem himself in front of the home crowd.

Like Verraszto, China’s Wang Shun and Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida seek redemption after missing the Rio final. Shun has been almost 2 full seconds faster than he was in Rio this season, putting up a lifetime best 4:12.65 at the 2017 Chinese Nationals. Almeida, who formerly held the Junior World Record in this event, is currently ranked #11 with a 4:13.06, but he’s been as fast as 4:12.49 from last summer.

Aside from Shun and Almeida, there are a handful of men who should be competing for those last few spots in the final. Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches has been having a fantastic season, breaking the Swiss Record in this event with a 4:13.11 at the French Elite Championships. Germany’s Philip Heintz (4:16.91) has been rising through the ranks of the IM events, and teammate Jacob Heidtmann returns after making the final in this race at 2015 Worlds. Italy’s Federico Turrini posted a commanding victory with his 4:13.52 at Italian Nationals. After swimming his lifetime best 4:11.55 in 2013, he stalled in this event, but nearly had a breakthrough with his 4:11.95 in the leadup to Rio.

Aussie star Thomas Fraser-Holmes would likely be in the mix, but he opted out of Australian Trials and will now be absent from competition for a year due to a 12-month suspension handed to him by FINA. The suspension came after Fraser-Holmes missed 3 doping tests, as 3 missed tests over a 12-month period can lead to penalties.


Place Swimmer Country Season Best Predicted Time
1 Chase Kalisz USA 4:06.99 4:05.8
2 Kosuke Hagino JPN 4:10.45 4:06.5
3 David Verraszto HUN 4:07.47 4:07.0
4 Daiya Seto JPN 4:07.99 4:07.3
5 Jay Litherland USA 4:09.30 4:09.1
6 Max Litchfield GBR 4:10.63 4:10.2
7 Wang Shun CHN 4:12.65 4:11.5
8 Federico Turrini ITA 4:13.52 4:11.8

DARKHORSE: Great Britain’s Mark Szaranek, who competes for the Florida Gators in the NCAA, had a fantastic yards season, finishing 3rd to Seliskar and Kalisz in the 400 IM at the NCAA Championships and tying Licon for the win in the 200 IM. Szaranek went a lifetime best 4:15.51 in April, but he may still have some room for improvement.

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5 years ago

no one has ever been 4:04 in the 400 IM before. Phelps was 4:03 and few 4:05’s. I believe Kalisz will be the first 4:04 in history. Kalisz wins gold in 4:04.99

Attila the Runt
5 years ago

Best name in this bunch is Gergely Gyurta.

5 years ago

Phelps world record splits:

Attila the Runt
5 years ago

I actually think that Kalisz, like Lochte in London when he was doing the strongman workouts in the lead-up, was overtrained/not rested enough in Rio. For Lochte, it played out in his comparatively poor last 100 (the same split as the woman who won) and in his subpar performances later on in the meet. Kalisz had a very extended period at altitude (as did Conor Dwyer) —- the most he had had) in the run-up to Rio. I think we’ll see something significantly faster than at Rio as he’s better rested.

Reply to  Attila the Runt
5 years ago

I think a 58s freestyle is forgivable when he was out in 1.56 😉

Attila the Runt
Reply to  Dee
5 years ago

Maybe not when you’re a 1:45 low 200 freestyler.

Reply to  Attila the Runt
5 years ago

No, Lochte likes to take it out fast, but he was 27 and could not carry it home, it wasn’t overtraining at all. 200 free he took it out way too fast.

Reply to  Swimmer?
5 years ago

Thank you, no one seems to get this. Also the reason he died at the end of his races is due to underwater fatigue,age and a hard schedule starting with the 4 im double on the first day. Ryan lochte didn’t mess up training/taper he just doesn’t have to genetic abilities phelps did in 2008 to sustain that schedule (aka he’s just a little more human).

5 years ago

I think this is the meet where Chase Kalisz shows his greatness as an IM’er.

If he can swim a strong front half, and then blow the field away with his dazzling breaststroke leg and close with a 58 in the free, he will achieve a 4:05 or even a 4:04.

His career has been building up all these years for such a triumph.

5 years ago

Anyone know Kalisz’s splits from Rio? Interested to see how they compare to his trials swim. Comparing last year’s trials to this year, he almost all the time dropped was on the first 200 which suggests he’s in similar condition to last year but his fly and back are significantly better. 4:05 mid seems very doable.

IMs for days
Reply to  Anonymous
5 years ago

In Rio he was 56.52/1:04.04/1:08.14/58.05 4:06.75
At trials this year he was 56.08/1:03.23/1:08.66/59.02 4:06.99
For comparison this year Verraszto was 57.11/1:03.44/1:09.66/57.26 4:07.47
In Rio Hagino went 55.57/1:02.16/1:10.23/58.09 4:06.05
And in London Lochte was 55.02/1:01.84/1:09.67/58.65 4:05.18
And just for fun Kalisz’s front half from trials plus his back half from Rio gives you 4:05.50

Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

Thanks. Also of note, his yards improvement from 2014 to 2017 was almost entirely on the breastroke.
He was 50.04/54.12/59.41/50.93 in 2014
He was 49.78/53.90/58.61/51.13 in 2017
Don’t know if all that breaststroke improvement was last year or not, but I’m inclined to think not with his 200 Breast swims this year. I think he has room to drop in Budapest on the back half, especially the breaststroke (but not kill himself the first 50, I think his last 100 was slower in 2017 because he opened his breast with a 28.8 but that’s just my opinion).
The more I look at it, the more it seems like a 4:05 this summer.

Reply to  Anonymous
5 years ago

Kalisz’s split breakdown:

2016 Trials – 57.13/1:04.18/1:08.76/59.47
2016 Games – 56.52/1:04.04/1:08.14/58.05
2017 Trials – 56.08/1:03.23/1:08.66/59.02

So in Rio, his back half stood out, in Indy, it was his front half.

Attila the Runt
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago

With rest, he’ll hit the back half splits to put him at 4:05 low.

5 years ago

this is my race of the meet – bulldogs vs. Japan.

5 years ago

I think Verraszto is going to be very strong at a home meet. My picks are:

1. Verraszto; 2. Kalisz; 3. Seto

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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