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2017 FINA World Championships
After missing the final in the men’s 400 free relay in 2015, the USA is one of the major medal threats for gold at the 2017 FINA World Championships. The Americans have a strong lineup heading into Budapest, with Nathan Adrian (47.96), Caeleb Dressel (47.97), Zach Apple (48.14), and Townley Haas (48.20) all ranked in the top 10. Apple and Haas were surprisingly fast at U.S. Nationals, making the USA the heavy favorite for gold. While that group makes up the current top 4 for the Americans, Michael Chadwick (48.48) and Blake Pieroni (48.49) will also have a chance to earn a spot on the finals relay, as they’ll be competing in prelims. Dressel and Adrian will likely be saved for the final, but that means Haas and Apple will have to compete with Chadwick and Pieroni for those last 2 spots on the finals relay.
Like the Americans, the Australians are also looking for redemption after missing the 2015 Worlds final. They’ll be without Olympic champ Kyle Chalmers at this meet, but Cameron McEvoy (47.91), who swam the fastest textile 100 free ever with his 47.04 in 2016, and Jack Cartwright (48.43) should be able to give the Aussies the momentum they need to return to the final. Similarly, Canada is without top sprinter Santo Condorelli this time around, but should be vying for a top 8 spot if Yuri Kisil and Markus Thormeyer are at their best. Both Australia and Canada would need their 3rd and 4th swimmers to step up big time to be in the running for a podium finish. The Aussies have Zac Incerti (49.03) and Louis Townsend (49.15) on the roster, while the Canadians have Carson Olafson (50.28) and Javier Acevedo (50.53).
Brazil and Italy are both top threats in this relay, as both have 4 men on their roster who have produced season bests in the 48-range. The Brazilians will field young sprinter Gabriel Santos (48.11), Olympic sprint finalists Marcelo Chierighini (48.46) and Bruno Fratus (48.50), and World Record holder Cesar Cielo, who put up a 48.92 after just 3 months of training. The Italian contingent includes National Record holder Luca Dotto (48.66), Ivano Vendrame (48.68), Alessandro Miressi (48.71), and Filippo Magnini (48.85).
Japan’s sprint duo of Katsumi Nakamura (48.26) and Shinri Shioura (48.66) are capable of a pair of 47 splits, which should put Japan in the final. Junya Koga (49.51) returns from their Olympic relay quartet, but someone else will have to fill the void for Kenji Kobase, so Kosuke Hagino (49.57) may step up to take on that role.
With the home advantage, we could see Hungary step up here. Young sprinter Nandor Nemeth broke the Hungarian National Record earlier this season with a quick 48.64. Not far behind is Dominik Kozma, with a season best 48.68. Their 3rd man, Peter Holoda, has also been sub-49 with a 48.98. Richard Bohus has a season best of 49.47, but he’s also a sub-49 guy after putting up a 48.86 in Rio.
Russian rocket Vlad Morozov (48.28) and veteran sprinter Danila Izotov (48.53) will headline the Russian squad. They’ll likely team up with Nikita Korolev (49.13) and Nikita Lobintsev (49.28), but Alexander Popkov (49.35) might also make an appearance here.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS: