2018 Pan Pacs Previews: Kalisz vs. The Home Team in Men’s IMs

2018 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Last summer, Chase Kalisz became a 2-time champion at the 2017 World Championships as he swept the IM titles. Kalisz, who took silver at the 2016 Olympics in the 400 IM, filled the hole left in the American 200 IM lineup by Olympic champ Michael Phelps and World Record holder Ryan Lochte. He took down Phelps’ Championship Record as he won the 400 IM in Budapest, becoming the 3rd fastest man in history. He’s had success in the 400 IM for years on the international stage, but now he’s a medal threat in the shorter distance as well, having become the 7th fastest man ever in the 200 IM with his Budapest performance. It seems that Kalisz didn’t taper much for Nationals, knowing he was almost a sure thing to make the team in the 400 IM, so we have yet to see the best of him so far this year, even though he was less than 2 tenths shy of his best in the 200 IM in Irvine.

When he touched the wall for gold last summer, Kalisz outswam Olympic 400 IM champion Kosuke Hagino of Japan, who took gold in Rio ahead of Kalisz to snap the USA’s Olympic winning streak in the event. Though he wasn’t at his best last summer coming off of injury, Hagino has the home field advantage over Kalisz at Pan Pacs and is a major threat for the title if he’s back to full health as he appears to be. Another Japanese challenger for the gold will be Olympic medalist Daiya Seto, who finished 3rd behind Kalisz in the 400 IM in Rio and took bronze in the 200 IM in Budapest. Hagino is 2nd in the world in the 200 IM this year behind only Kalisz, while Seto is 5th. In the 400 IM, however, Seto is ranked #2 behind Kalisz while Hagino is 4th. Last summer, Hagino missed the podium in the 400 IM before taking silver in the 200 IM. He was 6th in the 400 in Budapest, so the Olympic champ will be looking for redemption here.

Kalisz has Olympic teammate Jay Litherland (400 IM) and Worlds teammate Abrahm DeVine (200 IM) returning to represent the USA. Since 2016, Litherland has been the American #2 behind Kalisz in the 400. DeVine had a breakout swim last summer at U.S. Nationals to qualify for Worlds in the 200 IM. He also had a strong 2018 NCAA season, winning the 400 IM. DeVine is the 5th fastest American long course 200 IMer ever, while Litherland is the 5th fastest American 400 IMer ever. They’re the definite favorites among the American contingent in their respective events.

We have a few guys who could break into the top 5 in the 400 IM. Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida is a former World Junior Record holder and World Junior Champion in the 400 IM. He has a shot at a podium finish, but he’ll need to have a breakthrough since his lifetime best 4:12.49 is from 2016. This year, he’s ranked #22, just ahead of Australia’s Mitch Larkin. Though his biggest international successes have come in the backstrokes, Larkin’s IMs have improved and he’s entered in both IMs for Pan Pacs. He has a ways to go before he’s a podium threat in the 400 but should definitely be able to make the final. Larkin also has some competition from Australia, as he’s seeded behind teammate Clyde Lewis. In addition to Almeida, we have another World Junior Record holder in the 400 IM competing, as Sean Grieshop is entered for the USA, but he’ll have his work cut out for him to make the final with Kalisz and Litherland in the mix.

In the 200 IM, Hiromasa Fujimori presents a challenge to the Hagino and Seto. Though Hagino is far ahead at his best as the 3rd fastest man in history, Fujimori’s 1:57.21 puts him just a few tenths behind Seto in the event. Larkin is also a threat here with a best of 1:57-mid. Brazil’s Vini Lanza could carry his momentum from a big NCAA season with Indiana and have some big swims in Tokyo. He’s already dropped 2 seconds this year, breaking 2:00 for the first time with a lifetime best 1:58.10 back in April. The USA’s Caeleb Dressel, the fastest 200 yard IMer in history, is entered in this event. He’s never broken 2:00 before, but given the fact that he’s never focused on this event and tapered for it in long course, that’s not out of the question. However, there’s a good chance he scratches it to focus on his main events.

MEDALIST PICKS

200 IM:

Medal Swimmer Nation Season Best Lifetime Best
Gold Chase Kalisz USA 1:55.73 1:55.56
Silver Kosuke Hagino JPN 1:56.37 1:55.07
Bronze Daiya Seto JPN 1:56.85 1:56.92

400 IM:

Medal Swimmer Nation Season Best Lifetime Best
Gold Chase Kalisz USA 4:08.25 4:05.90
Silver Kosuke Hagino JPN 4:10.69 4:06.05
Bronze Daiya Seto JPN 4:08.98 4:07.99

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Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo

I really want someone to go 1:54.

jay

Joseph Schooling in practice

Bon Jovi

i heard it was from a push also

ERVINFORTHEWIN

Kalisz is the man to beat !!! He is so good now i dont see anyone coming vey close to his level

Shibly

Abraham Devine will be a medal contender in the shorter version…. Hope he will make world as well as Tokyo Olympic team…

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently a coach at Loggerhead Aquatics …

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