2018 SC World Previews: Andrew, Wang & Seto Seek IM Title Defenses

2018 14TH FINA SHORT COURSE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

All three of the 2016 gold medalists in the men’s medley events will be in Hangzhou to defend their titles, with Michael Andrew in the 100, Wang Shun in the 200, and Daiya Seto in the 400.

100m Individual Medley

  • World Record: 50.26, Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 2018
  • World Championship Record: 50.66, Markus Deibler (GER), 2014
  • 2016 World Champion: Michael Andrew (USA), 51.84

Perhaps the biggest surprise upon the release of the meet entries was the omission of Vladimir Morozov from the 100 IM. The Russian broke his own world record in the event at the end of September in 50.26, and then matched that time later in November. He’s now the owner of the ten fastest swims in history, and four of the five fastest have been done in the last few months.

Morozov had a similar streak of dominance going in the event on the World Cup circuit leading up to the 2016 Worlds in Windsor, but, with the event coming shortly after the 4×50 free relay, he tied for 6th in the final in 52.83, more than two and a half seconds slower than his fastest swim of the year. In addition to the relay, the 50 free final comes later on during that same session, so he’s prioritizing that event for these championships.

With Morozov out, Andrew is the fastest swimmer in the field this year with his best time of 51.16, nearly seven-tenths faster than he went to win gold two years ago. We’ll have to wait and see how his schedule works out, but he could potentially have the 4×50 free relay, this final, the 50 fly semis and then the 50 free final all in the same session. If the 100 IM came at the tail end of the session there might be reason to worry, but there shouldn’t be with it early. Andrew has been consistently going fast on the World Cup swimming a lot of races in a short amount of time.

Along with Andrew, there are seven other men in the field who have broken 52 seconds this year, making for a very close and exciting final. Kliment Kolesnikov is next up at 51.35, and with Morozov out, his teammate Sergey Fesikov was bumped up to a spot. Fesikov has been 51.94 this year, but is the former world record holder with a best time of 50.95.

Also sub-52 is Italian Marco Orsi (51.57), Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori (51.58), China’s Wang Shun (51.62), Brazilian Caio Pumputis (51.83), and Hong Kong’s Kenneth To (51.97). To has the fastest best time of the bunch at 51.19, but that was done back in 2013 when he represented Australia. Brazil’s Diego Prado and Australian Mitch Larkin also have a chance to get in the final here having been 52s in 2018.

What may prove to be a factor here is the swimmers who will swim in their country’s 4×50 free relay final won’t have much time before this final. It would be a surprise for Andrew not to swim that relay, but Russia has the depth to leave Kolesnikov off. Orsi, the 2017 European champion in this event, is another who will probably swim the relay.

TOP-8 PREDICTIONS

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Kliment Kolesnikov RUS 51.35 51.35
2 Michael Andrew USA 51.16 51.16
3 Sergey Fesikov RUS 51.94 50.95
4 Hiromasa Fujimori JPN 51.58 51.33
5 Wang Shun CHN 51.62 51.62
6 Kenneth To HKG 51.97 51.19
7 Caio Pumputis BRA 51.83 51.83
8 Marco Orsi ITA 51.57 51.57

200m Individual Medley

  • World Record: 1:49.63, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2012
  • World Championship Record: 1:49.63, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2012
  • 2016 World Champion: Wang Shun (CHN), 1:51.74

The defending champion Wang comes in as the big favorite in the 200 IM. He’s been under 1:52 four times in his career, and no one else in the field has. Seto, the #1 ranked swimmer in the world this year in 1:51.09, hasn’t entered here, giving Wang a clear path to gold.

Larkin and Pumputis have both been looking good this year hitting 1:52.2s, and then Kolesnikov, Fujimori and Italian Thomas Ceccon are the only others in the field who have gone sub-1:54 in 2018. Entered with long course times are Josh Prenot, who was 4th in Windsor in 1:52.9, the 2017 co-NCAA champ in the event Mark Szaranek, the 2018 NCAA champ Jan Switkowski, and the other American entrant Gunnar Bentz (1:40.9 in yards). Norwegian Tomoe Hvas is also a factor after winning bronze at the 2017 Euros and is coming off a strong performance at the Youth Olympic Games a few months ago. If To is on good form, he’ll also be a threat as he holds a best of 1:52.01 from five years ago.

This event falls right before the men’s 4×100 free relay, so there’s a chance someone like Kolesnikov scratches, especially with the 100 back semis earlier in that same session.

TOP-8 PREDICTIONS

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Wang Shun CHN 1:51.45 1:51.45
2 Mitch Larkin AUS 1:52.21 1:52.21
3 Caio Pumputis BRA 1:52.26 1:52.26
4 Josh Prenot USA N/A 1:52.91
5 Kliment Kolesnikov RUS 1:53.66 1:53.36
6 Hiromasa Fujimori JPN 1:53.86 1:52.12
7 Thomas Ceccon ITA 1:53.26 1:53.26
8 Tomoe Hvas NOR N/A 1:54.08

400m Individual Medley

  • World Record: 3:55.50, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2010
  • World Championship Record: 3:55.50, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2010
  • 2016 World Champion: Daiya Seto (JPN), 3:59.24

Daiya Seto has been dominant in the 400 IM at this competition recently, winning the last three gold medals and scaring Lochte’s world record in 2014. He’s already been 3:57.25 this year, less than a second off his best (3:56.33), and is taking on a much lighter schedule than usual, only swimming this and the 200 fly. If he’s on top form he could very well take a run at that eight-year-old WR of 3:55.50.

Wang is the only other swimmer in the field who has been under 4:00 this year at 3:59.99, while the likes of Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Peter Bernek have done so in the past. Bernek’s 3:59.47 won him the European title last December, while Fraser-Holmes was 3:57.91 back in 2015 but is still the 3rd fastest swimmer in the field this year at 4:04.55. Bernek’s Hungarian teammate Gergely Gyurta won bronze at those Euros in 4:03.36 and has a good chance to final here.

Szaranek holds a best of 4:04.57 from the 2016 Championships where he was 5th, and Russian Daniil Pasynkov (4:04.82), Japan’s Tomoya Takeuchi (4:05.10) and Aussie David Schlicht (4:05.28) have all been quick this year.

The lone American entrant is Kieran Smith, who’s had a strong start to his freshman campaign with the University of Florida. He’s never raced SCM, but his yards 3:43.2 converts down to 4:07.7. Brazilian Brandonn Almeida, who swam with South Carolina last season (placing 4th at NCAAs in 3:39.3), has experience on this stage having placed 9th in the event at the 2016 Championships.

TOP-8 PREDICTIONS

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Daiya Seto JPN 3:57.25 3:56.33
2 Wang Shun CHN 3:59.99 3:59.99
3 Peter Bernek HUN 4:05.80 3:59.47
4 Thomas Fraser-Holmes AUS 4:04.55 3:57.91
5 Brandonn Almeida BRA 4:06.29 4:04.85
6 Mark Szaranek GBR N/A 4:04.57
7 Daniil Pasynkov RUS 4:04.82 4:04.82
8 Gergely Gyurta HUN 4:05.36 4:03.36

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Hswimmer

Guess there’s no pick em contest?

Tammy Touchpad Error

Alright these ones are better although definitely the easiest to predict.

SCM ADDED TO WINTER OLYMPICS

Na Kieran Smith for the easy win

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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