2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


And finally, day 1 prelims are underway at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Of the 8 events contested this morning, four will advance directly to the finals tonight: the women’s 400 freestyle, the men’s 400 freestyle, the women’s 400 free relay, and the men’s 400 free relay.

This morning’s session also showcases the preliminaries of the women’s 200 IM, women’s 100 butterfly, men’s 50 butterfly, and men’s 100 breaststroke.

A sextuplet of World Record holders will get things going this morning: First, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu will kick things off in the women’s 200 IM. China’s Sun Yang looks to defend his title in the 400 free, as does Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in the women’s 100 fly. World Record holder Andrii Govorov of Ukraine will do battle with Americans Caeleb Dressel and Michael Andrew, as well as 2015 World Champion Ben Proud of Great Britain in the 50 fly. Katie Ledecky will race the 400 free, where for only the second-time ever we may see two women finish under 4:00 in the same race, if Australian Ariarne Titmus can keep up the momentum. Britain’s Adam Peaty is hunting a 56 in the men’s 100 breaststroke, while Belarusian Ilya Shymanovich and fellow Brit James Wilby will vie for the title of second-man-ever-sub-58 in the men’s 100 breaststroke.

Women’s 200 IM – PRELIMS

  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (Hungary), 2015, 2:06.12
  • World Junior Record: Rikako Ikee (Japan), 2017, 2:09.98
  • World Championship Record: Katinka Hosszu (Hungary), 2015, 2:06.12

Melanie Margalis took the second heat of the 200 IM in 2:09.69, producing a strong freestyle leg to close and touch ahead of Japan’s Rika Omoto, who touched in 2:10.50, qualifying 5th overall.

Though one of the greatest female backstrokers of all time, Katinka Hosszu conceded the touch at the 100 meter mark of the 200 IM to Ye Shiwen of China, who overtook the Iron Lady on the second leg of the race. Hosszu showed her dominance on the breaststroke and surged ahead of the field, and then buried her competitors on the freestyle, touching in 2:07.02, the fastest 7th-fastest performance all-time, giving her 6 of the top 10 swims in history (giving her the numbers 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10 performances all-time).

Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the fourth and final heat of the women’s 200 IM in 2:10.34, edging ahead of Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain, who touched 2nd in 2:10.99, herself barely in front of Japan’s Yui Ohashi, who qualifies 9th overall in 2:11.09.

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte failed to make the semifinals, finishing 21st in 2:14.93.

Top 16 – Semifinals Qualifiers

  1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:07.02
  2. Ye Shiwen, China, 2:09.45
  3. Melanie Margalis, United States, 2:09.69
  4. Sydney Pickrem, Canada, 2:10.34
  5. Rika Omoto, Japan, 2:10.50
  6. Kelsey Wog, Canada, 2:10.54
  7. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Great Britain, 2:10.99
  8. Ella Eastin, United States, 2:11.06
  9. Yui Ohashi, Japan, 2:11.09
  10. Kim Seoyeong, South Korea, 2:11.45
  11. Anastasia Gorbenko, Israel, 2:11.92
  12. Ilaria Cusinato, Italy, 2:12.16
  13. Fantine Lesaffre, France, 2:12.34
  14. Maria Ugolkova, Switzerland, 2:12.35
  15. Viktoria Gunes, Turkey, 2:12.42
  16. Yu Yiting, China, 2:12.98

Men’s 400 Free – PRELIMS

  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (Germany), 2009, 3:40.07
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (Australia), 2014, 3:44.60
  • World Championship Record: Paul Biedermann (Germany), 2009, 3:40.07

Italian Gabriele Detti accelerated over the final 50 meters to get the touch ahead of Australian 2016 Olympic champion Mack Horton, touching 3:45.49 to 3:45.51 inn the fourth heat of the men’s 400 freestyle. American Zane Grothe kept himself in the mix and touched 3rd in 3:45.83.

China’s Sun Yang takes the top seed in the 400 freestyle, though a hard-charging Danas Rapsys nearly chased him down over the last 50 meters, touching 3:44.31 to Sun’s 3:44.10. Australia’s Jack McLoughlin also produced a fast finish to touch 3rd in 3:44.79. Together, all three finished faster than Detti and Horton who produced their own nail-biter finish in the fourth heat.

Both Russian men, Aleksandr Krasnyk and Martin Malyutin, failed to hit their best times or make the finals, touching 9th and 11th, respectively, in 3:46.65 and 3:47.43.

Top 8 – Finals Qualifiers

  1. Sun Yang, China, 3:44.10
  2. Danas Rapsys, Lithuania, 3:44.31
  3. Jack McLoughlin, Australia, 3:44.79
  4. Gabriele Detti, Italy, 3:45.49
  5. Mack Horton, 3:45.51
  6. Zane Grothe, 3:45.83
  7. Marco de Tullio, Italy, 3:45.99
  8. Ji Xinjie, China, 3:46.34

Women’s 100 Butterfly – PRELIMS

Australian Emma McKeon dominated heat 4 of the women’s 100 fly, touching in 56.90. McKeon was out-done by Kelsi Dahlia in the next heat, who led from start to finish and touched in 57.22. American teammate Katie McLaughlin touched second to Dahlia in 57.67.

World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom took the race out fast, just .15 over World Record pace, touching in 26.14. Sjostrom finished in 56.45, making her the only woman sub-57 in the heats. Canadian Maggie MacNeil touched second to Sjostrom in 57.10, qualifying 3rd overall for tonight’s semifinals.

Former Cal-Berkley Golden Bear and NCAA superstar Farida Osman of Egypt finished 17th in 58.43 and will not race in the semifinals, unless one of the other 16 women scratches. Osman won the bronze medal in the 50 butterfly, Egypt’s first-ever medal in swimming at the FINA World Championships, in 2017.

Top 16 – Semifinals Qualifiers

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 56.45
  2. Emma McKeon, Australia, 56.90
  3. Maggie MacNeil, Canada, 57.10
  4. Elena de Liddo, Italy, 57.18
  5. Kelsi Dahlia, United States, 57.22
  6. Marie Wattel, France, 57.23
  7. Louise Hansson, Sweden, 57.50
  8. Katie McLaughlin, United States, 57.67
  9. Anna Ntountounaki, Greece/Brianna Throssell, Australia 57.88
  10. Angelina Kohler, Germany, 57.92
  11. Yufei Zhang, China, 58.02
  12. Svetlana Chimrova, Russia, 58.10
  13. Rebecca Smith, Canada, 58.20
  14. Ilaria Bianchi, Italy, 58.26
  15. Hiroko Makino, Japan, 58.33

Men’s 50 Butterfly – PRELIMS

  • World Record: Andrii Govorov (Ukraine), 2018, 22.27
  • World Junior Record: Michael Andrew (United States), 2017, 23.22
  • World Championship Record: Milorad Cavic (Serbia), 2009, 22.67

Caeleb Dressel took the mantle as top-seed going into the semis of the men’s 50 fly, producing a 22.84 in heat 8, edging ahead of Russian Oleg Kostin, who, as announcer Bobby Hurley pointed out, breathed three times during his 23-second race.

USA’s Michael Andrew stepped up to win the next heat, touching in 23.09, just off the time he went to win U.S. Nationals last summer. Finally, in heat 11, World Record holder Andrii Govorov hit the water, powering through the race to equal Dressel’s effort and touch in 22.84, making them the only two men sub-23 in the heats. 2017 World Champion Ben Proud of Great Britian finished 9th overall and will get to continue with his campaign to defend his 2017 title.

Szebasztian Szabo of Hungary finished 4th overall in 23.07. Szabo was only just named to the Hungarian team after switching from Serbia.

2016 Olympic champion in the 100 fly Joseph Schooling of Singapore finished in 20th in 23.73, while multi-time Olympic medalist Laszlo Cseh of Hungary finished 32nd in 23.93.

Ryan Coetzee of South Africa got a bad start in heat 9 of the men’s 50 fly, falling off the blocks forcing a delay on the start. Though Coetzee was still allowed to swim, the 2018 Commonwealth Games medalist did not produce a time fast enough to advance to the semifinals, finishing in 36th.

Top 16 – Semifinals Qualifiers

  1. Caeleb Dressel, United States/Andrii Govorov, Ukraine, 22.84
  2. Oleg Kostin, Russia, 23.01
  3. Szebasztian Szabo, Hungary, 23.07
  4. Michael Andrew, United States, 23.09
  5. Daniel Zaitsev, Estonia, 23.26
  6. Andrey Zhilkin, Russia, 23.27
  7. Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago, 23.33
  8. Ben Proud, Great Britain, 23.35
  9. Maxime Grousset, France, 23.36
  10. Nicholas Santos, Brazil, 23.48
  11. Meiron Cheruti, Israel, 23.49
  12. Kristian Gkolomeev, Greece, 23.51
  13. Piero Codia, Italy, 23.52
  14. Abdelrahman Sameh, Egypt, 23.54
  15. Konrad Czerniak, Poland, 23.63

Women’s 400 Free – PRELIMS

  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2016, 3:56.46
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2017, 3:58.34
  • World Championship Record: Katie Ledecky (United States), 2014, 3:58.37

Barbora Seemanova of the Czech Republic lit up heat 3 with a new Czech Record of 4:09.73. Though Seemanova will not advance to the finals with that time, she has shown a steady progression in the race, and was entered in a 4:11.10.

Ariarne Titmus took a commanding lead in the 4th heat of the women’s 400 freestyle. Though she started fast in a 1:58.13 to her feet at 200 meters, she relaxed over the second half of the race to finish in a fast yet comfortable 4:02.42. Hungarian Anja Kesely swam a brisk 4:03.51 to touch 2nd in the heat behind Titmus.

Katie Ledecky nearly matched Titmus’ opening speed over the first 200 meters, flipping 1:58.53. Ledecky kept up a slightly stronger back half than Titmus, and ultimately touched in 4:01.84. American teammate Leah Smith touched 2nd in heat 5 to qualify 5th overall in 4:04.53.

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte missed the final with a 15th-place finish in 4:10.82. Earlier this morning Belmonte also missed making the semifinals of the 200 IM, finishing 21st in the heats.

Top 8 – Finals Qualifiers

  1. Katie Ledecky, United States, 4:01.84
  2. Ariarne Titmus, Australia, 4:02.42
  3. Anja Kesely, Hungary, 4:03.51
  4. Wang Jianjiahe, China, 4:03.97
  5. Leah Smith, United States, 4:04.53
  6. Veronika Andrusenko, Russia, 4:06.28
  7. Boglarka Kapas, Hungary, 4:07.05
  8. Anna Egorova, Russia, 4:07.10

Men’s 100 Breaststroke – PRELIMS

Fabio Scozzoli took it out fast in heat 7 of the men’s 100 breast, but Britain’s James Wilby closed fast over the finals 25 meters to touch first in 59..15. Scozzoli faded to third, finishing behind countryman Nicolo Martinenghi, who touched 59.58 to Schozzoli’s 59.61.

Belarus’ Ilya Shymanovich became the first man of the day under 59 in the 100 breast with a 58.87, edging China’s Yan Zibei and Russian 200 SCM World Record holder Kirill Prigoda who finished 2nd and 3rd in 59.13 and 59.32, respectively.

Finally, the heat everyone was waiting for: Adam Peaty posted a 57.59 to easily take the top seed into semifinals. Peaty was out .05 under World Record pace in 26.70, and then split a 30.89 over the second 50 to touch well ahead of Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki, who qualified 3rd overall in 58.91.

American Andrew Wilson qualified 8th in 59.26, while Michael Andrew touched 19th in 1:00.04. The 100 breast was Andrew’s 2nd swim of the day; earlier, he qualified 5th in the 50 fly in 23.09.

Top 16 – Semifinals Qualifiers

  1. Adam Peaty, Great Britain, 57.59
  2. Ilya Shymanovich, Belarus, 58.87
  3. Yasuhiro Koseki, Japan, 58.91
  4. Yan Zibei, China, 59.13
  5. James Wilby, Great Britain, 59.15
  6. Matthew Wilson, Australia, 59.17
  7. Joao Gomez, Brazil, 59.25
  8. Andrew Wilson, United States, 59.26
  9. Anton Chupkov, Russia, 59.31
  10. Kirill Prigoda, Russia, 59.32
  11. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands, 59.39
  12. Lizhuo Wang, China, 59.44
  13. Dmitriy Balandin, Kazakhstan, 59.56
  14. Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy, 59.58
  15. Fabio Scozzoli, Italy, 59.61
  16. Andrius Sidlauskas, Lithuania, 59.75

Women’s 400 Free RELAY – PRELIMS

  • World Record: Australia, 2018, 3:30.05
  • World Junior Record: Australia, 2015, 3:31.48
  • World Championship Record: Canada, 2017, 3:36.19

Lia Neal just held of Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands to finish first for the Americans, despite a slow start from Allison Schmitt, who led off in 55.00. Ultimately, the team of Schmitt (55.04), Abbey Weitzeil (53.07), Margo Geer (53.61), and Neal (54.41) finished on top of the first heat in 3.36.13.

Cate Campbell got the Australian women off to a fast start, hitting the wall in 52.44. Sweden’s Michelle Coleman touched 4th on the first leg, but handed off to Sarah Sjostrom, the World Record holder in the 100 freestyle, who split a 51.91. The Australians ultimately dominated the race, combining for a 3:33.39.

Kayla Sanchez got the Canadian team off to a good start with a 53.61, though 2016 Olympic champ Penny Oleksiak brought the Canadians back to nearly even with the Autralians, splitting a 52.75.

Though Hong Kong only finished 10th overall, Siobhan Haughey blasted a huge 52.89 on the 2nd leg of the race.

Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. Australia, 3:33.39
  2. Canada, 3:34.73
  3. Sweden, 3:36.03
  4. United States, 3:36.13
  5. Japan, 3:36.17
  6. Netherlands, 3:36.62
  7. China, 3:37.89
  8. Germany, 3:38.55

Though only the 8 fastest relay will race in the finals of the World Championships, 12 teams will qualify for the Olympics today: the 12 fastest teams from the prelims have automatically qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though four of those teams do not earn a berth in tonight’s finals, they will still get to race in Tokyo next summer.

Other Olympic Qualifiers (9th-12th after prelims)

  • Russia, 3:38.94
  • Hong Kong, 3:40.40
  • Czech Republic, 3:40.78
  • Poland, 3:41.01

Men’s 400 Free RELAY

  • World Record: United States, 2008, 3:08.24
  • World Junior Record: Australia, 2013, 3:16.96
  • World Championship Record: United States, 2009, 3:09.21

The American quartet won the first heat of the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay handily, leading from start to finish. Townley Haas got things going with a 48.60, and then handed over to Blake Pieroni who produced a 47.32 to pull the Americans further into the lead. Michael Chadwick then swam a 47.92, and Zach Apple closed in 47.47.

Russian backstroke ace Evgeny Rylov led off in 48.31, hanging tight with Britain’s Duncan Scott, who posted a 48.18 in the lead-off of heat two. Scott handed off to James Guy who threw down a 47.77 to soar ahead of the Russians, and super-sprinter Ben Proud a 48.43 to maintain the lead. Scott McLay anchored in 48.04 for an overall time of 3:12.42, while the Russian squad qualified 3rd in 3:12.64.

The Australians just out-touched Italy to take heat three. Kyle Chalmers anchored in what looked a very relaxed 47.98, barely holding off Alessandro Miressi of Italy, who closed in 47.60. Not a single Brazilian was sub-48 in the prelims of the relay, though Pedro Spajari proved at Pan pacs last summer he is capable of splitting 46 with a flying start, which could make for an electric final.

Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. United States, 3:11.31
  2. Great Britain, 3:12.42
  3. Russia, 3:12.64
  4. Australia, 3:12.65
  5. Italy, 3:12.66
  6. Brazil, 3:12.97
  7. France, 3:13.04
  8. Hungary, 3:13.90

Though only the 8 fastest relay will race in the finals of the World Championships, 12 teams will qualify for the Olympics today: the 12 fastest teams from the prelims have automatically qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though four of those teams do not earn a berth in tonight’s finals, they will still get to race in Tokyo next summer.

Other Olympic Qualifiers (9th-12th after prelims)

  • Japan, 3:14.16
  • Greece, 3:14.44
  • Germany, 3:14.58
  • Poland, 3:14.78

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2 years ago

Christmas in July.. let’s goooo!!

Reply to  DresselApologist
2 years ago

I’m about to wet myself.

WV Swammer
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
2 years ago

Start the damn race before I piss meself

Reply to  WV Swammer
2 years ago

Need a Bobby B bot in the SwimSwam comments

Reply to  DresselApologist
2 years ago

Almost every July this time

2 years ago

Yes! Finally worlds is here
What event is everyone looking forward to the most for day 1 heats?

Reply to  SeanSwim
2 years ago

Specific event & heat: Women’s 400fr, heat 4. We see if there is a genuine threat to Ledecky’s crown.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Ledecky v Ariarne Titmus in 400m Free Final.

WV Swammer
Reply to  SeanSwim
2 years ago

Definitely the relay, wonder how good Adrian is today

Reply to  WV Swammer
2 years ago

Also wondering who’s on the prelims relay. Too many names possible for 4 slots!

WV Swammer
Reply to  swimmerTX
2 years ago

Interested to see how many guys today will be slower than Howard/Farris from WUGs to further cement that the qualifying procedure is wrong

Reply to  WV Swammer
2 years ago

I like the qualifying procedure. It keeps the ones who didn’t make the world’s team hungry for Olympic spots, and it gives the world’s swimmers a chance to go up against world competition in preparation for trials/Olympics. Everybody eats. It keeps things exciting.

Reply to  SeanSwim
2 years ago

Men’s 400 free heats could be intense and close for Finals spots.
Ledecky vs. Titmus in prelims.
A packed 100 breast field in prelims behind the obvious leader.

Reply to  SeanSwim
2 years ago

relays , relays !!!

2 years ago

British male 4×1 is out:


Not medal factors, but first piece of relay line-up news. Guessing official lists won’t be long now.

WV Swammer
Reply to  Dee
2 years ago


Reply to  WV Swammer
2 years ago

British swimming’s social media.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

With Richards’s improvement, they might do some great things next year

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Don’t see anything to suggest Jarvis is capable of a better split than McLay. 49.0 for a guy born in 1999 is nothing to be sniffed at. Outside chance of making the final if all goes well.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

I think Scott is gonna pop a good one leading off this morning, if he goes 100%

Reply to  SeanSwim
2 years ago

Duncan & James have tended to swim into meets in the past, that’s what I’m wary of.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Not sure that’s true of Duncan – definitely right when it comes to Guy though, and also Proud I would say

2 years ago

Here we go!!

2 years ago

I am so excited and I just can’t hide it! I am about to lose control

Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Can you feel the excrement?

2 years ago

Scenes when Dean Farris gives Nathan Adrian a Stone Cold Stunner on the blocks and takes his spot on the relay

WV Swammer
Reply to  Pvdh
2 years ago

And spilts a 45.99 in a drag suit

2 years ago

Didn’t both Titmus and Ledecky finish under 4 minutes in the same race at Pan Pacs last year?

Reply to  Troy
2 years ago

They did: 3:58.50 for Ledecky and 3:59.66 for Titmus

Philip Johnson
2 years ago

Let’s do this!

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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