2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships: Day 4 Preview


Day 4 prelims heat sheets.

Day 4 gets underway in Gwangju with preliminaries of the women’s 50 backstroke, men’s 100 freestyle, men’s 200 IM, women’s 200 butterfly, and the mixed 4 x 100 medley relay.

The Americans boast two defending World Champions in Caeleb Dressel (100 freestyle) and Chase Kalisz (200 IM), as well as a relay looking to defend its 2017 title and World Record in the mixed 4 x 100 medley. Given the different makeup of this year’s team versus 2017, the USA will be forced to alter its lineup, though Lilly King and Caeleb Dressel‘s spots as the middle of the medley relay are likely safe.


  • Women’s 50 Backstroke – Prelims
  • Men’s 100 Freestyle – Prelims
  • Men’s 200 IM – Prelims
  • Women’s 200 Butterfly – Prelims
  • Mixed 4 x 100 Medley Relay – Prelims

The United States is off to a rough start in Gwangju, but megastars Dressel and Chase Kalisz could begin to turn the tide if they’re able to produce some inspirational results in the heats.

Starts, particularly in backstroke, have been somewhat of an issue the past couple of days. The heats of the women’s 50 back will swim this morning and will test whether or not the technical/equipment issues of day 2 persist.


  • Caeleb Dressel and Kyle Chalmers will finally square-off in the men’s 100 freestyle, though Dressel will race in heat 11 and Chalmers heat 13. Russia’s Vlad Morozov and South Africa’s Chad le Clos are two more superstars to watch. At the 2018 Short Course World Championships, Dressel won the 100 free, just .01 ahead of Morozov, and le Clos took bronze.
  • The mixed medley relays should feature the same major players as before, namely: the United States, Great Britain, Canada, China, Japan, Australia. What will be interesting is who each team chooses to put on each leg. Some are predictable, such as Great Britain using Adam Peaty on the breaststroke leg in finals, and the United States going to Caeleb Dressel for butterfly in the finals. However, there are some wildcard options to consider: who does the USA use for backstroke? Smoliga seems the obvious answer after her 3rd-place finish in the 100 back, but is Ryan Murphy really out of it? Or, should the coaches choose Regan Smith, who has been 58.45 this year, faster than the winning time on day 3?
  • The men’s 200 IM gives us our first look at defending World Champion Chase Kalisz. We haven’t seen much from Kalisz yet this season, but we may have some idea what to expect from his top competitors, Daiya Seto of Japan and Wang Shun of China. At the 2018 Short Course World Championships, Seto broke the World Record in the 200 butterfly, while Wang won the SCM version of the 200 IM. Seto recently broke a minute in the 100 LCM breaststroke; the third leg of the IM is typically where Kalisz makes his move and overtakes the field. If Seto is close or even on the breaststroke, Kalisz may not be able to shake him on the freestyle.
  • After winning bronze in the 100 backstroke on day 3, Olivia Smoliga‘s confidence should be high going into the 50 backstroke, where she is the reigning short course champion. China’s Fu Yuanhui and Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros are two of the fastest performers all-time–World Record holder Liu Xiang of China is not competing–and they will race beside each other in heat 5. Minna Atherton, the silver medalist in the 100 backstroke at these World Championships, is another to expect a lot of speed from.
  • From a technical perspective, swimmers and fans are hoping for less drama and delays with the starts, particularly during backstroke. Multiple issues with the backstroke starting ledges on Monday resulted in re-swims Simone Sabbioni of Italy and Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as delays during the women’s 100 backstroke.
  • Spain’s Mireia Belmonte will seek redemption in the women’s 200 fly, where she is the reigning Olympic and World Champion. The 2019 World Championships have not been easy for Belmonte: On day 1 she failed to make the semifinals of both the 400 freestyle and the 200 IM. On day 2, Belmonte placed 9th in the heats of the 1500, but got into the final after top seed Katie Ledecky scratched due to illness. Belmonte raced the final of the 1500 on day 3, but placed 8th. By comparison, all Belmonte has to do is scrape into the top 16 to improve upon her performances from this year’s competition so far. If she makes the final, it could even be called a success; if she wins a medal, it might even be called miraculous, especially considering the health issues that made her withdraw from the 2018 European Championships.
  • Team USA’s Hali Flickinger, one of the most well-rounded swimmers on the team, hits the water in the 200 fly. Having already been 2:06.9 this year in-season, Flickinger’s 200 fly in Gwangju has been eagerly anticipated by American swim fans.

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Would love to see a Smith/Wilson/Conger/Comerford prelims relay.


I’m hoping it will also be Smith/Wilson/Conger/Comerford

It will be hard for Smith to post a great time though if many of the other nations put in male swimmers first, which is likely, but all she has to beat is 58.9 to be the fastest American at this meet currently and she has been 58.4 this year. Really hope she is in form.

WV Swammer

I like this order..would be good to see if Wilson can replicate a 58-high/59-low performance in the AM and to see where Conger is at. I also think Smith will be anywhere between 58.3-58.6 if she’s in form


Yes, hopefully they use Smith, but there is a chance they throw in Grevers or Baker :(. I think they have to use a male breaststroker (save King for finals, using Sumrall is a risk, Mandrew is a risk so Wilson is the way to go), so it’s up to whether they use Conger, Dahlia, or McLaughlin on Fly (save Dressel for finals) and whether they use Comerford or Apple or Adrian on free (save Manuel for finals). They shouldn’t use Pieroni because he has the 100 FR heats and semis today. The coaches can’t ignore the fact that the girl went 58.4 this year. If they do ignore the fact then idk what to say. I have a bad… Read more »


I agree that they should put Regan Smith as the lead off in prelims I have a feeling she’ll go 58.3


Just hard if other teams use a male and she is swimming in their wake


I don’t think MA is swimming this morning according to his instagram

WV Swammer

Prelims Mixed Medley lineup prediction for US:


Let Smith get a time now..I bet she goes faster than 58.9…a trial for the womens 4×1 medley on Sunday you could say


Marsh could easily block this from happening.


I know 🙁
But Greg is the head coach and he gets the final say, so I think there’s a great shot Regan will be put in


US has to go with Murphy/Grevers on back. Both are 6 sec clear of Smith/Smoliga/Baker. King is within 6 on breast of Wilson. Dressel we’ll see but likely at least 6 of not closer to 7 sec on Dhalia. Any of the US freestylers have to be under 47 to even approach 5sec clear of Simone. All things being = use the men for back and breast and women for fly and free as a) there is usually a closer gap with fly/free and b) cleaner water. King and Dressel slightly turn the table here for a brst /fly swap, but Manuel is much too close to the male freestylers to even consider going WWMM.






Throw in McLaughlin! Get her another swim before the 4X200. She was only a couple tenths back from Dahlia’s time in SFs.


Reagan!!! Put her in!!!

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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