2019 FINA World Championships: Day 3 Finals Preview


The third of eight finals session at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju will feature a total of five finals and three sets of semi-finals.

Day 3 Finals Events

  • Men’s 200 free – final
  • Women’s 1500 free – final
  • Men’s 50 breast – semi-final
  • Women’s 100 back – final
  • Men’s 100 back – final
  • Women’s 200 free – semi-final
  • Men’s 200 fly – semi-final
  • Women’s 100 breast – final

The biggest news coming into this session is the fact that Katie Ledecky, the three-time defending champion in the women’s 1500 free, has scratched out of the event due to illness. While that event awaits a new champion, the defending gold medalist in the four other medal events arguably all come in as the favorite to repeat.


  • W 100 BR – The final event of the night features the most anticipated matchup, as rivals Lilly King and Yuliya Efimova will face off in the final of the women’s 100 breaststroke. Their most heated battle came in the Olympic final three years ago, but it has since cooled off (though King still actively advocates against doping, which Efimova has been convicted of). The feisty American has held over the Russian in this event, winning gold in both Rio and Budapest. Neither athlete has had to put much effort into their swims thus far, cruising through the heats and semis, so the final will show what kind of form they’re both on.
  • M 100 BK – The men’s 100 back will feature reigning Olympic champ and world record holder Ryan Murphy taking on defending champion Xu Jiayu of China. Murphy, who won bronze at the 2017 Championships, used the disappointment of that meet to rebound with a monster showing at the Pan Pacs last summer, getting himself back under the 52-second barrier. He’ll be eyeing his first individual LC World Championship title, but Xu has looked good here, breaking a 10-year-old Championship Record in the semis in 52.17. Murphy sits tied for second in 52.44, but appeared to tie up at the end of his swim after opening in a blazing 25.01. Evgeny Rylov, the man who defeated Murphy in the 200 back in Budapest, is the one who is tied with Murphy for the #2 seed.
  • W 100 BK – In the women’s 100 back, Kylie Masse comes in as the favorite to defend her title. The 23-year-old Canadian set the world record in Budapest in a time of 58.10, and then saw it snapped last summer by American Kathleen Baker. Baker has battled injury recently, though she was solid qualifying fourth overall in 59.03. Masse has looked very good through two rounds of the event, qualifying first out of the semi-finals in 58.50, and will shoot for the first 57-second swim in history. Minna Atherton (58.60) of Australia and Masse’s Canadian teammate Taylor Ruck (58.83) were the two others to break 59 in the semis.
  • M 200 FR – The men’s 200 free semis were a bit wacky, as some of the big favorites missed out on qualification including 2017 silver medalist Townley Haas, 2018 Commonwealth champ Kyle Chalmers, and 2015 World Champion James Guy. Defending champ Sun Yang remains the favorite, especially after claiming his fourth straight 400 title on day one, but Australian Clyde Lewis threw down a 1:44.90 in the semis to keep him on his toes. Danas Rapsys and Duncan Scott are also in the mix and have a shot to steal the gold.
  • W 200 FR SF – Speaking of wacky 200 frees, a bizarre turn of events saw Katie LedeckyTaylor Ruck and Emma McKeon all drop out of the women’s prelims shortly before the session. Both Ledecky and McKeon cited illness, while Swimming Canada reported Ruck was taking the event off to rest for the remainder of her busy program. That’s three of the top four seeds out, leaving the field much more wide open. Ariarne Titmus and Sarah Sjostrom turn into the favorites, while defending champ Federica Pellegrini now has a much better chance to win a medal for the eighth straight time. This session will only feature the semis, but it will be interesting to see the effect the three major scratches has on the field.
  • W 1500 FR – With Ledecky out of the women’s 1500, Italian Simona Quadarella is now the top seed after going 15:51.59 in the heats. She is on good form after setting her PB of 15:48.84 one month ago at the Sette Colli Trophy. Wang Jianjiahe of China, who was seventh (now sixth with no Ledecky) in the prelims, is the only swimmer in the field who has been faster the Italian. Wang went 15:46.69 in March at the Des Moines Pro Swim Series.
  • M 50 BR SF – World record watch will be in full effect for the semis of the men’s 50 breast, as Adam Peaty will aim to lower his 2017 time of 25.95. That record was set in the semi-finals in Budapest, as was his world record in the 100 here in Gwangju. He went 26.28 in the prelims.
  • M 200 FLY SF – Kristof MilakDaiya Seto and Chad Le Clos will all make their individual debuts during a finals session in the semis of the men’s 200 fly after cruising through the heats.

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This championship going to be a disaster for USA.
I predicted this a month ago. Nobody on the comment section believed it.

Peaty the Potato

Early days yet


It also really doesn’t matter at all if it is. Personally I think they need to rethink their selection criteria for the teams the year out from the Olympics, because I don’t think it’s working from a results perspective and it also takes valuable international experience away from up-and-coming swimmers which might be helpful to have going into Tokyo. That said, every time the Olympics comes around, the US never look like a team who have been “damaged” by the previous year’s world champs. They are completely dominant.


Almost all swimmers get International experience…they go to WUGS, Worlds, Pan Ams, World Juniors….that is why they pick the year before and cover that base. I think use the early Trials as an excuse.


The US will be fine- no matter what happens. You will bounce back and smash it at the Olympics.
As an Australian it gives me no pleasure to say that.


As a Brit, I wholeheartedly agree with this.


What you talking about??
You guys won the 400 free relay and you’ve got Caeleb


Take a deep breath and say, “TEAM USA is still pretty darn good!”


Nothing going according to script so far ..

oli kirk

200m free should be fascinating. I don’t see Lewis replicating his semi-final performance. Hoping Scott or Rapsys can dethrone the cheat.


Ye of little faith, go Lewis.

oli kirk

I’d have no qualms with Lewis taking gold over the aforementioned. But there is a difference between swimming in lane 1 in a semi final and middle lane in the final. Good luck to all bar 1!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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