2019 World Champions: Who is Back in the Water

With countries around the world in various stages of lockdown, some swimmers are still without a pool while others have been able to return to training. Below, we’ve dug through all of the 2019 individual World Champions, looking for media reports, social media posts, and other indicators of whether or not they’re back in the water in some form or fashion.

Women’s World Champion’s

Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky – Both members of Greg Meehan’s pro group, the pair of multiple event World Champions have both returned to the water, training in a family’s two-lane 25-yard backyard pool near the Stanford campus.

Lilly King – King, along with her fellow Indiana pro group members were able to continue their training, although with a much smaller pool, 3 weeks ago. It’s unclear if this is ongoing or was a one-off.


Sarah Sjostrom – Training in her home nation of Sweden, one of the countries that experienced far looser restrictions throughout the pandemic, Sjostrom was among a very small group of swimmers worldwide who were able to continue training with little-to-nono stoppage.

Maggie MacNeil – Training at home in Canada, MacNeil has made use of a power tower and a backyard pool to maintain her training during the quarantine.


Boglarka KapasKapas recently returned to the pool after being among a group of Hungarian swimmers to test positive for the Coronavirus.

Katinka Hosszu – Hosszu recently made the return to the pool, winning the 200 IM in a tough field that consisted entirely of herself. Hungary has opened up Duna Arena to its top swimmers, and many of them are back in full training in the 50-meter pool that hosted the 2017 World Championships.


Federica Pellegrini – Representing Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pellegrini and her fellow countrymen have yet to be able to return to training. Pellegrini is expected to be back in the water Monday, though, after her local regional government agreed to reopen the Verona training center.

Yulia Efimova – Besides having one of the most viral videos in the world of the quarantine (it spent a day on the front page of Reddit), Efimova recently moved to a new house that has a backyard pool. She hasn’t posted any photos of the size or shape of that pool, but said via an Instagram live takeover of the Russian Olympic Committee’s account that it was “small, but it’s important for me to feel the water.”

Who we aren’t sure about: Ariarne Titmus, Olivia Smoliga, Kylie Masse, Regan Smith

Men’s World Champion’s

Caeleb Dressel – While as far as we can tell Dressel has yet to be back in the pool, the quarantine certainly hasn’t kept him out of Florida S&C Coach Matt Delancey’s home gym.


Sun Yang – Following the 2019 World Championships Yang was handed an eight-year suspension by FINA. Despite this Yang was issued an invite to the Chinese National Team camp that was due to be held this spring, although his invite was later revoked.

Gregorio Paltrinieri – Like Pellegrini, Paltrinieri, as an Italian, has yet to be able to return to the water, but he’s expected to be able to get back in a national training center pool this week as well this week once a few wrinkles are ironed out.

Florian Wellbrock – An elite distance and open water swimmer, Wellbrock has made use of an endless pool to stay in the water, and like many of Germany’s top swimmers has had uninterrupted training: a handful of elite swimmers have been able to continue training in that country, including Wellbrock at SC Magdeburg.


Adam PeatyPeaty recently returned to the water, although in a much shorter pool than normal. He was among a group of Great Britain’s elite swimmers who were given endless pools on loan during the pandemic.


Daiya Seto – Making use of limited space, Seto has built a temporary pool and tether in his yard.


Kristof Milak – While he has been pretty quiet on social media, the man who broke Michael Phelps’ World Record, should be able to get back in the water alongside his elite Hungarian kinsmen, presuming he’s tested clear for coronavirus.

Who we aren’t sure about: Zane Waddell, Jiayu Xu, Evgeny Rylov, Anton Chupkov



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2 years ago

That’s a wonderful side-view of Wellbrock’s stroke.

He does this thing where he twists his hand pinky-down on entry with the arm that he breaths towards (so left). I’ve noticed that Sun Yang does this too, and to a lesser extent Phelps in the 2016 4×200 relay.

Anyone know if this is something worth imitating? When we can get back in the water of course 🙁

2 years ago

According to this interview with Chalmers, he and Dressel have talked and apparently Caelebs been able to train pretty much the same through the shutdown (and invited him to train lmao those sessions would be insane)

2 years ago

World championships apparently will now be held in May 2022. ( instead of 2021) .

Reply to  Samesame
2 years ago

comm games, pan PACs, European and Asian games are also in 2022. Unless some of them are moved or cancelled

Reply to  Samesame
2 years ago

Most likely PanPacs will be shelved. Euros will hinge on what impacts any further COVID waves have on major Euro nations and economies and CommGames on UK specifically. Tokyo going ahead, or conversely being canned, will be a major factor as will the impacts of any further COVID “waves” on major Euro nations/economies and UK specifically for CG.12 months from now, we’ll certainly have a clearer picture

He Said What?
2 years ago

If you listen to Cody Miller’s podcasts, it is clear that the small elite team is training in the private home pool provided to Coach Ray.