2019 World Championships Previews: Seto a Major Threat in 400 IM


  • All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
  • Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
  • The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
  • Meet site
  • FinaTV Live Stream
  • Live results

MEN’S 400 IM

  • World Record: 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (USA), 2008
  • World Championship Record: 4:05.90, Chase Kalisz (USA), 2017
  • Defending 2017 World Champion: Chase Kalisz (USA), 4:05.90

The 2017 World Champion in the 400 IM returns as Chase Kalisz will represent the USA again in Gwangju. There’s another major threat for the title, however, as Japan’s Daiya Seto has been having a great year. Kalisz is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in this event, while Seto is the Olympic bronze medalist. Kalisz’s season best is a 4:13.45, but since the USA didn’t have a trials meet this year, he hasn’t had a taper meet since last summer’s Pan Pacs. Seto, on the other hand, has already swum his best time this year with a 4:07.95 from just a few weeks ago at the Sette Colli Trophy. Seto is #1 in the world this year with that time. He was the World Champion in both 2013 and 2015 in this event and looks to return to the top of the podium.

We also have the 2017 silver medalist returning as Hungary’s David Verraszto is currently ranked 3rd in 2019, just behind the 2017 4th place finisher Max Litchfield (GBR). Litchfield has been just over a second shy of his lifetime best already this season with a 4:10.94 in April. Verraszto has won the silver in this event at the last 2 World Championships. Like Seto, his season-best 4:11.90 comes from the Sette Colli at the end of June. Verraszto will be joined by Peter Bernek in representing the Hungarians. Bernek put up a lifetime best 4:12.80 in March.

There are a few more returning finalists from 2017, including Jay Litherland USA), Richard Nagy (SVK), and Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida. Of those 3, only Litherland has been sub-4:10 before, with a best of 4:09.31 from 2017 Nationals. Almeida, who was once the World Junior Record holder in this event, has a best of 4:13.00 from the last Worlds meet. He has the fastest season best of these 3 as he was within tenths of his best with a 4:13.69 in April. Azerbaijan’s Maksym Shemberev is another finals contender along with these 3. He swam his lifetime best 4:13.81 back in September.

Absent from the event this time around will be Japan’s reigning Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino, who will not be making the trip to Gwangju.


1 Chase Kalisz USA 4:13.45 4:05.90
2 Daiya Seto JPN 4:07.95 4:07.95
3 David Verraszto HUN 4:11.90 4:08.38
4 Max Litchfield GBR 4:10.94 4:09.62
5 Jay Litherland USA 4:14.42 4:09.31
6 Peter Bernek HUN 4:12.80 4:12.80
7 Brandonn Almeida BRA 4:13.69 4:13.00
8 Maksym Shemberev AZE 4:13.61 4:13.61

Darkhorse Pick: China’s Wang Shun missed out on the final in this race in 2017, but is a top 8 contender with a lifetime best 4:09.10 from 2013. He’s not currently within the top 100 of 2019, but enters the meet with a seed time 4:14.02. We couldn’t find a swim for him in this event so far this season.

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2 years ago

Seto will win in 4:04.4

Reply to  GoGophers
2 years ago

He’d have to work the bk and fr significantly in order to get that close to WR. Phelps was 1:01.5/56.7 on bk and fr, while Seto’s PB splits are 1:03.1/58.8. Even if he wins, I think best case scenario is like 4:05.mid.

Reply to  MTK
2 years ago

I totally agree, i just decided to be bold and minus about a second and a half.

Chaitha D.
2 years ago

I honestly think that Seto has this one. He seems like a man with a mission while Kalisz seems to have put Tokyo as his main focus. I still believe Kalisz will be 4:06 high but Seto wins it in 4:06.19

2 years ago

Really like Seto here; All that work on his breaststroke is the key to beating Kalisz.

1. Seto
2. Kalisz
3. 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago


Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Daddy Seto will take this one thank you very much

Philip Johnson
2 years ago

Don’t count out Chase.

2 years ago

1. Daiya Seto + Chase Kalisz 4:06.87 *They tie after everyone debating whether one or the other would win
3. Jay Litherland 4:09.12 *Has been 4:09.3 and hasn’t tapered this year. He’s looked great all year!
4. David Verraszto 4:09.49
5. Max Litchfield 4:10.19
6. Brandonn Almeida 4:12.29
7. Wang Shun 4:12.89
8. Peter Bernek 4:13.80

2 years ago

Seto has a great chance to win this. Not because of how he or Kalisz have looked, but Chase recently signed with MP, and therefore won’t be able to wear his Mizuno. Although the MP is a decent model, it’s well behind the top market suits, especially the GX Sonic. Honestly, the race might come down to this.

Inside Smoke
Reply to  Quack
2 years ago

It’s the swimmer in the suit that matters, not the suit

2 years ago

If Kalisz is anywhere near top form, it’s gonna be hard for Seto to win it. As of right now, there is a full two second difference between their personal bests. On the other hand, Seto has had a fantastic season so far, so if he can keep the momentum going and drop a bit more, he could surprise. I’d say Kalisz has a 50% chance of winning, Seto has a 40% chance, and everyone else collectively has a 10% chance.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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