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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4 years ago

Not enuf weight training

Toddy Woddy
4 years ago


Natalia Amalfi
4 years ago

Seto’ recent 59’s in 100 BR, which almost put him on the event roster for Team Japan cannot be missed. Unfortunately Japan creates their own super fast cut for this level of international meet- it is usually the times of world ranking Top 8 swimmer in each event. Yuki Ikari’s 4:12 at WUG would have made this meet, but just 6 weeks too late to be considered. He was only really tiny bit shy for the cut at Japan Open.
Too bad Hagino is not in, but that would a threat next year as he goes through a similar cycle- not great in 2015, but came back very strong in 2016.

4 years ago

I’m still taking Kalisz at 1. Seto at 2. For 3rd, I’ll be shocked if it’s anyone other than Verraszto/Litherland/Litchfield – not sure which of them though.

4 years ago

Everybody Wang Chung tonight! But not Wang Shun. Seems like a weird darkhorse pick considering his best time is from six years ago and he doesn’t have a top-100 time this season.

Reply to  hambone
4 years ago

The guy’s clutch. Bronze in the 200IM in the past 3 major international LC meets. 2x World SC Champion. Swam his first 400IM in years at Asian Games last year and went 4.12, and has a PB under 4.10… He is the epitomy of a darkhorse; major sleeper in this field.

bear drinks beer
4 years ago

Seto for the win.

4 years ago

I think Seto could win IF he controlled the fly leg but he just goes out too hard on the first leg and he pays the toll on breast and free.
I do think Litherland has a good shot for bronze.

4 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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