2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- 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 100M BUTTERFLY
- World Record: 49.82, Michael Phelps (USA), 2009
- World Championship Record: 49.82, Michael Phelps (USA), 2009
- World Junior Record: 50.62, Kristof Milak (HUN), 2017
- Defending World Champion: Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.86
For the first time in the history of the men’s 100 butterfly at the FINA World Championships (LCM), swimmers may have to swim sub-51 seconds just to qualify for the championship final. In 2017, four of the eight finalists were sub-51 in semifinals, with all but two of the swimmers going 50-point or faster in the final.
The men’s 100 meter butterfly is Caeleb Dressel‘s event to lose. This season, Dressel has already been faster than he was in all of 2018, having posted a world-leading time of 50.36 at the Mission Viejo Swim Meet of Champions earlier this month. For comparison, Dressel’s in-season performance would have won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where Singaporean and former Bolles School Shark Joseph Schooling claimed gold in 50.39. Dressel’s time in California was also faster than every other competitor in the championship final of the 100 fly from the 2017 World Championships with the exception of Dressel himself, who won gold in 49.86, nearly breaking Michael Phelps‘ suited World Record of 49.82 from the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
Prior to the 2017 World Championships, Dressel’s best time in the 100 fly came from the 2017 U.S. National Championships, which he won in 50.87. Not everybody thought Dressel had much more room for improvement at Worlds, having already dropped so much time at Nationals. In the prelims and the semifinals of the 100 fly, Dressel scared the 50-second barrier with a 50.08 in the morning and a 50.07 in the evening. The following day, hardly 30 minutes after winning the 50 freestyle, Dressel blew away the competition and nearly broke Phelps’ World Record, posting a 49.86. Untapered–or perhaps only a little tapered–Dressel has already been half-a-second faster than he was in 2017 before the World Championships. Dressel’s best time in 2018 came at the U.S. National Championships, which he won in 50.50. At the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, Dressel also won the 100 fly in 50.75. His time from Nationals remained the fastest in the world in 2018, even though he’d missed training due to a motorcycle accident earlier in the season. Now that Dressel has returned to form and is swimming faster than he ever has in-season, a World Record, which would take little more than a best time for Dressel, seems fairly likely.
The race for silver and bronze behind Dressel is full of veterans and relative newcomers. Hungary’s Kristof Milak won silver in 2017, registering a new World Junior Record in 50.62. Though Milak’s true specialty is the 200 fly, his prowess in the 100 makes him a repeat medal-threat. His best time this season sits at 51.50 from the Youth Olympic Games in November 2018, though more recently Milak posted a 51.67 at the FINA Champions Series in Budapest. Despite the fast time and the fact that he raced in front of a home crowd, Milak still took silver in the 100 fly behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos.
Le Clos hasn’t gone a best time in the 100 fly since 2015 when he won the World Championship title in a blistering 50.56, though last summer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, le Clos came close with his winning time of 50.65. In December, Le Clos successfully defended his short course world championship, holding off Dressel to win in 48.50. Japan’s Daiya Seto upset le Clos in the 200 fly and stole his World Record, though le Clos still took silver and slipped under his previous record, so you can hardly call the swim a failure. With a 50.10 fly split in the medley relay at last year’s Commonwealth Games, and a 51.25 put up in May, le Clos could deliver a redemptive 100 fly in Gwangju, making up for missing the championship final in 2017.
29-year-old Piero Codia of Italy boasts one of the fastest lifetime bests in the field with a 50.64 from the 2018 European Championships, where he took down heavyweights James Guy (Great Britain) and Mehdy Metella (France). Though Codia hasn’t been within a second of that time yet this season, it’s notable that his performance at the 2018 European Championships came out of lane 8, which is both a rare feat for a major international win, and it could prove that he knows how to conserve his energy through prelims and semifinals.
Russia’s Andrei Minakov won the gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games last fall in a very impressive 51.12, a new Russian National Record, which still ranks 3rd in the world this year, behind only Dressel and Metella. Minakov has also shown promise in the 100 freestyle and 50 fly, winning YOG gold in each of those races in Buenos Aires as well. Minakov is the top 18 & Under in the world this year in the 100 fly, and already has substantial international experience, making him a contender for the championship final in Gwangju.
In 2017, Great Britain’s James Guy tied for bronze with 2016 Olympic Champ Joseph Schooling with a 50.83, though he put up a 50.67 in the semifinals, making him the 11th-fastest performer all-time in the event (the day of the race in 2017, Guy’s swim ranked as 9th-fastest all-time). Guy has already been 51.42 this season from the British Championships in April. Schooling, on the other hand, recently triumphed over some of the fastest butterflyers in the world at the 2019 Japan Open in early June, posting a time of 52.00, though at the 2018 Asian Games last summer, Schooling blasted a 51.04 to win that title.
China’s Li Zhuhao took silver in the 100 fly at the 2018 Asian Games behind Schooling, touching in 51.46. Li went under 51-seconds at the 2017 World Championships, where he touched 6th in 50.96. Li also had a very impressive week of racing at the 2018 World Championships (short course), where he took bronze in both the 100 fly (49.25) and the 200 fly (1:50.39).
2018 Pan Pacs silver medalist Jack Conger will also represent Team USA in Gwangju in the 100 fly. Conger’s best time of 51.00 could make him competitive for a berth in the championship final, though he will need to dip under that time in order to medal. Likewise, Pan Pacs bronze medalist Vini Lanza, whose best time stands at 51.44, could also have a shot at the final.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh was another 50-point at 2017 Worlds, but he’s now 33 years old and went just 51.6 last year. Cseh will not be swimming the 200 fly in Gwangju, such as he did in 2015 and 2017, and will focus exclusively on the 50 and 100 fly.
Top 8 Picks:
|Place||Men’s 100 Butterfly||Country||Season Best||Lifetime Best|
|2||Chad le Clos||South Africa||51.25||50.56|
|6||James Guy||Great Britain||51.42||50.67|
Dark Horse: Germany’s Marius Kusch had a great showing at the 2018 FINA World Championships (SCM), placing 5th in 49.50. Later in March, Kush performed incredibly a the 2019 NCAA Division II Championships, where he posted a 44.32 to become the 5th-fastest performer all-time in the 100 yard butterfly. Kusch’s time would have also won the Division I title, which was taken by Brazilian Vini Lanza in a 44.37. Kusch has been as fast as 51.35 in the big pool this year, but will likely need to shave a few more tenths just to make top-8 in Gwangju.