2019 World Champs Previews: Kalisz Seeks USA’s 9th-Straight Title in 200 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


  • World Record: 1:54.00, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2011
  • World Championships Record: 1:54.00, Ryan Lochte (USA), 2011
  • Defending 2017 World Champion: Chase Kalisz (USA)

The 200 IM at the 2019 World Championships will feature a handful of men who have proven themselves top contenders for the gold with their lifetime bests in the 1:55-range, but can anyone join IM legends Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in the sub-1:55 club? 2017 World Champion Chase Kalisz of the USA is back to defend his. Kalisz, who swept the IM events in Budapest, is currently ranked 9th in the world for 2019 with a 1:57.68 from the TYR Pro Swim Series. He earned the U.S. their 8th-straight world title in this event in 2017, and went on to become the 6th fastest performer in history with his 1:55.40 from last summer’s Pan Pacs. In winning the 2017 race, he topped 2016 Olympic 400 IM champion and 200 IM silver medalist Kosuke Hagino.

Japan’s Hagino is the 3rd fastest man in history and very close to breaking 1:55, but he won’t be making the trip to Worlds this summer. The field is still riddled with some of the top swimmers in history, however, with Australia’s #9 Mitch Larkin and Germany’s #10 Philip Heintz in the mix. Daiya Seto, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 IM, will represent Japan in Gwanju. Larkin is the only man other than Kalisz to have broken 1:56 since the last World Championships. Like Larkin, Seto has hit his stride in the event this year with a lifetime best 1:56.69 at Japan Nationals in April. Heintz hasn’t broken 1:56 since 2017 German Nationals, but swum a 1:56.67 in April of last year.

Great Britain’s Duncan Scott comes to Worlds after narrowly missing the British Record in this event with his lifetime best 1:56.65 at British Champs in April. His countryman, Max Litchfield, holds that record and will also be competing in Gwanju. Litchfield’s British Record is just a hundredth faster than Scott, as it stands at a 1:56.64 from 2017 Worlds. The USA’s Abrahm DeVine is just a tenth behind those two in terms of best times. DeVine is coming off an NCAA season that saw him win his 2nd consecutive title in the 400 IM. He comes in with a best of 1:56.79 from 2017 USA Nationals. We don’t have too much to go on for DeVine this year in long course as he’s only done it twice in 2019 with a season best of 2:01.14.

China’s Wang Shun, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in this event, has nearly cleared 1:56 before as he posted a 1:56.16 at the 2017 Chinese Nationals. He’s currently ranked 3rd in the world for 2019, just a hundredth behind Scott. Teammate Qin Hiayang, who owns the World Junior Record in this event, is ranked 10th in the world this year and has been within tenths of his lifetime best 1:57.06 from 2017 Worlds. Ranked one spot ahead of him is Brazil’s Caio Pumputis, who swam a lifetime best 1:57.70 this year. Swiss IMer Jeremy Desplanches, the defending European Champion, is also currently ranked in the world top 10 (#6), who looks to return to the final after setting the Swiss Record in 2017.


Place Swimmer Country Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Chase Kalisz USA 1:57.68 1:55.40
2 Mitch Larkin AUS 1:55.72 1:55.72
3 Duncan Scott GBR 1:56.65 1:56.65
4 Wang Shun CHN 1:56.66 1:56.16
5 Daiya Seto JPN  1:56.69 1:56.69
6 Philip Heintz GER 1:58.35 1:55.76
7 Max Litchfield GBR 1:59.73 1:56.64
8 Jeremy Desplanches SUI 1:56.86 1:57.50


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4 years ago

Wang Shun will win GOLD this time.

4 years ago

Wang Shun gets no respect from this forum.

4 years ago

State media has reported that Qin Haiyang will not swim 200IM. He will focus instead on 200BR as the two are on the same night.

tea rex
4 years ago

Why people aren’t higher on Daiya Seto? Huge distance base, obviously improved his speed this season (anyone else at 51 fly and 59 breast?). Larkin and Scott will be more focused on their relay-potential events. If anyone beats Kalisz, I’d expect it to be Seto.

Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

Totally agree. Seto for the win! Larkin explicitly said he wasn’t going to swim it andI imagine Scott to focus on his FR events plus he hasn’t shown anything to be super excited about since Trials. Kalisz seems to have been in heavy training mode all year and possibly not even fully tapered for Worlds, which may affect his speed in the 200. I think he’ll be 2nd behind Seto

4 years ago

Are we sure Litchfield is getting the swim? He was like 7th at trials.

4 years ago

I hope that Heintz can “steal” a medal, but this event hasn’t been that strong in a long time so i am not very optimistic.
He destroyed his 400 IM PB this season, but i am not sure what that means. Either he massively improved his endurance which should benefit his 200 IM or he plans to focus on the 400 IM in the future because he sees better chances there.

4 years ago

I’m pretty sure Tom Dean will be swimming in this event rather than Litchfield. Litchfield will only swim it if Scott doesn’t want to.

4 years ago

The 200BK and 200IM are hardly rare combinations but yet again on the men’s side they are scheduled for the same day. Ok, there’s no such thing as perfect scheduling and there will always be clashes but remarkably FINA persists in putting them as siuccessive men’s finals. Why not have them on different ends on the day’s program? There’s a big difference between having half an hour to recover and one and a half hours. That way talented swimmers in both events don’t have to agonize about whether to take the risk and swim both events.

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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