2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
- Full aquatics schedule
- SwimSwam Event Previews
- Start Lists & Results
Women’s 200 IM
- World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.12 (2015)
- Olympic Record: Katinka Hosszu – 2:06.58 (2016)
- World Junior Record: Yu Yiting (CHI) – 2:09.64 (2021)
- 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.58
At the 2016 Olympic Games, Katinka Hosszu dominated the IM events, sweeping the gold medals and setting a new world record in the 400 IM. Hosszu, who was 27-years-old at the time, also broke the Olympic record in the 200 IM and won the 100m backstroke at the games. Since then, Hosszu has been almost untouchable in the 200 IM, winning gold medals at the 2017 World Championships, 2018 European Championships, and 2019 World Championships.
In Tokyo, Hosszu should remain on top in this event. Her best time stands nearly 2 seconds ahead of every other swimmer in the field. In addition, the women’s 200 IM is one of the first events of the meet, falling on Day 3. With Hosszu’s busy schedule, this could be a huge benefit for her, especially considering she’s 32-years-old. If she is able to repeat as the champion in this event, she will become the oldest swimmer to ever win the event at the Olympics.
Hosszu’s biggest obstacle in this event will be overcoming a field filled with young contenders, including Americans Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass, along with China’s Yu Yiting, all of whom have had explosive performances since the coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
Both Walsh and Douglass have risen through the IM ranks both nationally and internationally over the past year. The University of Virginia duo are currently ranked as two of the fastest performers of all time in the short course version of this event, holding personal bests of 1:51.53 and 1:50.92, respectively. At the US Olympic Trials meet, Walsh managed to get her hand to the wall first in a time of 2:09.30, while Douglass touched in a time of 2:09.32. Although Walsh was slightly off of her personal best of 2:08.87, Douglass’ performance marked a huge personal best. Also, both athletes are only 19-years-old (although Walsh turns 20 during the Olympics), meaning that they may very well have room to improve upon their best times at the Olympic Games.
Yiting, at only 15-years-old, recently shattered the world junior record in this event at the Chinese Olympic Trials, posting a time of 2:09.88 to cut a tenth off of Rikako Ikee’s previous record. Unlike McKeown, Walsh, and Douglass, Yiting has raced this event at the senior international level, swimming at the 2019 World Championships when she was only 13-years-old. Although she only ranks 10th in the event going into Tokyo, Yiting is at the age where many swimmers begin to develop and take large chunks of time off of their personal bests. With a 1 second drop, Yiting could find herself on the podium in Tokyo.
Canadian Sydney Pickrem is another threat to Hosszu in this event, as she is one of the only women to have beaten Hosszu in an international event since Rio. After choking on water and getting out of the pool during the final of the 200 IM at the 2017 World Championships, Pickrem came back with vengeance, claiming a bronze medal in the event at the 2019 World Championships. With her personal best of 2:08.61, Pickrem ranks as the 3rd fastest performer entered in the event in Tokyo, putting her in a prime position to claim another international medal, and her first Olympic medal. However, Pickrem has only been 2:10.29 this season, leaving some doubts as to her fitness level following the pandemic, as Canadian training centers were closed several times throughout the year.
Abbie Wood has slowly risen through the ranks to become one of the world’s top IM swimmers since the pandemic began. Wood experienced her international breakout during the 2020 ISL season, when she shattered the British record in the 200 IM SCM, posting a time of 2:04.77. Wood later followed up her ISL performances with major drops in the long course pool, swimming a personal best of 2:09.23 at the British Selection Trials. Wood’s time currently ranks her as the 4th fastest performer in the world for 2021, and the 3rd fastest this season amongst swimmers who will be competing in Tokyo. However, Wood has never competed at a major international competition, and the time difference between Tokyo and England may be difficult to adjust to. Despite this, she still has a strong chance of finaling at the Olympics.
Japanese swimmers Miho Teramura and Yui Ohashi will have a huge advantage with the time zone difference, competing at their home Olympic Games. The pair currently rank 6th and 7th in the world for the 2021 season with their personal bests of 2:09.55 and 2:09.59, respectively.
Ohashi, in particular, will be a strong contender in this race. After posting a 2:07.91 back in 2017, Ohashi struggled to match her personal best in 2018 and 2019, not even going under 2:10 in 2020. Since covid restrictions have eased, however, Ohashi has been swimming very strongly, posting a time of 2:09.59 already this season. Currently, Ohashi is ranked as a favorite to medal in the women’s 400 IM, which occurs on Day 1 of the meet. If she is able to live up to expectations and earn a medal, momentum may help her climb the rankings in the 200 IM as well.
Termura, the 9th place finisher in this event at the Rio Olympics, holds valuable international and Olympic experience that many of the other competitors lack. At the Japanese Olympic Trials, Termura posted a personal best in this event for the first time since 2018. With this, it seems that she is peaking at the right time to make a big jump at her second Olympic Games.
Great Britain has another strong entrant in Alicia Wilson, who set her personal best of 2:09.61 this year. Wilson is the reigning World University Games gold medalist in this event and made a huge jump to qualify for Tokyo. South Korea’s Kim Seo-Yeong is also in the position to final here, having placed 6th overall at the 2019 World Championships. Although she has only been 2:10.66 in 2021, Seo-Yeong holds a personal best of 2:08.34, which places her right in the thick of things.
Best Time Since 2016 Olympics
Dark horse Pick: 17-year-old Anastasia Gorbenko has dropped almost 3 seconds in this event since 2018, going from 2:12.88 to 2:09.99. Gorbenko is currently ranked 12th overall in the event going into Tokyo. However, she is coming off of a huge European Championships victory over Hosszu, and is young enough to drop a significant amount of time in Tokyo.