2022 European Championships: Who Will Step Up in the Men’s IM?

2022 EUROPEAN AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Thursday, August 11 – Wednesday, August 17, 2022 (pool swimming)
  • Rome, Italy
  • Foro Italico Sports Complex
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central
  • Entries

At the 2022 World Championships, Frenchman Leon Marchand put on a show in the IMs. He won both the 200-meter and 400-meter; in the latter, he clocked the second-fastest swim in history and broke the European record. But Marchand is forgoing the European Championships to have a break before the NCAA season starts, which leaves the door open for the competitors who will be in Rome.

In addition, neither of the winners from 2020 will be defending their titles. Hugo Gonzalez, the 200 IM champion, is also skipping the meet and Ilya Borodinthe 400 IM winner, is unable to compete because of FINA’s ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

200 IM

  • World Record: 1:54.00, Ryan Lochte (USA) – 2011 World Championships
  • European Record: 1:55.18, László Cseh (HUN) – 2009 World Championships
  • European Championship Record: 1:56.66, László Cseh (HUN) – 2012
  • 2020 European Champion: Hugo González (ESP), 1:56.76

In a relatively new event for him, Tom Dean has been impressing this season in the 200 IM. He dropped a lifetime best at British Championships, then lowered it to a 1:56.77 en route to a fifth-place finish at Worlds. Then he earned silver at the Commonwealth Games, charging on the back half with a 32.79 breaststroke split and 27.45 on freestyle.

Dean has shown himself to be a contender in the 200 IM, and in this field has a real shot at the gold medal. Perhaps the biggest factor for what time Dean will put up is fatigue. This is the last meet for him of a brutal Worlds/Commonwealths/Euros triple. How much will he have left in the tank for the final on day seven of his third international championship this summer?

Tokyo bronze medalist Jeremy Desplanches missed the 200 IM final at Worlds, posting 1:58.31 to finish eleventh overall. He’ll be eager to bounce back here and reassert himself as a medal threat. Despite the Worlds disappointment, given the field in Rome he’s in a good position to do just that. He has the fastest lifetime best of his competition at 1:56.17. He hasn’t shown himself to be on that form so far, but as Dean is the only one in the race to have broken 1:57 so far this season, he likely won’t have to be on his best time to have a chance at a medal.

Hubert Kos holds the world junior record in this event, which he set at 1:56.99 at this meet last year. He’s gotten close to that time this season, swimming 1:57.23 at Worlds for a sixth place finish, just behind Dean. Now 19 years old, Kos won’t get a chance to reset his record, but he should be right in the middle of the fight for a medal.

Rounding out our top five picks are Alberto Razzetti and Ron Polonsky. Both advanced as far as the semifinals at Worlds, with Polonsky setting a lifetime best of 1:57.99. Of the two, Razzetti has been faster–he has a lifetime best of 1:57.13–and was .03 seconds behind Polonsky at Worlds. He’ll likely feed off the hometown crowd and as the 2020 bronze medalist, will want to defend (or improve) on that position in Rome.

2016 champion Andreas Vazaios is also entered in the race; he holds Greece’s national record at 1:57.98, but has yet to get near that time this season. He won the Stockholm Open in 1:59.61 and will need to be much closer to his best to be a factor in the final.

SwimSwam’s Predictions

Ranking Swimmer Country Lifetime Best Season Best
1 Tom Dean Great Britain 1:56.77 1:56.77
2 Hubert Kos Hungary 1:56.99 1:57.23
3 Jeremy Desplanches Switzerland 1:56.17 1:58.29
4 Alberto Razzetti Italy 1:57.13 1:58.02
5 Ron Polonsky Israel 1:57.99 1:57.99

400 IM

  • World Record: 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (USA) – 2008 Olympic Games
  • European Record: 4:04.28, Léon Marchand (FRA) – 2022 World Championships
  • European Championship Record: 4:09.59, Lásló Cseh (HUN) – 2008
  • 2020 European Champion: Ilya Borodin (RUS), 4:10.02

Though three-time champion David Verraszto comes in as the top seed with a 4:09.57, he’s actually only been 4:13.54 this season, at the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrium tour. That puts him on par with what Razzetti, Kos, and Brodie Willams have swum this season. Thus, though this field is missing many of the big IM stars, it projects to be a close, exciting race. And as it’s on the first day of the meet, all the athletes will be fresh.

Razzetti and Kos are the two medal threats from the 200 IM that carry over to the longer IM distance. In 2020, Razzetti came away with the silver medal behind Borodin. As Borodin won’t be racing in Rome, that means the oportunity is there for Razzetti to upgrade to the gold medal. He’s sitting second behind Verraszto, with the 4:09.91 he swam at the Tokyo Olympics. This season, he was 4:13.72 at Worlds. Kos swam a personal best 4:13.50 in April 2022, then fell off that at Worlds and swam 4:15.44 to finish twelfth. In this field where there are a bunch of swimmers all hovering around the same time, he’ll need to be at his best or likely drop again in order to medal.

Razzetti’s teammate Pier Andrea Matteazzi sits third on the psych sheet with his lifetime best 4:12.79 from 2021. Like so many of the other swimmers in this field, he’s been in the 4:13 range this season. He’s in the same boat as Kos, and will likely need to be at his best in order to medal.

Brodie Williams is coming off a successful Commonwealth Games, where he had a  breakthrough in the 100 backstroke to drip under 54 seconds for the first time. That continued the strong season that Williams has been having–could he have something left for the 400 IM at this meet? He was just off his lifetime best at Worlds in 4:13.89 and could be dangerous if he rolls his momentum from Birmingham to Rome. He’s doing the Worlds/Commonwealths/Euros triple like Dean though, which could work against him.

SwimSwam’s Predictions

Ranking Swimmer Country Lifetime Best Season Best
1 Alberto Razzetti Italy 4:09.91 4:13.72
2 David Verraszto Hungary 4:09.57 4:13.54
3 Brodie Williams Great Britain 4:12.95 4:13.89
4 Hubert Kos Hungary 4:13.50 4:13.50
5 Pier Andrea Matteazzi Italy 4:12.79 4:13.83

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swimmer
1 month ago

Is Michael Andrew or Carson Foster swimming 200 IM at this meet?

OLOAP
1 month ago

Razzetti is struggling a bit in 2022 after a very brilliant set of performances at SCM Worlds and seems to be more efficient on the 200 fly than on medleys as of now. Hope that absences and the support from the home crowd can push him to swim as closer as possible to his best times at least

DearMA
1 month ago

Will there be live streaming of this competition?

Memma EcKeon
1 month ago

Verrazto has a lifetime best of 4.07

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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