2022 Short Course Worlds Picks and Previews: Men’s Breaststroke


This might be the first time that Adam Peaty is entered in a meet yet not the favorite for the breaststroke races. After dominating the World Cup circuit by going 9-for-9 across the 50/100/200 breaststroke, it’s Nic Fink who comes into Melbourne as the man to beat.

While Peaty will race his first short course World Championships, there are several notable absences: Arno Kamminga, as well as Belarusian 100 breast world record holder Ilya Shymanovich and Russian 200 breast world record holder Kirill Prigoda.

Despite the absences, there are still plenty of athletes in the field who will no doubt be eager to end Fink’s winning streak.

Men’s 50m Breaststroke

2022 Long Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

2021 Short Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

In addition to his World Cup Triple Crown, Nic Fink is also the defending short course world champion in the 50 breaststroke. In Abu Dhabi, he touched out Nicolo Martinenghi by two-hundredths to secure the title, 25.53 to 25.55. That’s Fink’s best time, and he neared it this season with a 25.78 in Toronto.

Martinenghi has a faster lifetime best than Fink–25.37 from November 2021–but has yet to break 26 seconds this season. His best came in Indianapolis with a 26.02; meanwhile, Fink cracked that barrier at each of the three World Cup stops. These two have been the the top 2 swimmers in this event over the last year, and it should be a good race between them. Fink is certainly riding the hot hand, but Martinenghi is capable of spoiling his party.

Despite Fink and Martinenghi topping the podium in both Budapest and Abu Dhabi, neither of them own the world record. That mark, a 24.95, belong’s to Turkey’s Emre Sakci, who’s the one breaststroke SC world record holder slated to race in Melbourne. Sakci swam that world record during the 2021 Turkish Championships, barely a week after 2021 SC Worlds ended. The 25-year-old has one glaring weakness though: he gets disqualified a lot. It happened to him at this meet last year, when he was disqualified after posting the top time in the semifinals. He hasn’t shown the same speed as Fink or Martinenghi this season, but if he hits his taper (and doesn’t DQ) then he should be in the mix for a medal.

Now we’ve arrived at the Adam Peaty problem. For years now, Peaty has been the favorite whatever meet he’s gone to. However, after suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of the water for six weeks, he missed the podium at the Commonwealth Games in the 100 breast–the first time in nearly a decade he hasn’t medaled in that event.

He rebounded by claiming gold in the 50 breast and we haven’t seen him race since. A SC Worlds gold is one of the few boxes that Peaty has yet to check in his career, and depending on his plans for the rest of his career, this could be his only chance. With so many unanswered questions about his form and how his recovery from injury continued, it’s hard to write him in as a gold medalist in Melbourne. That said, if he’s on form through the first few rounds of racing, he will be difficult to beat.

The bronze medalists from Budapest and Abu Dhabi, Michael Andrew and Joao Gomes Juniorare also expected to race. Gomes Junior popped his lifetime best 25.80 to earn his bronze last year, and has been as fast as 26.35 this year. Andrew has been 26.32, finishing just ahead of Gomes Junior in Indianapolis. However, he has yet to break 26 seconds. If he wants to get on the podium again, he’ll likely need to.

Speaking of that barrier, Simone Cerasuolo posted a new lifetime best of 25.78 this fall at the 48th Nico Sapio Swimming Trophy in Italy. That was a huge swim for the world junior record holder in this event, and sets him up nicely to challenge for a medal.

SwimSwam’s Top 5 Picks

Rank Swimmer Nation Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Nic Fink United States 25.78 25.53
2 Adam Peaty Great Britain 25.41
3 Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 26.02 25.37
4 Simone Cerasuolo Italy 25.78 25.78
5 Joao Gomes Junior Brazil 25.80 26.35

Men’s 100m Breaststroke

2022 Long Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

2021 Short Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

The men’s 100 breaststroke is a similar story as the 50 breaststroke. Fink comes in as the favorite after sweeping the event at the World Cup, while Martinenghi looms close behind. Adding to Fink’s advantage is his improvement trajectory over the World Cups: he got faster through each stop, winning in Indianapolis with a 56.15. His lifetime best is a 55.56 from an ISL match last December; he then went on to win bronze at Worlds in 55.87.

This projects to be another close race with Martinenghi though, and the Italian did beat Fink in both Abu Dhabi and Budapest, becoming long course World Champion at the latter. His lifetime best is 55.63, .07 seconds off Fink’s. Martinenghi has yet to crack 57 seconds yet this season though; he posted 57.14 in Berlin and 57.39 in Indianapolis. Don’t expect that to be indicative of what he’ll produce in Melbourne though, he should be much faster.

Another parallel between this race and the 50 breast is the question marks surrounding Peaty. Without seeing him race since the summer, it’s impossible to begin to answer them, so we’ll boil it down to a similar statement that we made about him in the 50 breast: It’s very likely that Peaty will come to Melbourne ready to reassert his dominance in the breaststroke events, especially here in the 100. However, given his injury and his relative inexperience in SCM compared to his competitors, it’s a challenge to confidently say he’ll win gold. If he’s on form though, it will be hard to stop him.

Cerasuolo should be in the mix again as well. He’s the world junior record holder here as well, with his 56.66 best time. He’s gotten within two-tenths of that this season in 56.80, though he’ll likely need to drop another best if he wants to get in on the hunt for a medal.

This isn’t a carbon copy of the 50 breaststroke though, there are plenty of other swimmers looking to disrupt the race. Those include Qin Haiyang, Berkay OgretirLucas Matzerathand Andrius Sidlauskas, who are the other four finalist from the last two Worlds who are scheduled to race in Melbourne. Qin posted a lifetime best of 56.31 at the Chinese National Championships in October 2022, perhaps signaling that he’s ready to move up from his sixth place finish in 2021.

Also, don’t overlook the Asian record holder in this event, Yuya Hinomoto. He set his record at 55.77 at the 2021 Japanese Championships. This season, he’s been 56.41. While that’s off his lifetime best, it is faster than many of the other big contenders in this race have been this season, putting him in a strong spot heading into the race.

SwimSwam’s Top 5 Picks

Rank Swimmer Nation Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Nic Fink United States 56.15 55.56
2 Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 57.14 55.63
3 Adam Peaty Great Britain 55.41
4 Yuya Hinomoto Japan 56.41 55.77
5 Qin Haiyang China 56.31 56.31

Men’s 200m Breaststroke

2022 Long Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

2021 Short Course Worlds Finalists Participating:

Like the other breaststroke races, Fink does have the hot hand right now. However, it isn’t by as much as in the sprints. The 200 breaststroke was the race where Fink looked vulnerable during the World Cup–or at least like his Triple Crown was in danger.

In Berlin, he out-touched Mario Koch by a hundredth of a second, 2:05.74 to 2:05.75. Then in Toronto, it was Caspar Corbeau who was in first with 50 meters to go. Fink caught him thanks to his 31.86 final 50 split, but he was pushed not only by Corbeau, but by Caio Pumputis as well. Corbeau swam a lifetime best 2:04.17 in that race, while Pumputis was exactly.a second off his best in 2:04.27. With all three of these athletes in the race in Melbourne, expect Fink to have his hands full.

We also need to factor in Sweden’s Erik Persson, who tied for silver in Budapest and earned fourth in Abu Dhabi. Of the 2021 medalists, only Fink returns this year, leaving plenty of room for athletes on the medal stand. Persson looks like one of the biggest threats to join Fink there. His season best sits at 2:06.29, but with a lifetime best of 2:02.19, he should be much faster in Melbourne.

Qin should also be a factor in this race as well as the 100 breast. He’s the Asian record holder in the event with a 2:01.15, but he set that mark back in 2018. Even if he doesn’t get close to that mark here, he’s been 2:03.08 this season, which should put him right in the middle of the action.

The Japanese duo of Seto Daiya and Watanabe Ippei make a powerful 1-2 punch. They’ve both been 2:01s this season, which not only makes them serious medal threats, but also makes them two of the most likely people in the field to dethrone Fink. Watanabe set a lifetime best of 2:01.70 at the Japanese National Championships, while Seto neared his with a 2:01.63. Seto’s best has been 2:01.30 since 2017, making it all the more impressive that he’s gotten back to that speed.

Oh, and Peaty? He’s entered, but don’t put a lot of money down on him actually swimming this race.

SwimSwam’s Top 5 Picks

Rank Swimmer Nation Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Seto Daiya Japan 2:01.63 2:01.30
2 Watanabe Ippei Japan 2:01.70 2:01.70
3 Nic Fink United States 2:02.70 2:02.20
4 Erik Persson Sweden 2:06.29 2:01.15
5 Caspar Corbeau Netherlands 2:04.17 2:04.17

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Emri Sacki
5 months ago

the Emre Sakci shade is real. absolutely no respect for the WR holder💀

5 months ago

Persson swam a 2:05 at swedish nationals

5 months ago

Forget Seto is that good at breaststroke. Does anyone have a faster composite 200 fly, back, breast, and free than him?

Reply to  Apathetic
5 months ago

In short course definitely.

Reply to  Apathetic
5 months ago

Nope not in any course of any current swimmers!

5 months ago

Peaty in shambles reading this

5 months ago

Let’s get these dolphin kickers DQ’d right from the start.

Harvard Crimson
5 months ago

There is no chance Nic Fink beats Peaty in the 50

Reply to  Harvard Crimson
5 months ago

They have almost the same best time 💀 this is short courss

Go Kamminga Go
Reply to  Harvard Crimson
5 months ago

Honey, this is SCM

5 months ago

The pic caption says Fink favored in all 3 then you pick him to get 3rd in 200?!? That doesn’t jive

Scuncan Dott v2
5 months ago

Starlists are up on omega timing, no Ben Proud in the 50 Fly anymore.

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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