2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- June 18-25, 2022 (pool swimming)
- Budapest, Hungary
- Duna Arena
- LCM (50-meter format)
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- Day 4 Finals Heat Sheet
It’s Day 4 of finals at the 2022 FINA World Championships. Distance and relay events make their return tonight, with the finals of both the men’s 800 free and the mixed 4×100 medley relay. The men also have medal rounds in the 200 fly and 50 breast, while the only women’s final tonight is the 200 free.
For the semis, we have the men’s 100 free, women’s 50 back, women’s 200 fly, and men’s 200 IM. These could be some of the tightest races of the night, as Tokyo medalists look to fend off rising stars like David Popovici, Summer McIntosh, Carson Foster, and Leon Marchand.
Day 4 Finals Schedule
- Men’s 800 Free – Final
- Women’s 200 Free – Final
- Men’s 100 Free – Semifinal
- Women’s 50 Back – Semifinal
- Men’s 200 Fly – Final
- Men’s 50 Breast – Final
- Women’s 200 Fly – Semifinal
- Men’s 200 IM – Semifinal
- Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay – Final
Men’s 800 Free
Day 3 prelims gave us a great preview of this race, with Mykhailo Romanchuk, Florian Wellbrock, and Gabriele Detti battling it out. They traded the lead throughout the race, with Romanchuk getting his hand on the wall first in 7:44.75, .04 seconds ahead of Wellbrock. They were also the top two seeds heading into the final in Tokyo, where they couldn’t match their prelims times and finished second and third to Bobby Finke.
Speaking of Finke, he’s sitting sixth. He didn’t show the same explosive closing speed in prelims that he usually has, so we’ll have to wait and see if he has more in the tank for the final. Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen also made things interesting in the heats, crushing his Irish record to qualify for the final. Defending 2019 Champ Gregorio Paltrinieri will likely set the pace early, as he usually does, but he’s become much more geared towards open water of late, so that may have affected his race strategy. Either way, we’re set for a great first final; any one of these swimmers is capable of claiming a spot on the podium.
Women’s 200 Free
No one broke 1:56 in the semifinals, but it was incredibly tight across both heats, with the top ten swimmers all finishing within nine-tenths of each other. Great Britain’s Freya Anderson leads the way in 1:56.05, but in a field this close, you could make the argument for any of the finalists getting their hand on the wall first.
This is one of the events where we’ll be having a complete turnover on the podium: none of the medalists from 2019 Worlds or the 2020 Olympics will be in the race tonight. Of the finalists, the three with the fastest times this season are Tang Muhan, Yang Junxuan, and Mollie O’Callaghan. They are also the only ones in the field who have been sub-1:55 this season. In her semi, O’Callaghan pulled away on the final 50 to win and advance third overall. The Chinese swimmers have been very hit or miss through the first three days of Worlds, so it will be interesting to see what Tang and Yang bring to the final. Yang is sitting fifth, while Tang eked into the final in eighth.
Men’s 200 Fly
Hungary’s Kristof Milak and Tamas Kenderesi aim to snag the host nation its first swimming medals of these World Championships. Milak is the world record holder and the clear favorite here, as he cruised to the top time of 1:52.39. Milak has held his cards close to his chest throughout the rounds. Could he take a run at his world record as well?
Behind him, there’s a close race shaping up. Noe Ponti and Leon Marchand both set national records in semis, qualifying third and fourth, respectively. They’ll be eager to rest them in medal-winning fashion. A medal here would be Ponti’s first Worlds medal. It would be Marchand’s second of these Worlds, as he won gold in the 400 IM on Day 1. In addition to Kenderesi, they’ll be vying for those medals with Tomoru Honda and Luca Urlando.
Men’s 50 Breast
100 Breast World Champion Nicolo Martinenghi looks to go 2-for-2 in his individual events and continue Italy’s hot streak. He’ll be in lane 4 in the final, as he posted the top time in the semis, 26.56–just .17 seconds off his own Italian record.
With 2019 bronze medalist Joao Gomes Jr. disqualified in semis, the path to the podium just got easier for the two Americans, Michael Andrew and Nic Fink, who qualified second and third. Andrew missed the 100 breast final, but won bronze in the 50 fly, so his sprinting seems on form. Fink won bronze in the 100 breast, and will be hungry to get on the podium for a second time this week.
Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay
The heats of the mixed medley relay were underwhelming this morning: the U.S posted the top time of 3:43.16, which would have finished in seventh in Tokyo prelims. It’s possible that with so many potential doubles/triples today, many nations are choosing to punt on this relay. Or, they’re just saving their big stars for the final.
Despite insisting on using a female breaststroker in the heats, the U.S is still comfortably the favorites, as they have the depth to be able to avoid having their swimmers do a double. The most interesting thing about this relay is the strategy that goes into it though, and the lineup choices they make will determine how this race plays out.
We could see a rematch of the fastest men’s 100 back final in history, especially if Italy puts Thomas Ceccon and his mustache on the lead-off. Great Britain aims to back up their Olympic gold and world record, but without Kathleen Dawson and Adam Peaty, they’re fighting an uphill battle to the podium.
Semifinals Quick Hits
- Coming off his 200 free win, David Popovici clocked 47.60 for the fastest time out of the men’s 100 free heats. He came back in 24.57, the fastest in the field. He showed through the rounds of the 200 that he’s great at controlling his speed, so while he’ll likely drop time in the semi, he’ll be saving his full strength for the final, where he’ll go head to head with Caeleb Dressel.
- The Canadians got their backstroking duo of Kylie Masse and Ingrid Wilm into the semis as the first and third seed, and they’ll want to continue that momentum tonight. Katharine Berkoff and Regan Smith are sitting second and fourth. After dropping the 100 back, Kaylee McKeown is lurking in eighth, so she may have another gear.
- Summer McIntosh and Hali Flickinger had a great battle in their prelim heat, touching in 2:07.26 and 2:07.31 for the top times of the morning. Olympic gold medalist Zhang Yufei flied and died (her typical strategy), to clock 2:09.21 for sixth. In the 100 fly, she didn’t look on form in the early rounds, but managed to snag bronze, so a similar pattern could be happening here. Notably, this will be Regan Smith‘s second swim of the session.
- The men’s 200 IM projects to have two very tight semis. Americans Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz come in as the top seeds, with Jeremy Desplanches and Daiya Seto right behind. 400 IM world champion Leon Marchand will look to drop from his 1:58.70, though something to keep in mind is that this will be his second swim of the night. Tokyo gold medalist Wang Shun squeaked into the semifinal in 15th. In this crowded a field, he’ll need to find another gear quickly to make the final.