2022 World Champs Previews: Kamminga’s Time To Shine In Peaty-Less 100 Breast

2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • June 18-25, 2022 (pool swimming)
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Duna Arena
  • LCM (50-meter format)
  • Meet Central

By The Numbers:

  • World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019 World Championships
  • World Junior Record: 59.01, Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 2017 World Junior Championships
  • 2020 Olympic Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.37
  • 2019 World Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR), 57.14

Adam Peaty is the best 100 breaststroker in history and if he was racing in Budapest he would easily be our pick to win gold in the event. But he’s not racing in Budapest. Without the world record holder, who is the only man to swim under 57 seconds in the event, there will still be one man present in Budapest who has cracked the 58-second mark.

The Favorite

Arno Kamminga is the #2 performer in history, holding a 57.80 best time from the Tokyo 2020 Games. He first broke the barrier a few months before winning Olympic silver when he hit a 57.90. In addition to those 57s, Kamminga has swum a myriad of 58s including 11 swims between 58.00 and 58.52.

One of those swims came just a few months ago in February 2022 when Kamminga put up a season-best on 58.52, which makes him the third-fastest man in the world for 2021-2022.

A 57.80 best time and a consistent ability to hit 58s is the result of significant improvement for Kamminga since the last World Championships, where he finished 15th in a time of 59.49. The double Olympic silver medalist and second-best man in history is clearly the one to beat in Budapest and we expect him to take full advantage of a Peaty-less field. He’s our #1 pick for gold.

The 58-Lows

Beyond Arno Kamminga, a group of four men racing in Budapest have recorded times in recent years between 58.14 and 58.46: Michael Andrew, Nicolo Martinenghi, Nic Fink, and James Wilby.

Nicolo Martinenghi. Photo: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Nicolo Martinenghi made it an all-European podium at the Tokyo Games when he put up a time of 58.33 in the final to take the bronze medal behind Peaty and Kamminga. While that time was fast enough for bronze, he was a touch faster in the semi-finals when he clocked a 58.28 Italian Record. Martinenghi’s second-fastest time in the event came a few weeks before the Olympics when he posted a 58.29 at the 2021 Sette Colli Trophy.

Martinenghi has risen in the ranks in the past few years to become a consistent threat in this event and consistently swam medal-worthy times last year. Between April and July 2021, Martinenghi posted five swims between 58.28 and 58.45. This season, the 22-year-old has already been under 59 twice, putting up times of 58.57 and 58.78 at the Italian Championships. He’s now looking like a promising contender to get into the 58-low range and will be our pick for the silver medal in this event.

The next two men who have swum a time faster than 58.50 in recent years are Americans Michael Andrew and Nic Fink. Andrew pulled this feat off twice at the 2021 Olympic Trials with a 58.14 and a 58.19 (coming in the heats and semis), but he wasn’t as fast in Tokyo later that year, ultimately placing fourth in 58.84 (58.62 in the prelims). This year at the U.S. International Team Trials, Andrew delivered a 58.51 to make the team.

Andrew has a lot on his plate at this World Championships, having qualified to race the 50 and 100 breast, 50 and 100 fly, the 50 free, and likely numerous relays. The 100 breast will be his first individual final of the meet, occurring on Day 2. Andrew’s speed and the opportune placement of this event make him our bronze medal pick, but it’s a true toss-up between him and his compatriot, Nic Fink.

Fink had a later-than-most break out onto the international swimming scene when he qualified for the Olympics last year at the age of 27. Fink qualified to race the 200 breaststroke at Tokyo 2020 and wound up placing fifth in the final in a time of 2:07.93. As a two-time NCAA runner-up in the 100 breaststroke, however, he established himself during the 2021-2022 season as USA’s next go-to breaststroker across both distances.

At the 2022 World Trials, Fink qualified to race the 200 breast again, but he also managed to pull off the win in the 100 breast. At Trials, Fink swam a 58.37 to Andrew’s 58.51. That time for Fink was a new best time and got him into the elite group of 58-low 100 breaststrokers. That Fink has already out-swum Andrew in the pool this year, and that he’s currently the #1 man worldwide this season, makes it hard to leave him off the podium here. But with only three career swims under 59 for Fink, Andrew seems like a safer bet for bronze and we’ll slot Fink in the fourth-place position.

The final man on our list of 58-low swimmers is Adam Peaty‘s countrymate James Wilby, who holds a lifetime best of 58.46 from back in 2019 when he won silver in the event at the World Championships. Since then, Wilby has cracked 59 a couple of times, including at the Tokyo Games when he swam a 58.96 in the final. Wilby’s ceiling is medal-worthy but he hasn’t been on par for a top-three finish in the last few years.

The Best of the Rest

While he hasn’t cracked the 58.50 mark, our next selection to make the final in Budapest is China’s Yan Zibei, who is fresh off a sixth-place finish at the Olympics, having clocked 58.99. Yan was actually faster in both the prelims and semi-finals, hitting respective times of 58.75 and 58.72. Additionally, Yan is the reigning World Championships bronze medalist from back in 2019 when he finished third in an Asian Record time of 58.63.

This season, Yan has demonstrated that he is still in the conversation, having swum a 58.87 in September 2021. While it’s not clear how fast he’s been swimming thus far in 2022, Yan is expected to be racing in Budapest and will likely earn a berth into the championship final.

The field gets slightly thinner beyond Yan, partly due to a number of absences at this year’s meet. In addition to Peaty, Olympic finalists Andrew Wilson and Ilya Shymanovich will also be missing this year (Wilson has retired and Shymanovich’s home country of Belarus has been banned from competing).

The next-fastest man in the world so far is Japan’s Ryuya Mura, who put up a time of 59.31 a few weeks ago, while his teammate Shoma Sato swam a 59.58 but didn’t end up qualifying. Mura made the semi-final in this event at Tokyo 2020 with a 59.82, so if he keeps taking off time, he might be our next man to crack 59.

It will be interesting to see how recent world record-breaker in the 200 breaststroke, Zac Stubblety-Cook, holds up in this event. Stubblety-Cook hit a 59.60 in the 100 breast at Australian Trials, which is his lifetime best in the event. That’s not going to be enough to get into the top three at Worlds, but might allow him to get a final swim before he gets started with his main event.

Other contenders this year in the 100 breaststroke will be Olympic semi-finalists Lucas Matzerath and Fabian Schwingenschlögl of Germany, and Andrius Šidlauskas of Lithuania.

Another swimmer to keep an eye on is Kamminga’s countryman Caspar Corbeau. Corbeau wasn’t named to the Dutch team in the 100 breast (qualifying in the 200 breast), but delivered a pair of in-season 59s in early March at the San Antonio Pro Swim. Provided the Dutch federation allows him to enter the event, he’s a threat to final.

SWIMSWAM’S PICKS

PLACE SWIMMER COUNTRY SEASON-BEST LIFETIME BEST
1 Arno Kamminga NED 58.52 57.80
2 Nicolo Martinenghi ITA 58.57 58.28
3 Michael Andrew USA 58.51 58.14
4 Nic Fink USA 58.37 58.37
5 James Wilby GBR 59.17 58.46
6 Yan Zibei CHN 58.87 58.63
7 Zac Stubblety-Cook AUS 59.60 59.60
8 Ryuya Mura JPN 59.31 59.31

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AnEn
11 days ago

My prediction:
Kamminga
Martinenghi
Andrew
Fink
Wilby
Yan
Mura
Corbeau

Michael Andrew #1
20 days ago

Gonna be a hell of a race between Kamminga and Andrew

Andrew 56.5

Tony
21 days ago

MA is easy not to like, but he performed decently enough in the men’s medley relay in Tokyo for gold and a WR.

Madman2028
Reply to  Tony
20 days ago

He added half a second to his flat start. The relay take over takes off .5 at least so he really didn’t preform decently.

DrSwimPhil
21 days ago

The underwater cameras have to be part of this consideration

Blake pierogi
21 days ago

Doubt on zsc

M d e
Reply to  Blake pierogi
21 days ago

I think he can probably go 59-low.

Not sure if that makes the final.

If he could learn how to start and turn he’d legit go close to breaking 58.

Troyy
21 days ago

Andrew to break the NR in the heats and then miss the podium.

  1. Kamminga
  2. Martinenghi
  3. Fink
commonwombat
21 days ago

Kamminga & Martinenghi are obvious picks. Bronze …… hold a raffle !

Michael Gorvitz
21 days ago

A completely agree with those who don’t trust MA to perform well under pressure. I am also surprised that you totally ignore world short course championship where Fink won 2 gold medals (but mention NCAA which is not comparable in importance). The same omission happened in your analysis of 200 women backstroke. You placed Canadian Masse ahead of Rhyan White though White beat her comfortably at world short course championship.

Madman2028
Reply to  Michael Gorvitz
21 days ago

I agree Fink will probably be on the podium. But Masse should be ahead of Rhyan White. Masse only really shines LC

Mr Piano
Reply to  Michael Gorvitz
20 days ago

I don’t think it has much to do with pressure, he won two races at the Olympic trials an extremely high pressure meet, and qualified in the 50 free. I think it’s his taper