2023 World Championships: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap





Can you believe it? The 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan is here! Whether you’re following along before heading to be over in the Western hemisphere, or just getting up and getting started with your day over in the Eastern hemisphere, we’re happy to have you.

This prelims session will feature heats of the women’s 200 IM, men’s 400 free, women’s 100 fly, men’s 50 fly, women’s 400 free, men’s 100 breast, and men’s 400 IM individually. Prelims of the men’s 4×100 free relay and women’s 4×100 free relay will be swum as well.

The women’s 400 free will feature one of the most highly anticipated finals of the week, but we’ll have to wait until finals for that race. It will mark the first time we’ve seen Katie Ledecky, Ariarne Titmus, and Summer McIntosh go head-to-head, since McIntosh has now fully burst onto the scene. The Canadian 16-year-old broke the World Record back in April at the Canadian Trials, throwing down a huge personal best of 3:56.08.

We’ll also get to see Leon Marchand set himself up to make another run at Michael Phelps‘ World Record in the men’s 400 IM.


  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – 2:06.12 (2015)
  • World Junior Record: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 2:06.89 (2023)
  • Championship Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – 2:06.12 (2015)
  • 2022 World Champion: Alex Walsh, USA – 2:07.13


  1. Kate Douglass (USA) – 2:09.17
  2. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 2:09.50
  3. Mary-Sophie Harvey (CAN) – 2:09.65 (TIE)
  4. Alex Walsh (USA) – 2:09.65 (TIE)
  5. Yu Yiting (CHN) – 2:09.66
  6. Jenna Forrester (AUS) – 2:09.79
  7. Ye Shiwen (CHN) – 2:09.81
  8. Sara Franceschi (ITA) – 2:10.68
  9. Yui Ohashi (JPN) – 2:10.80
  10. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR) – 2:10.88
  11. Rebecca Meder (RSA) – 2:10.95
  12. Katie Shanahan (GBR) – 2:11.26
  13. Marrit Steenbergen (NED) – 2:11.31
  14. Seoyeong Kim (KOR) – 2:11.50
  15. Mio Narita (JPN) – 2:11.69
  16. Ellen Walshe (IRL) – 2:12.83

In the first of the circle-seeded heats, Australian Kaylee McKeown looked smooth and in control as she sped to a heat-winning time of 2:09.50. Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko took the race out ahead of McKeown, but the Aussie chased her down on the breaststroke leg and pulled away on freestyle. Canadian Mary-Sophie Harvey was right there with McKeown through the back half, but the Aussie was able to get her hand on the wall first by 0.15 seconds.

In the following heat, defending World Champion Alex Walsh (USA) pulled away from the field down the stretch, cruising into the finish in 2:09.65. Like McKeown before her, Walsh looked very much in control of her race this morning.

The final heat of the morning saw top seed Kate Douglass win a tight race with China’s Yu Yiting and Australia’s Jenna Forrester. Douglass ended up clocking a 2:09.17, marking the top time of the morning. The final heat was indeed the fastest of the morning, as Yiting came in 2nd with a 2:09.66 and Forrester touched 3rd in 2:09.79.

As expected, the breaststroke leg was what really set Douglass apart in that last field. She touched at the 100m turn a tick behind both Yiting and Forrester but was able to pull even and eventually pull ahead of both throughout the breast leg. She then had a great breast-to-free turn and broke out about half a body length ahead of the other two.

It was a quick prelims of the women’s 200 IM, seeing a total of seven swimmer go under 2:10 this morning. That sets a high bar for the semifinal in tonight’s session, where it now seems very plausible it could take a sub-2:10 just to qualify for the final.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 3:40.07 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Petar Mitsin, Bulgaria – 3:44.31 (2023)
  • Championship Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 3:40.07 (2009)
  • 2022 World Champion: Elijah Winnington, Australia – 3:41.22


  1. Sam Short (AUS) – 3:42.44
  2. Felix Aubock (AUT) – 3:44.14
  3. Guilherme Costa (BRA) – 3:44.17
  4. Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN) – 3:44.34
  5. Lukas Martens (GER) – 3:44.42
  6. Woomin Kim (KOR) – 3:44.52
  7. Elijah Winnington (AUS) – 3:44.63
  8. Antonio Djakovic (SUI) – 3:45.43

The first of the circle-seeded heats was an incredible race this morning. Germany’s Lukas Martens was out with the early lead, which he held for about the first half of the race. During the 3rd 100m, reigning Olympic Champion, Ahmed Hafnaoui (Tunisia) toom the lead over. Down the stretch, Brazil’s Guilherme Costa burst off the final turn and broke into the lead. Coming home in a quick 27.22, Costa got his hand on the wall first in the first of the circle-seeded heats, swimming a 3:44.14.

If the first circle-seeded heat was a thrilling race to watch, the second was the cherry on top of the sundae. Rising Australian superstar Sam Short had a statement swim this morning, roaring to a new personal best of 3:42.44. Not only was it a new personal best for the 19-year-old, he clocked the top time of the morning by 1.70 seconds as well, plus the fastest time in the world this year.

Short went out strong and never looked back. He stayed ahead of the World Record for the first 350m of the race. Of course, it’s worth noting that when Paul Biedermann set that legendary record, he came home with stunning speed on the final 50m. That being said, Short still has a bit of work to do to make that World Record a real tangible goal, however, he’s clearly moving down that path.

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Elijah Winnington, the defending champion in this event, came in 7th this morning with a 3:44.63. It wasn’t a terrible prelims swim for Winnington, it was just a fast prelims, and he ultimately did what was needed: earn a lane for the final. Winnington won the event in 3:41.22 last summer, so even though he’ll be operating out of lane 1 tonight, we can’t count him out.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 55.48 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Claire Curzan, USA – 56.43 (2021)
  • Championship Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 55.53 (2017)
  • 2022 World Champion: Torri Huske, USA – 55.64


  1. Zhang Yufei (CHN) – 56.89
  2. Emma McKeon (AUS) – 57.05
  3. Angelina Kohler (GER) – 57.23
  4. Louise Hansson (SWE) – 57.49
  5. Maggie MacNeil (CAN) – 57.56
  6. Torri Huske (USA) – 57.66
  7. Wang Yichun (CHN) – 57.72
  8. Gretchen Walsh (USA) – 57.74
  9. Brianna Throssell (AUS) – 57.94
  10. Lana Pudar (BIH) – 57.95
  11. Marie Wattel (FRA) – 58.02
  12. Anna Ntountounaki (GRE) – 58.12
  13. Ai Soma (JPN) – 58.17
  14. Amina Kajtaz (CRO) – 58.50
  15. Helena Bach (DEN) – 58.55
  16. Katerine Savard (CAN) – 58.56

In a tight prelims of the women’s 100 fly this morning, China continued to swim very well here in Fukuoka. Zhang Yufei earned the top seed for tonight’s semifinals, swimming a 56.89. She was the only swimmer in the field to crack 57 seconds this morning, setting the tone heading into tonight.

Top seed Torri Huske (USA) had a bit of an underwhelming swim, coming in 6th with a 57.66 this morning. It’s not just the time that was slightly concerning about Huske’s swim, it was the way she did it as well. She was out well, as usual, splitting 26.66 on the first 50m, but in the final 20m or so, she faded and ended up touching 4th in her heat. It was just a prelims swim, and she safely advanced to the semis, but it’s something to watch tonight.

Maggie MacNeil (Canada) was in a similar spot to Huske. MacNeil, who is actually known for her closing speed in the 100 fly, was out in 26.64, but only came home in 30.92 this morning. We can expect her to tighten up that 2nd 50 tonight, though, as she looks for that spot in the final.

Japan’s own Rikako Ikee, who famously returned to the sport after a lengthy hospital stay battling Leukemia, was unfortunately the first swimmer out of the semifinals, finishing 17th this morning with a 58.61.


  • World Record: Andrii Govorov, Ukraine – 22.27 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Diogo Ribeiro, Portugal – 22.96 (2022)
  • Championship Record: Caeleb Dressel, USA – 22.35 (2019)
  • 2022 World Champion: Caeleb Dressel, USA – 22.57


  1. Maxime Grousset (FRA) – 22.74
  2. JTT Peters (GBR) – 22.85
  3. Dylan Carter (TTO) – 22.89
  4. Abdelrahman El-Araby (EGY) – 23.10
  5. Noe Ponti (SUI) – 23.13
  6. Diogo Ribeiro (POR) – 23.14 (TIE)
  7. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) – 23.14 (TIE)
  8. Nyls Korstanje (NED) – 23.19
  9. Ilya Kharun (CAN) – 23.27 (TIE)
  10. Dare Rose (USA) – 23.27 (TIE)
  11. Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) – 23.27 (TIE)
  12. Ben Proud (GBR) – 23.27 (TIE)
  13. Simon Bucher (AUT) – 23.32
  14. Mario Yanes (ESP) – 23.34
  15. Josh Liendo (CAN) – 23.36 (TIE)
  16. Josif Miladinov (BUL) – 23.36 (TIE)

The men’s 50 fly prelims went more-or-less as expected, with a few exceptions. Australian Cameron McEvoy, who has seen a resurgence in his career, finished in a tie for 18th this morning with a 23.40, failing to advance to the semifinal. American Shaine Casas, who wasn’t as much of a medal contender as McEvoy, but someone who still was expected to advance to the semifinal, came in 29th this morning with a 23.69. Perhaps most notably, World Record holder Andrii Govorov also missed out on advancing, finishing 21st this morning with a 23.44. Govorov holds the WR at 22.27.

France’s Maxime Grousset had a very solid swim this morning, hitting the wall in 22.74 to grab the top seed for tonight’s semifinals.

Of note, there was a rarely seen 4-way tie for 9th this morning. Canada’s Ilya Kharun, USA’s Dare Rose, Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo, and Great Britain’s Ben Proud all clocked a 23.27 this morning. The tie for 9th is significant in itself, because tonight, it will be the top 8 swimmers who advance to the final.



  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 4:00.80
  2. Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 4:01.39
  3. Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 4:01.72
  4. Isabel Gose (GER) – 4:03.02
  5. Erika Fairweather (NZL) – 4:03.07
  6. Lani Pallister (AUS) – 4:03.49
  7. Bella Sims (USA) – 4:04.25
  8. Li Bingjie (CHN) – 4:04.98

In the first of the circle-seeded heats in the women’s 400 free, Australian Ariarne Titmus pulled away from the field, speeding to a 4:01.39 to win the heat comfortably. Germany’s Isabel Gose took 2nd in that heat in 4:03.02, while New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather touched 3rd in 4:03.07, and fellow Australian Lani Pallister was 4th with a 4:03.49. Gose, Fairweather, and Pallister were in a dead heat behind Titmus throughout the race.

For Titmus, the race was exactly what it needed to be. She ensured that she would have a middle lane for tonight’s final, putting her right in the thick of that highly anticipated race with McIntosh and Ledecky.

Bella Sims put her fearlessness in racing on display in the second of the circle-seeded heats. She got out to the early lead, as she’s prone to do, and held that lead through the first 150m, until Katie Ledecky caught and passed her. Sims then faded to 3rd as McIntosh passed her as well, and she was then locked in a race with China’s Li Bingjie the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, Ledecky continued to set the tone, with McIntosh staying just off her shoulders. Ledecky had a phenomenal final turn, which propelled her into the finish with a final time of 4:00.80. That marked the fastest time of the morning, giving Ledecky the top seed for tonight’s final.

Sims would end up pulling away from Bingjie a bit at the end, touching 3rd in the heat in 4:04.25, while Bingjie was 4th with a 4:04.98. Those two took the final two spots for tonight’s final.

As expected, the women’s 400 free final is now set up to be a race in the middle of the pool between Ledecky, Titmus, and McIntosh.


  • World Record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain – 56.88 (2019)
  • World Junior Record: Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy (2017)
  • Championship Record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain – 56.88 (2019)
  • 2022 World Champion: Nicolo Martinenghi, Italy – 58.46


  1. Qin Haiyang (CHN) – 58.26
  2. Arno Kamminga (NED) – 58.71
  3. Lucas Matzerath (GER) – 58.74
  4. Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 59.04
  5. Nic Fink (USA) – 59.38
  6. Josh Matheny (USA) – 59.40
  7. Federico Poggio (ITA) – 59.43
  8. James Wilby (GBR) – 59.66
  9. Yan Zibei (CHN) – 59.73
  10. Andrius Sidlauskas (LTU) – 59.90
  11. Denis Petrashov (KGZ) – 59.91
  12. Dongyeol Choi (KOR) – 59.94
  13. Berkay Ogretir (TUR) – 59.99
  14. Joao Gomes (BRA) – 1:00.12
  15. Bernhard Reitshammer (AUT) – 1:00.20
  16. Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) – 1:00.22

In a very close call, 200 breast World Record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook (Australia) narrowly made it into tonight’s semifinals. ZSC took 16th this morning with a 1:00.22, finishing just 0.06 seconds ahead of 17th-place finisher Ippei Watanabe (Japan).

It was top-seeded Qin Haiyang out of China who swam the top time of the morning, clocking a speedy 58.26. He led the field by about half a second, giving himself a nice cushion heading into the next round of the event.

Coming in 3rd this morning, Germany’s Lucas Matzerath threw down a huge new personal best of 58.74. Not only did the performance mark a new personal best for Matzerath, he took down the German Record with the swim as well.


  • World Record: Michael Phelps, USA – 4:03.84 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Ilya Borodin, Russia – 4:10.02 (2021)
  • Championship Record: Leon Marchand, France – 4:04.28 (2022)
  • 2022 World Champion: Leon Marchand, France – 4:04.28


  1. Carson Foster (USA) – 4:09.83
  2. Leon Marchand (FRA) – 4:10.88
  3. Daiya Seto (JPN) – 4:10.89
  4. Alberto Razzetti (ITA) – 4:11.57
  5. Brendon Smith (AUS) – 4:11.75
  6. Chase Kalisz (USA) – 4:12.37
  7. Balazs Hollo (HUN) – 4:12.77
  8. Lewis Clareburt (NZL) – 4:12.85

Carson Foster put together a very strong swim this morning, cruising to victory in the first of the circle-seeded heats. Foster clocked a 4:09.83, which would turn out to be the fastest time of the morning, as well as the only time under 4:10.

Leon Marchand had an interesting swim this morning. If you’re anything like me, through the first 200m of the race, you were asking yourself “is he about to break the World Record in prelims?” Marchand was out ahead of Phelps’s WR pace on fly, and though his back split was slower than Phelps’, he still hit the 200m turn under WR pace. However, Marchand clearly shut it down after that, swimming a pretty slow tempo breaststroke and cruising in and out of his turns. If anything, it seems like Marchand was just testing the waters this morning, seeing how he felt taking that fly out fast.

Japan’s Daiya Seto picked up the 3rd seed for tonight’s final, swimming a solid 4:10.89 this morning.


  • World Record: Australia – 3:29.69 (2021)
  • Championship Record: Australia – 3:30.21 (2019)
  • 2022 World Champion: Australia – 3:30.95


  1. Australia – 3:31.52
  2. United States – 3:33.34
  3. Netherlands – 3:35.50
  4. Great Britain – 3:35.98
  5. China – 3:36.26
  6. Sweden – 3:36.29
  7. Canada – 3:36.39
  8. Japan – 3:37.71

Australia was not playing around this morning in prelims of the women’s 4×100 free relay. With two roster spots on the line for tonight’s finals relay, the Aussie gave it everything they had. It started with Shayna Jack, who rocketed out to a huge new personal best of 52.28 on the lead-off. It was a monster swim for Jack, not only securing her a position on the finals relay but rocketing her straight into the all-time top 10 as well. With the performance, Jack is now the #8 performer all-time in the women’s 100 free, adding even more power to the Aussie arsenal in the event.

Behind Jack, Meg Harris swam a blistering 52.55 on the 3rd leg of the relay this morning, likely earning her a position on tonight’s relay as well. Madi Wilson was also under 53 seconds this morning anchoring the team in 52.74.

The Americans had a pretty solid swim for second this morning, touching in 3:33.34. Torri Huske was decent on the lead-off, swimming a 53.55, while Abbey Weitzeil anchored in a very speedy 52.54.

Though Jack’s swim was exceptional, Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen was posted the fastest split in the field this morning. Steenbergen anchored her team to a 3rd place finish with a blistering 52.13. Of course, Steenbergen’s swim came off a relay start, while Jack’s was off a flat-start, but nonetheless, it was a fantastic swim.

Sarah Sjostrom was very solid leading off Sweden’s relay, clocking a 52.89.


  • World Record: USA – 3:08.24
  • Championship Record: USA – 3:09.06
  • 2022 World Champion: USA – 3:09.34


  1. United States – 3:11.63
  2. Australia – 3:11.64
  3. Italy – 3:12.53
  4. Canada – 3:13.49
  5. China – 3:13.54
  6. Spain – 3:13.77
  7. Brazil – 3:13.82
  8. Israel – 3:14.03

The USA managed to grab the top seed for tonight’s final in the men’s 4×100 free relay by just 0.01 seconds over Australia. It was a very solid performance for the Americans, especially considering 3 of their 4 legs this morning were competing in their first career race at a World Championships. Chris Guiliano led the team off in 48.30, while Destin Lasco then dove in for a 47.95, and Matt King clocked a 47.50 on the 3rd leg. For all 3 swimmers, those marked their first performances at a Worlds. Justin Ress anchored the team in 47.88.

Meanwhile, Australia was helped greatly by a 47.59 from Kai Taylor on the 3rd leg and a 47.57 from Flynn Southam on the anchor.

The fastest split in the field this morning came from China’s Pan Zhanle, who anchored his relay in 47.37.

Of note, Great Britain was disqualified this morning due to an early take-off on swimmer #3 (Jacob Whittle).

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Personal Best
10 months ago

Final relays:




TAYLOR Kai James

Reply to  Personal Best
10 months ago

So McEvoy being available was fake news!!

Personal Best
Reply to  Troyy
10 months ago

Just hype most likely… his form probably isn’t there.

Taylor came through this morning… super impressive! Hope he can back it up and keep his confidence.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Troyy
10 months ago

smh is full of fecal matter. the least surprising result of the entire week

Personal Best
10 months ago

Final relays:


JACK Shayna

WALSH Gretchen

Personal Best
Reply to  Personal Best
10 months ago

Summer leading off for the Canadians.

Reply to  Personal Best
10 months ago

And Canada is leading off with McIntosh

10 months ago

Can. mens 4×1 surprisingly q. 4th. ( with help of GB disq.) But like the Can W, no reserves so not much upside. Again hope better time to comfortably qual for Paris.

10 months ago

Canada W 4×1 showing it’s lack of backup swimmers, MacNeil normally doesn’t swim prelims if 100bf clashes. Without her this morning though unlikely Can even gets to final. All have other swims this evening. Hopefully get fast enuf time to comfortably qual for Paris. But higher than 6 seems doubtful.

10 months ago

man the women’s 400 free top times are seriously fast, like probably in the 3:37ish range converted to men’s times. It really does make the rest of the field look pedestrian relative to them

10 months ago

Denis Cotterell is in Fukuoka as part of the Chinese coaching team

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
Reply to  Troyy
10 months ago

Denis Cotterrel is collecting sweet sweet yuans.

10 months ago

Léon Marchand went very fast (much faster than Michael Phelps during his world record), I hope he doesn’t burn out for the last 100 metres if he does it again tonight…but he’s a clever competitor, he knows that and I think he tried a very quick butterfly + backstroke to see how he reacted and that he’ll take that into account for the final. I was a bit worried about him after the French trials, but now I’m reassured about his form. I can see him very, very high tonight…

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
Reply to  TerrificLéon
10 months ago

Are you Bobo?

You do sound like him.

10 months ago

for those who want to watch a replay of today’s heats: