2023 World Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


Day 2 Finals Start List

The first finals session of 2023 World Championships was electric, as three world records went down. Now, we’ll see if the second finals session will keep that intensity going. Tonight’s finals include the men’s 100 breast, women’s 100 fly, men’s 50 fly, and women’s 200 IM. There’s also semifinals of the men’s 100 back, women’s 100 back, women’s 100 breast, and men’s 200 free.

Australia won four out of five golds on night 1; they’ll look to add to that total while other nations aim to get in on the action. Qin Haiyang has looked strong through the rounds of the men’s 100 breaststroke. In the semifinals, he improved his own Asian record and set himself apart from the field by going sub-58.

The women’s 100 fly is shaping up to be a four-way race between Zhang YufeiMaggie MacNeil, Torri Huske, and Emma McKeon. Zhang has led the way through each of the rounds, though the other three joined her under the 57 second mark in semifinals, promising a close battle for all three medals.

Maxime Grousset has taken down his French record in the 50 fly twice at this meet. He’s been slowly climbing the all-time list, and secured lane 4 by way of his 22.72 in the semifinals. Dare Rose broke 23 seconds for the first time in semis, blasting a 22.79 to assert himself as a medal contender after only securing a spot in this event by way of his 100 fly win at U.S. Trials.

The last final of the session is the women’s 200 IM. Summer McIntosh (scratched) and Kaylee McKeown (disqualified) won’t be there, which takes some of the excitement out of the event, but it’s still shaping up to be a thrilling final. Defending champion Alex Walsh leads the way, with her teammate Kate Douglass lurking further back after cruising through semifinals. Yu Yiting has shown herself on form, and Marrit Steenbergen showed in semis that it would be a mistake to forget about her–she was the only one in the field who split sub-30 on the freestyle leg.


  • 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

Top 8:

  1. Qin Haiyang (CHN) — 57.69
  2. Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA)/Nic Fink (USA)/Arno Kamminga (NED) — 58.72
  3. (tie)
  4. (tie)
  5. Lucas Matzerath (GER) — 58.88
  6. Yan Zibei (CHN) — 59.23
  7. Josh Matheny (USA) — 59.45
  8. Berkay Ogretir (TUR) — 59.79

Make that three Asian records in three swims for Qin Haiyang. After becoming just the third man to go sub-58 earlier this year, he’s now the 100 breaststroke World champion. He made it clear that he was the man to beat coming into the final and that didn’t change during the race.

Qin led the field around at the turn, turning in 26.96. He was the fastest in the field coming back as well, splitting 30.73. He touched in 57.69, taking down the Asian record of 57.82 he swam in prelims.

His speed helped him stay apart from the battle for second that was happening behind him. It was Nic Fink, then Nicolo Martinenghiand Lucas Matzerath in fourth at the 50-meter mark. Arno Kamminga came storming back into that race on the final 50 meters. At the finish, Kamminga tied with both Martinenghi and Fink for the silver medal. This marks the first three-way tie at this level since the 2016 Olympics, where three swimmers tied for silver in the men’s 100 fly.


  • 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

Top 8:

  1. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 56.12
  2. Maggie MacNeil (CAN) — 56.45
  3. Torri Huske (USA) — 56.61
  4. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 56.88
  5. Angelina Köhler (GER) — 57.05
  6. Marie Wattel (FRA) — 57.13
  7. Brianna Throssell (AUS) — 57.34
  8. Gretchen Walsh (USA) — 57.38

That’s two gold medals for China in the first two events, as Zhang Yufei followed up Qin’s swim with a gold in the women’s 100 butterfly. Like Qin, Zhang led the field through both the heats and the semifinals. The 25-year-old was also first to the turn, splitting 26.03 on the opening 50 meters.

Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Maggie MacNeil turned third (26.15), much higher up in the field than where she usually turns. She used her trademark underwater speed to vault herself into a race with Zhang. Coming down the stretch, MacNeil was actually leading the field, but Zhang found another gear in the closing meters to get her hands on the wall first in 56.12. It’s faster than she went to win bronze last year, but Zhang was happier with the medal she picked up rather than the actual time, which MacNeil reflected in her own post-race interview.

MacNeil took silver .33 seconds behind Zhang in 56.45, holding off defending world champion Torri Huske. Huske touched third in 56.61.  Meanwhile, Emma McKeon held fourth pretty much the entire race, and that’s where she finished with a 56.88, rounding out the top 4 with a sub-57 performance.

In her first Olympic/Worlds level final, Angelina Köhler took fifth in 57.05. equaling the German record she set in semifinals.

MEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE – Semifinals

  • World Record: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.60 (2022)
  • World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 52.53 (2018)
  • Championship Record: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.60 (2022)
  • 2022 World Champion: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.60

Finals Qualifiers:

  1. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) — 52.16
  2. Xu Jiayu (CHN) — 52.42
  3. Ryan Murphy (USA) — 52.56
  4. Mewen Tomac (FRA) — 52.86
  5. Yohann Ndoye-Brouard (FRA) — 53.06
  6. Hubert Kos (HUN) — 53.17
  7. Ksawery Masiuk (POL) — 53.20
  8. Hunter Armstrong (USA) — 53.21

In the heats, Thomas Ceccon took it easy–maybe playing with fire a little bit–and qualified for the semifinals in 14th. In lane 1 during the first semifinal, he put the hammer down and posted a 52.16 to lead the way into tomorrow’s final. Hunter Armstrong was the other 2022 Worlds medalist we had questions about; however, those are still lingering after he just snuck into the final in eighth with a 53.21.

Xu Jiayu won the second 100 backstroke semifinal, blasting ahead of his heat to post a 52.42. He missed out on the final last year (13th), but he’s made it clear this year that he’s a serious contender for the medals. He’s sitting just ahead of Ryan Murphy, who finished second in the first semifinal with a 52.56. As usual, Murphy moved his way through the field during his swim to get his hand on the wall in a top position.

Like the U.S., the French men put two swimmers into tomorrow’s final: Mewen Tomac and Yohann Ndoye-Brouard. They’re sitting in solid position at fourth and fifth. More known for his IMs and 200 speed, Hungary’s Hubert Kos grabbed a lane for the final (53.17), just off the personal best 53.12 he swam in prelims.


  • World Record: Lilly King, United States – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • World Junior Record: Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania – 1:04.35 (2013)
  • Championship Record: Lilly King, United States – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • 2022 World Champion: Benedetta Pilato, Italy – 1:05.93

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) — 1:05.09
  2. Lilly King (USA) — 1:05.45
  3. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA) — 1:05.53
  4. Mona McSharry (IRL) — 1:05.96
  5. Eneli Jefimova (EST) — 1:06.18
  6. Sophie Hansson (SWE) — 1:06.19
  7. Lydia Jacoby (USA) — 1:06.29
  8. Satomi Suzuki (JPN) — 1:06.31

2012 Olympic gold medalist Ruta Meilutyte put a scare into the world record in prelims, blasting out to a 1:04.67. She was more controlled here in the semifinals, but she still secures lane 4 for the final, hitting a 1:05.09. Meilutyte seemed to back off a bit in the closing meters of the second semifinal, which allowed Tatjana Schoenmaker to creep up on her a bit. After sitting out the 2022 Worlds, Schoenmaker is back into the final, qualifying third in 1:05.53.

Lilly King won the first semifinal, speeding into the lead the way she likes to do. She swam a 1:05.45, touching ahead of Ireland’s Mona McSharry. McSharry swam 1:05.96, about four-tenths off the new Irish record she swam in prelims. She was the fourth woman in the field under 1:06, setting her up well to make a charge for the medals tomorrow.

We’ll have the last three Olympic champions going head-to-head. Lydia Jacoby, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, qualified in seventh (1:06.29) to join Meilutyte and King.

Meilutyte actually isn’t the only 2012 Olympic medalist who we’ll see in the final. The silver medalist at those Games, Satomi Suzuki, made the final in eighth, guaranteeing the Fukuoka crowd a home swimmer to cheer for.


  • 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

Top 8:

  1. Thomas Ceccon (ITA) — 22.68
  2. Diogo Ribeiro (POR) — 22.80
  3. Maxime Grousset (FRA) — 22.82
  4. Jacob Peters (GBR) — 22.84
  5. Ben Proud (GBR) — 22.91
  6. Dare Rose (USA) — 23.01
  7. Simon Bucher (AUT) — 23.26
  8. Abdelrahman El-Araby (EGY) — 23.34

Thomas Ceccon wasn’t too far removed from qualifying for the men’s 100 backstroke final in first, but that didn’t stop the Italian. He had a strong start here in the 50 fly final, which he used to power himself to gold and a new Italian record of 22.68.

As he said in his post-race interview, it’s a tough double but the world title is something to be proud of, especially because he finished fifth in 2022 and swam his fastest time in the semifinals–22.79, the old Italian record.

Portugal’s Diogo Ribeiro broke out for silver, earning his first senior Worlds medal. On the way to that medal, he went faster than his world junior record by .16 seconds, dropping all the way down to a 22.80. However, per World Aquatics new rules, the governing body now recognizes world junior records aged 14-18 as of December 31st in the year the race was swum. Ribeiro turns 19 this year, so the world junior record stays at 22.96.

Nevertheless, it’s still a Portugese record for Ribeiro, who earned bronze in this event at the 2022 European Championships.

After leading the way through the heats and semifinals, Maxime Grousset earned bronze in the final. Grousset touched in 22.82, a tenth off the new French record he swam in semifinals.

The two Brits, Jacob Peters and Ben Proudfinished fourth and fifth. Dare Rose had a breakthrough swim in the semifinals, but fell off his 22.79 with a 23.01 here in the final.

WOMEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE – Semifinals

  • World Record: Kaylee McKeown, Australia – 57.45 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Regan Smith, United States – 57.57 (2019)
  • Championship Record: Regan Smith, United States – 57.57 (2019)
  • 2022 World Champion: Regan Smith, United States – 58.22

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. Regan Smith (USA) — 58.33
  2. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 58.48
  3. Katharine Berkoff (USA) — 58.60
  4. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 59.06
  5. Pauline Mahieu (FRA) — 59.30
  6. Ingrid Wilm (CAN) — 59.36
  7. Letian Wan (CHN) — 59.49
  8. Medi Harris (GBR) — 59.62

Regan Smith, Kaylee McKeown, Katharine Berkoffand Kylie Masse all maintained their positioning from the heats as they qualified for the final. All four took time off from their heats times, with Smith still leading the way in 58.33. Kaylee McKeown won the first semifinal and inched closer, dropping down from 58.90 to a 58.48, just .15 seconds behind Smith.

This is shaping up to be a great race tomorrow, and the battle between Smith and McKeown is just the start, as Katharine Berkoff looks set to challenge Kylie Masse for bronze. Berkoff dropped under 59 seconds in the semifinal, swimming a 58.60 to finish second in the second semifinal behind Smith.

Masse is holding down fourth, posting a 59.06. Her teammate Ingrid Wilm qualified sixth (59.36) and will join her in the final.

MEN’S 200 FREESTYLE – Semifinals

  • World Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: David Popovici, Romania – 1:42.97 (2022)
  • Championship Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • 2022 World Champion: David Popovici, Romania – 1:44.40

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. David Popovici (ROU) — 1:44.70
  2. Luke Hobson (USA) — 1:44.87
  3. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR) — 1:45.07
  4. Tom Dean (GBR) — 1:45.29
  5. Matt Richards (GBR) — 1:45.40
  6. Lee Hojoon (KOR) — 1:45.93
  7. Kieran Smith (USA) — 1:45.96
  8. Felix Auboeck (AUT)/Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN) — 1:45.97

Three nations qualified both of their swimmers for the men’s 200 free final: the U.S., South Korea, and Great Britain. However, it’s Romania’s David Popovici who’ll swim in lane 4, posting the fastest time of the semis in 1:44.70. He won the second semifinal, but it wasn’t a wash–Luke Hobson pushed Popovici the whole way and qualified in second. It was a big swim for Hobson, who broke 1:45 for the first time and moved up to #4 on the U.S. all-time list.

In the first semifinal, it was all Hwang Sunwoo, who blasted out from the start and did not look back. We’ve seen Hwang do this before, but he didn’t fade this time and won the heat with a 1:45.07, qualifying in third. His teammate Lee Hojoon qualified in sixth (1:45.93), just off his personal best from Korean Trials. That’s a big confidence boost for the South Korean 4×200 free relay team, who are hoping to sneak onto the podium later in this meet.

The British duo of Tom Dean and Matt Richards qualified safely, moving through in fourth and fifth. Both swam in the first semifinal, next to each other in the middle of the pool.


  • 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

Top 8:

  1. Kate Douglass (USA) — 2:07.17
  2. Alex Walsh (USA) — 2:07.97
  3. Yu Yiting (CHN) — 2:08.74
  4. Jenna Forrester (AUS) — 2:08.98
  5. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR) — 2:10.08
  6. Yui Ohashi (JPN) — 2:11.27
  7. Marrit Steenbergen (NED) — 2:11.89
  8. Ye Shiwen (CHN) — 2:14.27

Yu Yiting led after the butterfly leg, and then Alex Walsh took over in the middle 100, but it was Kate Douglass who walked away with the gold medal. Douglass used a powerful back-half to pull herself back into the mix after a slow fly to back turn, splitting 36.17 on breast and 29.83 on freestyle to catch and pass her teammate Walsh. This is the U.S.’s first gold medal of the meet.

This is Douglass’ first long-course individual Worlds gold, and she earned it in a 2:07.17, less than a tenth off the 2:07.09 she swam to win at U.S. Trials. Walsh faded hard on the freestyle leg–31.78 was the second slowest free split in the field–but she held on for silver. That puts her on her third straight senior LCM podium in this event; she won silver at the Olympics, then gold at 2022 Worlds.

After leading on the butterfly leg, Yu was running second after the backstroke leg. She earned the bronze medal in 2:08.74, just ahead of Australia’s Jenna Forrester (2:08.98), capping off an excellent night for the Chinese team.

Men’s 200 Freestyle — Swim-Off

  1. Felix Auboeck (AUT) — 1:46.30
  2. Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN) — 1:46.37

Felix Auboeck got the better of the 2019 Worlds silver medalist Katsuhiro Matsumoto in front of the latter’s home crowd to secure his place in the 200 freestyle final.

In his second 200 free of the session, Matsumoto took the race out fast, flipping first at the 50 and the 100. Auboeck made his move on the third 50 with a 27.64 split. That put him into the lead, and he had about a half body-length lead over Matsumoto as the two barreled towards the finish.

Matsumoto put in one last dig, making up the gap. In the middle lanes of the pool, the two swam on opposite sides of the lane, as far away from each other as they could get. Nevertheless, they were still essentially stroke for stroke as they came into the closing meters. At the wall, Auboeck had just enough left to get his hand on the wall first, seven-hundredths ahead of Matsumoto.

That means that Auboeck will advance to the final, his second of the meet.

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2 months ago

I’m excited now for the 200 fly

The alpha dog
2 months ago

After all the whining and crying, I don’t think MA stood a chance against that 50 fly field for a medal

2 months ago

I feel like the bashing of Torri Huske does not seem fair when the entire field swam below par. Maggie is faster than Torri and barely beat her. Does Maggie need a new coach? Emma was a second slower than her best. Does she need a new coach? I think the race was just slow. It happens. Torri is doing just fine.

I miss the ISL
Reply to  LBSWIM
2 months ago

If she was on her true form though she would’ve won by over half a second. Just because they’re all off form doesn’t mean it’s an excuse. Huske is definitely off form, but the thing with her is she’s been off for a while. She definitely needs a change.

Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

If Torri Huske matched her time (56.18) in the final of the W 100 FL at the 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships, Torri Huske would have won the silver medal.

Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

Then Emma definitely needs a change as well. And G Walsh.

Torri is doing fine.

2 months ago

What the hell happened to my guy Pan Zhanle? He misses the final in the 200 free and doesn’t come close to his world leading 1:44.65 from Chinese Nationals.

I still have China as the favorites in the men’s medley relay because he looked good leading off the 4 x 100 free (47.67), but I’m curious to see how he does in the individual 100 free.

Reply to  Jonathan
2 months ago

They can use Wang Haoyu in the medley. He split 46.9 in the relay on day one.

VA Steve
2 months ago

Can we please have interviewers ask “how did you feel in the race? Tell us about your race?! Asking Huske “aren’t you proud for a bronze and isn’t it a great result in this field” is useless.

Last edited 2 months ago by VA Steve
I miss the ISL
Reply to  VA Steve
2 months ago

Kira K Dixon was fine at nationals but her interviews have not been good here. We want beisel back

Reply to  I miss the ISL
2 months ago

She’s been bad. Grilled poor Abbey for 5 minutes about the Aussie relay. We just got our butts kicked and we know it, props to them. One question, fine. More questions about them and things might get ugly.

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Breezeway
2 months ago

Ledecky had to put her in her place after the 4FR, when asked about paris.

Reply to  Breezeway
2 months ago

After seeing your comment I just had to go have a look at the interview.

“They’re fun to chase. We’ve been chasing them for a while so it’s definitely a good chase.”


2 months ago

Day 2

In Fukuoka’s aquatic domain,
Where champions rise to proclaim,
Day 2’s finals brought might,
With records taking flight,
As swimmers pursued their great aim.

Zhang Yufei, a butterfly queen,
Her prowess on display, serene.
But cries of injustice rang,
For McKeown’s DQ pang,
Her talent and dream left unseen.

As Qin Haiyang set his pace,
The breaststroke’s crown he did embrace.
With Kamminga and Martinenghi,
A three-way tie, splendid and thrilling,
They stood on the podium, in grace.

Zhang Yufei, swift like a breeze,
Her fly brought her victory with ease.
MacNeil and Huske gave chase,
In a close-fought, thrilling race,
A… Read more »

2 months ago

Popovici said in an interview after the race that he swam the first laps slower and then did a “sprint” at the end because he did not want to make a mistake and not qualify.

2 months ago

Torri is an interesting case. She actually had a fantastic NCAA and swam wonderfully, but has looked off this long course season. She did well last LC season but didn’t have the best NCAAs. Weird.

Reply to  CJ A
2 months ago

Torri Huske is planning to redshirt her junior year at Stanford.

I miss the ISL
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
2 months ago

If she stays at Stanford…

Reply to  CJ A
2 months ago

too much scy ruins technique and resistance, 50m pool becomes too long, the wall never comes.

Reply to  Maxhardie
2 months ago

No it does not.

David Clossey
Reply to  Maxhardie
2 months ago

Leon Marchand and the women’s 200 IM final would like a word with you

Reply to  David Clossey
2 months ago

The University of Virginia incorporates a fifty meter long course pool.

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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