2023 World Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap




The second day of the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka has arrived. After an incredible day 1 of the meet, wherein we saw 3 World Records shattered, we’ll see if day 2 can measure up. It’s a shorter prelims session than yesterday, featuring heats of the women’s 100 back, men’s 100 back, women’s 100 breast, men’s 200 free, and women’s 1500 free. Of course, that means the finals session tonight will also feature semifinals of all those events, except the women’s 1500, for which the top 8 swimmers this morning will advance to the final, which will take place tomorrow night.

The women’s 100 back is set to be a hotly contested race between current World Record holder Kaylee McKeown (Australia) and former WR holder Regan Smith (USA). McKeown holds the WR in the event at 57.45, a time which she swam two years ago. Meanwhile, Smith has been as fast as 57.57 in her career, which at the time she swam it, was the World Record.

Additionally, both women have been on fire so far this year, which only adds to the thrill of this battle. McKeown may be coming into this race with a chip on her shoulder, however, as she was disqualified in the semifinals of the 200 IM last night. Meanwhile, this prelims 100 back will mark Smith’s first race of the Championships.

The men’s 100 back will also feature the World Record holder, Italy’s Thomas Ceccon. Ceccon will face fierce competition from the likes of Americans Ryan Murphy and Hunter Armstrong, Greece’s Apostolos Christou and China’s Xu Jiayu. With China swimming as well as they are so far, keep a close eye on Jaiyu. Of course, this morning the goal for these men will be to simply earn a lane in the semifinals tonight.

The men’s 200 free will also see the debut of Romanian superstar David Popovici at this meet. Popovici, the World Record holder in the men’s 100 free, comes into the 200 free as the top seed with a 1:42.97.

Naturally, all eyes will be on Katie Ledecky in the women’s 1500 free as well. It’s just a prelims swim, so the times probably won’t jump off the page, but Ledecky is set to be well on her way to a 5th World Championships gold in the women’s 1500 free.


  • 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


  1. Regan Smith (United States) – 58.47
  2. Kaylee McKeown (Australia) – 58.90
  3. Katharine Berkoff (United States) – 59.04
  4. Kylie Masse (Canada) – 59.14
  5. Wan Letian (China) – 59.52
  6. Pauline Mahieu (France) – 59.60
  7. Maaike de Waard (Netherlands) – 59.89
  8. Wang Xueer (China) – 59.93
  9. Ingrid Wilm (Canada) – 59.96
  10. Madi Wilson (Australia) – 1:00.04
  11. Lauren Cox (Great Britain) – 1:00.10
  12. Medi Harris (Great Britain) – 1:00.11
  13. Magherita Panziera (Italy) – 1:00.40
  14. Simona Kubova (Czech Republic) – 1:00.45
  15. Hanna Rosvall (Sweden) – 1:00.46 (TIE)
  16. Kira Toussaint (Netherlands) – 1:00.46 (TIE)

In the first of the circle-seeded heats, American Katharine Berkoff cruised to victory, stopping the clock in 59.04. At the time, it was the fastest swim of the morning, and after the final two heats, Berkoff ended up in 3rd overall.

The next heat saw fellow American Regan Smith power to a 58.47, leading what was a pretty quick heat. China’s Wan Letian, Netherlands’ Maaike de Waard, and Canada’s Ingrid Wilm all came in under 1:00 in that heat as well. It was a very solid swim for Smith, as she was out in 28.51 and came home in 29.96. She was the only swimmer in the field this morning to split under 30 seconds on the second 50m.

In the final heat, Canadian Kylie Masse was out like a bullet, splitting 28.25 on the first 50m. Though she had built a significant lead over Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, the World Record holder the in the event, on the first 50m, Masse tightened up down the stretch and McKeown ended up passing her. McKeown ended up winning the heat in 58.90, marking the 2nd-fastest time of the morning.

We narrowly avoided a swim-off in this event, as there was a tie for 15th place this morning between Sweden’s Hanna Rosvall and Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint, both of whom went 1:00.46.


  • 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


  1. Xu Jiayu (China) – 52.87
  2. Hubert Kos (Hungary) – 53.12
  3. Ksawery Masiuk (Poland) – 53.15
  4. Ryan Murphy (United States) – 53.43
  5. Oliver Morgan (Great Britain) – 53.52
  6. Mewen Tomac (France) – 53.57 (TIE)
  7. Ole Braunschweig (Germany) – 53.57 (TIE)
  8. Roman Mityukov (Switzerland) – 53.57 (TIE)
  9. Hugo Gonzalez (Spain) – 53.70
  10. Joao Costa (Portugal) – 53.71
  11. Bradley Woodward (Australia) – 53.72
  12. Kacper Stokowski (Poland) – 53.81
  13. Andrew Jeffcoat (New Zealand) – 53.82
  14. Thomas Ceccon (Italy) – 53.84
  15. Yohann Ndoye-Brouard (France) – 53.90
  16. Hunter Armstrong (United States) – 53.94

Well, that was an eventful prelims of the men’s 100 back. The World Record holder in the event, Thomas Ceccon of Italy, scraped through to the semifinals tonight with a 14th-place finish. Ceccon was just not on it this morning, swimming a 53.84, which is a whopping 2.24 seconds slower than his World Record mark. On top of that, American Hunter Armstrong, the World Record holder in the 50 back, was the last swimmer in this morning, coming in 16th and making it into semis by just 0.01 seconds.

On the more positive side, China continues to look great here in Fukuoka. Xu Jiayu posted the top time of the morning with a 52.87, really setting the tone moving forward into semis. Hungarian Hubert Kos had a great swim as well, clocking a new personal best time of 53.12 for the 2nd-fastest time overall this morning. Kos is primarily a 200 backstroker, so a PB in the heats of the 100 back is very promising for him moving forward this week.

American Ryan Murphy had a solid swim this morning as well. Murphy, who has a history of being great at doing exactly what he needs to do to advance, was right towards the top this morning, coming in 4th with a 53.43.

Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk, one of the up-and-comers in the men’s backstroke events, came in 3rd this morning with a 53.15.


  • 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


  1. Ruta Meilutyte (Lithuania) – 1:04.67
  2. Mona McSharry (Ireland) – 1:05.55
  3. Tatjana Schoenmaker (South Africa) – 1:05.56
  4. Lilly King (United States) – 1:05.93
  5. Satomi Suzuki (Japan) – 1:06.20
  6. Lisa Angiolini (Italy) – 1:06.28
  7. Dominika Sztandera (Poland) – 1:06.42
  8. Tes Schouten (Netherlands) – 1:06.46
  9. Eneli Jefimova (Estonia) – 1:06.54
  10. Reona Aoki (Japan) – 1:06.61
  11. Martina Carraro (Italy) – 1:06.63
  12. Sophie Hansson (Sweden) – 1:06.69 (TIE)
  13. Macarena Ceballos (Argentina) – 1:06.69 (TIE)
  14. Lydia Jacoby (United States) – 1:06.71
  15. Abbey Harkin (Australia) – 1:06.86
  16. Lisa Mamie (Switzerland) – 1:06.87

In a very fast prelims of the women’s 100 breast, it took going under 1:07 just to make it back for the semifinals tonight. Of course, the biggest story coming out of this event is that Lithuanian star Ruta Meilutyte just threw down a blistering 1:04.67. Not only was that the fastest swim of the morning by nearly a second, it makes Meilutyte the fastest swimmer in the world this year, and her swim stands as the #7 performance all-time in the event. Meilutyte has a personal best of 1:04.35, which she swam at the 2013 World Championships and stood as the World Record in the event until Lilly King broke it. 10 years later, it looks like Meilutyte just may have what it takes to get that record back.

Behind Meilutyte, Mona McSharry roared to a new Irish Record of 1:05.55, claiming the 2nd seed for tonight’s semifinals. It’s a fantastic swim for McSharry, who is really looking like a medal contender coming out of this morning.

Circling back to Meilutyte’s heat, I personally though World Record holder Lilly King was having a bad race, but it turned out that was only because Meilutyte was going so fast. King clocked a very solid morning swim of 1:05.93, finishing 4th overall.

In a great moment of national pride, Japan’s Satomi Suzuki sped to a new personal best of 1:06.20, tearing home to loud cheers from her home crowd. At 32 years old, Suzuki took down her personal best in the event, which had stood since 2018. She advanced to the semifinals tonight with the 5th overall time, giving her a real shot at making this final.

Argentina’s Macarena Ceballos became the new owner of the South African record in the 100 breast with her personal-best 1:06.69 in the heats, tying with Sweden’s Sophie Hansson for the 13th qualifying spot.

After Hunter Armstrong had a very close call in the men’s 100 back, Lydia Jacoby, the reigning Olympic Champion in the women’s 100 breast, had a close call of her own. Jacoby swam a 1:06.71, coming in 14th this morning. It’s the latest in a what is now a growing line of questionable swims out of the Americans here in Fukuoka.


  • 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


  1. Luke Hobson (United States) – 1:45.69
  2. Matt Richards (Great Britain) – 1:45.82
  3. David Popovici (Romania) – 1:45.86
  4. Tom Dean (Great Britain) – 1:46.02
  5. Hojoon Lee (South Korea) – 1:46.21
  6. Kieran Smith (United States) – 1:46.38
  7. Lucas Henveaux (Belgium) – 1:46.40
  8. Katsuhiro Matsumoto (Japan) – 1:46.44
  9. Fernando Scheffer (Brazil) – 1:46.45
  10. Felix Aubock (Austria) – 1:46.48
  11. Pan Zhanle (China) – 1:46.49
  12. Alex Graham (Australia) – 1:46.58
  13. Marco de Tullio (Italy) – 1:46.69 (TIE)
  14. Rafael Miroslaw (Germany) – 1:46.69 (TIE)
  15. Sunwoo Hwang (South Korea) – 1:46.69 (TIE)
  16. Antonio Djakovic (Switzerland) – 1:46.70

In a very strong prelims of the men’s 200 free, a whopping 20 swimmers were under 1:47 this morning. Compare that to last summer’s World Championships, where there were 11 swimmers under 1:47 in prelims.

This is exactly what the United States needed. After a morning with a few shaky performances, coming off no gold medals on the first day of the meet, Luke Hobson and Kieran Smith had great swims this morning. Hobson clocked the top time of the morning, speeding to a 1:45.69. Though he appeared to have tightened up a bit at the end of the race this morning, it was a great swim from Hobson nonetheless. Smith, won the first of the circle-seeded heats in a very tight finish, taking 6th overall with a 1:46.38.

Great Britain also had a phenomenal showing. Matt Richards pulled past David Popovici down the stretch in the final heat, roaring to a fantastic morning time of 1:45.82. British teammate Tom Dean was nearly under 1:46 as well, swimming a1:46.02 for 4th overall this morning.

Speaking of Popvici, he looked very relaxed this morning as he swam to a 1:45.86. If there is anyone in the field we know will be faster in the remaining rounds of the event, it’s Popovici. He won this event last summer in Budapest in 1:44.40, and holds the World Junior Record in the event with a 1:42.97.


  • World Record: Katie Ledecky, United States – 15:20.48 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky, United States – 15:28.36 (2014)
  • Championship Record: Katie Ledecky, United States – 15:25.48 (2015)
  • 2022 World Champion: Katie Ledecky, United States – 15:30.15


  1. Katie Ledecky (United States) – 15:41.22
  2. Simona Quadarella (Italy) – 15:55.05
  3. Lani Pallister (Australia) – 15:58.11
  4. Li Bingjie (China) – 15:58.81
  5. Isabel Gose (Germany) – 15:59.67
  6. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (France) – 16:00.40
  7. Katie Grimes (United States) – 16:01.47
  8. Beatriz Dizotti (Brazil) – 16:01.95

Very unsurprisingly, Katie Ledecky was the class of the field this morning in prelims of the women’s 1500 free. Looking strong and in control of her race from start to finish, Ledecky sped to a 15:41.22, marking the top time of the morning by nearly 14 seconds. She looked so smooth this morning that it feels likely she’ll be considerably faster in finals tomorrow night.

Italy’s Simona Quadarella was 2nd this morning, swimming a 15:55.05. Australian Lani Pallister, China’s Li Bingjie, and Germany’s Isabel Gose were all under 16:00 as well.

American Katie Grimes, the reigning silver medalist in the event, just made it through to tomorrow’s final, finishing 7th this morning in 16:01.47. While being in an outside lane could be a cause for some concern for Grimes, really, she was only a little more than 3 seconds off Palister’s 3rd place time, the field just happened to be really tight this morning.

Brazil’s Beatriz Dizotti hd a tremendous swim this morning, cracking the Brazilian Record with a 16:01.95. Not only did Dizotti take down the national record, she managed to get into the final tomorrow night, where she’ll have a chance to lower the mark again.

Singapore’s Ching Hwee Gan came in 14th this morning with a 16:20.88. With that swim, Gan shattered her own Singaporean Record mark of 16:31.48, which she set in April of this year.

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2 months ago

What are folks views on athletes that are drugs tested being marked so that we can all see how un random testing can be!

2 months ago

I didn’t realize Argentina was is South Africa. I must get a new globe.

Alison England
2 months ago

GOLD Popovici
SILVER Richards

Reply to  Alison England
2 months ago

I think Hobson will medal but not sure where

Reply to  saltie
2 months ago

what about sunwoo? he’s been going 1:44s…

Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

Satomi Suzuki reaction is the best!

Saucy sausage
2 months ago

A total of 5 male swimmers swam under the A-cut for the Olympics in 200free…

Reply to  Saucy sausage
2 months ago

a total of six did so in mens 400m IM and thats after finals

2 months ago

Apparently McKeown is super p1ssed off about the DQ and the media are portraying it as unfair. I hope she put it behind her and get back into the happy place she was in when she was producing monster swims during the season.

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

I don’t believe anything the media says. But yeah, hopefully this just fuels her for her other races!

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

What else has the Aussie media said this year on the rare occasions they write about swimming?

a) Titmus to retire after Paris
b) McEvoy to swim in WC 4×100 Free
c) and now this…

I’m sure there are further examples of mis-quotes, falsehoods & other fake news though..

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Oceanian
2 months ago

MOC’s patella dislocation was a “bizarre” accident

too fly
Reply to  Oceanian
2 months ago

Cody Simpson / Kyle Chalmers “drama”

2 months ago

Popovici looked tired this morning. The same as he did earlier this season.
I think he decided to take it easy this year and keep his energy to 2024.
I sure wish he’ll break Bidermann’s 200WR but I don’t see him going faster than 1:43 (hopefully I’m wrong) or faster than his own 46.86 in the 100m.

BUT, I definitely think he has what it takes break both in Paris!

2 months ago

I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before: Katie Ledecky is on the right way to exploding in Paris !
Only once in her carrier had Katie swum faster than today’s 15:40 heat swim and that was in Tokyo, when she was challenged by a Chinese swimmer who swam a PB of 15:40 and had to swim a dazzling 15:35, which was eventually faster than her winning 15:37.

This adds to her 400 from yesterday, which, unfairly, looked slow when compared to Titmus’ amazing 3:55, but was Ledecky’s 9th fastest 400 free ever.

But the thing that impressed me most about last night’s 3:58 was her SPLIT. The last 300m were perfectly even, which means that… Read more »

Reply to  Gard
2 months ago

No. Ledecky broke the WR prelims in Kazan

Georgia Rambler
Reply to  Gard
2 months ago

It seemed to me that Titmus and Ledecky switched race plans, with Titmus blasting away and Ledecky not doing her usual rocket start. Worked for Titmus but a change in strategy for both. Great swim by Titmus.

Reply to  Georgia Rambler
2 months ago

That race plans used by Ledecky is only in 400 and based on the prelims of 1500 she’s probably gonna goes as fast as usual on the longer distance including also in 800.