2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- July 23 to 30, 2023
- Fukuoka, Japan
- Marine Messe Fukuoka
- LCM (50m)
- WORLD CHAMPS WATCH PARTY – DAILY
- Meet Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- Entry Book
- Live Results (Omega)
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap | Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
- Day 4 Prelims Live Recap | Day 4 Finals Live Recap
- Day 5 Prelims Live Recap | Day 5 Finals Live Recap
- Day 6 Prelims Live Recap
Welcome to the sixth session of finals at the 2023 World Championships. After Day 5 was filled with semifinals of 200s of stroke, tonight’s finals session shifts toward the sprints. Take a look at the order of events below.
Order of Events:
- Women’s 100 Freestyle — Final
- Men’s 100 Butterfly — Semifinals
- Women’s 200 Backstroke — Semifinals
- Men’s 50 Freestyle — Semifinals
- Women’s 200 Breaststroke — Final
- Men’s 200 Backstroke — Final
- Women’s 50 Butterfly — Semifinals
- Men’s 200 Breaststroke — Final
- Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay — Final
We get going with the women’s 100 freestyle final. Marrit Steenbergen leads the way into the final after posting a personal best in the semis. Behind her, other big contenders are lurking, including defending champion Mollie O’Callaghan and the Tokyo gold and silver medallists Emma McKeon and Siobhan Haughey. There’s also the two Americans Abbey Weitzeil and Kate Douglass aiming for a spot on the podium.
Four events later is the next final, the women’s 200 breaststroke. Douglass will right back up on the blocks here, as she closes out her unprecedented 100 freestyle/200 breaststroke double. The 21-year-old qualified for the final safely in third, behind former world record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker and Tes Schouten, who’s been having a strong season. Lilly King is the defending world champion–she qualified fourth, so she’ll be looking to move up here.
Then, it’s time for the men’s 200 backstroke. It’s hard to bet against Ryan Murphy, the defending champion who has been so consistent through his career, but it does feel like the medals could come from anywhere in this field. Roman Mityukov snagged lane 4 after hitting a personal best in semis, and the two Hungarians Benedek Kovacs and Hubert Kos are also strong contenders.
The last individual final of the session is the men’s 200 breaststroke, where world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook looks to repeat as champion and deny Qin Haiyang the breaststroke sweep. Also gunning for the podium is Qin’s countryman Dong Zhihao, who swam a world junior record in the semis. There’s also the two Americans, Josh Matheny and Matt Fallon. With Fallon and Stubblety-Cook in the field, we’ll be treated to two races in this final. First, the actual race. Second, the race to see who can take it out the slowest and still get on the podium, as both Fallon and Stubblety-Cook are known for their back-half strategies.
WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – Final
- World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 51.71 (2017)
- World Junior Record: Penny Oleksiak, Canada – 52.70
- Championship Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 51.71 (2017)
- 2022 World Champion: Mollie O’Callaghan, Australia – 52.67
- 2022 Time to Medal: 52.92
- Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS) — 52.16
- Siobhan Haughey (HKG) — 52.49
- Marrit Steenbergen (NED) — 52.71
- Kate Douglass (USA) — 52.81
- Emma McKeon (AUS) — 52.83
- Abbey Weitzeil (USA) — 53.34
- Michelle Coleman (SWE) — 53.83
- Yang Junxuan (CHN) — 54.06
Mollie O’Callaghan earns her second individual gold of the meet, and her fourth overall as she successfully completes the 100/200 free double with a world title in both.
Unsurprisingly, it was her back-half speed that won her the medal here in the 100 free. She flipped seventh at the turn (25.75), but flew home in 26.41 to get her hand on the wall first. That’s the fastest second 50 split in the field, and the only one under 27 seconds. It gave O’Callaghan all she needed to win gold in 52.16, just .08 seconds off the 52.08 she swam to lead off the women’s 4×100 free relay on day 1 of the meet.
Siobhan Haughey gets on the podium for the first time at 2023 Worlds, earning silver in a season-best 52.49. The Olympic silver medallist blasted out, turning first in 24.87. She tightened up in the closing 15 meters of the race, but held on to grab silver ahead of Marrit Steenbergen. It’s Hong Kong’s first swimming medal at Worlds.
Steenbergen has become the go-to women’s freestyler for the Netherlands, as she’s throwing down some sizzling relay split for them. Despite that, she flew a bit under the radar in this race but qualified first through the semifinals with a personal best. She’s lowered that best again here in the final to 52.71, and it gets her on the podium with the bronze medal.
The big surprise of this race was that Olympic champion Emma McKeon finished off the podium in fifth, two-hundredths behind Kate Douglass, who passed her on the second 50 to finish fourth in her first final of the night.
MEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY — Semifinals
- World Record: 49.45 — Caeleb Dressel, United States (2021)
- Championship Record: 49.5o — Caeleb Dressel, United States (2019)
- World Junior Record: 50.63 — Kristof Milak, Hungary (2017)
- 2022 Winning Time: 50.14 — Kristof Milak, Hungary
- 2022 Time to Final: 51.28
- Dare Rose (USA) — 50.53
- Maxime Grousset (FRA) — 50.62
- Josh Liendo (CAN) — 50.75
- Matt Temple (AUS) — 50.89
- Nyls Korstanje (NED)/Gal Cohen Groumi (ISR) — 50.98
- Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN) — 51.16
- Noe Ponti (SUI) — 51.17
It took a 51.17 to make it back to the men’s 100 fly final tomorrow night. Dare Rose had a big swim in the first semifinal, winning the heat in a personal best 50.53. The time beats the 50.74 he swam at U.S. Trials and qualifies him for the final in first. This is the same thing we saw from Rose in the 50 fly–he swam a big personal best that secured him lane 4 for the final. He’ll want to end the story differently this time; in the 50, he added time in the final and finished well off the podium.
Maxime Grousset qualified second in 50.62, just a hundredth off his personal best. Grousset scratched out of the 50 free before prelims to avoid the 100 fly/50 free double, and so far that trade seems to be paying off for him. Josh Liendo is doing that double; he’s safely through to the final in third, and we’ll see him in the 50 free semi later on this session.
Matt Temple qualified in fourth, while Nyls Korstanje and Gal Cohen Groumi round out the final qualifiers who went sub-51. Korstanje swam a huge Dutch record in prelims, getting under 51 seconds for the first time. He backed that swim up with another sub-51 swim of 50.98. He tied Cohen Groumi for fifth; this is a new Israeli record for Cohen Groumi as he gets himself and the record under the barrier for the first time in his career.
WOMEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE — Semifinals
- World Record: 2:03.14 — Kaylee McKeown, Australia (2023)
- Championship Record: 2:03.35 — Regan Smith, United States (2019)
- World Junior Record: 2:03.35 — Regan Smith, United States (2019)
- 2022 Winning Time: 2:05.08 — Kaylee McKeown, Australia
- 2022 Time to Final: 2:10.07
- Peng Xuwei (CHN) — 2:07.40
- Regan Smith (USA) — 2:07.52
- Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2:07.89
- Katie Shanahan (GBR) — 2:08.32
- Kylie Masse (CAN) — 2:08.51
- Laura Bernat (POL) — 2:08.96
- Rhyan White (USA) — 2:09.13
- Jenna Forrester (AUS) — 2:09.74
Regan Smith and Kaylee McKeown made it safely through to the final of the women’s 200 backstroke, setting up for their third head-to-head of the week. McKeown got the better of Smith in both the 50 and 100 backstroke when Smith led the way through both of those semifinals.
But, neither of them will be in lane 4 as Peng Xuwei won the first semifinal in 2:07.40, which would hold up as the fastest time of the morning. That nears her lifetime best from 2017, which according to World Aquatics is a 2:06.55. We’re expecting the race for gold to come down to Smith and McKeown, but that swim positions Peng very well to make a run at the podium and continue an excellent week for China.
19-year-old Katie Shanahan qualified for the final in fourth (2:08.32), just ahead of the veteran Kylie Masse. Rhyan White cut it close, but there will be two Americans in the final as she qualified in seventh. She was just ahead of Jenna Forrester, who makes it two Aussies in the final as well.
MEN’S 50 FREESTYLE — Semifinal
- World Record: 20.91 — Cesar Cielo, Brazil (2009)
- Championship Record: 21.04 — Caeleb Dressel, United States (2019)
- World Junior Record: 21.75 — Michael Andrew, United States (2017)
- 2022 Winning Time: 21.32 — Ben Proud, Great Britain
- 2022 Time to Final: 21.83
- Cameron McEvoy (AUS) — 21.25
- Jack Alexy (USA) — 21.60
- Ben Proud (GBR) — 21.61
- Isaac Cooper (AUS) — 21.65
- Jordan Crooks (CAY) — 21.73
- Leonardo Deplano (ITA) — 21.74
- Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE) — 21.85
- Josh Liendo (CAN) — 21.88
A resurgent Cameron McEvoy has fully established himself as the person to beat in the men’s 50 freestyle. Here in the semifinal, McEvoy clocked a personal best by .02 seconds, firing off a 21.25. That moves him up from the #10 all-time performer into a tie with Amary Leveaux for #9. Leveaux swam that time in 2009.
Behind him, Jack Alexy hit a personal best of 20.60. Alexy, the 100 free silver medalist, shaved a hundredth off his personal best to win the first semifinal, finishing ahead of Ben Proud by the same margin.
Isaac Cooper makes it two Australians in the final, as the 50 backstroke specialist made it through in the 50 free final in fourth. He’s just ahead of Jordan Crooks, who swam a personal best for the second time today. Crooks, who hadn’t broken 22 seconds before this meet, hit 21.73 to make it into the final.
Josh Liendo snuck into the final in eighth, meaning that he’ll have the 100 fly/50 free final double tomorrow night.
WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – Final
- World Record: Evgeniia Chikunova, Russia – 2:17.55 (2023)
- World Junior Record: Viktoria Gunes, Turkey – 2:19.64 (2015)
- Championship Record: Rikke Pedersen, Denmark – 2:19.11 (2013)
- 2022 World Champion: Lilly King, United States – 2:22.41
- 2022 Time to Medal: 2:23.30
- Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA) — 2:20.80
- Kate Douglass (USA) — 2:21.23
- Tes Schouten (NED) — 2:21.63
- Lilly King (USA) — 2:22.25
- Thea Blomsterberg (DEN) — 2:22.42
- Kotryna Teterevkova (LTU) — 2:24.22
- Abbey Harkin (GBR) — 2:24.55
- Kelsey Wog (CAN) — 2:25.21
After bypassing the 2022 Worlds, Tatjana Schoenmaker is back on top on the senior world stage. She was tied for second at the first 50, but by the halfway point, she had taken the lead, turning in 1:07.74. She didn’t look back, extending her lead with a 36.22 split on the third 50. Schoenmaker touched for the gold medal in 2:20.80.
In her second final of the night, Kate Douglass made up a lot of ground in the final 20 meters of the race. She swam a field-best 36.40 on the final 50, which moved her up into second place at the touch. She beat Tes Schouten by four-tenths, and Schouten set a new Dutch record on her way to bronze.
For the second time at this meet, Lilly King finished off the podium. The defending world champion swam 2:22.25 for fourth.
MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – Final
- World Record: Aaron Peirsol, United States – 1:51.92 (2009)
- World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia – 1:55.14 (2017)
- Championship Record: Aaron Peirsol, United States – 1:51.92 (2009)
- 2022 World Champion: Ryan Murphy, United States – 1:54.52
- Hubert Kos (HUN) — 1:54.14
- Ryan Murphy (USA) — 1:54.83
- Roman Mityukov (SUI) — 1:55.34
- Mewen Tomac (FRA) — 1:55.79
- Benedek Kovacs (HUN) — 1:55.85
- Bradley Woodward (AUS) — 1:56.29
- Hugo Gonzalez (ESP) — 1:56.33
- Daiki Yanagawa (JPN) — 1:58.75
“It’s the Bob Bowman effect,” said Hubert Kos in his post-race interview when asked about how he made the transition from the 200 IM to the 200 backstroke. Kos made his move on the third 50 of the race, splitting 29.07 to move into first heading for home. He hit 29.27 on his closing 50 to win gold ahead of the defending champion Ryan Murphy.
Kos swam a big personal best of 1:54.14, and obliterated the Hungarian record which had stood at 1:55.58 since 2017. Perhaps the most impressive part for Kos is that at this meet last year, he didn’t even swim this race last year. Instead, he raced the 200 IM–where he holds the world junior record–where he finished sixth. Kos has been training with Bowman only since January, but it’s clearly already paid huge dividends for him, as he hit a PB and national record in the 100 back earlier this week.
Murphy took silver in 1:54.83. He swam 55.60 to open the race, sitting just .22 seconds ahead of Kos. Murphy had a strong final turn (his signature), before splitting 29.77 on the last 50 which actually let Kos extend his slight lead. It was enough however, to keep ahead of Roman Mityukov, who charged home in 29.08.
Mityukov got on the podium with a bronze medal, bettering his personal best and Swiss record that he swam in the semifinals.
WOMEN’S 50 BUTTERLY — Semifinals
- World Record: 24.43 — Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden (2014)
- Championship Record: 24.60 — Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden (2017)
- World Junior Record: 25.46 — Rikako Ikee, Japan (2017)
- 2022 Winning Time: 24.95 — Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden
- 2022 Time to Final: 25.75
- Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 24.74
- Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 25.17
- Gretchen Walsh (USA) — 25.48
- Melanie Henique (FRA) — 25.70
- Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 25.72
- Farida Osman (EGY) — 25.74
- Torri Huske (USA) — 25.75
- Sara Junevik (SWE) — 25.77
It’s her first individual event of the meet, and Sarah Sjostrom is firing on all cylinders. We got a taste of her form when she led off Sweden’s 4×100 free relay, but we’ve had to wait almost the full week to see what she could do in her primary events. Sjostrom hit 24.74; she leads the way through to the final with a blistering 24.74.
She’s ahead of the rest of the field by .43 seconds, a massive margin in the 50 fly. In heat 1, Zhang Yufei swam a new Chinese record of 25.17. That puts her clear of third-place Gretchen Walsh, who hit 25.48 to qualify in third.
Rikako Ikee had a bad start, and she was well behind for much of the race as she worked to make up the difference. She pulled herself through the field and into second in the heat. The 25.72 she swam moves her through to the final in fifth. In the prelims, Ikee posted her fastest time since 2018–before her leukemia diagnosis–and with an improved start in the final, she’s one of the swimmers here pushing for a podium spot.
MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – Final
World Record: Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia – 2:05.95 World Junior Record: Dong Zhihao, China – 2:08.83 (2023) Championship Record: Anton Chupkov, Russia – 2:06.12 (2019)
- 2022 World Champion: Zac Stubblety-Cook, Australia – 2:07.07
- 2022 Time to Medal: 2:08.38
- Qin Haiyang (CHN) — 2:05.48 (WORLD RECORD)
- Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS) — 2:06.40
- Matt Fallon (USA) — 2:07.74
- Dong Zhihao (CHN) — 2:08.04 (WORLD JUNIOR RECORD)
- Caspar Corbeau (NED) — 2:08.42
- Ippei Watanabe (JPN) — 2:08.78
- Anton McKee (ISL) — 2:09.50
- Josh Matheny (USA) — 2:10.41
Qin Haiyang has been open in his post-race interviews that he’s chasing Adam Peaty‘s world records in the 50/100 breaststroke, saying that they are his dream. Well now, he’s the 200 breaststroke world record holder, as he blitzed a 2:05.48 to complete the breaststroke sweep. He’s the first person on the men’s side to win the 50/100/200 breaststroke at the same World Championships.
Qin took down Zac Stubblety-Cook‘s world record. Stubblety-Cook was in the race, and used his usual back-half strategy. It helped him move through the field into silver medal position, but Qin was too far gone for Stubblety-Cook for him to catch. Stubblety-Cook posted 2:06.40 for silver, less than a half-second from his former world record.
Matt Fallon executed a similar back-half strategy as Stubblety-Cook. It was successful for him as well–it’s his first Worlds and he’s walking away with a bronze medal after clocking a 2:07.74. Behind him, Qin’s teammate Dong Zhihao lowered his world junior record for the second time this meet, swimming 2:08.04 for fourth.
MEN’S 4×200 FREESTYLE RELAY — Final
- World Record: 6:58.55 — United States (2009)
- Championship Record: 6:58.55 — United States (2009)
- World Junior Record: 7:08.37 — United States (2019)
- 2022 Time to Medal: 7:04.00
- Great Britain (Scott, Richards, Guy, Dean) — 6:59.08
- United States (Hobson, Foster, Mitchell, Smith) — 7:00.02
- Australia (Taylor, Chalmers, Graham, Neill) — 7:02.13
- France — 7:03.86
- Italy — 7:03.95
- South Korea — 7:04.07
- Germany — 7:06.14
- Brazil — 7:06.43
Great Britain reclaimed the top step of the podium, winning gold in a time of 6:59.08. They were running second to Germany after the first leg, as Lukas Märtens posted the fastest lead-off with a 1:44.79. Duncan Scott was second in 1:45.42, with Australia’s Kai Taylor getting in there for third with a 1:45.79.
The Brits took control of the race on the second leg, as the 200 freestyle world champion Matt Richards clocked 1:44.65. After Richards swam them in to the lead, they didn’t look back, leading for the the rest of the race. James Guy split 1:46.17, and Tom Dean, the Olympic champion, anchored in 1:43.84, the fastest rolling-split in the race.
After a 1:46.00 lead-off from Luke Hobson, the Americans pulled themselves into second. Carson Foster split 1:44.49 to bring them from fourth to second, where they stayed comfortably for the rest of the race. Jake Mitchell drew onto this relay after prelims, and he split a 1:45.06 here. Kieran Smith anchored in 1:44.47, and at the touch the U.S. took silver in 7:00.02, faster than they went to win gold last year.
The Australians took third i 7:02.13. After Taylor’s lead-off, Kyle Chalmers split 1:45.19, faster than he went at the Tokyo Games. Alexander Graham clocked 1:45.55, and Thomas Neill finished the relay off with a 1:45.60.
Leon Marchand anchored France’s relay with a 1:44.89, pulling them from sixth into fourth with an overall time of 7:03.86
Note: As originally reported by Devin Heroux on CBC, Josh Liendo scratched out of the men’s 50 freestyle final. That prompts a swim-off between Ryan Held (USA) and Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) as they tied for 9th in the semifinals. For coverage on the swim-off, click here. For more on Liendo’s choice, click here.