2023 World Championships: Day 6 Prelims Live Recap


Day 6 prelims at the 2023 World Championships will consist of the men’s 100 fly, women’s 200 back, men’s 50 free, women’s 50 fly, women’s 800 free, and the men’s 4×200 free relay.

This session will feature the debuts of some of the world’s 50-meter specialists in their best events. One of them will be Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, the world record holder and the heavy favorite to win the 50 fly. Also in the 50 fly will be American Gretchen Walsh, who has not raced since day 2 and will look to bounce after disappointing swims in the 4×100 free relay and 100 fly. Then, in the men’s 50 free, top seeds Cameron McEvoy of Australia and Ben Proud of Great Britain will face off in their best event.

Round three of America’s Regan Smith vs. Australia’s Kaylee McKeown will also begin in this session during the women’s 200 back. McKeown has won both the 50 and 100 back, and in the 200 back where she has the biggest advantage against Smith, she eyes back-to-back World Championships titles.

The men’s 100 fly is a wide-open field. Top seed Josh Liendo of Canada will race both this event and the 50 free, and will attempt to claim his first 2023 World Championships medal in either event. So far, he’s had an “off” meet, missing the final of the 100 free. If Liendo falters, other names like France’s Maxime Grousset and America’s Dare Rose could pull off an upset.

For the 11th year in a row, the women’s 800 free will be the Katie Ledecky show, as her entry time is a full six seconds ahead of anyone else. Also keep an eye on Ariarne Titmus, who broke the world record in the 400 free and is the second-fastest performer of all-time in the 800 free.

In the men’s 4×200 free relay, Great Britain looks to bounce back from their disqualification in the 4×100 free relay. They are expected to win Friday night, but first they need to get a lane in the final.

Men’s 100 Butterfly — Prelims

  • 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 Top 16 Time: 52.12

Top 16 qualifiers:

  1. Matt Temple (AUS) — 50.76
  2. Nyls Korstanje (NED) — 50.78
  3. Josh Liendo (CAN) — 50.98
  4. Maxime Grousset (FRA)/Noe Ponti (SUI) — 51.00
  5. Dare Rose (USA) — 51.17
  6. Ilya Kharun (CAN) — 51.33
  7. Josif Miladinov (BUL)/Kayky Mota (BRA) — 51.47
  8. Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN) — 51.48
  9. James Guy (GBR) — 51.50
  10. Diogo Ribiero (POR) — 51.57
  11. Gal Cohen Groumi (ISR) — 51.61
  12. Adilbek Mussin (KAZ) — 51.68
  13. Tomer Frankel (ISR) — 51.76
  14. Jacob Peters (GBR)/Thomas Heilman (USA) — 51.77

The fastest times from Friday morning came in the second circle-seeded heat, where Matt Temple and Nyls Korstanje touched with times of 50.76 and 50.78 respectively. Korstanje’s swim was a huge Dutch record, beating out his previous mark of 51.41 from 2022 worlds. Meanwhile, Temple swam his fastest time since June 2021.

Josh Liendo was the only other swimmer aside from Temple and Korstanje to break 51-point in the heats. He posted a 50.98, which was a considerably better swim compared to his showings in the 100 free earlier this meet. Nearly breaking the 51-point barrier were Maxime Grousset and Noe Ponti, who both went 51.00.

Dare Rose took control of the first circle-seeded heat, posting a time of 51.17.

There will be a swim-off between Jacob Peters and Thomas Heilman for the final semi-finals spot at the end of the session. Overall, the time it took to place top 16 was 0.35 seconds faster than last year.

Women’s 200 Backstroke — Prelims

  • 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 Top 16 Time: 2:16.38

Top 16 qualifiers:

  1. Regan Smith (USA) — 2:07.24
  2. Peng Xuwei (CHN) — 2:08.68
  3. Laura Bernat (POL)— 2:09.08
  4. Katie Shanahan (GBR) — 2:09.18
  5. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) — 2:09.30
  6. Kylie Masse (CAN) — 2:09.31
  7. Rhyan White (USA) — 2:09.68
  8. Africa Sanz Zamorano (ESP) – 2:09.99
  9. Eszter Szabo-Felotothy (HUN) — 2:10.38
  10. Jenna Forrester (AUS) — 2:10.46
  11. Margherita Panziera (ITA) — 2:10.90
  12. Gabriela Georgieva (BUL) — 2:11.22
  13. Rio Shirai (JPN) — 2:11.24
  14. Eunji Lee (KOR) — 2:11.78
  15. Camila Rebello (POR) — 2:11.80
  16. Katalin Burian (HUN) — 2:11.94

Regan Smith had a very fast swim in the second circle-seeded heat, clocking a 2:07.24 to finish over a second faster than anyone in the field. In her heat, she dominated from start to finish, winning by 1.94 seconds.

Meanwhile, her main rival and world record holder Kaylee McKeown was not all-out in her own heat (the final circle-seeded heat), touching the wall after Peng Xuwei and Laura Bernat. McKeown didn’t turn on the jets until the final 50 meters of her race, having split 30.26/33.46/33.41/32.16. She had been well behind Peng and Bernat for the majority of her race, but then began to close in on them during her final lap.

The first circle-seeded heat was won by Rhyan White in a time of 2:09.68. She took victory by a considerable margin, but also produced the slowest heat-winning time of the morning.

It took over four seconds faster than it did last to qualify for the semi-finals of this event.

Men’s 50 Freestyle — Prelims

  • 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 Top 16 Time: 22.12

Top 16:

  1. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) — 21.35
  2. Szebaztian Szabo (HUN) — 21.67
  3. Florent Manadou (FRA) — 21.72
  4. Jack Alexy (USA) — 21.73
  5. Isaac Cooper (AUS) — 21.82
  6. Meiron Cheruti (ISR) — 21.85
  7. Jordan Crooks (CAY)/Ben Proud — 21.90
  8. Ryan Held (USA) /Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE) — 21.91
  9. Vladyslav Bukhov (UKR) — 21.92
  10. Nicholas Lia (NOR) — 21.94
  11. Josh Liendo (CAN) — 21.94
  12. Leonardo Deplano (ITA) — 21.99
  13. Kenzo Simons (NED) — 22.04
  14. Diogo Ribiero (POR) — 22.05

The heats of the men’s 50 free felt slow at first, under Cameron McEvoy dropped a massive 21.35 in the final circle-seeded heat to take the top seed by 0.32 seconds. He was just 0.07 seconds off his personal best time of 21.27 set at Australian trials.

The second, third, and fourth seeds all came from McEvoy’s heat as well, with Szebaztian Szabo, Florent Manadou, and Jack Alexy all getting 21.8.

McEvoy’s Australian teammate Isaac Cooper swam a personal best time of 21.82 to take the first circle-seeded heat. Cooper’s swim marked his first time getting under 22 seconds, as his previous best time was a 22.00 from tirals. The second circle-seeded heat was won by defending champion Ben Proud, who went 21.90.

Jordan Crooks had a big swim out of one of the unseeded heats, dropping a 21.90 to take down his own Cayman records time of 22.20. Earlier in the meet, he had broken the Cayman Islands record in the 100 free. Nicholas Lia also broke his own Norwegian record by 0.04 seconds, going 21.94.

Defending bronze medalist Maxime Grousset did not swim this event, opting to focus on the 100 fly.

Women’s 50 Butterly — Prelims

Top 16:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 25.04
  2. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 25.33
  3. Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 25.50
  4. Melanie Henique (FRA) — 25.75
  5. Farida Osman (EGY) — 25.77
  6. Gretchen Walsh (USA) — 25.78
  7. Neza Klancar (SLO) — 25.81
  8. Ai Soma (JPN) — 25.96
  9. Torri Huske (USA) — 25.98
  10. Angelina Kohler (GER) — 26.02
  11. Sara Junevik (SWE) — 26.04
  12. Anna Ntountounaki (GRE) — 26.14
  13. Maaike de Waard (NED) — 26.17
  14. Yu Yiting (CHN) — 26.21
  15. Kim Busch (NED)/Katerine Savard (CAN) — 26.23

Sarah Sjostrom showed her dominance in the 50 fly early on in the final circle-seeded heat, posting a 25.04 as the top time in the heats by 0.29 seconds. Zhang Yufei and Rikako Ikee were also in the same heat as Sjostrom, posting the second and third-fastest times of 25.33 and 25.50. Zhang was just 0.01 of a second off her Chinese record time, while Ikee posted her fastest time since 2018—before her leukemia diagnosis.

The first circle-seeded heat was won by defending silver medalist Melanie Henique, who clocked a 25.75 to post the fourth-fastest time overall. African record holder Farida Osman was just behind her in her heat.

Meanwhile, Gretchen Walsh won the second-circle seeded heat in a time of 25.78, though it’s difficult to gauge if she’s going to be more on form in this event than she was in the 100 fly.

Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay — Prelims

  • 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 Winning Time: 7:09.98

Top 8:

  1. Australia — 7:04.37
  2. United States — 7:06.07
  3. Italy — 7:06.12
  4. Great Britain —7:06.20
  5. France — 7:06.40
  6. Korea — 7:06.82
  7. Germany — 7:07.50
  8. Brazil — 7:07.74

The Aussie team of Flynn Southam (1:47.85), Elijah Winnington (1:46.27), Kai Taylor (1:44.56), and Thomas Neill (1:45.69) posted the fastest time of the morning of 1.7 seconds. Taylor’s split was a massive boost for his country, as he was the fastest performer in the field off a relay start and had the only sub-1:45 split.

In the second-seeded heat, a Lukas Martens (1:45.60) and Rafael Miroslaw (1:46.74 split)-led Germany team had the lead for the first 750 meters of the race, but then the United States, Korea, and Great Britain caught up to them on the last lap. The Americans Drew Kibler (1:46.44), Baylor Nelson (1:47.13), Henry McFadden (1:46.39), and Jake Mitchell (1:46.11) won their heat in a time of 7:06.12.

Great Britain, the gold medal favorites, went with a lineup of Joe Litchfield (1:47.14), Duncan Scott (1:46.21), Tom Dean (1:46.85), and Matt Richards (1:46.00). None of the swimmers were at their best, but considering that Scott, Dean, and Richards are likely to be retained for finals, they didn’t need to be that fast and the best move was to conserve energy.

Other impressive splits from this relay came from Italy’s Filippo Megili (1:45.62) and Stefano di Cola (1:45.84), as well as France’s Wissam-Amazigh Yebba (1:45.70). Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo led off his relay in a time of 1:47.29 and was well off his bronze medal-winning time, but he did just enough to help his country into the finals.

Women’s 800 Freestyle — Prelims

  • World Record: 8:04.79 — Katie Ledecky, United States (2016)
  • Championship Record: 8:07.39 — Katie Ledecky, United States (2015)
  • World Junior Record: 8:11.00 — Katie Ledecky, United States (2014)
  • 2022 Winning Time: 8:08.08 — Katie Ledecky, United States
  • 2022 Top 8 Time: 8:30.68

Top 8:

  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) — 8:15.60
  2. Li Bingjie (CHN) — 8:20.51
  3. Erika Fairweather (NZL) — 8:21.06
  4. Ariarne Titmus ·(AUS) — 8:21.25
  5. Lani Pallister (AUS) — 8:21.38
  6. Simona Quadarella (ITA) — 8:21.65
  7. Isabel Gose (GER) — 8:21.71
  8. Jillian Cox (USA) — 8:22.20

As expected, Katie Ledecky posted the fastest time of the morning by 4.91 seconds, locking up lane four for the finals. However, the field behind her was very tight, as only 1.69 seconds separated second through eighth place.

In the first circle-seeded heat, Erika Fairweather, Ariarne Titmus, and Lani Pallister were tightly bunched up next to each other for the majority of the race. However, Li Bingjie made up from over a second of a deficit at the 600-meter to come charging home, winning her heat. Fairweather then touched second, while Titmus was third.

Titmus, the favorite for silver in this event, will not have a lane right next to her rival Ledecky, as she will be placed in lane six for the final.

Men’s 100 Butterfly — Swim-Off

  • 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 Top 16 Time: 52.12

Top 2:

  1. Jacob Peters (GBR) — 51.39
  2. Thomas Heilman (USA) — 51.66

Peters won this swim-off from his start, taking his race out a full 0.74 seconds ahead of Heilman. Heilman closed in on Peters on the back half of his race and out-split him by 0.47 seconds, but the gap was too much to overcome. However, both swimmers ended up going faster than their original prelims time of 51.77.

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2 months ago

Aus: Taylor, Chalmers, Graham, Neill
USA: Hobson, Foster, Mitchell, Smith
GB: Scott, Richards, Guy, Dean

Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

Surprised that Mitchell got the nod ahead of Kibler

2 months ago

I haven’t seen the lineups for the 4X200 but I suspect the USA will bring in Kibler from the heats and add Smith, Hobson and Foster. I had them as slight favourites after the trials but all except Hobson aren’t swimming as well. Australia could be a bigger danger to GBR. Neill looked pretty decent and Taylor was hugely impressive. I think they should bring in Chalmers and Short for the final. Chalmers was faster than Richards and everyone else coming home in the 100 so we know he has a good 200 in him and he has produced it from time to time but he tends to be hit or miss. Based on his 3.40 in the 400 Short… Read more »

Mark O
2 months ago

Team GB will win this in a new WR – End of!

2 months ago

Aus still has Alex Graham for the final

Reply to  Boomer
2 months ago

I think the Aussie’s will take a risk go with the inform Chalmers and Short over Graham.

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Ledecky with a casual 8:15.6 in the 800 prelims. Final is going to be very fun to watch. I have

🥇Katie Ledecky *USA 8:05.92
🥈Ariarne Titmus *AUS 8:11.56
🥉Simona Quadarella *ITA 8:15.84

Bronze is a hard choice between Bingjie, Pallister, and Quadarella.

Aussie Crawl
Reply to  Sherry Smit
2 months ago

On the sherry….

Reply to  Sherry Smit
2 months ago

I’d throw Fairweather in there too. I believe she went 8:18 at NZ trials.

2 months ago

Australia is unstoppable. And with the mining magnate in Australia throwing hundreds of millions of US dollars at Australian Olympic sports things can only get better. Thanks Gina.

Reply to  Peter
2 months ago

Ummm…. no way her sponsorship was anywhere near that much.

I’m not even sure if it’s continuing. None of the upcoming championships listed on the Swimming Australia website mention ‘Hancock Prospecting’ and neither is the company listed as a sponsorship partner.

Reply to  Peter
2 months ago

DO please reacquaint yourself with present reality. Madam Rinehart, who’s generosity has always come with strongs attached, terminated her financial backing some time back.

Reply to  Peter
2 months ago

Swimming Australia’s entire budget for 2022 was $15m USD.

Reply to  Peter
2 months ago

Next year also USADA will sleep

Reply to  Paul
2 months ago

Do you ever make sensible comments?

2 months ago

Picks for the evening session?

Reply to  Jeremy
2 months ago

Great Britain

Reply to  Jeremy
2 months ago

W100 free – MOC
W200 Breast – Schoenmaker
M200 Back – Murphy
M200 Breast – ZSC
M4x200 – GBR

I feel like they’re all pretty uncontroversial.

McKeon or Haughey or Steenbergen could surprise in the 100 if Mollie is off. I see them as the clear top 4 but Douglass could surprise.

W200 Breast King, Douglass and Schouten seem the only ones who might threaten Schoenmaker.

M200 Back is Murphy’s to lose. Him losing would be the biggest upset of the night I think after maybe GBR.

M200 Breast ZSC is looking on form after some thought he looked bad at trials, but Qin has been steamrolling. I believe Qin won every round of his other… Read more »

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Douglass is at least as much of a contender in the 100 free as Steenbergen but she’s been cruising the rounds because of the double with 200 breast.

Alison England
2 months ago

Worried that Guy’s 100 ‘fly semi could put at risk our getting a WR in the 4 x 2 free relay.

Mark O
Reply to  Alison England
2 months ago

Nah it’ll be just fine

2 months ago

Now I’m Australian so I’m rooting for Kaylee but surely Regan has leant something this week and would try and pace this 200 back a bit better tonight or tomorrow night?

Last edited 2 months ago by Steph
Reply to  Steph
2 months ago

As an American I’m confused why she keeps running the same strat over and over

Reply to  Jeremy
2 months ago

Agree, all the best to her, but why keep going all out heats and semis when history shows finals times do not match rounds… especially when she has a huge program. Confusing!

Reply to  Backnbutter
2 months ago

2″07 is far from being all out when you have a 2″03 in you

2 months ago

Regan & Kaylee drawn in the same semi tonight.

I expect Kaylee will let her take the win in whatever time she wants and will just cruise to qualify easily herself.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Oceanian
2 months ago


About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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