2023 World Championships: Day 8 Prelims Live Recap


Day 8 Prelims Heat Sheet

Day 8 Prelims Preview

Day 8 Prelims Relay Lineups

Day 8 Prelims Events:

  • Women’s 400 IM
  • Men’s 400 medley relay
  • Women’s 400 medley relay

The time has come. The final day of the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka is here. It’s been an incredible week of racing, and we get to close out the prelims sessions nice and easy this morning. As you see above, we have a very short prelims session this morning. Scheduled to conclude in just under an hour, this morning’s action will feature prelims of the women’s 400 IM, men’s 4×100 medley relay, and women’s 4×100 medley relay.

The women’s 400 IM will, of course, feature World Record holder Summer McIntosh, who enters the day as the top seed with her WR mark of 4:25.87. We can expect McIntosh to breeze through prelims this morning, especially since she’s had the last two days off from racing after winning gold in the women’s 200 fly and taking 4th as a member of Canada’s women’s 4×200 free relay on Day 5.

American Katie Grimes has also had some days off heading into this 400 IM, where she is the defending silver medalist from last summer. We haven’t seen Grimes racing since the women’s 1500 free final on Day 3.

The Australian women will be looking to complete their sweep of the women’s relays at this World Championship. The Aussies already dominated the women’s 4×100 and 4×200 free, shattering the World Records in both. The 4×100 medley relay is currently the United States’ best women’s relay, however, which will make this by far Australia’s toughest test in a women’s relay of the past week.


  • World Record: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 4:25.87 (2023)
  • Championship Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – 4:29.33 (2017)
  • World Junior Record: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 4:25.87 (2023)
  • 2022 Winning Time: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 4:32.04
  • 2022 Top 8 Time: 4:40.70


  1. Jenna Forrester (Australia) – 4:35.88
  2. Summer McIntosh (Canada) – 4:36.57
  3. Mio Narita (Japan) – 4:38.05
  4. Freya Colbert (Great Britain) – 4:38.29
  5. Katie Grimes (United States) – 4:38.39
  6. Sara Franceschi (Italy) – 4:38.89
  7. Alex Walsh (United States) – 4:39.42
  8. Katie Shanahan (Great Britain) – 4:39.46

The only individual prelims events of the day saw Australian Jenna Forrester claim the top seed for tomorrow night’s final. The performance comes after Forrester notched an unexpected 4th place finish in the women’s 200 IM at the beginning of the meet. For the 20-year-old Forrester, that swim comes in just off her personal best of 4:34.89. A huge difference for Forrester this morning was actually the breaststroke split, where she clocked a 1:19.19, which was one of the fastest splits in the field.

Both the USA and Great Britain saw both their swimmers advance to the final tonight. For the Americans, defending silver medalist Katie Grimes clocked a 4:38.39 for 5th this morning, while Alex Walsh came in 7th at 4:39.42. Meanwhile, the Brits saw Freya Colbert take 4th this morning in 4:38.29, and Katie Shanahan was the last swimmer in, coming in 8th at 4:39.46.

Speaking of which, as was the case with most events at this meet, the time it took to qualify for the final was faster this year than last. Last year, a 4:40.70 made it into the final, while 4:39.46 was the mark this morning.

Of course, Canadian 16-year-old Summer McIntosh looked smooth and entirely in control this morning as she cruised to a 4:36.57 for the 2nd-fastest time overall. Notably, that swim comes in over 10 seconds off her World Record of 4:25.87, which she swam earlier this year.


  • World Record: United States – 3:26.78 (2021)
  • Championship Record: United States – 3:27.28 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Russian Federation – 3:33.19 (2019)
  • 2022 Winning Time: Italy – 3:27.51
  • 2022 Top 8 Time: 3:34.06


  1. United States – 3:30.51
  2. France – 3:31.61
  3. Australia – 3:31.75
  4. China – 3:31.89
  5. Germany – 3:32.11 (TIE)
  6. Canada – 3:32.11 (TIE)
  7. Japan – 3:32.36
  8. Great Britain – 3:33.27

That was a dramatic prelims of the men’s 4×100 medley relay. The United States looked great this morning, putting up a very solid prelims time of 3:30.51. For context, that time comes in less than 4 seconds off the World Record, which the U.S. set at the Tokyo Olympics two summers ago.

There were two particularly notable swims on the American relay this morning. Hunter Armstrong looked awesome this morning, tearing to a 52.45 on the backstroke leg. Additionally, Matt King was MOVING on the anchor, splitting a field-leading 47.33.

Moving past the U.S., as expected, France is looking like the gold medal contenders we thought they were. The French team of Mewen Tomac, Leon Marchand, Maxime Grousset, and Hadrien Salvan teamed up for a 3:31.61, putting them in 2nd this morning and right in the middle of the pool for tonight’s final.

Italy, the defending champions in the event, missed qualifying for the final. The Italian squad of Thomas Ceccon, Nicolo Martinenghi, Piero Codia, and Manuel Frigo combined for a 3:33.54, finishing in 9th. While it’s never fair to put the blame on a single swimmer for a relay performance, we have to point out that Ceccon’s backstroke split of 53.67 was not very fast. The swim came in more than 2 seconds off Ceccon’s 100 backstroke World Record, and it didn’t set up breaststroke star Martinenghi for success.

Additionally, Brazil was disqualified for a false start on swimmer #3.


  • World Record: United States – 3:50.40 (2019)
  • Championship Record: United States – 3:50.40 (2019)
  • World Junior Record: Canada – 3:58.38 (2017)
  • 2022 Winning Time: United States – 3:53.78
  • 2022 Top 8 Time: 4:01.45


  1. Canada – 3:55.93
  2. United States – 3:56.31
  3. Sweden – 3:57.49
  4. Australia – 3:57.74
  5. Netherlands – 3:57.81
  6. China – 3:58.13
  7. France – 3:58.54
  8. Japan – 3:58.58

Canada looked great this morning as they sped to the top time heading into tonight’s finals. The Canadian team of Ingrid Wilm (59.11), Sophie Angus (1:06.30), Maggie MacNeil (56.53), and Mary-Sophie Harvey (53.99) combined for a 3:55.93, touching just over 2 seconds off the time it took the USA to win gold in the event last summer. It puts Canada in a great position, as we know at the very least likely trade Wilm out for Kylie Masse on tonight’s relay. There’s also the possibility of putting Summer McIntosh on the anchor, though there’s no guarantee she’d be significantly faster than Harvey, particularly coming off the 400 IM final.

Meanwhile, the United States finished 2nd this morning with a 3:56.31, but still finds themselves in quite a pickle. Lydia Jacoby split.1:07.73, which makes the choice of breaststroker for tonight much simpler (it will be Lilly King). That being said, Torri Huske’s 57.42 fly split was not encouraging, and that’s where most of the issues stem from. The American coaching staff will have to figure out that fly leg to fill in the rest of the relay. On the positive side, Katharine Berkoff’s 58.56 back split was great this morning, and Abbey Weitzeil’s 52.60 anchor was highly encouraging, particularly in the event they need to use her on the anchor tonight in finals (if Kate Douglass is on a different stroke).

Sweden rounded out the top 3 this morning, swimming a 3:57.49. While it was a great performance for the Swedes, it’s hard to see where significant improvement will come from in finals tonight.

That brings us to Australia, who are probably the biggest threat to the U.S. for gold tonight. We’ll see a huge shift in the lineup tonight for Australia, which will easily shed a handful of seconds off the 3:57.74 they swam this morning.

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4 months ago

Can someone explain why the Chinese men weren’t disqualified in the men’s medley relay despite Wang’s -0.03 reaction time? I don’t fully understand how that works.

Miss M
Reply to  Jasmine
4 months ago

0.03 is the margin of error. You are ok if your reaction is -0.03 (like China), but DQ’d at -0.04 (like GBR)

Reply to  Miss M
4 months ago

Thank you for that info! Wang really almost messed things up.

4 months ago

If the US puts huske on that finals relay I’m gonna be one mad SOB

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  400IMLuvr
4 months ago

Now I am hoping and praying they do it

4 months ago

As an Aussie, I’m hoping for an Aussie win, but worried about Breaststroke naturally, I think King will be able to bring out something special tonight.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Robbos
4 months ago

Mad King is dangerous King.

4 months ago

I wouldn’t say there’s no room for improvement for Sweden, Michelle did 1.01.5 on the backstroke but will be switched out for Hanna Rosvall that did 1.00.3 the other day so they could definitely get down a second and some more, maybe 2 if everyone push a little bit more

4 months ago

I lean slightly towards the USA in the women’s medley relay. It’s widely assumed McKeown will give Australia about a half second lead but she has a record of swimming quite a bit slower in the relay. And although the butterfly leg suddenly looks problematic for the USA, it can’t be assumed McKeon will make up ground. She hasn’t looked very good at this meet and seems to be getting slower as it goes on. I hope Sweden grab a medal. Sjostrom has been a terrific servant to her country and it would be great if she was rewarded with a relay medal.

4 months ago

USA really just be selling to the lowest bidder

David S
4 months ago

Last day.
Me sad

4 months ago

The USA women should go with: Smith, King, Huske, Douglass. I know Huske looked poor but if the coaches show faith in her she is likely to respond. The Australian team should be: McKeown, Harkin, McKeon and MOC. There have been suggestions it should be: MOC, McKeown, McKeon, Jack. No. McKeown at her best is one second faster in the backstroke than MOC at her best. Also, Harkin and McKeown have similar PB’s on breaststroke and Harkin has the advantage of having done it here. Harkin’s split looked slow but she would have been under instructions to save something for the final.

James Silver
4 months ago

Yeah straightforward decisions for Aus in both. Men: Woodward, ZSC, Temple, Chalmers. Women: McKeown, Harkin, McKeon, MOC. Williamson had a chance if he had a sub 58.8 split this morning but was in the 59’s so will be ZSC.

Reply to  James Silver
4 months ago

exactly – let’s not complicate it. If Harkin swims a reasonable time with a flying start we are in with a great chance. If not it’ll be a battle for silver.