2023 World Cup Athens Day 2 Prelims: Aussie Simpson In The 100 Free Spotlight


We saw some explosive performances last night in Athens and day two is shaping up to bring the heat as well, with swimmers staking their claim on events during this morning’s prelims.

After reaping gold last night in the men’s 200m back, 19-year-old Pieter Coetze of South Africa is gunning for a double, taking the top seed in the 50m sprint.

Coetze, who has committed to swim for Cal stateside, logged a time of 24.85 to land lane 4 in the only sub-25-second outing of the field. Behind him was Michael Andrew of the United States who touched in 25.18 while Aussie dynamo Isaac Cooper was next in line with a morning result of 25.25.

Last week in Berlin, MA took the 50m back gold in a time of 24.47 with Cooper on his heels in 24.59 for silver. Bronze medalist Ksawery Masiuk of Poland is not competing here in Athens while Coetze is making his World Cup debut here.

Erika Fairweather of New Zealand already topped the women’s 400m free here in Athens and will strive to achieve the same result in the 200m free.

The Olympian notched a morning swim of 1:57.79 but Hong Kong’s Olympic multi-medalist Siobhan Haughey lurks right behind with a casual 1:58.78.

European Junior Championships gold medalist Nikolett Padar of Hungry (1:58.82), Aussie Lani Pallister (1:59.30), and Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands (1:59.63) are also in the hunt. The American pair of Claire Weinstein (1:59.80) and Torri Huske (1:59.81) has a shot as well during this evening’s main event.

However, if Haughey is anywhere near her form from last week in Berlin, the field will have a major task on their hands. 25-year-old Haughey ripped a 1:55.10 scorcher for gold, establishing a new World Cup Record in the process. That got the former University of Michigan Wolverine to the wall about a full second ahead of her competition.

Huske also made the final of the women’s 50m fly, scoring the 3rd seed at 26.17. Landing lane 4 was China’s Zhang Yufei, the Asian Games MVP who already landed atop the podium in the 200m fly last night.

Zhang clocked 25.47 to hold .03 advantage over Olympic legend Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. Canada’s Maggie MacNeil will also appear in the final, having captured the 5th seed in 26.46.

Sjostrom is coming off of bagging gold in this 50mfly last week in Berlin, notching a new World Cup record of 25.06.

Last night Kaylee McKeown of Australia came close to breaking the World Record in the women’s 50m back, with her winning effort of 27.02 falling only .04 outside the mark.

The Olympic multi-champion led the way in this morning’s 100m back heats, clocking a time of 59.89 as the field’s sole sub-minute performer.

Canada will have 2 representatives in this evening’s final, as Kylie Masse and Ingrid Wilm produced heats outings of 1:00.55 and 1:00.74, respectively.

However, it will take a magical performance to stand in the way of the McKeown train. In Berlin, the 22-year-old fired off a time of 57.95 to down the longstanding 100m back World Cup Record that had been on the books since 2015.

We reported how Cody Simpson of Australia earned his first elite international podium placement last night after tying Andrew for silver in the men’s 100m fly event.

This morning he continued his momentum, clocking a time of 48.99 to enter tonight’s 100m free final in the pole position. His result checks in as the former pop superstar’s lifetime best, knocking .12 off of his previous PB of 49.11 notched at this year’s Australian World Trials.

However, if Simpson wants gold, he’ll most likely need to hack even more time off of that best-ever performance, as Italy’s Thomas Ceccon logged 47.97 as the champion last week in Berlin.

The 100m back World Record holder lurks as the 3rd seed out of this morning’s heats with a time of 49.14 while Trinidad & Tobago Olympian Dylan Carter seeks hardware with a 2nd-seeded 49.10.

Of note, South Africa’s Chad Le Clos missed the final, settling for 12th in 50.00 but teammate Coetze sneaked into the 1free final as the 8th-seeded swimmer in 49.80.

Additional Top Seeds

  • No man dipped under the 2:00 threshold in the morning heats of the 200m IM. Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys was the fastest performer, hitting 2:01.38 while American Kieran Smith was nearly the same in 2:01.40. The gold medalist from last week, South African Matthew Sates, scored the 5th seed in 2:02.12.
  • Chinese speedster Qin Haiyang led the men’s 50m breast pack this morning, stopping the clock in a result of 26.83. It’ll be a fast and furious fight to the finish, with Dutchman Arno Kamminga (27.20), Italian Nicolo Martinenghi (27.21) and British Olympic champion Adam Peaty (27.30) all viable candidates for gold. American Andrew made this event’s final as well, seeded 6th in 27.44.
  • Tes Schouten of the Netherlands was the top performer in the women’s 100m breast, putting up an AM swim of 1:07.12. That gave her a .04 advantage over Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte who notched 1:07.16 as the only other sub-1:08 swimmer. 22-year-old Schouten and 26-year-old Meilutyte will each try to improve upon their respective 4th and 5th place finishes from last week.
  • The men’s 200m fly saw Trenton Julian of the United States score the top spot with a time of 1:59.58. Japan’s Takumi Terada was the only other competitor to venture under the 2:00 barrier, clocking 1:59.93 for the #2 seed. In Berlin, South African Sates scorched a time of 1:55.87, his best-ever, to top the podium. He punched a swim of 2:02.90 this morning to be positioned 4th headed into tonight’s final event.

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1 month ago

Simpson swimming the 3 leg of Australia’s relay. Chalmers the 4 leg.

Winning gold together in 2024. Brothers in arms.

You read it here first!

Alison England
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

GBR for the win.

Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

I don’t think Australia is likely to win if they have to rely on Simpson in the final.

Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

Matt Temple enters the chat

1 month ago

Also, for my fellow Australians, 60 Minutes has a profile on Kaylee tomorrow night. Looking at her Olympic success following the death of her father.

James Richards
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

That girl is tough.

Breaking WR and then winning 3 Olympics gold after the death of her father.

Breaking another WR and swept backstroke events at World Championship after changing coach.

1 month ago

Haughey has to be a big shot at going under 52 in 100m? Looked so smooth today and skipped the 400m here, unlike last week.

Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

I agree. She skipped 2 events yesterday basically guaranteeing she will lose massive points and cost her potentially tens of thousands of dollars. She did that for a reason. I wouldn’t be surprised at a 51 high at all. Very outside chance WR is even in play.

Goated Mcintosh
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I don’t think so. According to WA entries, she replaced the 400 free with the 50 breast tomorrow, because she can score more points by getting second to Ruta instead of getting third to Erika and Lani in the 400 free.

James Richards
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

Skipping 400, I think she’s definitely aiming for sub 52.

Miss M
1 month ago

Let’s go Simpson!

This is getting interesting. There has been lots of talk of Simpson needing the race practice and to work on his skills. The improvement from Berlin to Athens is really encouraging. Another small drop on the final and he’s putting himself in relay contention.

Reply to  Miss M
1 month ago

Seems to be he’s getting better with every meet. Improving bit by bit and similar to Caeleb getting better as the racing goes on. If Athens is anything to go by then when they get to Budapest next week and Cody’s feeling good, then he has a shot to go massive PB’s while in season!

Reply to  Miss M
1 month ago

Budapest is known as a fast pool. Cody could have a decent PB in store next week (and Kaylee might have a sneaky WR?)

Reply to  Miss M
1 month ago

The 4×100 is gonna be tough to make next year with the sprint freestyle stocks looking better than in a long time and McEvoy potentialy adding himself back into the mix. Wouldn’t be surprised to see 48 mid miss out.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

I think the more depth the better .. especially with the Chinese and Brits coming along, we need the current crop to be pushed along to even greater heights so I welcome the likes of Andrea, Simpson and Giuliani to join the “depth” squad similar to the women’s team

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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