2023 World Cup – Berlin: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The first stop of the 2023 World Cup is underway in Berlin, Germany. Tonight’s finals session is a packed one, featuring 11 events.


Session starts at 6:00pm local time, 12:00pm Eastern Time

  • Women’s 400 free – final
  • Men’s 400 free – final
  • Women’s 50 back – final
  • Men’s 200 back – final
  • Women’s 200 fly – final
  • Men’s 100 fly – final
  • Women’s 200 breast – final
  • Men’s 100 breast – final
  • Women’s 50 free – final
  • Men’s 50 free – final
  • Women’s 4×100 free relay – final

This ought to be a thrilling session tonight. Many of the events feature at least one swimmer who will be battling for a gold medal at the Olympics in Paris next summer. That ranges from Australia’s Cate Campbell, who popped a stunning 24.10 in prelims of the women’s 50 free this morning, to China’s Qin Haiyang, who put up a 58.41 in prelims of the men’s 100 breast.

The men’s 100 breast also features Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga and Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi, two more of the fastest 100 breaststrokers in history. Meanwhile, World Champion and World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) was 24.21 in prelims of the women’s 50 free this morning.

Though it’s not an Olympic event, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown was great in the women’s 50 back this morning, speeding to a 27.55.

New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather is leading the way in the women’s 400 free. Fairweather became just the 5th swimmer in history to break 4:00 in the women’s 400 free.

China’s Zhang Yufei will be in action in the women’s 200 fly. The only woman to crack 2:10 this morning, Zhang is the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 200 fly.


  • World Record: 3:55.58 – Ariarne Titmus, Australia (2023)
  • World Cup Record: 4:04.26 – Lauren Boyle, New Zealand (2015)
  • World Junior Record: 3:56.08 – Summer McIntosh, Canada (2023)


After breaking 4:00 in the event this summer at the World Championships, New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather looked incredible tonight in Berlin, speeding to victory in 4:01.09. Not only did she win the first gold of the 2023 World Cup Series, she also blew away the WC Record of 4:04.26, which was held by none other than fellow New Zealander Lauren Boyle from back in 2015. Fairweather decimated the record, which stood at 4:04.26.

She swam a well-paced race, getting 0out to a 1:59.59 on the opening 200m, then came home in 2:01.50 on the back half. Fairweather was locked in a tough race with Australia’s Lani Pallister, however, she was able to find another gear on the final 50m, roaring home in 29.53, which allowed her to really pull away from Pallister heading into the finish.

It was a great race for Palliste as well, who earned the silver medal with a 4:02.07. Of course, that means Pallister also cleared the previous WC Record by a wide margin.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey found herself firmly in 3rd place, touching in 4:05.30 to win the bronze medal. In addition to the bronze medal, Haughey also broke her own Hong Kong Record in the event. Haughey is just coming off the Asian Games in China, where she swam extremely well, so it will be interesting to see how she continues to perform here in Berlin.


  • World Record: 3:40.07 – Paul Biedermann, Germany (2009)
  • World Cup Record: 3:43.91 – Danas Rapsys, Lithuania (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 3:44.31 – Petar Mitsin, Bulgaria (2023)


After a tough swim this morning, Rapsys only managed to advance to the final due to a scratch. He was raced in lane 8 tonight, but that didn’t stop him. Rapsys took control of the race and didn’t look back, roaring to victory by well over 3 seconds. His 3:44.86 came in a little less than a second off his own World Cup Record mark of 3:43.91, which he set back in 2019.

Sweden’s Victor Johansson put up a very solid swim, grabbing the silver medal with a 3:48.07. Johansson was firmly in 2nd place through the majority of the race, and her managed to hold off a charging Kieran Smith on the back half.

Smith touched 3rd with a 3:48.40, picking up a bronze medal with the performance.


  • World Record: 26.98 – Liu Xiang, China (2018)
  • World Cup Record: 27.35 – Liu Xiang, China (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 27.49 – Minna Atherton, Australia (2016)


In a brilliant performance, Australia’s Kaylee McKowen tore to victory in 27.24, breaking the World Cup Record in the event. The previous record was a 27.35, which was held by China’s Liu Xiang, who is also the World Record holder in the event (26.98). McKeown remarked that she’s very pleased with the performance because she’s only been back in training for a few weeks.

Canada picked up their first medal of the night with Ingrid Wilm finishing 2nd in 27.75. Meanwhile, Maaike de Waard clocked a 27.92 to earn the bronze medal for Netherlands.


  • World Record: 1:51.92 – Aaron Peirsol, United States (2009)
  • World Cup Record: 1:53.17 – Mitch Larkin, Australia (2015)
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14 – Kliment Kolesnikov, Russia (2017)


Thomas Ceccon looked excellent in the men’s 200 backstroke tonight, swimming a 1:56.64. Ceccon is really a sprinter, so it’s not that often that we get to see him race the 200 back. Given that, the 1:56 is a fantastic performance for the 100 back World Record holder.

Though he’s the 100 back WR holder, Ceccon didn’t go that fast on the front half of the race tonight, getting out to a 57.73 on the first 100m. He held his pace quite well, actually, even managing to throw down a very fast 28.50 on the final 50m of the race.

Japan’s Ryosuke Irie clocked a 1:58.99 for the silver medal, touching out Australia’s Joshua Edwards-Smith by just 0.01 seconds. Edwards-Smith was in last place at the first 50m turn, but systemically battled his way back towards the front of the field. he actually moved ahead of Irie on the 3rd 50 of the race, but he faded just a bit on the final 50, and Irie was able to touch him out by the slimmest of margins.


  • World Record: 2:01.81 – Liu Zige, China (2009)
  • World Cup Record: 2:06.33 – Cammile Adams, United States (2015)
  • World Junior Record: 2:04.06 – Summer McIntosh, Canda (2023)


China’s Zhang Yufei, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 200 fly, took control of the race tonight early and managed to hold her lead through the finish. Zhang, who we’ve seen in the shorter events primarily at her most recent meets (WUGs and Asian Games), put up a very solid time of 2:07.11. She was within a second of Cammile Adams’ World Cup Record of 2:06.33, which has stood since 2015.

Zhang pushed the pace early, getting out to a lead with a 1:00.37 on the first 100m.

Denmark picked up their first medal of the meet, seeing Helena Bach take 2nd tonight in 2:08.74. Bach was locked in a very tight race with Lana Pudar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) the entire way through the swim. She just managed to touch out her young opponent by 0.16 seconds at the finish.

Pudar’s bronze in the event marked Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first medal of the meet as well.


  • World Record: 49.45 – Caeleb Dressel, United States (2021)
  • World Cup Record: 51.04 – Chad le Clos, South Africa (2015)
  • World Junior Record: 50.62 – Kristof Milak, Hungary (2017)


Michael Andrew made his debut in the men’s 100 fly tonight, speeding to victory in 51.66. It was the tightest race for gold we’ve seen yet tonight, as Andrew was just able to touch out Australian Ben Armbruster by 0.03 seconds.

The race was tight from the start, seeing the speedster Andrew take a slim early lead with a 23.91 on the first 50m, just ahead of Armbruster’s 24.08. Armbruster then slightly out-split Andrew on the 2nd 50, going 27.61 to his 27.75.

Meanwhile, Trenton Julian came from behind in the out in lane 8 to earn the bronze medal. Julian was in 6th at the 50m turn but battled his way into 3rd as he swam towards the finish. That also means the U.S. is the first country to have two medalists in the same event at this World Cup stop.


  • World Record: 2:17.55 – Evgeniia Chikunova – Russia (2023)
  • World Cup Record: 2:22.35 – Tatjana Schoenmaker, South Africa (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoria Gunes, Turkey (2015)


Netherland’s Tes Schouten clocked a 2:22.13 for victory in the women’s 200 breast tonight, breaking the World Cup Record. The previous record was held by South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker, who held the mark at 2:22.35 from 2019.

Schouten held her pace very well tonight, splitting 32.44 on the first 50m, then going 35.97, 36.90, and 36.82 respectively on the remaining 50s.

Australia’s Jenna Strauch was out with Schouten, touching just 0.44 seconds behind her at the 100m turn, however, she faded quite a bit on the final 50 of the race and ended up firmly in 2nd place.

Letitia Sim had a phenomenal swim for bronze tonight, roaring to a huge new personal best of 2:24.15. Sim obliterated her own Singaporean Record of 2:26.43 in the event as well.



Well, Qin Haiyang has done it again. It seems like at every international meet in the last two months, Qin has been an unstoppable force in the men’s breaststroke events, and tonight was no different. Qin threw down a blistering 57.69 tonight, crushing the World Cup Record of 58.41, which he had set himself this morning in prelims.

It was a great race from the start. Qin got out to a 27.09 on the first 50m, then managed to come home in 30.60, keeping his 50s within just 3.51 seconds of each other. On top of the World Cup Record, Qin tied his own Asian Record with his 57.69 tonight. That just goes to show what a force he has been in 2023, throwing down 57-points like they’re going out of style.

Arno Kamminga led a Dutch tonight that rounded out the podium. Kamminga clocked a very solid 59.01, while Caspar Corbeau came in 3rd with a 59.27. Netherlands now joins the US as the only two countries which have seen two swimmers medal in the same event so far.

Of course, this race also marks Adam Peaty‘s big return to competition. Peaty’s return was a reminder of how much work the World Record has to do to be able to compete with this current class of men’s breaststrokers. He came in 6th tonight, swimming a 59.85.


  • World Record: 23.61 – Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden (2023)
  • World Cup Record: 23.83 – Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden (2018)
  • World Junior Record: 24.17 – Claire Curzan, United States (2021)


There are no more words to describe Sarah Sjostrom‘s ability in the pool. Tonight, she proved again why she’s the greatest women’s sprinter of all-time, posting another sub-24 50 free. Her 23.95 was just off her own World Cup Record of 23.83, which she set back in 2018. She was also relatively close to her own World Record of 23.61, which she set at the World Championships in Fukuoka this summer.

Sjostrom touched out Cate Campbell thanks to a late burst in the final 10m or so. Campbell matched her 24.10 from this morning, taking silver tonight in 24.11. We didn’t see Campbell at the World Championships for Australia this summer, so this World Cup marks a nice return to racing for the veteran superstar.

American Torri Huske grabbed the bronze medal tonight with a 24.66, touching out Australia’s Bronte Campbell by just 0.01 seconds. It was a decent swim for Huske, who is taking the year off from competing for Stanford University in the NCAA to focus on her Olympic aspirations.


  • World Record: 20.91 – Cesar Cielo, Brazil (2009)
  • World Cup Record: 21.49 – Vlad Morozov, Russia (2018)
  • World Junior Record: 21.75 – Michael Andrew (2017)


Michael Andrew nearly did it again. Pulling one of the only doubles tonight, Andrew just missed out on his 2nd gold of the session, clocking a 22.02 for silver in the 50 free. It was Australia’s Isaac Cooper who denied Andrew his 2nd gold, speeding to a 21.93.

It was a very solid swim for Cooper, who holds a personal best of 21.65 in the event from July’s World Championships.

Netherlands picked up yet another medal tonight, seeing Stan Pijnenburg take 3rd in 22.04.


  • World Record: 3:27.96 – Australia (2023)
  • World Junior Record: 3:36.19 – Canada (2017)


  • GOLD: Australia – 3:38.44
  • SILVER: Hungary – 3:43.96
  • BRONZE: Netherlands – 3:45.65

It’s not often that we see participation trophies at this level of swimming, however, there were only 3 teams in the women’s 4×100 free relay tonight, so everyone won a medal. Australia won gold in dominant fashion, putting up a 3:38.44. While they won the race handily, it wasn’t a great performance from the Aussies. Cate Campbell, fresh off her 50 free silver, clocked a 53.17 on the anchor, which was a pretty good swim considering she was only 10 minutes removed from the 50 final. Bronte Campbell, also fresh off the 50 final, swam a 54.15 on the 3rd leg. Leah Neale clocked a 55.85 on the lead-off, and Alex Perkins swam a 55.27 on the 2nd leg.


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2 months ago

Random observation from Day 2 heats results – Lana Pudar’s 200 fly is faster than her 200 free 😂

Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

Funny how yesterday Swimswam thought Huske could easily win Berlin leg and overall World Cup

Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
2 months ago

Who said that? I haven’t been on here as much as usual but I don’t recall anything like that

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Swimswam writer Mark Wild

“Also in the mix to contest the podium is American Torri Huske, who is taking a redshirt year from NCAA swimming and is entered in the 50/100/200 freestyles as well as 50/100 fly and 200 IM. If Huske can show off the form that she had in 2022, she could easily contest for not only the titles in Berlin but also the overall World Cup title.”


Southerly Buster
2 months ago

I see that Cody Simpson was 6th in the 100 Fly in 52.26. Just five hundredths behind fellow Aussie Shaun Champion and just over half a second behind Armbruster.

2 months ago

Must be the only time a world-level meet record held by a New Zealander was beaten by another Kiwi.

2 months ago

If McKeown swims all three stops can’t see anyone other then maybe Sjostrom with a chance at overall series winner. Not only will she more then likely win al of her events but she’ll be close to the WRs in all the bk events. This is like free money for her. Nelson doesn’t have a chance at defending the series title especially in lcm

Reply to  Swimmer
2 months ago

World Cup series winner not really that high a priority for most American athletes.

Miss M
2 months ago

Nice to see Strauch back and in relatively good form. 1.38 off her PB seems good for this point in the season.

Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

Strauch and Hodges are both back with a bang…a sigh of relief in AUS…

2 months ago

Only 1.33 to go for MA!

Winter Apple
Reply to  MarchandApologist
2 months ago

Should be easier once he tapers…oh wait

Reply to  MarchandApologist
2 months ago

Tapering for early season meets. Just like last year.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Pescatarian
2 months ago


Give respect to a swimmer who’s doubling up as recreational surfer!

2 months ago

I think Isaac Cooper has been faster than 21.93. This is not his PB

Reply to  Hank
2 months ago

Wasn’t he 21.65 at Worlds.

Reply to  BennetBD
2 months ago

He was 21.70 in finals. Could have been faster in the heats