2023 World University Games: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The 2023 World University Games (WUGS) kick off this morning in Chegdu, China. The first of the sessions in this week-long meet will feature heats of the men’s 400 free, women’s 50 fly, men’s 100 back, women’s 400 IM, men’s 100 breast, women’s 200 back, men’s 50 fly, women’s 4×100 free relay, and men’s 4×100 free relay.

You can find the free live stream for Day 1 prelims here.

Of note, Chinese star Zhang Yufei is on the entry lists for this morning. Yufei, who recently won gold in the 100 fly at the World Championships in Japan last week, is the top seed coming into the women’s 50 fly this morning. We’ll know soon enough whether Yufei is actually coming to race in this meet, but she swam exceedingly well in Fukuoka, so if she does show, we could see some big swims out of her.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 3:40.07 (2009)
  • WUGS Record: Mykhailo Romanchuk, Ukraine – 3:45.96 (2017)


  1. Eduardo Oliveira (Brazil) – 3:50.83
  2. Matteo Lamberti (Italy) – 3:52.95
  3. Ikki Imoto (Japan) – 3:53.00
  4. Davide Marchello (Italy) – 3:53.35
  5. Ondrej Gemov (Czech Republic) – 3:53.66
  6. Jack Hoagland (United States) – 3:54.74
  7. Tommy-lee Camblong (France) – 3:54.79
  8. Ende Chen (China) – 3:54.80

The first event of the meet saw Brazilian Eduardo Oliveira pull away from the field in the 3rd heat. Oliveira sped to a 3:50.83, leading the field this morning by over 2 seconds. The swim puts him in excellent position heading into tonight’s final, as he sits comfortably ahead of the competition. He put together a very well-swum race, going 1:55.42 on the first 200m, then coming home 0.01 seconds faster, splitting 1:55.41 on the back half.

The Italian duo of Matteo Lamberti and Davide Marchello were great this morning as well. Both men swam in the 3rd heat alongside Oliveira. Lamberti came in 2nd in the heat and overall, clocking a 3:52.95. Meanwhile, Marchello wasn’t too far behind, clocking a 3:53.35 for the 4th-fastest overall time.

Ikki Imoto swam a 3:53.00 for 3rd this morning. Imoto was out the fastest of anyone this morning, splitting a quick 1:53.35 on the opening 200m.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 24.43 (2014)
  • WUGS Record: Lu Ying, China – 25.72 (2015)


  1. Zhang Yufei (China) – 25.83
  2. Erin Gallagher (South Africa) – 26.09
  3. Sonia Laquintana (Italy) – 26.49
  4. Luanna Nunes (Brazil) – 26.55
  5. Viola Scotto di Carlo (Italy) – 26.59
  6. Natsuki Hiroshita (Japan) – 26.59
  7. Paulina Peda (Poland) – 26.69
  8. Kinge Zandringa (Netherlands) – 26.89
  9. Inge Weidemann (South Africa) – 26.92
  10. Wiktoria Piotrowska (Poland) – 26.93
  11. Mei-Chien Huang (Taipei) – 26.98
  12. Zhang Yifan (China) – 27.04
  13. Emilie Beckmann (Denmark) – 27.05
  14. Barbora Janickova (Czech Republic) – 27.09
  15. Monika Olle (Hungary) – 27.11
  16. Abby Daniel (United States) – 27.17

Zhang Yufei, fresh off her gold medal in the women’s 100 fly last week at the World Championships, led prelims of the women’s 50 fly this morning with a 25.83. Yufei’s time comes in just off the WUGS Championship Record of 25.72, which has stood since 2015. Be on the lookout for that record to fall in tonight’s semifinals.

South African Erin Gallagher was right behind Yufei this morning, speeding to a very solid prelims swim of 26.09. That puts Gallagher in a great position heading into semifinals tonight, as there was a pretty significant gap between Yufei and Gallagher and the rest of the field this morning.

Italy once again swam well, seeing both their swimmers near the top of the standings in this event. Sonia Laquintana came in 3rd this morning with a 26.49, while Viola Scotto di Carlo was 5th in 26.55. The significance of Italy’s performances so far is that they come on the heels of what was a pretty down World Championships for the country. After several years of fantastic Worlds and Olympics, Italy stumbled a bit last week in Fukuoka. That being said, things are looking great so far in Chengdu for the Italian team.


  • World Record: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.60 (2022)
  • WUGS Record: Ryosuke Irie, Japan – 52.60 (2009)


  1. Kacper Stokowski (Poland) – 54.42
  2. Tommy Janton (United States) – 54.67
  3. Michele Lamberti (Italy) – 54.67
  4. Simone Stefani (Italy) – 54.70
  5. Keaton Jones (United States) – 54.72
  6. Thierry Bollin (Switzerland) – 54.91
  7. Riku Matsuyama (Japan) – 54.93
  8. Lin Tao (China) – 55.02
  9. Denis Popescu (Romania) – 55.02
  10. Gabriel Fantoni (Brazil) – 55.16
  11. Imgyu Song (South Korea) – 55.18
  12. Srihari Nataraj (India) – 55.24
  13. Reo Miura (Japan) – 55.30
  14. Marcin Goraj (Poland) – 55.39
  15. Gukailai Wang (China) – 55.46
  16. Mu-Iun Chuang (Taipei) – 55.53

NC State alum Kacper Stokowski, representing Poland, looked great this morning as he sped to a 54.42. Stokowski led the field, getting out to a very solid start of 26.16 on the first 50m.

This was the first event in which the United States made a real impact. The Americans have two young swimmers in this event, 19-year-old Tommy Janton, and 18-year-old Keaton Jones. Janton was 2nd this morning in 54.67, while Jones took 5th with a 54.72. Both Americans were just off their personal bests in the event. Janton’s top time stands at 54.18, while Jones has been 54.34.

Once again, the Italian were impressive. Michele Lamberti clocked a 54.67 for 3rd this morning, while teammate Simone Stefani was right behind, taking 4th in 54.70.


  • World Record: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 4:25.87 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: Yui Ohashi, Japan – 4:34.40


  1. Ichika Kajimoto (Japan) – 4:46.80
  2. Paige MacEachern (United States) – 4:47.91
  3. Aleksandra Knop (Poland) – 4:48.28
  4. Megan van Berkom (United States) – 4:48.78
  5. Francesca Fresia (Italy) – 4:49.08
  6. Anna Pirovano (Italy) – 4:49.73
  7. Zhu Leiju (China) – 4:52.48
  8. Hee Eun Lee (South Korea) – 4:54.02

In a fairly slow prelims of the women’s 400 IM, Japan’s Ichika Kajimoto led the way with a 4:46.80. She was great on the front half, getting out to a 2:16.13 on the first 200m.

It was another very solid for the United States. Both Paige MacEachern and Megan van Berkom made it through, finishing 2nd and 4th respectively.

Once again, and for the 4th event-straight, Italy has advanced both their swimmers. Francesca Fresia and Anna Pirovano both made it into tonight’s final.


  • World Record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain – 56.88 (2019)
  • WUGS Record: Ian Finnerty, United States – 59.49 (2019)


  1. Andrius Sidlauskas (Lithuania) – 59.61
  2. Qin Haiyang (China) – 1:00.06
  3. Yamato Fukasawa (Japan) – 1:00.88
  4. Song Jiale (China) – 1:01.02
  5. Jan Kalusowski (Poland) – 1:01.03
  6. Yu Hanaguruma (Japan) – 1:01.07
  7. Ludovico Viberti (Italy) – 1:01.20
  8. Alessandro Pinzuti (Italy) – 1:01.42
  9. Matej Zabojnik (Czech Republic) – 1:01.67
  10. Chao Man Hou (Macau) – 1:01.80
  11. Zhier Fan (United States) – 1:01.81
  12. Michael Houlie (South Africa) – 1:02.07
  13. Fernando Mariano (Brazil) – 1:02.25
  14. Pedro Muschioni (Brazil) – 1:02.29
  15. Geon Park (South Korea) – 1:02.32
  16. Dawid Wiekiera (Poland) – 1:02.34 (TIE)
  17. Matthew Randle (South Africa) – 1:02.34 (TIE)

Lithuania’s Andrius Sidlauskas led prelims of the men’s 100 breast with a 59.61, touching as the only swimmer in the field under 1:00. It was a great swim for Sidlauskas, who got out to a speedy start with a 27.86 on the opening 50m.

Of course, World Champion Qin Haiyang, who broke the Asian Record in the event last week in Fukuoka, swam a very relaxed race this morning. Coming of a historic World Championships, in which Haiyang became the first swimmer ever to sweep the breaststroke events at a World Championships, he clocked a 1:00.06 this morning for 2nd. We can expect Haiyang to be a little faster tonight in semifinals, though there’s no real reason for him to give it his all until the final. Obviously, the WUGS Record of 59.49 is primed to be smashed at some point today or tomorrow.

There was also a tie for 16th this morning, meaning there will need to be a swim-off to determine who will advance to the semifinals tonight. Poland’s Dawid Wiekiera and South Africa’s Matthew Randle both swam 1:02.34.

**The results of the swim-off are in. Wiekiera beat out Randle with a 1:01.72 to Randle’s 1:01.95.**


  • World Record: Kaylee McKeown, Australia – 2:03.14 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: Lisa Bratton, United States – 2:07.91 (2019)


  1. Liu Yaxin (China) – 2:12.65
  2. Tatiana Salcutan (Moldova) – 2:12.89
  3. Eszter Szabo-Feltothy (Hungary) – 2:13.31
  4. Gao Xing (China) – 2:13.42
  5. Federica Toma (Italy) – 2:13.54
  6. Hannah Pearse (South Africa) – 2:13.67
  7. Camila Rebelo (Portugal) – 2:14.12
  8. Francesca Pasquino (Italy) – 2:14.45
  9. Macky Hodges (United States) – 2:14.45
  10. Marina Furubayashi (Japan) – 2:15.13
  11. Yumi Shuno (Japan) – 2:15.26
  12. Yunjung Lee (South Korea) – 2:15.30
  13. Adela Piskorska (Poland) – 2:15.60
  14. Susan LaGrand (United States) – 2:16.73
  15. Ioanna Sacha (Greece) – 2:16.81
  16. Fanny Borer (Switzerland) – 2:17.09

In a pedestrian prelims of the women’s 200 back, in which it only took a 2:17.09 to make it into semifinals, China’s Liu Yaxin led the way with a 2:12.65. She was out in 31.44, then held on pretty well, splitting 33.35, 34.08, and 33.78 on the remaining 50s.

Tatiana Salcutan out of Moldova was next-fastest this morning, swimming a 2:12.89 for 2nd.


  • World Record: Andrii Govorov, Ukraine – 22.27 (2018)
  • WUGS Record: Andrii Govorov, Ukraine – 22.90 (2017)


  1. Lorenzo Gargani (Italy) – 23.44
  2. Luca Armbruster (Germany) – 23.45
  3. Thomas Verhoeven (Netherlands) – 23.56
  4. Chen Juner (China) – 23.59
  5. Adilbek Mussin (Kazakhstan) – 23.59
  6. Gabriel Santos (Brazil) – 23.61
  7. Jakub Majerski (Poland) – 23.76
  8. Christian Ferraro (Italy) – 23.83
  9. Jihun Jun (South Korea) – 23.87
  10. Jack Armstrong (United States) – 24.00
  11. Lovgren Daniel (Sweden) – 24.09
  12. Adrian Jaskiewicz (Poland) – 24.10
  13. Arthur Berol (France) – 24.20
  14. Bernardo Bondra (Brazil) – 24.25
  15. Christos Papadopoulos (Greece) – 24.37
  16. Bryan Xin (Malaysia) – 24.39

Italy’s Lorenzo Gargani led a very tight field in the men’s 50 fly this morning. Gargani clocked a 23.44, which led the field by just 0.01 seconds over Germany’s Luca Armbruster.

Dutchman Thomas Verhoeven was 3rd in 23.56, while there was a tie for 4th between China’s Chen Juner and Kazakhstan’s Adilbek Mussin at 23.59.

Malaysia saw their first swimmer advance out of prelims, with Bryan Xin taking 16th this morning in 24.39.


  • World Record: Australia – 3:27.96 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: United States – 3:37.99 (2019)


  1. Italy – 3:40.45
  2. China – 3:42.02
  3. Japan – 3:43.78
  4. United States – 3:43.90
  5. South Africa – 3:44.16
  6. Brazil – 3:46.44
  7. Poland – 3:48.18
  8. South Korea – 3:49.23

Italy just keeps building on what has been a tremendous first session of this meet. The Italian squad of Anita Gastaldo (55.03), Paola Biagioli (55.14), Giulia D’Innocenzo (54.33), and Antonietta Cesarano (55,95) were thoroughly in control this morning, speeding to a 3:40.45 to advance to the final as the top seed.

China also looked good this morning. The Chinese relay featured two of the country’s stars from the World Championships last week in Zhang Yufei and Li Bingjie. Yufei anchored the relay in 55.05 this morning, a time which we know she can be quite a bit faster than. Bingjie, a more distance-oriented swimmer, led off in 54.70 this morning, which was the 2nd-fastest split in the field, despite coming on a lead-off leg.

Another notable split this morning came from American Amy Tang, who clocked a 54.89 on the 2nd leg of the U.S. relay, helping the team to a 4th-place finish.


  • World Record: United States – 3:08.24 (2008)
  • WUGS Record: Russia – 3:10.88 (2013)


  1. Brazil – 3:15.41
  2. Italy – 3:16.79
  3. United States – 3:17.12
  4. Japan – 3:18.67
  5. China – 3:18.89
  6. Poland – 3:19.05
  7. South Korea – 3:20.72
  8. Sweden – 3:21.85

Brazil looked great this morning as they sped to the top seed for tonight’s final in the men’s 4×100 free relay. Breno Corriea (49.29), Pedro Spajari (48.44), Lucas Peixoto (48.92), and Vinicius Assuncao (48.76) teamed up to clock a 3:15.41 for the top time of the morning. Of note, that time only comes in less than 2 seconds off Brazil’s team at the World Championships last week, which swam a 3:13.82 in prelims.

Italy and the United States weren’t too far behind Brazil this morning, coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Italy was fueled by a 48.56 from Giovanni Izzo and a 48.79 from Nicolo Franceschi on the 2nd and 3rd legs. Meanwhile, all 4 of the U.S. members split 49s this morning.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Lord Mofo
4 months ago

Where can i watch the prelims?

Dan Evans
4 months ago

The link is Chinese so it is hard to figure out the results thank you the highlights if there is a better link please provide

Texas Pete
4 months ago

Embarrassing for the US, why aren’t all our swimmers finishing top 8 with most on the medal stand?

Reply to  Texas Pete
4 months ago

That would be because this isn’t what you’d really call the “true” national team but instead a pay-to-play operation which had no qualifying standards

Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

Yufei swimming is staggering.

Also, friendly bubbly personality and a great smile!

Never Enough Swim
4 months ago

The flight from Fukuoka to Chengdu must have been full of swimmers. Lots of athletes from multiple countries are competing in both meets.

4 months ago

What University do Zhang and Qin attend?

Reply to  carlo
4 months ago

Zhang Yufei – master at Southeast University
Qin Haiyang – master at Tongji University

Reply to  carlo
4 months ago

Zhang is doing her PHD in sport related discipline in Nanjing institute of sports and Qin will begin his master in economics and business administration soon in Tongji University in Shanghai one of the most prestigious university in China.

4 months ago

Apparently both Qin and Zhang are taking part. Qin is what is commonly called and revered in China as studious overlord (学霸). In the west he will be mocked as geek but in confucius society being studious is a celebrated millennium old virtue.

Reply to  Jordan
4 months ago

There are quite a few swimmers in the west who have very high GPAs in very difficult university degrees.

Last edited 4 months ago by Joel
Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Joel
4 months ago

macneil’s looking at doing medicine as a postgraduate iirc

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Jordan
4 months ago

Cameron McEvoy is called professor, he excelled academically and studied physics in University.

Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

That is why he is so well liked on chinese social media because they consider him as a ‘studious overlord’ as compared to Dressel. I did not mean to say that western athletes are unable to be also high academic achievers. Chinese swim fans might think highly of Dressel but for 99.9 of the population they would definitely admire and respect Cam hell of a lot more than Dressel.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Jordan
4 months ago

Oh that’s interesting to know!

Alison England
Reply to  Jordan
4 months ago

They must love Tom Dean then. He’s an academic high flyer, although I believe he has stepped back from his university studies at the moment. He will resume his engineering degree at some point.

4 months ago

Anyone else’s livestream not working??

Reply to  FormerMG
4 months ago

Swimming live stream is for semis and finals in the evening. Heats are not listed in the live stream schedule.

Reply to  FormerMG
4 months ago

I am finding the live stream incomprehensible.
links to things that aren’t live, etc.
very poorly organized web site IMHO

4 months ago

This link should show you – in your local time – when the live stream for an event start: