2024 World Championships Day 2 Prelims Preview: Can the U.S. Sweep the 100 Backstroke?

2024 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Even in the absence of many of the world’s top swimmers, the first day of the 2024 World Aquatics Championships did not disappoint. Day two’s preliminary session should be much shorter than yesterday’s with only five individual events scheduled.

DAY 2 PRELIMS EVENTS:

  • Women’s 100 back
  • Men’s 100 back
  • Women’s 100 breast
  • Men’s 200 free
  • Women’s 1500 free

The first event up for both the women and men is the 100 backstroke. Headlining the women’s field is Claire Curzan, who was absent from the 2023 World Championships after missing U.S. team. Despite not competing at Worlds, Curzan still managed to post the 4th-fastest time in the world last year with a 58.35 at the U.S. Open, making her a clear favorite here in Doha.

The U.S. has a solid chance to sweep the 100 backstroke, as Hunter Armstrong comes in as the top seed on the men’s side. Armstrong took bronze in this event last summer, and is one of only two finalists to return in 2024. The other finalist from 2023 is Ksawery Masiuk from Poland, who was 6th in Fukuoka and owns a personal best time of 52.58.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte will look to defend her World Championship title in the women’s 100 breast. Although Meilutyte does not hold the fastest season best time of the field, her career best of 1:04.35 puts her over a second ahead of the next fastest swimmer in the field. Other swimmers to keep an eye on include Mona McSharry and Benedetta Pilato, with McSharry being a returning finalist from 2023 and Pilato a World Champion from 2022.

After breaking the World Record in the 100 freestyle as the lead-off of China’s 4×100 free relay, Pan Zhanle will be back in action in the men’s 200 free. Pan is entered on a relatively slower season best time, but owns a career best of 1:44.65, putting him right up there with the top seed, Hwang Sun-Woo. Coming off his incredible performance in the 100 free, it will be interesting to see what Pan has in store for the 200.

Rounding out day two’s preliminary events is the women’s 1500 freestyle. With Katie Ledecky out of the picture this year, Italy’s Simona Quadarella headlines the field as last year’s silver medalist. Quadarella biggest competition will likely come from China’s Li Bingjie, who opted out of the 800 this year to focus on the 200, 400 and this race. In addition to the gold medal, Bingjie is well positioned to go after Wang Jianjiahe’s Chinese and Asian record of 15:41.49.

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Z Tech
13 days ago

Just a very weird vibe with some events where we’re looking at potential all time performances and others where no one in the field would ever be in serious consideration for a medal at a normal worlds.

Slow Swimmer X
Reply to  Z Tech
13 days ago

It’s an oddball World Championship.

It’s fun to follow for what it is.

We got men’s 100 free WR which is massive, and in the same race men’s 4×100 free gold medal (3:11.08) that won’t even medal in Fukuoka.

MarshFAN
13 days ago

That is a big NO

Tencor
Reply to  MarshFAN
13 days ago

Who is defeating Curzan/Armstrong then?

gitech
Reply to  Tencor
13 days ago

Wilm can win female final (i think that curzan Will win 200), but if armstrong Will win 100

Slow Swimmer X
Reply to  MarshFAN
13 days ago

Please explain.