2024 World Championships Day 6 Prelims Preview: Sjostrom Seeking Six-Peat In 50 Fly

2024 WORLD AQUATIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day Six Prelims Start Lists

Day 6 Prelims Event Schedule

  • Men’s 100 Butterfly
  • Women’s 200 Backstroke
  • Men’s 50 Freestyle
  • Women’s 50 Butterfly
  • Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay
  • Women’s 800 Freestyle

The men’s 100 butterfly will be the first event on the sixth morning here in Doha. Nyls Korstanje (50.78) of the Netherlands is the top seeded entrant on the entry lists, a time he produced in the heats of the 2023 Fukuoka World Championships. He got a bit slower through the rounds there, posting 50.98 in the semifinals before placing 5th in the final (51.05). Team USA’s Shaine Casas is the second seed, but he was over a second slower than his 200 IM season best here in Doha. Casas has been as quick as 50.40 in the event before, and could challenge for gold if he can get within a half second of that mark.

This 100 fly could have more meaning for Casas than just a medal opportunity, because he has a big decision looming for the upcoming Olympic Trials. His two best events, the 200 IM and 100 fly, are scheduled back-to-back on the U.S. Olympic Trials schedule. Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan is another name to look out for, as he owns a best time of 50.96.

The next event of the morning will be the women’s 200 back, where all eyes will be on American Claire Curzan. If she is able to capture gold in this event tomorrow night, she will be the second woman in history to sweep the individual backstroke events at a long course World Championship meet. Kaylee McKeown of Australia became the first last year, a day after China’s Qin Haiyang became the first to sweep the 50-100-200 distances of any stroke at a Worlds meet.

Expect Freya Colbert (GBR), Jaclyn Barclay (AUS), Anastasiya Shkurdai (NIA), and Eszter Szabo-Feltothy (HUN) to insert themselves into the medal conversation, assuming they safely advance through the rounds.

Barclay in particular has been on the rise in this event after missing the final at the World Junior Championships in September. There, she scored gold in the 100 back and bronze in the 50. Despite missing the final at Junior Worlds, she made the trip to the Queensland Championships where she dropped nearly three seconds from her best time to win (2:08.76). She reset her best time in the 100 back earlier in Doha, so her backstroke looks to be in good form.

Colbert is a very versatile athlete, having the capacity to final in multiple freestyle distances in addition to the 400 IM. It’s unclear what her focus events will be heading into Paris, but her 200 free, 200 back, and 400 IM have been the clear highlights as of late.

Shkurdai is a clear medal contender if she can match her 2:06.95 best time from last April. However, she was well off her best time in the 100 back earlier in the meet. She placed 12th in the event with a time of 1:01.24, while her best stands at 59.08.

The men’s 50 free and women’s 50 fly are the next events on the docket, with Cameron McEvoy of Australia the clear frontrunner in the men’s sprint. He roared to Fukuoka gold in July with an Australian record (21.06), and secured bronze in the 50 fly earlier in Doha. Ben Proud of Great Britain is a name to watch out for too, as he nearly broke the 50 SCM world record at the European Short Course Championships in December. There, he touched in 20.18 to narrowly miss Caeleb Dressel’s 20.16 marker from 2020.

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden is going all in on the 50m distances here in Doha, as she did in Fukuoka. It seems unlikely that anyone will be able to challenge her in the 50 fly, as she is the only person to ever break the 25-second barrier. While she hasn’t touched her 24.43 world record in nearly ten years, she routinely breaks 25 seconds to secure gold at these World Championship competitions. She is going for her sixth straight title in the event here in Doha, and the path is looking quite clear for her to do so.

The men’s 4×200 free relay and women’s 800 free will end the session this morning. Defending champions Great Britain will feature in the relay, and they’re expected to field Duncan Scott and Matt Richards from the 2023 quartet in tonight’s final. South Korea will feature a strong quartet too, with Hwang Sunwoo winning the individual 200 free earlier and Kim Woomin claiming gold in the 400 free.

It will be interesting to see what Team USA decides to do with their line-up, as Luke Hobson and Carson Foster return from last year’s silver medal winning relay. The other two spots are completely up in the air, with Shaine Casas (1:47.88), Zach Harting (1:49.52), and David Johnston (1:49.70) among the possibilities. Matt King, Jack Aikins, and Hunter Armstrong are additional options, but none of them have ever cracked the 1:50-barrier. Aikins is the top seed in tonight’s 200 back final, so it seems unlikely that he will get the nod for this relay given his best time and having that individual final to contest.

The women’s 800 free will showcase 1500 champion Simona Quadarella of Italy. Quadarella claimed bronze in this event at the Tokyo Olympics, and Erika Fairweather of New Zealand looks to be her most likely challenger come the final. Isabel Gose of Germany is also in the conversation after a bronze medal and best time in the 400 free on day one, and she has a lifetime best that is 0.05 quicker than Fairweather (8:17.95). The defending silver medalist and third fastest performer of all-time, China’s Li Bingjie, is not swimming in this event.

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snailSpace
4 months ago

I think Curzan will complete the McKeown-brand of backstroke three-peat. Or at least the little brother version of it.

Steve Nolan
4 months ago

Reading the list of the last two men’s relay swimmers I was like jeez, should they even swim it??

But then I realized they could prolly still win, because lol relays here amirite??

Tencor
4 months ago

Given Duncan Scott’s form at this meet and the fact that South Korea’s entire mission in Doha seems to be to get the 4×200 gold (with Kim & Hwang in great shape) it’d seem like the Koreans are favored for Gold. Interested if Pan swims on the relay for China after tossing the 200 individual event

Last edited 4 months ago by Tencor
Leoyu
Reply to  Tencor
4 months ago

Hope he does at least on finals. They could challenge for a medal with the same quartet as from the 4×1.

Tencor
Reply to  Leoyu
4 months ago

Prelims heat sheets are out and it looks like Pan will be swimming, which means he’s likely also on the finals roster. Same 4 as the 4×1 team

Last edited 4 months ago by Tencor
Andy
Reply to  Tencor
4 months ago

Does winning a world champ gold get them out of military duty? I know any Olympic medal or Asian games gold does

Last edited 4 months ago by Andy
Aquajosh
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

They won at Asian Games. They are all exempt now.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
4 months ago

I know this has been the meet of surprises but surely Sjostrom and McEvoy are safe, right? McEvoy’s 50 fly was essentially the same as his trials fly from last year, so if his 50 free is the same that a 51.2 and I don’t think anyone else is matching that.

Last edited 4 months ago by Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Tencor
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
4 months ago

Sjostrom is definitely safe especially with Jack not at her best, McEvoy loses only if some lottery event like Proud 21.3, McEvoy 21.4 or something like that happens. But I think Proud will be 21.6-21.8 and McEvoy will be safe.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tencor
Swemmer
4 months ago

It’s a shame that Casas will swim faster at the next Pro Series than he does either here or at Olympic Trials

McIntosh McKeown McKeon McEvoy
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago

💯

Swemmer
4 months ago

It’s is Michael Andrew’s time to shine over the Australian McEvoy

Troyy
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago

It’s god’s plan that Mandrew never win individual gold.

commonwombat
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago
  1. Strongly suspect McEvoy’s form/condition is NOT at Fukuoka level
  2. 21 mid should medal and may possibly win
  3. Whilst it’s plausible that The 8th Wonder Of The World COULD win, I think there are others with superior credentials/skills and most likely form.
McIntosh McKeown McKeon McEvoy
Reply to  commonwombat
4 months ago

The 8th Wonder Of The World who was hyped since he was 8 yo.

snailSpace
Reply to  commonwombat
4 months ago

Strongly suspect McEvoy’s form/condition is NOT at Fukuoka level

Well about that…

Joel
Reply to  commonwombat
4 months ago
  1. I’m not sure what made you think that? But 21.13 is fast so far
Andy
Reply to  commonwombat
4 months ago

Mcevoy just won a bronze in the 50fly and dropped a 21.1 heat swim. He’s going for that 20.9 WR

Joel
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago

21.13 in heats for the Australian. Hmmmmm