2016 Short Course World Championships
- December 6th – December 11th, 2016
- Windsor, Ontario, Canada
- WFCU Centre
- SCM (25m)
- Prelims: 9:30 AM EST
- Finals: 6:30 PM EST
- Day 1 Prelim Start Lists
- Full Competition Schedule
The 2016 Short Course World Championships are upon us, and though many of swimming’s biggest stars have opted to not compete this week in Windsor for various reasons (including college and some taking an extended break post Rio), there is still plenty of talent to go around.
That being said, here are three major storylines to keep an eye on as the week progresses:
1. Fresh off World Cup wins, Hosszu and Morozov look to end short course season in style
Many of the swimmers competing this week swam in some or all of the World Cup events that took place over three different clusters spanning from August till October. As per usual Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu dominated on the women’s side, winning the title with an impressive haul of $386,000. On the men’s side, Russian Vladimir Morozov took the lead early after multiple world records in the 100 IM and never looked back, snagging a cool $332,500.
Both will be in Windsor looking to finish off their short course season with a bang. Hosszu, as we have already noted, has entered a staggering 12 events for the Championships. This is not unheard of from Hosszu, it’s actually become a regular occurrence for her, though she’ll likely end up scratching some of those as the meet goes on. As of now, she’s entered in the 200/400/800 free, 50/100/200 back, 100/200 fly, 200 breast, and the 100/200/400 IM. Two years ago at the Championships in Doha, Hosszu swam ten individual events and took home four gold medals, three silvers and a bronze.
Morozov is also talented in many disciplines, though none of his races will go more than 100m. He will compete in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast and the 100 IM, sitting as the top seed in all four. Morozov could very well go 4-for-4 in individual events here, with his biggest challenges looking to come from South Africans Cameron van der Burgh in the 100 breast and Chad Le Clos in the 100 free.
2. Le Clos/Shields Battle Looming In 100 Fly
Tom Shields and Chad Le Clos have been going at it for the last number of years at the World Cup stops and then the Short Course World Championships, with Le Clos more often than not getting the better of the American. However, this year Shields was absent from the circuit, and thus Le Clos went unbeaten in the 50 and 100 fly.
With that being said, it may look as though their clash in Windsor will no doubt fall in Le Clos’ favour, but don’t sleep on Shields. He put up a scintillating 43.8 100 yard fly just this past weekend at U.S. Winter Nationals, which is the fastest time ever swum and is an American and US Open record. Just to give that time some context, Joseph Schooling previously held the fastest ever clocking at 44.01, done five months before blowing away everyone in the 100 fly final at the Olympic Games.
Shields’ swim was very impressive, but Le Clos also swam a 100 yard fly on the same night in Connecticut, clocking a time of 44.25. That ranks 4th all-time behind Shields, Schooling, and Austin Staab, and signals that we have a very close fly battle looming this week.
Both men have gone 48 seconds multiple times, and will need to do so again if they want a crack at the world title. Le Clos won gold in a world record time of 48.44 two years ago, while Shields settled for silver in 48.99.
The two will also clash in the 50 fly where there are plenty of other players to consider including Andrii Govorov and Nicholas Santos, and the 200 fly, where they’ll face Japan’s Daiya Seto. Seto, Le Clos and Shields are all seeded under 1:50, and Seto upset Le Clos a few times in this event on the World Cup circuit. Along with those three, Olympic bronze medalist Tamas Kenderesi of Hungary should also not be taken lightly.
3. Full Canadian Team Ready To Put On A Show For Home Crowd
Unlike two years ago in Doha when the Canadians only sent ten swimmers including just two men, they have sent a full team as the hosts looking to put on a show for the crowd. Leading the way will be Penny Oleksiak, who wowed everyone this past summer with four Olympic medals including a gold in the 100 freestyle. Surprisingly that is the only individual event she’s entered in, but look for her to be a key piece on the Canadian relays.
Some swimmers have even joined the team amid their college season in the US, including Javier Acevedo and Chantal van Landeghem from Georgia, Kierra Smith from Minnesota, Kennedy Goss from Indiana and Evan White from Michigan. The team will also include CIS University stars such as Yuri Kisil, Markus Thormeyer, Kylie Masse and Peter Brothers.
Coming off such a successful Olympic campaign, and with nearly their entire Olympic roster present, look for the Canadians to have a great meet. The only notable one missing is Santo Condorelli, who is currently attending USC.