Day 2 of the FINA Short Course World Championships are rapidly approaching on Thursday morning in Doha, Qatar. Here are 3 big things to watch for on day 2:
1. World record watches: Day 1 saw three different world records go down, and day 2 has the potential to match or even outdo that number. The two most obvious candidates are the women’s 50 breast and men’s 100 fly, both finals after heats and semifinals on day 1. Ruta Meilutyte is just .01 off the world record in the 50 breast, so if she can just find a sliver more speed, she’ll be golden. The 100 fly is an exciting one, with Chad le Clos coming off a World Cup tour where he flirted with the record on a couple occasions but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
A few other possible records that could fall:
- Women’s 100 free: Femke Heemskerk? Ranomi Kromowidjojo? Sarah Sjostrom? Some big names, and all within striking distance of the 51.01 record with a great race.
- Women’s 100 IM: Katinka Hosszu has already broken this record earlier this season. She seemed pretty fatigued by the 400 IM on Wednesday, but did have a great 200 fly swim early on. If she’s got the energy, she could clearly make a run at this record.
- Men’s 400 IM: Kosuke Hagino has ascended to truly elite status this season. What better way to announce his arrival at the highest level than to break his first world record?
- Men’s 50 free: This one is more of a stretch, but it’s the last 50 free world record not held by Cesar Cielo, and the Brazilian cut his summer season short to get a jump-start on his short course training. Florent Manaudou looks strong and could challenge the record, not to mention Russian Vlad Morozov, who’s skipping the 100 free in Doha and should make the 50 his crown jewel event for the week.
2. The first of the mixed relays: It’s still a mystery how different federations will approach the mixed relays. There’s still some resistance among fans to accepting the mixed-gender relays as legitimate events, but on the flip-side the first-place medals are still made of gold. Will most everyone load up the event with their best possible swimmers? Or will federations choose to “punt” those relays, giving their top swimmers a bit more rest for the rest of the week? Thursday night is the mixed 4×50 medley relay to give the early answers to those questions.
3. Two of 2014’s best make their Doha debuts: Day 1 saw many of swimming’s biggest stars getting involved, but not all of them. Two of the year’s absolute hottest swimmers will have their first major events on Thursday. First is Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who drew rave reviews after obliterating the long course 50 fly World Record in July and was all but unbeatable for most of the European Championships. Sjostrom swims prelims and semifinals of the 50 fly and 100 free Thursday. Also competing is Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, the headlining star of the Asian Games. He’ll tackle the 400 IM in his first great chance at a gold medal in Doha.