FINA CHAMPIONS SWIM SERIES 2019 #2 – BUDAPEST
- May 11-12, 2019
- Budapest, Hungary
- LCM (50m)
- Saturday – 7:30 pm local / 1:30 pm ET Opening Ceremony, 8:00 start
- Sunday – 7:30 pm local / 1:30 om ET start
- FINA Champions Series Info
- Entry List
- Live Stream (NBC Sports) – May 11th
- Live Stream (Olympic Channel) – May 12th
- Live Stream (FINA TV)
- Extended Start Lists (TBA)
- Live Results (Omega)
The 2nd stop of the inaugural FINA Champions Series will be held in Budapest’s Duna Arena this weekend. As a refresher, see below the format for this meet.
Each race will have only four swimmers competing in a timed final format. Initially, the four athletes invited to compete in each event were:
- the reigning Olympic champion
- the reigning World Champion
- the current world record holder
- the #1 ranked swimmer in the world this season
If any of those swimmers declined their invite (or were duplicates, retired, etc), they would follow with the Olympic and World silver and bronze medalists, and then the next highest ranked athletes in the world until the four spots were filled.
#1 WOMEN’S 200 FREE A TITANIC SHOWDOWN
Europe has a very impressive contingent set to race, and the 200 free on the women’s side is one of the best showcases of their continental talent. The race features Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, the 2017 World Champion and World Record holder, Sarah Sjöström, the 2016 Rio silver medalist, Veronika Popova, the Russian record holder. China’s Li Bingjie is the 4th entrant, though she’s more of a factor in the longer races.
Pellegrini (1st) and Popova (4th) return after making the 200 free final at the 2017 World Championships, while Sjöström’s 1:55.39 from the 2018 Stockholm Open last month makes her the highest-ranked swimmer in the field. Pellegrini has been 1:56.60 from the Italian Nationals in April, while Popova hasn’t made the world top 25 yet this season.
Both Pellegrini and Sjöström have said they were done with this event at major international championships, but talk is cheap (Pellegrini swam it at the 2018 SC Worlds, and both she and Sjöström have been racing this event in 2019 in non-major meets). Eyes will be on the two of them for a showdown we don’t get to see very often between two titans of the sport.
#2 AMERICAN BACKSTROKERS ROLL UP TO THE SCENE
Olympic champion Matt Grevers is entered in both the 50 back and 100 back, while Justin Ress will race the 50 back and Jacob Pebley the 200 back.
Grevers is a seasoned pro, and he’ll be up against Russians Kliment Kolesnikov and Evgeny Rylov as well as China’s Xu Jiayu in what should be an electric 100 backstroke. Xu (52.27), Rylov (53.00), Kolesnikov (53.03) rank 1-2-3 in the world this season. Grevers is back at 15th, but his time (53.81) isn’t all that far off of the Russians.
Kolesnikov’s 24.40 leads the 50 back world rankings and Rylov’s 1:54.00 the 200 back rankings, while the former is also the WR holder. Pebley’s been 1:56.96, ranking 10th in the world in the 200. Ress is finished with his career at NC State, and this will be his first pro meet (and first LCM race since last summer).
#3 MILAK AND CSEH JOIN THE BUTTERFLY FIELDS
Kristof Milak, one of the most exciting names in butterfly right now, and Laszlo Cseh, a veteran who has medaled at every LC World Champs since 2003, will add some excitement for the home crowd in the butterfly races. They both enter the 100 and 200 fly after not swimming in Guangzhou.
Neither rank in the world’s top 5 this year in the 100 fly, but Milak’s 1:53.12 from March leads the world and Cseh is #6 (1:55.81). Chad Le Clos will be a huge obstacle in both of these races, while Italian record holder Piero Codia will race in the 100 fly and Japan’s Masato Sakai will race the 200 fly.
#4 CHASE KALISZ TO SWIM THIRD MEET SINCE PAN PACS
American IM juggernaut Chase Kalisz has been fairly quiet since last summer’s Pan Pacific Championships. He’s only raced in two meets since then: the Pro Swim Series stops in Knoxville in January and then in Richmond in April (the most recent PSS stop).
Kalisz is only invited to swim the 200 IM (there is no 400 IM in this program). He was 1:57.68 in the 200 IM in Knoxville, which sits 8th in the world this season’s rankings, but was just 1:59.02 in Richmond a month ago. Without any 200’s of stroke or the 400 IM on his schedule (and no prelims, mind you), one would expect a strong swim from him here.
He’ll be racing China’s Wang Shun, Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches, and Germany’s Philip Heintz in Budapest. Wang is #2 in the world with his 1:56.66 from March’s Chinese Nationals, while Desplanches has been 1:56.89 to rank 5th and Heintz 1:58.35 (T-11th).
#5 OTHER NEW PLAYERS ENTER THE FIELD
There were a handful of new names set to race in Budapest who were not present in Guangzhou.
On the men’s side, Brazil’s Bruno Fratus (50 free), France’s Mehdy Metella (100 free), Russia’s Aleksandr Krasnykh (200/400 free), USA’s Kevin Cordes (100 breast) and Josh Prenot (200 breast), and Great Britain’s Ross Murdoch (100 breast) are some of the biggest new names.
For the women, the biggest new names not already mentioned in this article are Canada’s Penny Oleksiak (100 free/50 fly/100 fly), Egypt’s Farida Osman (50 free/50 fly/100 fly), Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros (50 free/50 back), Great Britain’s Holly Hibbott (400 free), Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (200 fly) and Ajna Kesely (400 free), Anastasia Fesikova (50 back), Italy’s Margherita Panziera (200 back), Russia’s Yulia Efimova (50/100/200 breast), USA’s Katie Meili (50/100/200 breast), Great Britain’s Siobhan Marie O’Connor (100 breast/200 IM) and Alys Thomas (200 fly), and Germany’s Franziska Hentke (200 fly).
Sun Yang and Fu Yuanhui of China, Kathleen Baker of the USA, Mireia Belmonte of Spain, and Charlotte Bonnet of France all showed up on initial entry lists, but have since been replaced by Hungarian national team swimmers. We already knew Sun and Fu had withdrawn from the remaining FINA stops.