At Least 44% Of 2019 World Champions Won’t Return To 2022 Worlds

by Ben Dornan 10

May 12th, 2022 International, News

Heading into major international swimming competitions, there are usually at least a couple of contenders for the gold medal in each event. It’s not often that we see a Ledecky-in-the-1500 or Dressel-in-the-anything-he-swims type of “locks” for a gold medal.

That means that from year to year it’s common to see the gold medalist in a particular event go from one swimmer to another. For example, in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021, the women’s 50 freestyle champion was a different woman (Pernille Blume, Sarah Sjostrom, Simone Manuel, and Emma McKeon, respectively).

While the turnover in title-winners is not a rarity, we usually see a solid number of gold medalists from the most recent major international meet attempt to defend their title by racing at the next meet. For example, only 4 world champions from 2019 were absent from an event they won gold in Gwangju: Sun Yang (200/400 free), Simone Manuel (100 freestyle), Regan Smith (200 backstroke), and Yuliya Efimova (200 breaststroke).

While Yang was absent from the Tokyo Games altogether, Manuel, Smith, and Efimova all raced at the 2020 Olympics in different events.

Camille Lacourt (50 backstroke) and Emily Seebohm (200 backstroke) were the only 2017 World Champions who didn’t race the event they won 2 years later at 2019 Worlds.

Fast-forward to 2022 and the number of reigning Olympic and world champions who won’t even be entered to race their gold medal event has risen. Champions from 10 Tokyo 2020 podiums and 15 2019 World Championships podiums will be absent from the event this year.

Reigning Olympic Champions Who Will Be Absent At 2022 World Championships:

Event Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Reason They Won’t Race In 2022
100 Backstroke Evgeny Rylov Banned from competing
200 Backstroke Evgeny Rylov Banned from competing
100 Breaststroke Adam Peaty Injured
50 freestyle Emma McKeon Announced she won’t be competing
100 freestyle Emma McKeon Announced she won’t be competing
200 freestyle Ariarne Titmus Announced she won’t be competing
400 freestyle Ariarne Titmus Announced she won’t be competing
100 breaststroke Lydia Jacoby Didn’t qualify for World Championships
200 breaststroke Tatjana Schoenmaker Announced she won’t be racing at World Championships
100 butterfly Maggie MacNeil Has opted to not race individually at World Championships

Reigning World Champions Who Will Be Absent At 2022 World Championships:

Event Gwangju 2019 Champion Reason They Won’t Race In 2022
200 freestyle Sun Yang Banned from competing
400 freestyle Sun Yang Banned from competing
50 backstroke Zane Waddell Retired
200 backstroke Evgeny Rylov Banned from competing
50 breaststroke Adam Peaty Injured
100 breaststroke Adam Peaty Injured
200 breaststroke Anton Chupkov Federation banned from competing
50 freestyle Simone Manuel Did not race at US Trials
100 freestyle Simone Manuel Did not race at US Trials
200 freestyle Federica Pellegrini Retired
400 freestyle Ariarne Titmus Announced she won’t be competing
50 backstroke Olivia Smoliga Didn’t qualify for World Championships
200 backstroke Regan Smith Didn’t qualify for World Championships in this event
200 breaststroke Yuliya Efimova Federation banned from competing
100 butterfly Maggie MacNeil Has opted to not race individually at World Championships

There are a total of 34 individual events at World Championships; 17 men’s and 17 women’s. 28 of those are Olympic events. That means that at this year’s World Championships, 36% (10/28) of the Olympic events will not feature the reigning Olympic champion and 44% (15/34) of events will not feature the reigning world champion.

While these represent the minimum percentages of non-returners, those numbers might rise if other recent champions drop out.

In This Story

10
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
10 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
FST
5 days ago

So the next generation gets to shine a little. I’m not mad about it. Haven’t seen that tickets are being sold yet, but I live in Vienna, I’ll hop on a train to Budapest and will watch a few evenings live and in person anyway.

John
5 days ago

You know what’s mad… James guy has been At every worlds since 2013 and has won at least 1 world gold since 2015, fair

Tik Tok
5 days ago

I remember few weeks ago Bobo Gigi proclaimed that “no one cares about Commonwealth, World championship is what the whole world care about”

Turns out many Olympics medalists skip Worlds and will compete in commonwealth.

Caeleb Remel Cultist
Reply to  Tik Tok
5 days ago

Commonwealth Games are the biggest joke in sports history.

Those who skipped are not 100% ready to face their biggest rivals. (Great tactic to keep the winning streak alive until Fukuoka 23). If you saw Tatjana at SA trials, you can tell she is not in her typical shape to face Lilly King or Douglass at the highest level.

However, next year there is no skipping. Either you’re going to race or stay at home and prepare yourself mint tea.

comment image

Harry JK
Reply to  Caeleb Remel Cultist
4 days ago

Shut up old man, you seem very bitter. Typical.

Troyy
5 days ago

Is Schoenmaker still not competing at Worlds? She was announced as part of the South African team.

http://swimsa.org/news/veteran-le-clos-joins-teenage-brigade-in-sa-team-for-swimming-world-championships

Admin
Reply to  Troyy
5 days ago

It’s really unclear. While she was saying she wasn’t, her coach was telling us they hadn’t decided. Her coach hasn’t responded to our latest request after they announced her on the team.

So, we’ll go with her word until we hear differently, I guess.

PK Doesn’t like his long name
6 days ago

As someone who lost money on it, very confident Chupkov swam in Tokyo.