2017 FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Sunday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 30th
- Budapest, Hungary
- LCM (50m)
- Full Competition Schedule
- Meet Info
- Psych Sheets
- Omega Results
- Pick ’em Contest
- Event-by-Event Previews
Australia is a swimming super power, but they haven’t always been that way, and they now may fear fading out of that top tier again.
So far in 2017, with two days remaining, Australia hasn’t won a single World Championship in either the men’s or women’s events. The last time that happened was at the 1986 World Championships, where they only had 5 finalists combined (3 men and 2 women).
It’s not that Australia has been without their highlights at the meet. 16-year old Ariarne Titmus placed 4th in the 400 free early in the meet, and Emma McKeon already has four silver medals in the 100 fly, 200 free, women’s 400 free relay, and mixed medley relay (the former of those races included a new Australian Record). Grant Irvine‘s 100 fly of 51.31 is the fastest ever Australian in textile, and got him in a final – though a medal would still be a long shot at this point.
But with so many chances, they’ve been unable to break through to the top of the podium. On day 1, Mack Horton lost to his arch rival Sun Yang in the 400 free, and has since scratched the 800 free and missed the final in the 200. Cam McEvoy, who still has the fastest time in textile in the 100 free, placed 4th and missed the medals in that event, while missing out on the 50 free final altogether.
Emily Seebohm missed defending her title in the 100 back, though she did take a bronze, and the 400 free relay (which Australia set the World Record in last year) didn’t have enough to take down the Americans without their top swimmer Cate Campbell.
Australia has been reviewing its culture and has become a revolving door of leadership trying to capture a formula that will work. It’s not that they haven’t swum well – it’s that by-and-large they’ve been unable to swim well at the biggest meet. 2018 will be a big year for them, as they’re hosting the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. That’s an opportunity for Australia to showcase and recapture their swimming dominance that would be hard to see pass by – especially with the rising quality of the Brits.
The Australians are down, but they’re not out quite yet. In the last two days of the meet, they’ve still got some of their best chances to win gold. A look at Australia’s best chances remaining:
- Mixed 400 free relay – with young Jack Cartwright swimming well, Australia has the 4th they need to complete this relay alongside Bronte Campbell, Cam McEvoy, and Emma McKeon. McKeon is on the verge of superstardom, and McEvoy has still been consistently sub-48 at this meet, in spite of misses in his individual events. The key here is what relay the Americans will put forward. They have 2 of the 4 best female 100 freestylers at the meet in Simone Manuel and Mallory Comerford, but Caeleb Dressel would have to take on a triple (he’s got the 50 free and 100 fly finals on Saturday as well) to participate for team USA. Nathan Adrian missed the 50 free final, so he’ll be rested for the mixed relay, but without Dressel, the Americans probably have to turn to Townley Haas for their 4th. That costs them 7 or 8 tenths of a second and opens a door for Australia.
- Emily Seebohm, while she didn’t defend her 100 back title, has been swimming well – including a new Australian Record for 4th in the 50 back. She looked good as the top qualifier (2:05.81 – tying an Aussie Record) in the 200 backstroke semi-finals, and while that field is loaded, she’s got as good of a chance as any of them at the win.
- Mitch Larkin isn’t having a good meet, and he’s at times sounded disengaged in interviews, but the 50 back should be his strongest race. There’s a whole lot of factors going into this race though. China’s Jiayu Xu has been impressive, Camille Lacourt is swimming his specialty in his last competitive race, and Russian Evegeny Rylov ranks #3 in the world and won the 200 back on Friday. Larkin’s got a puncher’s chance though – a 24.2 probably wins it, and he’s capable of that time.
Oceania Medals Table:
Australia remains the only relevant Oceanic country at this meet, and have own all 7 of the country’s medals.
Day 6 Oceanic Records:
- Oceania – Emily Seebohm, 200m back, 2:05.81 (TIED)
- Australia – Emily Seebohm, 200m back, 2:05.81 (TIED)
- New Zealand – Bradlee Ashby, 200 IM, 1:59.24
- Palau – Osisang Chilton, 200 back, 2:46.60