Baker Vaults Up 100 Back World Rankings At Mare Nostrum Barcelona


The opening session of the Barcelona stop of the Mare Nostrum Tour saw a ton of big names hit the water, including a few who weren’t at the first stop in Canet.

One of those swimmers is American Kathleen Baker, who dropped her previous season best of 1:00.20 down to 59.47 in the women’s 100 back, moving her into 7th in the world rankings and giving her the top seed for the final. It’s also notable that it’s her fastest in-season swim ever, having only gone faster at the 2016 Olympic Trials, 2016 Olympics, 2017 World Trials and 2017 World Championships.

Denmark’s Mie Nielsen took the 2nd seed in 1:00.35, slightly faster than she was in the prelims in Canet before she won the final in 59.88, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu made it through in 5th (1:01.03).

For Missy Franklin, who swam the 100 back in Canet in a time of 1:03.48, she opted to scratch out in Barcelona, only swimming the 200 free this morning. The 2013 world champion had a good swim there, making it through to the A-final in 4th in 1:59.36, over a second faster than she was in the prelims in Canet and not far off her time from finals (1:58.91).

Canadian teen Kayla Sanchez leads that women’s 200 free field, improving her lifetime best by a tenth in 1:58.17. Her teammates Rebecca Smith (1:59.29) and Taylor Ruck (1:59.65) had solid swims for 3rd and 5th, and Rikako Ikee (2:00.09) and Hosszu (2:00.29) also got through in 6th and 7th. Ruck won the race in Canet in a time of 1:55.68.

Ruck also swam the 50 free, where she took the top seed in 24.92 ahead of the Netherlands’ Kim Busch (25.20). Prior to 2018 Ruck had never broken 25 seconds, but has now done so nine times.

Also making headlines on day 1 was Michael Andrew, who took a pair of #1 seeds in the men’s 50 back and 50 fly.

In the 50 back, he cracked 25 seconds for the 5th time in his career in 24.96, moving him into 11th in the world rankings. Canet winner Ben Treffers and American Ryan Held are tied for 2nd in 25.70.

While Andrew didn’t swim the 50 back on the first stop, he did do the 50 fly where he was 3rd, and took the top seed in that event this morning as well in a time of 23.46. That’s a tenth faster than Canet, but still a tenth off his season best of 23.37 which has him in a tie for 8th in the world. Andriy Govorov, who won the first stop in 23.04, sits 2nd in 23.70.


  • After putting up some of the world’s fastest swims of the year in the 50 and 100 breast in Canet, Russian Yuliya Efimova had a decent preliminary swim in the 50 breast in Barcelona, posting the top time of 30.79. American Molly Hannis, who is 2nd fastest in the world this year (with Efimova 3rd), qualified 3rd in 31.21, and Katie Meili (31.38) is 4th. Efimova also swam the 200 breast, where she squeaked into the A-final in 8th (2:28.10) with Spain’s Jessica Vall Montero (2:27.01) leading the way.
  • Shinri Shioura leads the stacked men’s 100 free field in 49.42, with Japanese countryman Katsuhiro Matsumoto 2nd in 49.68. Held also made the A-final in this event in 5th.
  • Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was the only man sub-1:00 in a stacked men’s 100 breast, checking in at 59.91. He was the runner-up to Adam Peaty on the first stop in 59.55. Notably making it to the final was Ilya ShymanovichAnton Chupkov and Kirill Prigoda, while Andrew swam the 9th fastest time in 1:01.65 and will swim the B-final.
  • Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki qualified 1st in the men’s 200 back in 2:02.23, just ahead of U.S. junior Bryce Mefford (2:02.46).
  • Bence Biczo of Hungary topped the men’s 200 fly field in 1:58.88, followed by James Guy (1:59.09) and Viktor Bromer (1:59.26).
  • Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova clocked 57.73 in the women’s 100 fly for the top seed, not far off her season best 57.39 from the Russian Championships in April. Rikako Ikee, winner in Canet, qualified 2nd in 58.30, and Rebecca Smith is 3rd in 59.05.
  • David Verraszto leads the men’s 200 IM in 2:02.63, with Gunnar Bentz making his first appearance on the circuit in 2nd in 2:03.58.
  • Norwegian Henrik Christiansen was the fastest in the men’s 400 free in 3:53.14, as he’ll look to improve on his runner-up finish in Canet. The winner there Naito Ehara easily advanced in 3rd.

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Oooh, Shake n Bake rounding down for the crazy battle this summer between Smith, Smoliga and herself. I say the AR goes down at Pan Pacs. Impressed with Kayla Sanchez, moving toward the times I thought she could drop in Australia.

I like how Missy is progressing— maybe she gets faster every time she swims. Remember she is very race rusty. This is exciting!


If ya ain’t first yer last!


Shake n Bake😂😍😍


As usual Michael Andrew only swims 50s


He’s a sprinter so….


He also swam 100 breast.


There are numerous swimmers who only swim 50s..


The thing that surprises me is how can one go 21,7 and can barely break 50 on 100.. Only Proud I can remember who could do a very good 50 and a not even OK 100 for a Elite level


Proud went 47.9 relay split at commonwealth games so not even him. Doesn’t really matter though, the USA has an insane level of depth at 100 free.
What’s funny though is that Andrews goal time in 100 fly is 50.80 and he can’t even do that in freestyle consistently

Gator chomp

The only way I see Andrew going 50.8 is going out in 22.8 and coming back in 28 flat

bobo gigi

😆 😆 😆 😆

bobo gigi

Sad to see he has specialized into a 50s swimmer. At least he makes money with some wins. He must pray to see the 50s of stroke added for Paris 2024.

bobo gigi

Andrew is also a reporter. Peaty interview.


There is a Polish sprinter who went 21.45 in the 50 at their Nationals but only 50 point in the 100.

Ol' Longhorn

A no-breath 50 free is an entirely different technique than a breathe-every-cycle 100 free. He’s mastered the first, hasn’t the second. It’s not about conditioning — he’s been 1:59 in the 200 IM and his other 100’s are fine. It’s a technique issue. Time will tell whether he learns how to breathe without losing speed. Dressel couldn’t do a 100 free at one point either. Remember him winning the 50 and not finaling in the 100 at NCAAs his freshman year?


Dressel quit swimming for 6 months. Plus he was stil 42 low and 45 low in the 100 fly.


uh… he’d already been a 48 / 1:48 LC as a 16-year-old, so I think he knew how to breathe… just wasn’t fully in shape freshman year after the long break.

E Gamble

I don’t think you said what you said about Michael Andrew swimming only 50s to be mean. It’s a fact he’s a 50s specialist. I don’t see how this works for him in the long run as a US swimmer. This works for Ben Proud because he’s the fastest 50 butterflyer and 50 sprint freestyler in the UK. Michael Andrew is not our fastest swimmer in any 50 in the US. And the 100 breaststroke is one of the most competitive events in the US. It’s gonna be tough. And I just don’t quite understand why they can’t figure out how to get him conditioned for the last 50 of the 2IM. I hope they revisit this event for him.… Read more »


Has there ever been a 50 specialist who was at the top in the 200 IM?

Most of the top 200 LCM IM’ers are good in one or more of the 200 stroke events.


Alice Mills. She medaled in both 50 free and 200 IM at 2003 World Championships.


He posted time goals and I dont think he listed one for the 200Im? He is pretty much committed to the 50s at this point and his only hope to change is to get coached by someone else.

Ol' Longhorn

And most were 400 IMers at their peak —- Phelps, Lochte, Kalisz, Hagino, etc.


Liam Tancock finaled in the 200 IM in Beijing but was best known for his 50 back (and dying on the 100 back).


I was thinking about this and I think USA Swimming could step up and give full national team benefits to the 50 specialists. They have the money and the only thing missing is that they aren’t olympic events yet.


Why are these writeups formatted differently than how you do prelims/finals for tyr pro and us national meets? I like that format since you are able to quickly see which events were swum and can see everyone who made the A finals, instead of just the handpicked names in these.


This format is so hard to read!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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