2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- June 18-25, 2022 (pool swimming)
- Budapest, Hungary
- Duna Arena
- LCM (50-meter format)
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- Day 3 Finals Heat Sheets
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On a day when David Popovici swam the fastest 200 free since 2012 and Thomas Ceccon broke the world record in the 100 back, a performance that went largely unnoticed was Lani Pallister‘s bronze-medal winning 1500 free. Finishing behind the American duo of Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes, the Australian clocked a 15:48.96, taking nearly seven seconds off her best time of 15:55.40 from Australian trials this year.
And while this was only Pallister’s first senior international medal, it was not her first major time drop in this incredible breakout season that she’s been having. Just three days ago, she finished fourth in the 400 free with a best time of 4:02.16, being 0.05 seconds faster than she was at trials. Pallister also set best times in both the 200 and 800 free at trials, and has a chance to improve on both of these marks in the 4×200 free relay on Wednesday and the 800 free on Friday.
Overall, Pallister has become substantially faster in all of her events this year than she was in the past. And for her to continue getting faster after trials despite being a rookie on the senior international stage is super impressive, as we often see newcomers falter in big meets after having breakout performances in smaller ones.
|200 free||400 free||800 free||1500 free|
|Lani Pallister, pre-2022 PB||1:58.09||4:05.42||8:22.49||15:58.86|
|Lani Pallister, current PB||1:56.28||4:02.16||8:17.77||15:48.96|
For Pallister, the journey to the top wasn’t an easy one. A year ago, she had failed to qualify for the Australian Olympic Team. Her 2021 trials showcase was a disappointing one, considering that she was just two years removed from sweeping the 400/800/1500 freestyles at the 2019 World Junior Championships. In addition, she had also been diagnosed with superventricular tachycardia (SVT), a condition in which one’s heart beats faster than normal. This condition forced her to undergo surgery, and caused her to develop an eating disorder in the proccess.
Pallister described 2021 as “the worst year of her life”, but after seeking support from her coaches and training partners, she now labels herself as being “back and better than ever”. And we can clearly see that through her performances at this meet.
Side Note: Women’s 4×200 Free Relay
The women’s 4×200 free relay headed into this meet was billed as a four-way showdown between the United States, Australia, Canada, and China. But after the 200 free semifinals, has the path to victory become clearer for Australia?
First things first, with a 1:56.05 being the fastest time in the semis, it’s fair to say that everyone in the 200 free field was a little slow today. But the Aussies might have performed the best out of all of the other countries. Leah Smith and Claire Weinstein of the United States both missed the finals. Penny Oleksiak, Canada’s best 200 freestyler, was DQed; something that could negatively impact her coming into the 4×200 free relay. China has been off all meet, with Li Bingjie, Tang Muhan, and Zhang Yufei being slower than their best times by a large margin in multiple events.
That being said, Australia is the only country in the “big four” that hasn’t had anything disastrous happen to them in the 200 free so far. Madi Wilson and Mollie O’Callaghan finished second and third in semis with times of 1:56.31 and 1:56.34 respectivley, and although both of them have been faster, at least they have a lane in the finals unlike many of the swimmers labeled as top 200 freestyle contenders headed into the race. In addition, the Aussies also have Kiah Melverton, Leah Neale, Pallister, and Brianna Throssell available alongside Wilson and O’Callaghan. Melverton has been 1:55.94 this year, while the rest of them have been 1:56-low. When the top-end talent of many other countries isn’t showing, the depth that the Australians have may be exactly what they need to win.
Canada right now remains Australia’s biggest rival. In a scenario where Oleksiak isn’t seriously affected by her DQ and Summer McIntosh, Taylor Ruck (who qualified into the 200 free finals as well), and Kayla Sanchez are on form, this team could be dangerous.
Other Day 3 Highlights:
- New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather finished 11th in the 200 free semifinals in a time of 1:57.38, just 0.12 slower than the 1:57.26 she went at the Olympics.
- After withdrawing from the 800 free to focus on the finals of the 200 free, Elijah Winnington finished eighth in the latter event with a time of 1:45.82, just a few tenths off his best time of 1:45.53.
- Pallister’s Australian teammate Moesha Johnson finished fourth in the 1500 free with a 15:55.75, just missing the podium by one place. However, she still swam a best time, improving upon her 15:57.77 from prelims.