Canadian Sydney Pickrem Hands Katinka Hosszu Rare Loss in 200 IM


Katinka Hosszu doesn’t lose the 200 IM often. She’s the defending Olympic Champion, the 4-time defending World Champion in long course, the 3-time defending World Champion in short course, the 4-time European Champion in long course, and the 5-time defending European Champion in short course. She’s the World Record holder. She’s won an astonishing 51-consecutive World Cup swims in the 200 IM: the last World Cup meet where the event was offered and Hosszu didn’t win was in 2012.

And on Sunday in Beijing, Canadian Sydney Pickrem dethroned the queen, winning the event (and the $10,000 prize that goes with it) at the FINA Champions Series. Pickrem swam a 2:09.26 to beat out Hosszu’s 2nd-place time of 2:09.93.

That breaks a 56-final winning streak for Hosszu across long course meters and short course meters swimming. Her last loss in the event in either course came at the 2017 FFN Golden Tour stop in Amiens, France where she swam a 2:15.36 to place 3rd behind Cyrielle Duhamel and Fantine Lesaffre of the home nation. That swim came during a meet where she had a whopping 31 swims in 3 days of racing, entering literally every event on offer, which came with a certain measure of fatigue. In 64 finals or timed finals swims since the start of 2017, Hosszu has lost only twice.

Fatigue may have played a factor in Sunday’s defeat as well: the swim was Hosszu’s 3rd of the day and 5th of the weekend, though for a January swim by her standards, a 2:09.9 is not a bad performance either.

For Pickrem, who took bronze in this race at the 2019 World Championships, her winning time is the 7th-fastest performance of her career in long course. Pickrem has swum well in this series in the past – her lifetime best came from the Indianapolis stop of last year’s Champions Series, when she swam 2:08.61 (to finish 2nd behind Hosszu). Pickrem’s best time at the World Championships was 2:08.70, which was not far off.

This is also a rebound swim for Pickrem, who was 2:10.84, a second-and-a-half slower, less than a week ago in the series opener in Shenzhen.

Hosszu won only 1 of her 7 races in Beijing, which was her first swim of the weekend in the 200 back. Among other losses: the 200 fly on Sunday, where she placed 2nd in 2:08.56. That put her behind fellow Hungarian Lilian Szilagyi. Szilagyi is one of a small remaining core of swimmers still training with Shane Tusup, who is both Hosszu’s former coach and former husband.

Pickrem Beijing Results:

  • 200 backstroke – 3rd place – 3:12.78 (Day 1)
  • 200 breaststroke – 4th place – 2:30.31 (Day 1)
  • 200 IM – 1st place – 2:09.26 (Day 2)
  • 100 breaststroke – 4th place – 1:10.12 (Day 2)

Hosszu Beijing Results:

  • 200 backstroke – 1st place – 2:09.95 (Day 1)
  • 100 butterfly – 4th place – 1:00.20 (Day 1)
  • 200 butterfly – 2nd place – 2:08.56 (Day 2)
  • 100 backstroke – 4th place – 1:01.24 (Day 2)
  • 200 IM – 2nd place – 2:09.93 (Day 2)
  • 200 free – 4th place – 2:06.89 (Day 2)
  • 400 medley relay – 3rd place – 1:02.34 butterfly split (Day 2)

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Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

“Fatigue may have played a factor…” No kidding.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Have to agree with you. She wasn’t slow enough for he 4th place in 100bk to warm down and to get ready for the race with Pickrem.

3 years ago

This article sounds like obituary. It was a fast swim for both Pickrem and Hosszu and would rank last season #8 and #9 respectively. Such things don’t happen frequently at these series.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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