Headed To Hangzhou: Dahlia Could Capture Triple Gold


  • Tuesday, December 11th – Sunday, December 16th
  • Tennis Centre, Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Center, Hangzhou, China
  • SCM
  • Provisional Entry List

Without fly queen Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Pan Pacs champion Rikako Ikee of Japan among the competitors headed to Hangzhou, the women’s 50m, 100m and 200m fly events may prove to be some of the most surprising races of the meet.

Although Dutch Olympian Ranomi Kromowidjojo holds one of only two sub-25 second 50m fly of the field set to compete, it’s a furious race to the wall in which anything can happen.

American Kelsi Dahlia collected multiple fly medals at this meet in Windsor in 2016 and has had a stellar 2018 already with an American Record in the 100m fly. But, Hungarian Katinka Hosszu comes in as the defending gold medalist and may seek to her dual fly titles in the 100 and 200 and add to her historic career medal count.

Women’s 50 Butterfly:

  • World Record – 24.38, Therese Alshammar (SWE), 2009
  • SC World Championships Record – 24.58, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2014 Doha
  • 2016 Champion – 24.92, Jeanette Ottesen (DEN)

As in the 50m free and 100m free throughout this year’s World Cup Series, Kromowidjojo went back-and-forth with Sjostrom in this sprint fly race. Kromo’s personal best and world-leading effort of 24.51 from the Series added a textile World Record to the Dutch Olympian’s resume, with her time sitting only 2nd in history to the suited 24.38 thrown down by Therese Alshammar back in 2009.

At the 2016 edition of these Short Course World Championships, Kromo was entered to swim the 50m, but wound up not swimming it, so we’ll get to see her try to follow-up her 2017 Short Course European Championships title with her first World Championships gold in this SCM event in Hangzhou.

But she won’t be the only racer carrying a sub-25 second time into the competition, as USA’s Kelsi Dahlia busted out a near-personal best of 24.97 to land as the 4th ranked swimmer in the world this season.

The former Louisville Cardinal and NCAA champion holds a personal best and American Record of 24.94 from the heats in Windsor, but wound up touching in 25.27 in the final that year to claim silver behind Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen. Dahlia’s heats effort has her listed as the 9th fastest performer of all-time and with another sub-25 under her belt from Budapest, the 24-year-old is on the right path for a medal.

China’s Zhang Yufei notched a personal best of 25.31 already this season, while Kromo’s teammate Maaike De Waard was just .01 behind with a season-best of 25.32. She’s been as fast as 25.24 just last year and wound up taking Short Course European Championships bronze in 25.46.

Russia’s Rozaliya Nasretdinova also collected a personal best of 25.37 this season, while Aussie stalwart Holly Barratt should be in the mix with her 11th ranked time in the world of 25.61.

Predictions for Women’s 50 Butterfly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Ranomi Kromowidjojo NED 24.51 24.51
2 Kelsi Dahlia USA 24.97 24.94
3 Maaike De Waard NED 25.32 25.24
4 Zhang Yufei CHN 25.31 25.31
5 Rozaliya Nasretdinova RUS 25.37 25.37
6 Holly Barratt AUS 25.61 25.61
7 Arina Surkova RUS 25.71 25.71
8 Kendyl Stewart USA 25.73 25.73

Women’s 100 Butterfly:

Dahlia is hungry for gold in this 100m fly event after finishing with the silver behind Hungarian Katinka Hosszu back in 2016. The American has already busted out a new personal best, World Cup and American Record of 54.84 to sit as the 2nd fastest swimmer ever in the event. Only World Record holder Sjostrom has been faster with her mark of 54.61.

Dahlia registered the only sub-55 second time of 2018 of those competing in Hangzhou, which means if she’s on form, it will be her race to lose. But, if Hosszu indeed races the event, we all know of what the Iron Lady is capable when it comes to collecting the top prize in any event she swims. She holds a personal best and National Record effort of 55.12 that gave her gold in Windsor, so the seasoned veteran has history on her side.

Fellow stars n’ stripes swimmer Kendyl Stewart also threw down a personal best in this 100m fly event this year, notching a mighty 56.47 to check-in among the top 25 performers in history. Ahead of her in terms of personal bests, however, are Svetlana Chimrova of Russia and Kimberly Buys of Belgium. Both National Record holders, Russian Chimrova owns a PB of 45.39, while Belgium’s Buys carries a career-fastest of 56.44.

Japan may see a finalist in the top 8 in Ikee’s absence in the form of Ai Soma. The 21-year-old has been making strides in this event, notching a lifetime best of 57.19 en route to qualifying for Hangzhou.

Predictions for Women’s 100 Butterfly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Kelsi Dahlia USA 54.84 54.84
2 Katinka Hosszu HUN N/A 55.12
3 Zhang Yufei CHN 55.87 55.87
4 Svetlana Chimrova RUS 57.07 56.39
5 Kimberly Buys BEL 56.73 56.44
6 Kendyl Stewart USA 56.47 56.47
7 Wang Yichun CHN 57.13 57.04
8 Ai Soma JPN 57.19 57.19

Women’s 200 Butterfly:

The 2016 Short Course World Champion Hosszu is also leading the world heading into Hangzhou with her 2:02.86 effort from the World Cup Series. Hosszu is in fact the only swimmer in the world with a sub-2:03 time, as China’s Zhang Yufei resides in the #2 spot with a mark of 2:03.09, a lifetime best. That’s a significant jump ahead of what Zhang produced in 2016, a 2:05.10 for bronze.

American Dahlia will certainly be in the mix for a medal, carrying a solid 2:03.31 into the event, but holding the American Record and PB of 2:02.89 from 2016. That mark gave her the silver behind Hosszu and she has potential to take at least the 100/200 fly double in Hangzhou.

Japan will have two strong competitors in Suzuka Hasegawa and Nao Kobayashi. The former has only been as fast as 2:04.36 this year, but holds a career-fastest of 2:02.96, the 3rd quickest among the field. Kobayashi collected a PB this year in 2:05.51 and may now be hitting her prime at a later 25 years of age.

Predictions for Women’s 200 Butterfly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Katinka Hosszu HUN 2:02.86 2:01.12
2 Kelsi Dahlia USA 2:03.31 2:02.89
3 Zhang Yufei CHN 2:03.09 2:03.09
4 Svetlana Chimrova RUS 2:05.03 2:04.36
5 Suzuka Hasegawa JPN 2:04.36 2:02.96
6 Lara Grangeon FRA 2:09.10 2:03.85
7 Nao Kobayashi JPN 2:05.51 2:05.51
8 Andrea Berrino ARG 2:05.72 2:05.72

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2 years ago

Looking forward to see her shine in SC meters !!!!

Jambo Sana
2 years ago

I think her best chance is the 100M. Kromo in the 50 and Hosszu in the 200.

2 years ago

Would be interesting to compare Hosszu-2018 vs Hosszu-2016. What will be the level of decline if any. It would be her first major meet after the breakup with Shane Tusup. This comparison may give some idea what to expect from Hosszu in 2 years and if she be of any factor in disciplines where she won gold medals in Rio Olympics.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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