Day 7 of the FINA World Championships is a sprinter’s paradise and we will get to see some of the swiftest athletes in Kazan compete today.
We will begin with the women’s 50 free, and this may be one of the hardest races to call all week. Although Australia’s Cate Campbell and Great Britain’s Fran Halsall have the fastest times entering the competition, there will be a slew of other sprinters duking it out for good lane positioning tight. At this point, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom’s accolades from this week need no further detailing, and it would be foolhardy to discount her from contending for a top time this morning. Additionally, Cate’s sister, Bronte Campbell, has already snagged individual and relay gold at these Championships, including a gold in the 100 free last night, so she will be another swimmer expected to perform well in prelims. Finally, the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo is the defending World Champion in this event, and will get some great racing in with Halsall right next to her.
The men’s 50 back will feature several names from both the 100 and 200 meter variants of the discipline, and everyone’s eyes might be trained on Australia’s Mitch Larkin. Larkin will be looking for a sweep of the backstroke golds this week following his triumphs in the 100 back on Day 3 and the 200 on Day 6, and though he typically gets faster as the distance increases, there is no telling what the rising star is capable of doing every time he dives into the pool.
It certainly will not be easy for Larkin, as a multitude of top-tier sprinters will stand in his way. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov has yet to medal individually at these Championships, and he will be hungry for an event title with the top seed in the event. French speedster Camille Lacourt, the reigning World Champion in this event, will likely state his case for being the one to beat along the way as well, and the United States’ Matt Grevers and David Plummer will try to provide some big swims to get the Americans going.
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte will attempt to outdo Russia’s Yuliya Efimova today in the 50 breast after the latter robbed the former of an event title in the 100 Breast on Day 3. Efimova was not as sharp in the 200 breast though, and as the two are racing right next to each other in the final heat this morning, the touch could go to either way in prelims. The United States’ Jessica Hardy and Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson will be nipping at their heels along the way, and given that Atkinson took bronze in the 100 breast earlier this week, there is no doubt that she’ll be ready for her strongest race.
After the fireworks that resulted from multiple world records falling in the 4×100 Mixed Medley relay earlier this week, the crowd will be treated to the second mixed relay of the wee in the form of the 4×100 Mixed Free relay. Australia should be considered an early favorite due to the success of the Campbell sisters at these Championships, but as usual, the morning relays typically look quite a bit different than the finals rosters, so nothing conclusive can be said of this session’s expectations just yet.
Finally, we will conclude this morning’s action with the Men’s 1500 Free, and once again, China’s Sun Yang will be the one to keep track of in the early going. He may face some adversity from Canada’s Ryan Cochrane and Italy’s Grigorio Paltrinieri (who actually holds the top time in the world this year), but it would be shocking to see Yang not perform in his best race. Also of importance in this field are Australia’s Mack Horton and the United States’ Connor Jaeger, and as many of these swimmers are racing each other in the final two heats, we should see a very tight field for the morning swim as these swimmers pace off each other.
2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Pool swimming: Sunday, August 2nd – Sunday, August 9th
- Prelims 9:30AM/Finals 5:30PM (Local Time)
- Kazan Arena Stadium
- Kazan, Russia (UTC+3 hours)
- Full coverage
- All sport medal tables
- Live stream (Universal Sports)
- Schedule and Results
WOMEN’S 50M FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
- 2013 World Champion: Ranomi Kromowidjojo, NED – 24.05
- World Record: 23.73 – Britta Steffen, GER – 2009
- Championship Record: 23.73 – Britta Steffen, GER – 2009
Cate Campbell made the 50 free look as easy as it possible could en route to posting the top time morning at 24.40. Campbell will be very difficult to beat if she makes the semifinals and finals look as easy as her prelims swim, though she will be in tough company in the subsequent rounds.
Bahamas’ Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was out like a gun and never looked back on her way to going a 24.43. She stands second amongst all prelims participants and her fantastic start allowed her to keep Swedish superstar Sarah Sjostrom at bay on back half of the race. Sjostrom slipped in behind her at a 24.53 to post the third fastest time of the morning.
The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo also used a great start and underwaters to secure a heat win and post a 24.62. She will need to be a bit faster if she wants to challenge the likes of Cate Campbell and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace. tonight for a good lane in finals.
The USA’s Simone Manuel was not her best this morning, but her 24.91 will be more than enough to secure a second swim tonight. She sits at 11th going into semis.
Top 16: Campbell, AUS; Vanderpool-Wallace, BAH; Sjostrom, SWE; Kromowidjojo, NED; Ottesen, DEN; Brandt, GER; Campbell, AUS; Halsall, GBR; Xiang, CHN; Santamans, FRA; Manuel, USA; Van Landeghem, CAN; Medeiros, BRA; Williams, CAN; Blume, DEN; Kameneva; RUS
MEN’S 50M BACKSTROKE – PRELIMS
- 2013 World Champion: Camille Lacourt, FRA – 24.42
- World Record: 24.04 – Liam Tancock, GBR – 2009
- Championship Record: 24.04 – Liam Tancock, GBR – 2009
France’s Camille Lacourt came from behind to pass Matt Grevers to post the top time out of Heat 5 with a 24.56. Though Grevers overpowered Lacourt on the start and commanded an early lead, Lacourt utilized his superior closing speed to take the heat and also match his third-ranked seed time entering the meet. Grevers would record the second-fastest time of the morning at 24.68.
Also performing well this morning were Australians Ben Treffers (24.74) and Mitch Larkin (24.77). Larkin is looking for a sweep of the backstroke golds, though it will be very difficult for him to overcome Lacourt, who has looked fantastic in the 50 meter distance all year along.
David Plummer also had a respectable swim this morning with a 24.79 to stand 5th after all the heats were completed.
Surprisingly disappointing was Russia’s Vladimir Morozov who swam a 25.27 for 13th overall. This was almost a full three-quarters of a second slower than his entry time, and he will need to be considerably faster if he wants to even compete in finals in an event that he entered with the top time in the world.
Top 16: Lacourt, FRA; Grevers, USA; Treffers, AUS; Larkin, AUS; Plummer, USA; Tancock, GBR; Sankovich, BLR; Schwarz; GER; Kopelev, ISR; Sabbioni, ITA; Polewka, POL; Tarasevich, RUS; Morozov, RUS; Soli, NOR; Ortiz-Canavate, ESP; Guido, BRA (SWIMOFF REQUIRED)
WOMEN’S 50M BREASTSTROKE – PRELIMS
- 2013 World Champion: Yuliya Efimova, RUS – 29.52
- World Record: 29.48 – Ruta Meilutyte, LTU – 2013
- Championship Record: 29.48 – Ruta Meilutyte, LTU – 2013
With Russia’s Yuliya Efimova in her wake, Ruta Meilutyte put on a display of speed this morning by posting a blazing fast 29.74 out of the final heat to lead all qualifiers. As always, Meilutyte was very quick off the blocks and she did not seem shaken at all following her surprise loss to Efimova in the 100 breast from earlier this week. She remains the one to beat entering the semifinal rounds tonight. Efimova is sitting at 5th overall with a 30.45.
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson got out fast with her trademark speed and didn’t relinquish her lead in the first circle-seeded heat en route to going a 30.27. She has dipped under 30 seconds before, so it is likely that the crowd was just given a little preview of what she is capable of doing in the big heats. Sweden’s Jennie Johansson is sitting right behind her at a 30.30 from the following heat.
Jessica Hardy looked fairly controlled this morning and her 30.44 is seeded 4th after prelims. As the former world record holder in this event, Hardy has plenty of experience in the shortest of breaststroke races, and she will have some great competition to help her get close to a sub-30 second swim tonight.
Top 16: Meilutyte, LTU; Atkinson, JAM; Johansson, SWE; Hardy, USA; Efimova, RUS; Liver, UKR; Lecluyse, BEL; Laukkanen, FIN; Nijhuis, NED; Carraro, ITA; Nicol, CAN; Castiglioni, ITA; Luthersdottir, ISL; Ran, CHN; Chocova, CZE; Tonks, AUS
MIXED 4x100M Freestyle Relay – PRELIMS
- 2013 World Champion: N/A
- World Record: 3:23.29 – AUS – 2014
- Championship Record: N/A
The United States foursome of Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte, Margo Geer, and Abby Weitzeil combined to post a 3:24.51 to lead all teams this morning in the Mixed 4×100 Free relay. Lochte and Geer provided the key splits of 48.43 and 53.12 respectively to help the Americans this morning, and we can expect multiple replacements to take place before the final relay is assembled tonight.
Russia also put together a respectable swim with a 3:25.23 to finish second behind the Americans. Nikita Lobintsev was the only swimmer to clear 48 seconds this morning with a 47.97 on the second leg of the relay. They will also have room for improvement with Vladimir Morozov not competing in the relay this morning.
Surprisingly absent from the event was Australia, the team that arguably had the best chance of winning this event if the nation had assembled its optimal relay in the finals session. Additionally, both France and Germany failed to qualify for finals with their swims in prelim.
Top 8: USA, RUS, ITA, SWE, NED, CHN, CAN, BRA
MEN’S 1500M FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
- 2013 World Champion: Sun Yang, CHN – 14:41.15
- World Record: 14:31.02– Sun Yang, CHN – 2012
- Championship Record: 14:34.14 – Sun Yang, CHN – 2011
Italy’s Grigorio Paltrinieri was 6th at the very first wall, but that would be the last time he did not lead for the rest of the race this morning. Paltrinieri swam to a 14:51.04 to post the fastest time of the morning, and judging from how he looked after the race, he has plenty left in him for tomorrow’s final.
Connor Jaeger qualified second with a 14:53.34, and this will give him fantastic lane positioning in the final. He will have Paltrinieri on one side and world record holder Sun Yang (14:55.11) on the other, so pacing will not be an issue for the America come tomorrow evening. Oddly enough, only 0.85 seconds separated 3rd-6th place, and though Yang looked very relaxed over the last 200 meters of the race, we may actually see some exciting races for the bronze as well.
Michael McBroom will also swim in the final with a 14:57.07 to qualify 7th. Surprisingly, Australia’s Mack Horton did not qualify for a second swim as he finished 11th with a mediocre 15:00.51 out of the second circle-seeded heat.
Top 8: Paltrinieri, ITA; Jaeger, USA; Yang, CHN; Milne, GBR; Ahmed, EGY; Cochrane, CAN; McBroom, USA; Romanchuk, UKR