Five Races To Watch At The Opening Leg of the 2022 FINA World Cup In Berlin


The opening leg of the 2022 FINA World Cup circuit is set to kick off on Friday from Berlin, as a stacked field of swimmers will compete in a three-day affair under the traditional short course meters format.


Location Prelims Finals
Berlin, Germany (local) 8:30 am 7:00 pm
New York, USA 2:30 am 1:00 pm
Los Angeles, USA 11:30 pm (day prior) 10:00 am
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 3:30 am 2:00 pm
Tokyo, Japan 3:30 pm 2:00 am (next day)
Sydney, Australia 5:30 pm 4:00 am (next day)

With the International Swimming League (ISL) canceling its 2022 season, this edition of the FINA World Cup has brought more excitement to the sport than it has in recent years, and that fact can be seen simply by looking at the entry lists.

The confirmed names for the series are full of Olympic and World Championship medalists, including a star-studded list primarily made up of Europeans set to compete in Berlin.

The talent across all of the events in Berlin made it difficult to whittle a list of must-see races down to five, but we’ve done our best.

Below, find five key races to watch this weekend in Berlin, along with a few honorable mentions.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

One of the first events on the Day 1 schedule, the men’s 100 fly features a stacked field with eight swimmers entered under 50 seconds, including six of the eight finalists from the 2021 Short Course World Championships.

Reigning world champion Matteo Rivolta comes in as the top seed at 48.64, and American Tom Shields joins the Italian with a sub-49 entry time at 48.67—a swim he produced in Berlin during last year’s FINA World Cup. Shields actually swept the men’s 100 fly during last year’s circuit, winning all four stops.

Former world record holder and SC Worlds runner-up Chad Le Clos is seeded third, while other finalists from the 2021 SC World Championships include Olympic bronze medalist Noe Ponti, Austrian Simon Bucher and Poland’s Jakub Majerski.

2019 SC European champion Marius Kusch and Hungarian sprinting dynamo Szebasztian Szabo are others entered sub-50, while American Shaine Casas, Italian Thomas Ceccon and Frenchman Mehdy Metella are lurking down a bit on the psych sheets but promise to be dangerous.

Casas in particular should be a contender for the victory after a phenomenal summer that included a 50.40 LCM swim.

Women’s 100 Back

All three women’s backstroke events promise to be exciting, but the 100 back stands above the rest.

Reigning SC world champion Louise Hansson will go head-to-head with Canadian Kylie Masse, who was the runner-up to Hansson last year in Abu Dhabi by just two one-hundredths of a second.

That race saw Hansson (55.20) and Masse (55.22) become the fifth and sixth-fastest performers in history.

Ingrid WilmBeata Nelson and Maaike de Waard give this event a whopping five women seeded under 56 seconds, making this a must-see race.

Men’s 200 Free

The men’s 200 free will feature a rematch of sorts between Australian Kyle Chalmers and South African Matt Sates, who went head-to-head in the event last year in both Berlin and Budapest.

Sates got the better of Chalmers both times, but the races were captivating. Particularly so in Berlin, where both men went under 1:41 and Sates broke the World Junior Record in 1:40.65.

They’ll renew hostilities on Sunday, but they’ll have several other contenders to deal with, including Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, American Kieran Smith and Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic.

Another notable name on the entry lists is Chad Le Clos, and although his fastest days in this event might be behind him, he still has the ability to have an impact on the race with his fearless front-end speed.

Women’s 400 Free

After she was forced to pull out of the World Championships in June, the return to competition for double Olympic silver medalist Siobhan Haughey is something fans have been looking forward to for the last few months.

Haughey, who is coming off of altitude training, has been a dominant force in the SCM pool in recent years, lighting up the ISL while rolling to victory in the women’s 100 and 200 free at the 2021 SC Worlds.

While she’s the odds-on favorite to win those events in Berlin, the most interesting battle she’ll have will likely come in the 400 free, where she’ll take on Americans Hali Flickinger and Paige Madden, plus Germany’s Isabel Gose, Australian Madison Wilson, and Czech Republic’s Barbora Seemanova.

Haughey and Flickinger had a memorable duel in this event during the ISL Final last December, where Haughey (3:58.80) emerged victorious by just 11 one-hundredths of a second

The women’s 400 free will also be the first event on the schedule, so it will be a good gauge to see where Haughey is at in her training right off the bat.

Men’s 1500 Free

The longest race in swimming isn’t generally factored into the “must-see” category when previewing a competition, but the impending battle between Florian Wellbrock and Mykhailo Romanchuk puts the men’s 1500 free on this list.

The two men represent the last two short course world champions and two of the three swimmers ever under 14:10. Romanchuk won the 2018 world title in 14:09.14, and Wellbrock set the world record of 14:06.88 last year in Abu Dhabi.

Romanchuk is also coming off a defiant gold medal victory in this event at the LC European Championships in August, while Wellbrock sat out of the event after a recent bout with COVID-19.

Assuming Wellbrock has returned to form, the two men should have a memorable head-to-head battle in the 1500 that could very well come down to the last 25 meters.

Honorable Mentions

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3 months ago

I’m curious what’s going on with Lochte? I know he said he wanted to compete at the World Cup.

ferrari owner
3 months ago

love the kyle chat

3 months ago

What’s Popovici’s next meet? Is he going to SCM Worlds or just focusing on 2023 now? Obviously long course is his specialty but I wonder if he has ambitions to take down Chalmers 100free SCM WR?

Last edited 3 months ago by Hank
Reply to  Hank
3 months ago

He won’t be able to break the 100 scm anytime soon he doesn’t have the power right now. I’m sure he could take down the 200 if he swam it in shape without much resistance,

Reply to  Hank
3 months ago

He will participate in December, but recently said that short races are not his specialty.

Reply to  Hank
3 months ago

He needs a little more time to get up to speed.

Reply to  Nicky
3 months ago

It’s OK. Long course vs. short course swimming is similar in importance to outdoor vs indoor track in athletics.

Reply to  Hank
3 months ago

It’s even more than that. For 95% of the world’s population, the Olympics is all that matters. A few people care about WRs and WCs… and then everything else is pretty unimportant but is good fun for hardcore swimming fans.

Negative Nora (they/them)
3 months ago

Chalmers entered in the 50 breast 🙊

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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