Headed To Hangzhou: Le Clos Defends The World In Men’s Fly Events


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

The reigning men’s 50m fly World Record holder, Nicholas Santos of Brazil, will indeed be racing in Hangzhou, as will the reigning 100m/200m fly World Record holder Chad Le Clos. May we see one or more of those marks go down by the time all is done and dusted in China? America’s Caeleb Dressel, Japan’s Daiya Seto and France’s Mehdy Metella, among many others, may have something to say about that as we gear up for the men’s fly events at the 2018 Short Course World Championships.

Men’s 50 Butterfly:

A 50 of any discipline is such a furious demonstration of raw speed that swimmers around the world have proven that anything can happen. However, there is one man who stands alone as having clocked the only sub-22 second outing this season, the aforementioned World Record holder Santos of Brazil. At a mind-bending 38 years of age, there’s still no stopping this Olympian and 2017 World Champion.

But, a newly-minted American Record holder in Andrew will certainly try, as the 19-year-old threw down a 22.32 personal best just several weeks ago during the World Cup circuit. That mark places him as the 7th fastest performer all-time and puts him in the conversation for at least a minor medal.

The Race Pace Club swimmer won’t be the only American in the fight, as 7-time World Champion Dressel has also proven he’s almost untouchable when it comes to the sprints. Although his racing resume is devoid of short course meters times in the 50 and 100 fly, Dressel has proven he’s got the chops in virtually any environment. His 22.76 LCM time from the 2017 World Championships semi-finals converts to a super solid 22.00, a mark that should make it onto the podium in Hangzhou.

We can’t leave out the Russian rocket in Vlad Morozov, however. The man has been on a tear throughout the World Cup and is primed to carry that momentum into Hangzhou. He holds a personal best and Russian National Record of 22.17 in this 50m fly, a time that positions him only behind Santos and Le Clos in the current world rankings.

For his part, Le Clos’ personal best is the 21.95 he threw down in 2014 in Doha and the South African has already clocked a speedy 22.09 this year to place him in contention to defend his 2016 title.

Britain’s Ben Proud, just 1 of 3 competitors headed to Hangzhou from his nation, is extra hungry in this men’s 50m fly, though, after being disqualified at this year’s Commonwealth Games, relinquishing his attempt to defend that title. At the European Championships later this summer, the 24-year-old settled for silver behind Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov, who is not competing here in China. As such, Proud will make the most of his opportunity to pull an upset and finally come home with the gold in 2018 in this event.

Brazilian sources tell SwimSwam that Cesar Cielo will not be racing the 50 fly.

Predictions for Men’s 50 fly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Nicholas Santos BRA 21.75 21.75
2 Caeleb Dressel USA N/A N/A
3 Ben Proud GBR N/A 22.18
4 Chad Le Clos RSA 22.09 22.09
5 Vlad Morozov RUS 22.17 22.17
6 Michael Andrew USA 22.32 22.32
7 Takeshi Kawamoto JPN 22.49 22.49
8 Yauhen Tsurkin BLR 22.61 22.45

Men’s 100 Butterfly:

Again, with no SCM data for Dressel, we’ll have to infer his possible performance in the 100 fly in Hangzhou based off of his impressive racing in other formats. Enter the 100m fly at the 2017 World Championships. In Budapest, the former Florida Gator threw down a monster time of 49.86 to crush gold and come within just hundredths of legendary Michael Phelps’ World Record. That time converts to a SCM mark of 48.46, which would rival any swimmer in the world next week.

Fellow American Jack Conger is another one with no SCM data in this event, but the former Texas Longhorn holds a personal best LCM time of 51.00 from March of this year. That converts to 49.60 in LCM and puts the 24-year-old right in the top 8 discussion.

Japanese standout Takeshi Kawamoto has been building up momentum, however, as the relative unknown swimmer busted out a new National Record-setting effort of 49.60 just this past October. That now places Kawamoto as #16 on the all-time performers list and he’ll look to outperform his Chinese rival Li Zhuhao. Although Zhuhao’s 2018 best is just 50.74, the 19-year-old holds his nation’s record with the 49.53 he produced during the World Cup last year.

Frenchman Mehdy Metella is also on that all-time performers list with a 2018 outing, as he notched a mark of 49.71 during the World Cup. That places him as the 20th fastest performer of all-time and he sits behind Kawamoto as the 3rd fastest swimmer this year.

Brazilian sources tell SwimSwam Nicholas Santos will not be racing the 100 fly.

Predictions for Men’s 100 Butterfly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Caeleb Dressel USA N/A N/A
2 Chad Le Clos RSA 49.22 48.08
3 Takeshi Kawamoto JPN 49.60 49.60
4 Li Zhuhao CHN 50.74 49.53
5 Mehdy Metella FRA 49.71 49.71
6 Jack Conger USA N/A N/A
7 Marius Kusch GER 50.27 50.01
8 Matteo Rivolta ITA 50.82 49.54

Men’s 200 Butterfly:

Even with cutting his World Cup circuit short this year, reigning World Record holder Le Clos is positioned as the 2nd fastest swimmer in 2018 with a time of 1:50.29. The man is the defending 2016 World Champion and has been under the 1:50 mark enough to make it almost automatic.

However, Seto of Japan is thirsty, getting a taste of victory with his bronze medal in this event at the 2017 World Championships. He’s since won gold at this year’s Pan Pacific Championships, as well as the Asian Games. His 2018 best is 1:49.87, which establishes him as the world leader, but he holds a personal best of 1:48.92. That makes the ANA athlete the 2nd fastest performer in history only behind Le Clos.

Fellow Japanese athlete Yuya Yajima ranks within the top 5 times in the world this season with his 1:51.80 from the Budapest World Cup. That puts him into contention for at least a minor medal if he can bring his A-game to Hangzhou.

Chinese competitor Zhuhao will also be lurking in this event, carrying a season-best effort of 1:50.91 into the meet. Competing on his home turf may give this 19-year-old an advantage over the likes of Americans Zach Harting and Justin Wright, the relative newcomers contesting this event for the stars n’ stripes.

Wright carries a SCM personal best of 1:59.07, that time is from way back in 2013 and the Arizona student-athlete has made great strides since then. His personal best LCM time in this event of 1:54.63 translates to a SCM mark of 1:51.82, a time that should be enough to land in the top 8 in Hangzhou.

Harting’s LCM career-fastest is the 1:55.05 he threw down at this year’s Pan Pacs. Although that doesn’t venture into sub-1:52 territory, the Louisville swimmer can still thrown down the swim of his life to proceed into the final.

Predictions for Men’s 200 Butterfly:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Chad Le Clos RSA 1:50.29 1:48.56
2 Daiya Seto JPN 1:49.87 1:48.92
3 Li Zhuhao CHN 1:50.92 1:50.92
4 Yuya Yajima JPN 1:51.80 1:51.80
5 Aleksandr Kharlanov RUS 1:51.20 1:50.54
6 Nicholas Brown AUS 1:52.29 1:52.29
7 Kuan-Hung Wang TPE 1:52.38 1:52.38
8 Justin Wright USA N/A 1:59.07


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Dressel has the fly sprints with his walls. His LCM bests are incredible, but add in his walls and he’s on his way to victory.

Reply to  NSwim
3 years ago

yep i beleive that too

3 years ago

Based on the All-time best times of the 200 fly I think Altamir and de Deus have a shot at final and maybe even minor medal.. they went 1:51:54 and 1:51:86 on Finkel this year

Caleb Dressel Will Win 7 Golds in Tokyo
3 years ago

Dressel wins 50 and 100 if he is in NCAA shape, Chad wins 200 no problem.

Bear drinks beer

Seto is in good shape to fight for 200 fly gold.🙂

3 years ago

The real question is does Dressel put his head down the last 25 in SCM?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  SwimSam
3 years ago

The real question is which Dressel shows up? The 49.8 Dressel or the Pan-Pacs Dressel.

The Ready Room
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Depends on whether he gets in a motorcycle accident within the next few days, I would guess.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Before rushing to judgement, if you recall he was injured before Pan Pacs, he was not sloughing off.

Reply to  SwimSam
3 years ago


3 years ago

Seems a bit crazy that at 49.8 LCM 100 fly doesn’t convert closer to 100 SCM WR. Wonder what 42 high yards converts to in SCM

Reply to  PhillyMark
3 years ago

46.7 according to swimswam

Reply to  PhillyMark
3 years ago


Reply to  PhillyMark
3 years ago

About 30% of LC race is under water while about up to 60% of SC is. Underwater = faster

3 years ago

42.8 SCY and 49.8 LCM….if he’s in shape that WR is going down

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

Read More »