Headed To Hangzhou: Morozov Primed For Sprints, Pieroni Takes On 200


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

One of the marquee events of the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships is the men’s 50m freestyle, where the likes of American Caeleb DresselBrit Ben Proud and Russian Vlad Morozov will vie for title of fastest man in the world.

Taking a look at the 3 aforementioned history-makers, Morozov has the most recent short course experience by way of his FINA World Cup Series presence. Not only was the Russian the overall circuit winner for the men, collecting $332,400 in the process, the former USC Trojan fired off several World Cup Records before the series closed out.

One of those came in the 50 freestyle, where Morozov earned a mark of 20.49, just off his own personal best and 3rd fastest time in history of 20.31. He also nabbed a monster 100m freestyle World Cup Record of 44.95, a result which made him just the 2nd man ever to dip under the 45-second threshold in the SCM version of the event.

Both of those marks obliterated what Morozov produced at the 2016 edition of the Short Course World Championships. Although he took silver behind surprise 50m freestyle gold medalist Jesse Puts of Netherlands in Windsor, Morozov produced a mere 21.14 in the final. The now-26-year-old fared much worse in the 100m event at those championships, where Morozov found himself in the 18th position and well out of the semi-finals with a pedestrian 47.82.

Although his short course racing resume isn’t as stacked as Morozov’s, Proud still stands as the 9th fastest performer ever in the men’s SCM 50 freestyle event. His time of 20.66 earned a National Record and secured silver behind the Russian and his aforementioned personal best of 20.31 that took gold back in 2016.

More recently, on the long course track, Proud threw down a monster 50m free time of 21.11 to become the 4th fastest performer ever in the event. Competing in the men’s 50 freestyle at this year’s European Championships, British speedster Ben Proud threw down the heat, clocking a monster time of 21.11. That erased his own personal best and British National Record of 21.16 he set just weeks prior at the 2018 Sette Colli to become the 3rd fastest performer ever in the event, .04 ahead of Dressel.

Although Proud rarely swims the 100 free, with only 3 members of the British squad attending Hangzhou, there’s a chance we may see the stud tackle that ‘long event’ just because it’s there.

For Dressel, the 2017 World Championships 7-time medalist, too, has scant short course racing under his belt, with no times on record in either the 50 or 100. We all know of what the man is capable in long course and the former Florida Gator is a pure thoroughbred who can seemingly throw down a world-class 50m or 100m free whenever duty calls. Therefore, we’ve kept him as 4th in our 50 predictions and 3rd in our 100 predictions, knowing he’s a bit untested in short course.

Another American, young gun Michael Andrew, has proven he’s a genuine threat in the 50m, going head-to-head with Morozov over every World Cup stop. Andrew holds a season-best effort of 20.94, proving he’s got the short course chops to match his 4 long course American National titles from this past summer.

The aforementioned Dutch 2016 Short Course World Championships Jesse Puts will be hard-pressed to defend his 50m title from 2016, as he barely made it onto his nation’s squad to even qualify for Hangzhou. He was discretionarily added to the Dutch roster, even though the Windsor gold medalist missed the minimum qualification standard. His season-best sits at the 21.18 clocked at the 2018 ISF in Aachen.

Although Japan will be without its freestyle ace and silver medalist from Windsor, Shinri Shioura, who is out due to tonsillitis recovery, countryman and National Record holder Katsumi Nakamura will try to carry on the podium placement streak for the nation in the 100m event. Although he holds a solid 21.21 50 SCM free time from earlier this season, his 46.56 100 free from his nation’s Short Course Worlds Selection meet casts more of a shadow across would-be rivals.

Another one to watch specifically in the 50 is Greece’s Kristian Gkolomeev. The 25-year-old former Alabama swimmer has been red-hot, coming off of 2 National Records at the Mediterranean Games this summer. One of those was the LCM 50 free, where he nailed a time of 21.66 that converts to 20.85 in SCM.

Brazil’s Cesar Cielo, who is the 5th fastest performer ever in the 50 SCM event, bowed out of the South American Championships. This very well may be the 31-year-old’s final World Championships, so he’ll be looking to go out guns blazing and has already been sub-21 this year.

Italy’s Alessandro Miressiwho became this year’s Long Course European Champion in the event with a winning time of 48.01, has the potential to fire off a superb swim to put his name in the ring for a possible 100 freestyle minor medal as well.

However, American Olympians Blake Pieroni and Jack Conger may be on the blocks for the 100m, with Pieroni carrying an American Record of 46.25 in the event. Both men will most likely also contest the 200m free, where Pieroni once again holds an impressive time from his World Cup racing. In fact, the former Hoosier is positioned as the fastest man in the world right now SCM with the 1:41.15 thrown down in Singapore.

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos earned silver behind Korea’s Park Tae Hwan in the 200m free at the 2016 edition of these Short Course World Championships, but, without Park, Le Clos has one less competitor on which to pounce to land on the podium. In addition to the stars n’ stripes squad, Le Clos will also still battle Russian Aleksandr Krasnykh, the 4th ranked swimmer in the world.


  • WORLD RECORD: 20.26 – Florent Manaudou (FRA), 2014 Short Course World Championships, Doha
  • CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD: 20.26 – Florent Manaudou (FRA), 2014 Doha
  • 2016 WORLD CHAMPION: 21.10 – Jesse Puts (NED)

Predictions** for Hangzhou:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Vlad Morozov RUS 20.48 20.31
2 Ben Proud GBR 20.89 20.66
3 Michael Andrew USA 20.94 20.94
4 Caeleb Dressel USA N/A N/A
5 Cesar Cielo BRA 20.98 20.51
6 Evgeny Sedov RUS 21.02 20.59
7 Cameron McEvoy AUS 21.00 20.75
8 Kristian Gkolomeev GRE 21.22 21.02

**Updated since original publishing


  • WORLD RECORD: 44.94 – Amaury Leveaux (FRA), 2008 European Championships, Rijeka
  • CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD: 45.51 – Vlad Morozov (RUS), 2014 Doha
  • 2016 WORLD CHAMPION: 46.58 – Simonas Bilis (LTU)

Predictions** for Hangzhou:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Vlad Morozov RUS 44.95 44.95
2 Chad Le Clos RSA 46.45 45.78
3 Caeleb Dressel USA N/A N/A
4 Blake Pieroni USA 46.25 46.25
5 Cameron McEvoy AUS 46.32 46.19
6 Vladislav Grinev RUS 46.39 46.39
7 Cesar Cielo BRA 46.83 45.74
8 Katsumi Nakamura JPN 46.56 46.54

**Updated since original publishing


  • WORLD RECORD: 1:39.37 – Paul Biedermann (GER), 2009 World Cup, Berlin
  • CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD: 1:41.03 – Park Tae Hwan (KOR), 2016 Windsor
  • 2016 WORLD CHAMPION: 1:41.03 – Park Tae Hwan (KOR)

Predictions for Hangzhou:

Place Swimmer Country 2018 Best All-Time Best
1 Blake Pieroni USA 1:41.15 1:41.15
2 Chad Le Clos RSA 1:42.20 1:41.45
3 Alexandr Krasnykh RUS 1:42.26 1:41.95
4 Mikhail Vekovishchev RUS 1:42.52 1:42.52
5 Ji Xinjie CHN 1:42.87 1:42.49
6 Jack Conger USA N/A N/A
7 Dylan Carter TTO N/A 1:42.48
8 Luiz Melo BRA 1:42.59 1:42.59


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1 year ago

Lol Dressel only 4th in the 50? Heck nah

Brazilian Observer
1 year ago

You guys just forgot about Cesar Cielo… Probably his last meet ever. Been 46″8 and 20″9 this year

Bear drinks beer
1 year ago

Three Russian swimmers in top 8 of 100 free? 😶I think one country is only allowed to enter 2 swimmers per event.

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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