2021 FINA SHORT COURSE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, December 16th – Tuesday, December 21st
- Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- SCM (25m)
- Prize Money
- Meet Site
- Psych Sheets
The biggest storyline to reveal itself in the official psych sheets for the upcoming World Short Course Swimming Championships is the absence of US backstroker Hunter Armstrong. Armstrong was originally named to the team to swim the 100 backstroke, having qualified for the Olympic Games in that event earlier this year. He does not appear, however, on the list of entries for the meet, which is set to begin on Thursday, and will not be swimming any relays either. Check out the full psych sheets for the meet here:
While it’s unclear at this time if Armstrong’s withdrawal is related to COVID-19, we have confirmed that it is due to medical reasons.
Armstrong recently raced at the Ohio State Invitational. There he placed 2nd in the 100 backstroke with a 45.82 in the 100 backstroke short course yards and delivered a 21.16 50 backstroke relay leadoff. Armstrong had a solid Olympic debut earlier this year, placing 9th overall in the 100 backstroke with a 53.21 semi-final swim. He also won Olympic gold for his prelim swim in the men’s 4×100 medley relay where he swam a 53.51 for the Americans.
In addition to having recently raced, Armstrong was present at the Golden Goggle awards ceremony in Miami, Florida just last week alongside the majority of his fellow Tokyo Olympians and fellow World Short Course Swimming Championships team members. Armstrong posted an Instagram photo from the award ceremony, writing “Now off to Abu Dhabi” to finish off the caption, indicating that as of 6 days ago he was expecting to compete.
The fact that Armstrong has pulled out is of particular significance considering the fact that he was entered to race the 100 backstroke for the USA. American swimmer Coleman Stewart broke the short course world record in the 100 backstroke earlier this year and was subsequently not selected to race for the USA in Abu Dhabi due to the long course meters-based selection criteria.
Stewart was publicly critical of the selection process and USA Swimming for the decision as the world’s fastest man in the history of the event. Armstrong and former Texas A&M star Shaine Casas were selected to the team; Casas getting a spot after top-ranked Ryan Murphy turned down a spot on the team. Casas is still expected to race this week in Abu Dhabi.
Armstrong is the only American swimmer who was scratched from the meet, though he wasn’t the only scratch. Torri Huske has been withdrawn from the individual 200 free after the original American roster included her name. As it turns out, her only FINA “A” standard time, which is required for the Americans to enter two swimmers in the event, came at the 2021 18 & Under Cup, which is not a FINA-sanctioned World Championship qualifying event.
She still has individual entries in the 100 free, 50 fly, 100 fly, and likely at least a few relay duties.
Armstrong is the most recent swimmer to pull out of the Championships, following South Africans Matt Sates and Tatjana Schoenmaker, Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli, Abbie Wood of Great Britain, Brazil’s Felipe Lima, and Victor Johansson of Sweden.