Men’s 100m Freestyle World Championship Preview: Magnussen Opens The Door For New Sprint Star To Emerge


  • Day 5, Thursday, August 6th
  • 2013 World Champion: James Magnussen, AUS – 47.71 (SEE RACE VIDEO ABOVE)
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Jimmy Feigen, USA – 47.82
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Nathan Adrian, USA – 47.84

The 100m freestyle follows the trend that most of the events do, with the performances from the 2009 championships in Rome being by far the fastest. However, since the suita era of ’09 the times have gotten quicker than they were prior to the suit era. Prior to the 2009 championships, a 48-low to 48-mid swim would give you a chance to win and almost guarantee you a medal. Since the suit era, however, it has taken a sub-48 swim in finals to even get on the medal podium at the last 2 championships (other than William Meynard’s 48.00 for bronze in 2011). The bar has been set at a sub-48 swim for a medal, and I expect the event to continue to get faster.

James Sutherland, 2015 100 Freestyle World Championship Preview

The 100m freestyle is definitely one of the most difficult races to predict, as everyone is so close and so many swimmers are capable of taking home the title. Now that two-time defending world champion James Magnussen won’t be competing due to injury, it opens the door for some relatively unknown sprinters to make a name for themselves on the international stage.

Take a look at the top times from around the world this season:

2014-2015 LCM Men 100 Free

View Top 28»

Vladimir Morozov has proven he can swim fast in this pool, as at the 2013 World University Games he swam a personal best of 47.62 and won the gold medal. That time would of won him the gold at the 2013 world championships as well, but he made a tactical mistake going out way too fast, and paid for it the last 15 meters finishing outside of the podium. He has no doubt learned from that experience and I see it being tough for anyone to get to the wall before him come the final.

It is a little bit difficult to predict how the American swimmers will swim just because they had no national championship/trials meet prior to the championships. Despite this, I have confidence in Nathan Adrian to swim up to the standard he has set for himself the last few years. After an Olympic gold, world championship bronze and Pan Pacific silver the last three years, I expect him to remain on the podium this summer.

I believe Cameron McEvoy will follow up his breakout summer in 2014 with his first individual world championship medal. Sebastiaan Verschuren, has been a consistent top performer for the last 4 years. Ning Zetao of China is an interesting case, as he will have his first major international experience after posting incredible 100m times last summer and following them up with fast times this season. Alexander Sukhorukov has always been a reliable relay swimmer for Russia and swam his fastest time ever at Russia’s championships earlier this season, and Luca Dotto has been quick this year too.

Ryan Lochte has a much lighter schedule than he is used to, and probably would have been in the hunt for a finals berth in the event and maybe more. In April, USA Swimming announced that Lochte gave up his spot in the individual event. The 2013 silver medalist, Jimmy Feigen, will be replacing him individually. Despite finishing second in 2013, I don’t expect him to final this year. Instead, I think Singapore’s Joseph Schooling will continue his dominant summer and lower his time once again, if he chooses to swim the race in Russia. Last week he won 9 gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games, breaking his national record in the 100 freestyle with a time of 48.58. Another drop would put him in contention to final at Worlds.

A bit off an off the wall darkhorse pick, Santo Condorelli is an interesting case. After swimming in America his whole life, he recently declared Canadian sporting citizenship, and I watched him swim at the Canadian Pan Am/World Trials. He swam very fast, including a personal best 48.83 in the 100. He split the race very well, but last summer when I watched him at USA nationals, he split the first 50 in 22.83 in the 100, showing off his raw speed and talent. Although his first 50 was impressive, he died hard in that race.  Hopefully that race was a good learning experience. If he can execute the right race plan in Kazan, however, he might just surprise everyone.


1. Vladimir Morozov, RUS             47.50
2. Nathan Adrian, USA                   47.63
3. Cameron McEvoy, AUS             47.68
4. Sebastiaan Verschuren, NED   47.87
5. Ning Zetao, CHN                         47.90
6. Alexander Sukhorukov, RUS    48.04
7. Luca Dotto, ITA                           48.16
8. Joseph Schooling, SIN               48.21

Darkhorse: Santo Condorelli, CAN    48.47


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

  • M 400 Free
  • M 400 Free
  • W 4×100 Free Relay
  • M 4×100 Free Relay

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

  • M 100 Breast
  • W 100 Fly
  • M 50 Fly
  • W 200 IM

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

  • M 200 Free
  • W 100 Back
  • W 1500 Free
  • M 100 Back
  • W 100 Breast

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

  • M 200 IM
  • M 100 Free
  • W 200 Fly
  • W 50 Back
  • W 4×200 Free Relay

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

  • W 50 Fly
  • M 50 Free
  • W 200 Back
  • M 100 Fly
  • W 800 Free
  • MIXED 4×100 Free Relay

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

  • M 50 Back
  • W 50 Breast
  • M 400 IM
  • W 50 Free
  • M 1500 Free
  • W 400 IM
  • M 4×100 Medley Relay
  • W 4×100 Medley Relay

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8 years ago

Santo.. Go bolles!!

King Kunta
8 years ago

Santo went a 47 in pan ams, think he will make the final.

8 years ago

Marco Orsi went 48.16 over 100m freestyle at Italian Winter Nationals in December 2014. He is a medal hopeful at least.

8 years ago

Of note:
All 6 feet or shorter.

Of the 9 favorites listed in this article, only Sukhorukhov and Adrian are over 6’3″. Certainly bucks the trend we have been seeing.

8 years ago

McEvoy to win comfortably. He’ll be the only one to go sub 47.5. The other medallists will be 47 high. This is not a particularly fast field. Especially without Magnussen and Cielo turning to the 50s.

8 years ago

I put money on Ning being on the podium. He’s been crushing it in altitude training recently and did put up two 47s last year. He will be there, and most likely faster.

8 years ago

Great comment above on Hanser Garcia? Can anyone confirm if he is racing?? If he is that would be my pick of dark horse. I am also surprised no one from the Brazilian team was mentioned??? Santana?? Cielo?

8 years ago

I fancy Gkolomeev and Santana as darkhorse picks, rather than Condorelli.

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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