North America: Pickrem Rebounds With 400 IM Bronze, Big Best Time


Sydney Pickrem had set herself up perfectly for her first World Championship medal. In the semi-finals of the women’s 200 IM, the Canadian broke her own national record in a time of 2:09.17, advancing into the final in 3rd place.

In the first length of the final Pickrem visibly sat in 8th place, but it wasn’t much of a surprise given she was 8th fastest out of the finalists on the fly leg in the semis. However, once hitting the 50 wall, she stopped swimming, failing to finish the race. Her semi-final time would’ve won bronze had she been able to recreate it.

After the race it was reported that Pickrem swallowed water prior to the turn, and was unable to continue. No doubt a difficult set back for the 20-year-old, she took to Instagram afterwards and vowed to come back stronger in the 400 IM.

Pickrem did just that, advancing through to the finals 4th in 4:36.25, less than a second off her best time.

In the final, she steadily made her way through the field, moving up from 6th at the halfway mark to 2nd at the 300m wall with the fastest breaststroke split in the field, 1:16.17.

Pickrem battled with Spain’s Mireia Belmonte for the silver behind Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu. Belmonte pulled ahead on the freestyle leg to win silver, with Pickrem picking up the bronze in a very impressive bounce back swim. Hosszu won gold for the third straight time, much to the delight of the hometown crowd.

Coming into the meet her best time stood at 4:35.43, set at the Canadian Trials in April. She got all the way down to 4:32.88 to win the bronze medal, narrowly missing Emily Overholt‘s Canadian record of 4:32.52, set at the last World Championships when she also won bronze.

Pickrem adds her first World Championship medal to her international tally which includes silver and bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in the 400 and 200 IM, along with a bronze from the 2013 World Junior Championships in the 200.



  • World – Lilly King – Women’s 50 Breast (29.40)
  • World – USA (Baker, King, Worrell, Manuel) – Women’s 400 Medley Relay (3:51.55)
  • Championship – Chase Kalisz – Men’s 400 IM (4:05.90)
  • American – Simone Manuel – Women’s 50 Free (23.97)
  • Canadian – CAN (Masse, Smith, Oleksiak, Van Landeghem) – Women’s 400 Medley Relay (3:54.86)
  • * Caeleb Dressel won gold on the men’s medley relay, tying Michael Phelps‘ 2007 total with seven gold medals at the World Championships (Phelps did it prior to the addition of mixed relays).


  • Gold – Lilly King – Women’s 50 Breast
  • Gold – Chase Kalisz – Men’s 400 IM
  • Gold – USA (Baker, King, Worrell, Manuel) – Women’s 400 Medley Relay
  • Gold – USA (Grevers, Cordes, Dressel, Adrian) – Men’s 400 Medley Relay
  • Bronze – Katie Meili – Women’s 50 Breast
  • Bronze – Simone Manuel – Women’s 50 Free
  • Bronze – Matt Grevers – Men’s 50 Back
  • Bronze – Sydney Pickrem – Women’s 400 IM


Rank Federation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States of AmericaUnited States of America 18 10 10 38
2  CanadaCanada 1 0 3 4

The Americans added four gold and seven total medals during the final session of the meet that included eight finals. They dominate the medal table, with 18 golds toppling over the next highest (GBR – 4). For total medals, Russia, China and Australia each got ten to their 38.

This is a massive 180 from where the Americans were in Kazan, winning ten more gold medals and 15 more medals total than they did just two years ago.

The Canadians finish with the same total as two years ago, 4, but improve with 1 gold and 3 bronze as opposed to 4 bronzes last time. Their official finish is 11th on the medal table, up from 20th.

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3 years ago

Can we not forget the fact that she got out of the final at the second largest meet in our sport because she choked on water?

Reply to  JanMichaelVincent
3 years ago

Move on…. she caught water, didn’t let it ruin her meet and came back with a PB. That’s what shouldn’t be forgotten!

Reply to  John
3 years ago

She took up a spot in a World Championship final, a spot someone else could have taken, and got out after choking on water. I wouldn’t necessarily say her meet was a success either. #notsummerleague #neverforget

Reply to  JanMichaelVincent
3 years ago

Well I forgot when I got distracted by that heavy bronze glimmering around her neck, in her 2nd best event where she wasn’t amongst the top 3 coming in, was 12th last year at the Olympics, produced the 2nd fastest time in CAN history, is only 20yrs old with hopefully a long career ahead of her. I guarantee she won’t forget what happened oin the 2IM. Lets give this young budding CAN superstar some support instead of ‘poo pooing’ a weird mishap that will likely never occur again (stuff happens in sport occasionally)…

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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