Olympic Gold Medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui To Race At 2021 Short Course Worlds

As countries continue to reveal their respective rosters for the upcoming 2021 Short Course World Swimming Championships, another big name has been added to the field in the form of Olympic gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui. Arab News reported recently that Hafnaoui will race at the meet, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates from December 16 – 21.

Hafnaoui recently rose to international swimming stardom at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he delivered a 3:43.36 to earn a gold medal. Hafnaoui pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the meet, having been entered in 16th place in the 400 freestyle with a 3:46.16 and qualifying for the final by only 0.14 seconds. He was 8th in the prelims with a 3:45.68, just ahead of Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic who notched a 3:45.82.

In the final, Hafnaoui dropped more than 2 seconds from lane 8 to beat out silver medalist Jack McLoughlin (3:43.52) and bronze medalist Kieran Smith (3:43.94).

This meet will represent Hafnaoui’s first high-level meet since the Olympics and will give him an opportunity to improve upon his results from his last short course Worlds performance. Back in 2018, Hafnaoui raced for Tunisia in Hangzhou, China where he placed 19th overall in the 400 freestyle and 17th in the 1500 freestyle. Notably, his time in the short course 400 freestyle of 3:45.98 back in 2018 is slower than both his prelims and finals swim in the long course version of the event at the Olympics.

Hafnaoui has also raced for his country at the 2018 Youth Olympics, the 2018 African Championships, and the 2019 World Championships. At the African Championships 3 years ago he picked up a silver medal in the 4×200 freestyle, along with a bronze medal in the 800 free, 1500 free, and 4×100 free relay.

In the wake of his Olympic success, 18-year-old Hafnaoui announced that he will be making the move to the United States to begin his collegiate career at Indiana University. He is expected to make the move for the Fall 2022 semester. While he will likely make an immediate impact for Indiana based on his long course performances, his swims at Short Course Worlds will give a better indication of how competitive he will be in a short course pool.

Over the course of the first 14 Short Course World Championships, Tunisia has won a total of 7 medals. All 7 of those podium finishes were courtesy of multi-Olympic medalist Oussama Mellouli. At the 2004 Short Course Worlds, Mellouli took gold in the 400 IM and bronze in the 200 IM, and 6 years later at the 2010 Championships won 4 medals including 1500 freestyle gold, 400 IM silver, and 200/400 freestyle bronze. His most recent top 3 finish was in 2014 when he picked up his 7th Short Course Worlds medal with a silver in the 1500 freestyle.

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hzmusicstand
2 months ago

Excited to see him swim, one of the biggest surprises from these Olympics but also one of the best

Bevo
3 months ago

Big catch for the Hoosiers

Verram
3 months ago

still scratching my head what happened to Elijah Winnington in that Olympic race ..

Swim nerd
Reply to  Verram
3 months ago

My only guess would be that his second taper didn’t go as well as he hoped it would, because let’s make things clear, if there is one country that I can confidently say you need a full taper to even have a shot at a spot is Australia in the men’s 400, for God sake, they left a 3:43 at home, that’s just unheard of anywhere else except for the US during the Phelps and lochte era

Verram
Reply to  Swim nerd
3 months ago

Both Winnington and Mitch Larkin underperformed to me .. taper issues for both perhaps

M d e
Reply to  Verram
3 months ago

Pretty sure Larkin has moved clubs since olympics or plans too. Could be issues in prep?

Verram
Reply to  M d e
3 months ago

He’s pretty quiet on social media compared to some others .. both coached by Boxall I think

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  M d e
3 months ago

he moved to chandler as per results central

Troyy
Reply to  McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
3 months ago

That’s a good trick.

M d e
Reply to  McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
3 months ago

Interesting. That’s what I heard.

Last edited 3 months ago by M d e
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Verram
3 months ago

Mitch Larkin and “underperforms” is not exactly unusual.

Joel
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 months ago

A few world championships and silver medal at the Olympics is not too bad.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

I was just stating what Seebohm told me.

Just give the trophy to the condors already
Reply to  Verram
3 months ago

« High pressure meet = bad performance » syndrome like Morozov and Proud

Ol' Longhorn

Morozov and Proud have both won world championships.

Robbos
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

So has Larkin.

whever
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 months ago

Morozov only won short course worlds. Larkin won two golds in long course in 2015.
Morozov and Proud have no individual Olympic medals, while Larkin has one.

Last edited 2 months ago by whever
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  whever
2 months ago

The difference is Larkin actually had the LCM talent to win multiple Olympic golds and be the backstroke star of his generation. He just didn’t have the stones to do it.

John

worst hot-take of the month award winner here

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  John
3 months ago

calm down John

John
Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
2 months ago

What makes you think I wasn’t calm?

"I was watching Squid Game"
3 months ago

I think he’ll do really well

"I was watching Squid Game"
3 months ago

HafnaouI – New Joseph schooling

DMacNCheez
Reply to  "I was watching Squid Game"
2 months ago

Yeah second time’s a charm buddy

"I was watching Squid Game"
3 months ago

Hafnaoui – the new Joseph Schooling

John
Reply to  "I was watching Squid Game"
3 months ago

Did you get a massive cramp writing him off so quickly?