Paris 2024 Is Going to be Wild (Euro Recap Day 4)


Even with some big names missing from the 2022 FINA World Championships, we’ve been treated to some insanely fast racing. In a session with a world record and two world junior records, one thing that may have gone under the radar was just how fast the semifinals of the men’s 100 free were.

Yes, David Popovici set a world junior record in 47.13, but the race was incredibly tight behind him. Just .42 seconds separates second through eighth place, .36 if you factor in Nandor Nemeth‘s swim-off time. 10 men went under 48 seconds, meaning that 2 of those sub-48s were left on the outside looking into the final.

One of the biggest takeaways from these semis is just how wild this event is going to be in Paris 2024. And one of the most exciting parts is how much the youngsters are contributing to the speed of the event. Five of the sub-48s were swum by rising stars like Popovici, Pan Zhanle, Josh LiendoLewis Burras, and Brooks CurryFor Liendo and Curry, this was their first time getting under the 48 second barrier.

Now, add in Hwang Sun-woowho was 48.08 here but has been as fast as 47.56. He, along with Popovici, Flynn SouthamJacob Whittle, and Matt Richards are five of our stealthy six to disrupt the Paris Games and they’re already beginning to make themselves known here. With 2 more years until Paris, they have plenty of time to turn themselves into outright medal threats (if they aren’t there already).

Throw veteran sprinting stars Caeleb Dressel, Kyle Chalmersand Kliment Kolesnikov into the mix and you have an absolute firecracker of an event.

Qualifying Time Comparison for Olympic and Worlds Final in Textile Suit Era 

2022 Worlds 2020 Olympics 2019 Worlds 2017 Worlds 2016 Olympics 2015 Worlds 2013 Worlds 2012 Olympics 2011 Worlds
Men sub-48 in Semis 10 9 5 5 4 1 1 2 1
QT for Finals 47.96 47.82 48.33 48.30 48.23 48.49 48.46 48.38 48.46

Though it only took 47.96 to qualify for finals this year and 47.82 in Tokyo, we still had one more sub-48 swim in semis than we did last year. And that’s without Dressel, Chalmers, and Kolesnikov in the field. If they had raced, it’s pretty easy to imagine that 10 would have been upped to 13.

By looking at what it takes to qualify for the final, we can see how much the field has improved, not just the top end talent. Taking the 2022 Worlds and 2020 Olympics together, it’s clear just how much faster this race has gotten than it was 10 years ago. In fact, the 100 free qualification times in Tokyo were the fastest in history, including the super-suited era.

Qualifying Time Comparison: 2022 Worlds, 2020 Olympics, 2009 Worlds

2022 Worlds 2020 Olympics 2009 Worlds
Rank Name Nation Time Name Nation Time Name  Nation Time
1 David Popovici Romania 47.13 Kliment Kolesnikov ROC 47.11 Alain Bernard France 47.27
2 Maxime Grousset France 47.54 Caeleb Dressel USA 47.23 Cesar Cielo Brazil 47.48
3 Josh Liendo Canada 47.55 Alessandro Miressi Italy 47.52 Stefan Nystrand Sweden 47.53
4 Lewis Burras Great Britain 47.63 Hwang Sun-woo Korea 47.56 Nicolas Oliveira Brazil 47.78
5 Pan Zhanle China 47.65 David Popovici Romania 47.72 Brent Hayden Canada 47.88
6 Alessandro Miressi Italy 47.89 Kyle Chalmers Australia 47.80 David Waters USA 47.92
7 Brooks Curry USA 47.90 Nandor Nemeth Hungary 47.81 Lydon Ferns South Africa 47.96
8 Nandor Nemeth Hungary 47.96* Maxime Grousset France 47.82 Fred Bousquet France 47.98

*Nemeth swam 47.96 to tie for 8th with Lorenzo Zazzeri. In the swim-off, he swam 47.69 to take the last lane in the final

Again, the qualifying times weren’t as fast in Budapest as they were in Tokyo, but you can still see the field’s improvement trajectory. Alain Bernard, Cesar Cielo, and Stefan Nystrand would have been safely into the final in second through fourth, but the times drop off after that. Fred Bousquet would have been on the outside looking into the Day 5 final.

Before the Tokyo Games, if you swam sub-48 you were guaranteed a spot in the final. But that isn’t true anymore, and 47-high means that you’re standing on the side of the pool trying to figure out if you’ve secured a lane or not.

The 100 free isn’t the only event that should have you getting excited for Paris 2024. We saw a similar pattern in the men’s 100 back, where young stars like Thomas Ceccon, Hunter Armstrong, Yohan Ndoye-Brouard, and Ksawery Masiuk asserted themselves. Even without the Tokyo gold and silver medalists, all three men on the podium went under 52 seconds, with Ceccon leading the way in world record time. Out of the 10 sub-52 performances in the event, three came from the final alone.

Quick Hits

  • In front of a hometown crowd, Kristof Milak lowered his own world record in the 200 fly by .39 seconds, blasting 1:50.34. He’s now 1.17 seconds ahead of Michael Phelps and owns eight out of the twelve fastest performances. This is also Hungary’s first swimming medal at these Worlds, and the fans practically blew the roof off the Duna Arena.
  • Leon Marchand obliterated two French Records in 45 minutes. First, in a silver-medal performance, he swam 1:53.03 in the 200 fly, crushing the record of 1:54.32 he set in semifinals. He’s now the 8th fastest performer in history. Then, in his second swim of the session, he posted 1:55.75 in the 200 IM for the top seed heading into the final. His previous record was 1:56.95, which he swam at the San Antonio Pro Series in the spring.
  • David Popovici swam his third world junior record in two days, clocking 47.13 in the men’s 100 free semi. He held the old record in 47.30. He’s now .02 off the European record and the ninth fastest performer in history, with finals still to come.

Other National Records Set on Day 4

  • Florian Wellbrock took back his German record from Lukas Märtens, swimming 7:39.63. With that swim he earned the silver medal, became the first German to break 7:40, and the 8th fastest performer in history.
  • Earning bronze, Mykhailo Romanchuk touched in 7:40.05 for a new Ukrainian record, bettering his mark from the Tokyo Games by over a second. That swim also makes him the 9th fastest performer in history.
  •  Lewis Burras set a British Record in the 100 free during his semifinal. He clocked 47.63, bettering Duncan Scott‘s old record of 47.87.
  • France’s Analia Pigree broke her own French record in the 50 back. She swam 27.29, getting under her previous record of 27.39. She’s tied for second seed with Regan Smith heading into the final on Day 5.
  • In his swim-off for a spot in the final, Nandor Nemeth popped 47.69 for a Hungarian record in the 100 free, bettering his old mark of 47.81 from the Tokyo Olympics.
  • In the final of the men’s 50 breast, Bernhard Reitshammer lowered his Austrian record for the third time in two days, posting a 26.94 for his first swim sub-27. His record from semifinals was 27.11, so he’s shaved off another .17 seconds.
  • In the men’s 200 IM semifinals, Ron Polonsky went 1:57.99 for a new Israeli record. He’s the first Israeli swimmer under 1:58, as he bettered Gal Nevo‘s 1:58.25 record from 2009.
  • Lana Pudar clocked 2:07.58 in her semi of the women’s 200 fly for a new Bosnian and Herzegovinian record. That swim lowers her old mark by 2 seconds.
  • Nikolas Antoniou set a new Cypriot record in the men’s 100 free. He clocked 49.97, bettering his old record by .02 seconds.
  • The Latvian team of Girts FeldbergsDanilis BobrovsIeva Maluka, and Gabriela Nikitina set a new national record in the heats of the mixed 4×100 medley relay, swimming 3:57.77.

European Medal Table Through Day 4

Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals
France 1 2 3
Germany 3 3
Great Britain 1 1
Hungary 1 1
Italy 3 1 1 5
Lithuania 1 1
Netherlands 1 1 2
Romania 1 1
Ukraine 1 1

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5 months ago

It bothers me the lack of consideration for Grousset (2nd seed for tomorrow and olympic 4th) and Miressi (European champion) in your analysis/projections

Gen D
5 months ago

It was Liendo’s second time under 48 – he’d gone 47.8 leading off the 4×100 FR on day 1.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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