Top Races To Watch At 2021 FINA World Cup – Berlin


The 2021 FINA World Cup Series kicks off in Berlin tomorrow, with a plethora of talent set to compete on both the men’s and women’s sides. Several notable International Swimming League (ISL) standouts will be taking advantage of the break in that competition’s action to rake in some more dough here, with more than $1.4 million up for grabs over the course of the entire circuit.

With Berlin’s entry lists finally published we can take a look at the intense schedule of racing up ahead and zone in on some of our key events to watch as the 3-day meet unfolds.

Men’s 100m Fly

Top talent to the tune of Chad Le Clos of South Africa, Tom Shields of the United States and Szabsztian Szabo of Hungary are registered for this fast and furious event. But Aussie Kyle Chalmers is also entered in the race, giving us a dark horse for gold among the contestants.

23-year-old Chalmers is entered in this race with a seed time of 52.07; however, that entry represents his personal best long course meters time.

FINA has Chalmers’ quickest short course time logged at the 52.49 he produced as an 18-year-old at the 2016 FINA World Cup. As such, we’re not entirely sure what to expect from the man who took 100m freestyle silver at this summer’s Olympic Games but we know he’s a major-league competitor who has undergone successful shoulder surgery last year.

Women’s 100m Back

She didn’t make the Aussie Olympic team for Tokyo but 21-year-old Minna Atherton has proven she has some mean short course swimming chops as she is the reigning World Record holder in this event. Clocking a time of 54.89 as a London Roar team member during season 1 of ISL, she is the 1fly woman to beat here in Berlin.

She’ll be chased by multi-national record holder and European Short Course champion Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands, along with fellow Aussie Holly Barratt and Swedish ace Michelle Coleman.

USA youngsters Kennedy Noble (17), JoJo Ramey (16) and Charlotte Hook (17) may put down something special as they embark on their first FINA World Cup circuit.

Men’s 100m Free

Always a marquis event, Chalmers will once again be in the thick of things as he fights off fellow countrymen and Olympic teammates Matt Temple and Zac Incerti. USA’s Blake Pieroni will also be one to watch, owning a PB of 46.15 in this SCM event from ISL season 2.

South African Matt Sates, set to join the University of Georgia in the spring, is a wild card in this race, with the 18-year-old coming off of a monster South African Short Course Nationals. In Pietermaritzburg just a couple of weeks ago, the future Bulldog took home 10 individual titles, including the 100m free. He posted a mark of 47.14 as a new lifetime best, but has a trajectory trending towards more time drops.

Women’s 100m Fly

Australia’s most successful Olympian Emma McKeon took home the bronze in this women’s 100m fly event in Tokyo, while Canada’s Maggie MacNeil captured gold. Both women will be among the stacked field in Berlin, with Sweden’s Louise Hansson also making a run at the podium.

Hansson already hit a new lifetime best of 55.26 just earlier this month while competing in the ISL. That ranks the former USC Trojan as the 7th fastest woman of all time.

Sitting just outside that list is on-fire McKeon, who owns a personal best of 55.39 from 2019, while MacNeil hasn’t raced this short course meters-format of the 100 fly since 2017.

Women’s 100m Breast

Lydia Jacoby of the United States surprised the world when she took home gold in the women’s 100m breast in her Olympic debut. Now get to see the 17-year-old Alaskan follow-up that performance with some short course racing.

The USA Swimming database displays Jacoby’s career-quickest as a 1:13.60 from 2018, although her 1:04.95 long course outing from Tokyo is what she enters this meet as the top-seeded swimmer.

Russian Olympian Yuliya Efimova, along with Anastasia Gorbenko of Israel, Tes Schouten of the Netherlands and Jessica Steiger of the host nation will be among those trying to shut down the gold medalist in this event here in Berlin.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Is it open to the public (vaccinated, tested, recovered …) or held behind closed gates ?

1 year ago

Can we watch this somewhere?

1 year ago

Does Matt Sates pay swimswam to feature him? Does he have a connection to the writers? What’s the deal?

Big Shout from small Singapore
1 year ago

On the radar,

Two exciting youngstArs with big schedules to keep an eye on for the future

Zoe Skirboll – USA
Lilla Minna Abraham – Hungary

Good luck Girls !!!
Big shout out from small Singapore !

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  Big Shout from small Singapore
1 year ago

Erin Gemmell too! She’s entered in every freestyle event but the 800

Reply to  Big Shout from small Singapore
1 year ago

Skirboll. Love the last name!!

1 year ago

According to FINA this’ll be broadcast at

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Anybody with any luck on this?

NC Fan
Reply to  Mel
1 year ago


1 year ago

Coleman has pulled out of all the backstrokes – weird

Last edited 1 year ago by Nick
Sam B
1 year ago

 Szabsztian = Szebasztián

Guimaraes Cayley
1 year ago

I think Nicholas Santos will swim under his WR. Let’s see if that will be enough to win.

Reply to  Guimaraes Cayley
1 year ago

Berlin is a fast pool. It’d be exciting to see the old man swim anoter WR.

Last edited 1 year ago by FST

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

Read More »