World Championships Preview: Men’s 50 Backstroke


  • Day 8, Sun August 9th
  • 2013 World Champion: Camille Lacourt, FRA – 24.42 (Race Video Above)
  • 2013 Co-Silver Medalist: Jeremy Stravius, FRA – 24.54
  • 2013 Co-Silver Medalist: Matt Grevers, USA – 24.54

2014-2015 LCM Men 50 Back

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Winning two consecutive world championship titles is something that French star Camille Lacourt has put himself in a good position to achieve, but it won’t be an easy task.

Lacourt finished the 2014 season ranked second in the world to Junya Koga of Japan, who is the only man to swim faster than Lacourt this season.

Koga will not be participating in Kazan, leaving a big hole at the top of this event.

The 2014 season did not end the way that Lacourt would have hoped. After posting a time of 24.37 at the French Championships in April he suffered a hip injury the next month, an injury which forced him to withdraw from the European Championships.

This April Lacourt took the French Championships in a time of 24.56, which would indicate that he is healthy and ready to make a run at repeating as the world champion, but that is purely speculation.

Liam Tancock of Great Britain is the only man in the field to have swum faster than Lacourt, holding the current world record with a time of 24.04, which he posted to take the gold at the 2009 World Championships.

Tancock has also achieved the feat of winning this event at two consecutive World Championships taking the event at 2011 where he posted his textile best of 24.50.

Last summer Tancock won the bronze at the Commonwealth Games posting a time of 24.98. If he wants to be a contender in Kazan he will have to return to the form which he was in prior to 2012.

Jeremy Stravius of France tied American Matt Grevers for the silver medal at the 2013 World Championships. Both men posted lifetime best times of 24.54.

Stravius posted a lifetime best of 24.45 in the semi-final.

Last summer he finished second at the 2014 European Championships recording a time of 24.84.

Grevers has experienced a great deal of success on the international stage mainly in the 100 backstroke where he won gold at both the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 World Championships.

In Kazan, Stravius and Grevers could once again find themselves battling each other for spots on the podium.

The second American in the event is David Plummer. Plummer has a lifetime best time of 24.52, which he posted at the 2013 US National Championships.

In Kazan Plummer will be looking for redemption in this event. In Barcelona he put up the fifth fastest time in the prelims, but in the semi-final slipped on the start and finished 16th in a time of 26.00.

This will be the third time Plummer has competed in this event at the World Championships. finishing fifth.

Russian Vlad Morozov has proven that he can be one of the best in the world in the 50 meter distance no matter what the stroke. Morozov ended the 2014 season with the third fastest time in the world putting up a 24.52 at the Russian National Championships.

Although he was not able to repeat that level of performance later in the season he did take the gold at the European Championships in a time of 24.64.

Morozov will be extremely motivated to win on his home soil just as he was in 2013 when he collected four gold, one silver and one bronze from the World University Games which were held in Kazan.

Christopher Walker-Hebborn of Great Britain had a terrifc summer taking gold at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships in the 100 backstroke.

In the 50 Walker-Hebborn finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games and collected the silver at the European Championships. Although he has seen great results in the 100 backstroke he has not shown a tremendous amount of speed in the 50 posting a lifetime best of 24.92 in Glasgow, a time which he matched this year.

2014 was a good year for Australian Ben Treffers. Treffers won the 50 backstroke at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in a time of 24.67 and posted lifetime best of 24.54 at the Australian Championships.

Treffers has a season’s best of 24.75 and if he can once again drop time after a full taper he should have a chance at a medal.

Two of the younger swimmers in the field, Italian Niccolo Bonacchi and Xu Jiayu of China, both put up impressive times at their respective national championships in 2014.

Bonacchi recorded a 24.65 while Xu put up a 24.58.

Although both men swum times that were in the top six of the world rankings neither were able to put their best performances forward at the summer’s most important competitions.

At the European Championships Bonacchi qualified for the semi-finals, but missed out on the final recording a time of 25.47.

Xu posted a time of 25.28 at the Asian Games to win the bronze. If he would have matched his season’s best he would have moved ahead of Ryosuke Irie and taken the silver.

Tomasz Polewka of Poland and Spaniard Miguel Ortiz-Canavate have both made significant improvements over the last year that currently have them placed in the world’s top ten.

Kazan will be the first time that either man will be entering a major international competition where they are ranked in the top ten.


  1. Jeremy Stravius, FRA –                        24.44
  2. Camille Lacourt, FRA –                         24.48
  3. Matt Grevers, USA –                              24.60
  4. Vlad Morozov, RUS –                            24.63
  5. Ben Treffers, AUS –                               24.68
  6. David Plummer, USA –                         24.79
  7. Niccolo Bonacchi, ITA –                       24.82
  8. Chris Walker-Hebborn, GBR –           24.87

Dark Horse: Liam Tancock, GBR –          24.90


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

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)

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

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bobo gigi
8 years ago

Lacourt of course.
And now we know his specific training methods (cf. Amaury’s book) 🙂 , we have even more arguments to pick him for the gold.

8 years ago

Off topic (But Kazan related):

1 more out of Kazan – Tamas Kenderesi won´t swim at Kazan due to mononucleosis. He just annnounced this on his facebook account.

8 years ago

Are the Asian Games taking place this fall? It seems like in past years, the Chinese punt on World Championships, and go full bore at Asian Games.

8 years ago

Why isn’t koga swimming worlds? Did he just not qualify or what? Seems like he’d have a good shot at gold

8 years ago

bigger question – why are they swimming 50s at World Champs?

Reply to  Hmmm...
8 years ago

Great question! It’s not like they have ever had stroke 50s at world champs before! weird….

Reply to  Hmmm...
8 years ago

Indeed…and of all the boring 50s this is the most boring event of all every year. Never anything memorable. Always “so what?” Mind you, not as boring as relays eg 4 x 200 (Yes, I know I’m in a minority with that viewpoint.)

Rick Mears
Reply to  Hmmm...
8 years ago

It’s normal for WC’s to swim 50’s but I’m not a big fan of seeing people slapping water as fast as they can for 50m and then not show up for the 100’s.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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