By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Wednesday, July 24, 2019
GWANGJU, South Korea – Another day, another opportunity.
Day 4 of the FINA World Championships kicked off Wednesday with prelims of the women’s 50m backstroke, men’s 100m freestyle, men’s 200m IM, women’s 200m butterfly and mixed 400m medley relay.
The top eight teams in the mixed medley relay will compete in tonight’s finals. The top 16 swimmers in the rest of the events will compete in tonight’s semifinals.
American swimmers competing in this morning’s prelims were Olivia Smoliga in the women’s 50m backstroke (6th, 27.96), Kathleen Baker in the women’s 50m backstroke (11th, 28.17), Caeleb Dressel in the men’s 100m freestyle (1st, 47.32), Blake Pieroni in the men’s 100m freestyle (5th, 48.31); Chase Kalisz in the men’s 200m IM (3rd, 1:58.20); Abrahm DeVine in the men’s 200m IM (12th, 1:59.26); Hali Flickinger in the women’s 200m butterfly (1st, 2:05.96); Katie Drabot in the women’s 200m butterfly (5th, 2:08.33); and Matt Grevers, Andrew Wilson, Kelsi Dahlia and Mallory Comerford in the mixed 400m medley relay (1st, 3:41.23).
Swimmers will compete in the finals of five events tonight, including the men’s 800m freestyle, women’s 200m freestyle, men’s 200m butterfly, men’s 50m breaststroke, and the mixed 400m medley relay.
Here are some things to watch for in tonight’s finals:
Men’s 800m Freestyle
No American swimmers qualified for the finals of the men’s 800m freestyle. Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy is the top seed in 7:45.70, followed by David Aubry of France in 7:46.37 and Jack McLoughlin of Australia in 7:46.42. Sun Yang of China, who won the 400m free on the first night of competition and the 200m free last night, qualified eighth in 7:48.12.
Women’s 200m Freestyle
No American swimmers qualified for the finals of the women’s 200m freestyle. Federica Pellegrini of Italy – one of the top swimmers in this event for more than a decade – is the top seed in 1:55.14. She will face off in the center of the pool against Ariarne Titmus of Australia, who upset Katie Ledecky for gold Sunday in the women’s 400m free. Her qualifying time was 1:55.36.
Men’s 200m Butterfly
After qualifying for last night’s semifinals as the eighth seed, Zach Harting of the United States raised some eyebrows by qualifying for tonight’s finals as the second seed in 1:55.26. Harting is competing in his first World Championship finals at his first long course World Championships. Last year, Harting won bronze in the 200m butterfly at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, and also finished fifth in the 200 fly at the 2018 Short Course World Championships. Kristof Milak of Hungary is the top seed in 1:52.96.
Men’s 50m Breaststroke
Michael Andrew also moved up a few spots in semifinals after qualifying 11th in prelims. He is the seventh seed heading into tonight’s finals of the men’s 50m breaststroke in 26.88. His time was just 12-hundredths of second off the American record. Andrew might be competing in his first World Championships, but he has already competed in three events, finishing 19th in the men’s 100m breast and fourth in the men’s 50m butterfly. The last time the U.S. won a medal in the 50m breast at Worlds was Kevin Cordes with a bronze in 2015. World record-holder and defending world champion Adam Peaty of Great Britain is the top seed in 26.28.
Mixed 400m Medley Relay
The U.S. team of Matt Grevers, Andrew Wilson, Kelsi Dahlia and Mallory Comerford was the top qualifier in this morning’s prelims, turning in a time of 3:41.23. Splits for each swimmer were as follows: Grevers, 52.75; Wilson, 58.35; Dahlia, 57.35; Comerford, 52.78. The U.S. will likely field an entirely different lineup for tonight’s finals, which will be released shortly before the start of that session. The mixed medley relay has taken on new importance since being added to the Olympic schedule for 2020. At the last World Championships in 2017, the U.S. set the world record in this event in both prelims and finals. Matt Grevers, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel hold the mark at 3:38.56.