The morning heats on the third day of the FINA World Championships brought three shocks in the same event, the women’s 200 m Freestyle:
● American Katie Ledecky withdrew, and USA Swimming National Team Managing Director Lindsay Mintenko issued a statement:
“A decision has been made by Team USA in consultation with Katie, her coach and the team’s medical staff for her to withdraw from the 200-meter freestyle event on medical grounds.
“The team will determine her participation in this evening’s 1500m final later in the day.
“Katie has not been feeling well since arriving to Gwangju on July 17 and these precautionary measures are being taken to ensure her well-being and proper recovery, and to allow her to focus her energy on an abbreviated schedule.”
● Australia’s Emma McKeon, the 2017 Worlds silver medalist in this race, also withdrew for medical reasons, according to the Australian team. She had already won a 4×100 m Free gold and a bronze in the 100 m Butterfly in Gwangju.
Swimming World reported that a Swimming Australia spokesman said, “Emma’s not feeling 100% so it was decided to pull her from the 200m. She’s got a big program and the hope is that she’ll be better placed for her other events as the week goes on.”
● Canada’s Taylor Ruck, the 2018 Short Course Worlds bronze medalist in the 200 m Free, withdraw as well, apparently to concentrate on the 100 m Backstroke final, in which she was the no. 3 qualifier.
In the absence of these three stars, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom led the qualifying at 1:55.14, with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey second at 1:56.02 and 400 m Free winner Ariarne Titmus (AUS) third-fastest at 1:56.34.
As for Ledecky, the women’s 1,500 m final – in which she is the world-record holder – is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. on Korea, or 7:10 a.m. Eastern time in the U.S.