SWIMMING: World records start FINA World Short-Course Champs

The 14th FINA World Short-Course Championships have exploded out of the blocks in Hangzhou (CHN), with two first-day world records and American Records in three events:

∙ Japan’s Daiya Seto, the 2013-15 World (Long-Course) Champion in the 400 m Medley, pulverized the world Short-Course mark, winning in 1:48.24, ahead of the prior record holder, Chad le Clos of South Africa, who also finished under his own mark at 1:48.32!

It’s Seto’s fourth straight win in the Short-Course Worlds in this event.

∙ The U.S. team of Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Michael Chadwick and Ryan Held stormed to the lead from the start and vaporized the world mark of 3:30.30 set by the 2009 U.S. Worlds Short-Course team of Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Garrett Weber-Gale and Michael Phelps.

The American quartet finished in 3:30.03, with Dressel leading off in 45.66, a new American Record. He broke Held’s 45.82 mark from the prelims, which lowered the 46.25 standard set by Ian Crocker back in 2004 and tied by Pieroni in 2018. Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov closed in on Held during on the anchor leg, but had to settle for second, also under the old world-record time.

Said Held, “We knew this was our event, our time to shine in short-course meters. We knew [the world record] was definitely possible, so we had it in the back our mind while racing. The girls set the standard high and got the ball rolling, got momentum going. We just had to follow suit.”

What’s amazing is that Adrian and Grevers are on the 2018 U.S. team as well!

The other U.S. records were set by Mallory Comerford and Olivia Smoliga. Comerford, the U.S. national long-course champ in the 100 m Free in 2017, finished second in the 200 m Free final to Australia’s teenage star Ariarne Titmus, 1:51.38-1:51.81, but broke her own mark of 1:52.52 in the prelims. That time erased Missy Franklin’s 1:52.74 from 2015 from the record book. Titmus swim was the fourth-fastest in (short-course) history.

Smoliga’s prelim mark of 55.47 in the women’s 100 m Backstroke was the fastest of the morning and set the American Record, faster then Kathleen Baker’s 55.91 time from back in September. Baker qualified for the final as the fourth-fastest.

Defending champions did well: China’s Shun Wang defended his 2016 World Short-Course title in the men’s 200 m Medley, and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the women’s 400 m Medley in 4:21.40, ahead of American Melanie Margalis (4:25.84). It was the second straight 400 m Medley Worlds wins for Hosszu and she now has an astonishing total of 23 World Short-Course medals, with 14 golds. By the way, she’s entered in seven other events!

The U.S. also won the women’s 4×100 m Freestyle, with Comerford taking the lead for good on the third leg (51.09, third-fastest split in the race) and then Kelsi Dahlia bringing it home for a 3:27.78-3:28.02 win over the Netherlands. It was the no. 2 time in U.S. history.

The World Short-Course Championships are not close to the World (Long-Course) Championships in importance, and there are many stars who have skipped it, including American superstars Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel, among others. Moreover, FINA has incurred considerable displeasure from many top swimmers thanks to its forced cancellation of the Energy for Swim meet in Turin (ITA) that was scheduled for after the Short-Course Worlds. FINA’s actions are now the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. last week, with Americans Tom Shields, Michael Andrew and Hungary’s Hosszu as the lead plaintiffs.

There is considerable prize money in this meet, with $2.07 million on offer; each event will pay $10,000-8,000-7,000-6,000-5,000-4,000-3,000-2,000 to the top eight finishers. World records command an extra $15,000.

There’s lots of coverage of the Worlds in the U.S. NBC’s Olympic Channel has live coverage from 6-8 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday and Thursday, with replays on NBCSN later in the day. Friday’s coverage on the NBC Olympic Channel is from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (delayed) and 1-3 p.m. on NBCSN. The full schedule is here. Summaries so far:

FINA World Short-Course Championships
Hangzhou (CHN) ~ 11-16 December 2018
(Full results here)


400 m Freestyle: 1. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 3:44.01 (Meet Record); 2. Henrik Christiansen (NOR), 3:36.64; 3. Gabriele Detti (ITA), 3:37.54; 4. Martin Malyutin (RUS), 3:37.75; 5. Aleksandr Krasnykh (RUS), 3:37.97; 6. Zane Grothe (USA), 3:38.99; 7. Wojciech Wojdak (POL), 3:39.22; 8. Fernando Scheffer (BRA), 3:39.40.

200 m Butterfly: 1. Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:48.24 (World Record; 1:48.56, Chad le Clos (RSA), 2013); 2. Chad le Clos (RSA), 1:48.32 (also under old World Record!); 3. Zhuhao Li (CHN), 1:50.39; 4. Aleksandr Kharlanov (RUS), 1:50.67; 5. Zach Hartung (USA), 1:51.57; 6. Luiz Melo (BRA), 1:51.99; 7. Nic Brown (AUS), 1:52.10; 8. Antani Ivanov (BUL), 1:52.40.

200 m Medley: 1. Shun Wang (CHN), 1:51.01; 2. Josh Prenot (USA), 1:52.69; 3. Hiromasa Fujimori (JPN), 1:52.73; 4. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 1:52.78; 5. Caio Pumputis (BRA), 1:53.05; 6. Leonardo Coehlo Santos (BRA), 1:53.38; 7. Jan Switkowski (POL), 1:53.96; 8. Bradlee Ashby (NZL), 1:54.01.

4×100 m Freestyle: 1. United States (Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Michael Chadwick, Ryan Held), 3:03.03 (World Record; old, 3:30.30, United States, 2009; Dressel’s 45.66 lead-off is an American Record; old, 45.82, Held, in heats); 2. Russia (Grinev, Fesikov, Morozov, Kolesnikov), 3:03.11 (also under old World Record!); 3. Brazil (Santana, Chierighini, Cielo Filho, Correia), 3:05.15; 4. Italy, 3:05.20; 5. Australia, 3:06.49; 6. Japan, 3:07.87; 7. China, 3:10.55; 8. Belarus, 3:10.59.


200 m Freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:51.38; 2. Mallory Comerford (USA), 1:51.81 (American Record; old, 1:52.52, Comerford, 2018) ; 3. Femke Heemskerk (NED), 1:52.36; 4. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:53.18; 5. Jianjiahe Wang (CHN), 1:53.23; 6. Michelle Coleman (SWE), 1:53.83; 7. Veronika Andrusenko (RUS), 1:54.26; 8. Barbora Seemanova (CZE), 1:54.82.

400 m Medley: 1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 4:21.40; 2. Melanie Margalis (USA), 4:25.84; 3. Fantina Lesaffre (FRA), 4:27.31; 4. Ilaria Cusinato (ITA), 4:27.88; 5. Lara Grangeon (FRA), 4:29.56; 6. Sakiko Shimizu (JPN), 4:31.07; 7. Catalina Corro (ESP), 4:31.63; 8. Miho Takahashi (JPN), 4:35.62.

4×100 m Freestyle: 1. United States (Olivia Smoliga, Lia Neal, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Dahlia), 3:27.78; 2. Netherlands (Busch, Heemskerk, de Waard, Kromowidjojo), 3:28.02; 3. China (Zhu, Yang, Liu, Wang), 3:30.92; 4. Japan, 3:31.68; 5. Russia, 3:32.48; 6. Germany, 3:33.27; 7. Hong Kong, 3:40.25; 8. Turkey, 3:41.25.