World Championships Preview — Girls’s Dash Freestyle: Emma McKeon Returns to Battle for Gold
Two years in the past in Tokyo, Emma McKeon achieved probably the most prolific Olympic efficiency ever by a feminine swimmer. Sure, ever. McKeon received seven Olympic medals at these Video games, albeit with one further relay alternative with the combined medley added to the lineup for the primary time to associate with her key legs on the Australian girls’s 400 medley relay and 400 and 800 freestyle relays. However individually, McKeon was dynamite as effectively, incomes bronze in an especially tight 100 butterfly remaining earlier than dominating the fields within the 100 free and 50 free.
McKeon had by no means earlier than received particular person gold at a World Championships or Olympics, and she or he had sometimes not even raced the person dash freestyle occasions, with sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell typically occupying Australia’s two spots at main meets. Now 29 years outdated, McKeon returns to Japan for the World Championships after skipping final 12 months’s version of the meet in Budapest. She is the second-fastest performer ever within the 100 free and ranked fifth all-time within the 50 free, however her competitors might be stiff.
The reigning world champions that McKeon will face come from reverse ends of the swimming spectrum: one is an Australian teammate 10 years youthful whereas the opposite is a well-recognized same-age rival from Sweden.
|Girls’s 50 Freestyle|
|WR||23.67||Sarah Sjostrom||SWE||Budapest (HUN)||July 29, 2017|
|CR||23.67||Sarah Sjostrom||SWE||Budapest (HUN)||July 29, 2017|
|WJR||24.17||Claire Curzan||USA||Cary (USA)||Could 14, 2021|
|Girls’s 100 Freestyle|
|WR||51.71||Sarah Sjostrom||SWE||Budapest (HUN)||July 23, 2017|
|CR||51.71||Sarah Sjostrom||SWE||Budapest (HUN)||July 23, 2017|
|WJR||52.70||Penny Oleksiak||CAN||Rio de Janeiro (BRA)||Aug. 11, 2016|
Chen Yujie (CHN): Fifth at Worlds within the 100 free final 12 months, Chen swam occasions of 24.53 within the 50 free and 53.26 within the 100 free at Chinese language Nationals. Contending in: 50 free & 100 free
Kate Douglass (USA): The shock winner of the 100 free at U.S. Nationals, Douglass could have a tougher time reaching the rostrum within the 100 free than her different two particular person occasions, the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke. Qualifying for the ultimate could possibly be tough with the semifinals of the 200 breast shortly earlier than the 100 free semis, however the order of occasions is reversed for the ultimate. Douglass ranks ninth all-time within the 100 free at 52.57. Contending in: 100 free
Siobhan Haughey (HKG): Haughey, the Olympic silver medalist within the occasion, returns to international lengthy course competitors after lacking final 12 months’s Worlds with damage. She might be stronger within the 200 free, however her 100 free finest time of 52.27 ranks tied for sixth all-time, and she or he ranks second on the planet this 12 months at 52.50. Contending in: 100 free
Anna Hopkin (GBR): A finalist within the 100 free on the Olympics and within the 50 free eventually 12 months’s Worlds, this 27-year-old from Nice Britain finds methods to contend 12 months after 12 months. She received bronze within the 50 free on the Quick Course World Championships in December. Contending in: 50 free & 100 free
Shayna Jack (AUS): Jack had an excellent probability at a 100 free medal final 12 months earlier than a hand damage knocked her out of the meet. This 12 months, Jack ranks fifth-globally within the 100 free however didn’t qualify to swim the occasion at Worlds with McKeon and Mollie O’Callaghan claiming the 2 Aussie spots. Jack might be within the medal dialog within the 50 free after edging out McKeon to win the occasion at Australian Trials, her time of 24.22 rating third on the planet. Contending in: 50 free
Emma McKeon (AUS): To date in 2023, the gold medalist in each occasions from Tokyo has been as quick as 24.26 within the 50 free (fourth on the planet) and 52.52 within the 100 free (third on the planet). We’ll see if McKeon can maintain off her competitors to win her first particular person lengthy course world title. Contending in: 50 free & 100 free
Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS): O’Callaghan, 19, is the defending world champion, having used an unbelievable second 50 to overhaul the sphere final 12 months. She later took down Jack and McKeon for gold on the Commonwealth Video games. O’Callaghan swam her finest time (52.48) to overhaul McKeon for the win at Australian Trials. Nonetheless, O’Callaghan did undergo a knee damage in June, so we’ll see if she will be able to regain full type in time for Fukuoka. Contending in: 100 free
Sarah Sjostrom (SWE): Sjostrom is the world-record holder in each dash freestyle occasions, however she’s going to solely compete in 50-meter races (free and fly) this 12 months. She is the reigning world champion within the 50 free, and her high time this 12 months is 23.82, nearly two tenths sooner than anybody else on the planet. Contending in: 50 free
Marrit Steenbergen (NED): The versatile Steeenbergen might qualify for a number of particular person finals in Fukuoka, and she or he at the moment ranks seventh on the planet within the 100 free at 52.98. Steenbergen was the European champion final 12 months within the 100 and 200 free, and at Quick Course Worlds, she received the 100 IM whereas incomes 100 and 200 free bronze medals. Contending in: 100 free
Gretchen Walsh (USA): At U.S. Nationals, Walsh achieved her long-awaited lengthy course breakthrough, qualifying for Worlds in three particular person occasions (50 free, 50 fly and 100 fly) and likewise within the 400 free relay. Coming into Worlds, she sits sixth on the planet within the 50 free at 24.31. Contending in: 50 free
Kasia Wasick (POL): The 31-year-old Wasick earned her first international lengthy course medal with a 50 free silver eventually 12 months’s Worlds behind Sjostrom. She additionally took silver on the European Championships (once more behind Sjostrom) and on the Quick Course World Championships (behind McKeon). Contending in: 50 free
Abbey Weitzeil (USA): She missed the World Championships workforce altogether in 2022, however Weitzeil has rebounded majorly this 12 months. She swam her finest occasions in each dash occasions at Nationals, along with her 100 free time of 52.92 rating sixth on the planet and her 50 free mark of 24.00 rating second. Weitzeil almost knocked off Simone Manuel’s American report (23.97) whereas transferring to eleventh all-time within the splash-and-dash. Contending in: 50 free
Zhang Yufei (CHN): Zhang is best recognized for her butterfly skills, however she was fifth within the 50 free at Worlds final 12 months and owns a season-best mark of 24.40. Contending in: 50 free
Girls’s 50 Freestyle
Gold: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)
Silver: Emma McKeon (AUS)
Bronze: Abbey Weitzeil (USA)
It is going to be actually arduous to high Sjostrom, who might be aiming for the third world title of her profession on this race. McKeon and Weitzeil are one of the best bets to affix her underneath 24, though Wasick (and probably Jack and Walsh) needs to be within the combine as effectively.
Girls’s 100 Freestyle
Gold: Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS)
Silver: Siobhan Haughey (HKG)
Bronze: Emma McKeon (AUS)
This one needs to be extraordinarily tight, and both American might actually find yourself on the rostrum right here. However we expect O’Callaghan’s ending pace will once more prevail within the remaining.