Home Course Advantage | Is it enough for Australia to take back the total team title?
On home soil, Australian swimmers are poised to retain the top spot in the medal chart – something they frequently owned in the early editions when they finished atop 5 times at the first 8 championships. However, the last time they could achieve that dates back to 2006. Ever since, it was USA almost all the way – apart from Brazil’s surprise run in Doha 2014, the Americans amassed the best medal tallies in 6 of the last 7 editions, and altogether they lead 8-5 in this special race against the Aussies who were in the top three in Manchester 2008 for the last time.
Some milestones that maybe passed in Melbourne: the USA can clinch their 350th medal (lead the all-time ranks with 336), while second-placed Australia are ready to hit No. 250 (currently have 242). China is looking for their 50th gold (claimed 46 so far), while the Netherlands and Brazil are all set for a 25th title (both have 23), just like Great Britain (with 22). South Africa may dream of their 50th podium (they have amassed 45 till now) and Italy may also achieve that, though they have three less as of today (42).
Lochte Leads All-Time Medal Ranks as le Clos Closes In
As for the individual accolades, USA’s Ryan Lochte holds a towering record of 38 medals (21 gold, 10 silver, 7 bronze), Chad le Clos (RSA) follows him with 18 (10-5-3). The South African claimed all these podiums in individual events, Lochte had 24 in this category – Le Clos talked about catching up Lochte in this special race. One record of Lochte was tied by Le Clos, though, as by adding two more medals to his tally last year, he stood on the podium at six different editions (2010-21). Lochte is the best collector at single editions too, he amassed 8 medals at two different championships (Istanbul 2012, Doha 2014) – his 2012 feat is the best effort from a male individual with 6 golds, one silver and one bronze.
Hosszu Holds All Sorts of Records
Among the women, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) holds all kinds of records. She has the most in total, 27, (all in individual events), and the most titles, 17. She also holds the record for the most medals and most titles at a single edition (men and women), and claimed 9 in Windsor 2016 (7 gold, 2 silver). Sarah Sjostrom earned 7 in Abu Dhabi in 2021 (3-3-1).
Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo sits second on the all-time ranks with 21 podiums (11-7-3) and before her retirement, she also tied Lochte’s record of winning medals at six different editions.
Seto Sets His Sights
Japan IM specialist Daiya Seto can set an all-time record in Melbourne by becoming the first swimmer ever to win 6 titles in a row in the same event. The Japanese tied GBR’s James Hickman’s record of 5 straight golds in Abu Dhabi and now he is back for a historical 6th. Chad le Clos just missed that feat a year ago when he finished runner-up after four straight wins in the 100m fly. Lochte is the only other swimmer with a ‘poker’ in the same event – Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki has four golds in the 200m back, but he missed the title in 2018 (finished tied third), before adding the fourth last year.
Last December, only three champions could retain their respective 2018 titles. Besides Seto, Brazil’s never-ageing phenomenon Nicholas Santos in the 50m butterfly and Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Swimming Federation in the 100m IM. Though Santos was about to retire, he finally opted for another participation here in Melbourne, so he may complete a triple (and further improve the record for the oldest-ever champion, as he is 42 years old). Kolesnikov cannot swim in Melbourne, so the other title-holders may start building new streaks in the coming days.
Winning Streaks, Men
- James Hickman (GBR), 200m fly (1997-99-2000-02-04)
- Daiya Seto (JPN), 400m IM (2012-14-16-18-21)
- Ryan Lochte (USA), 200m IM (2006-08-10-12)
- Chad le Clos 100m fly (2012-14-16-18)
- Matt Dunn (AUS), 400m IM (1995-97-99)
- Lars Frolander (SWE), 100m fly (1997-99-2000)
- Yuri Prilukov (RUS), 400m free (2004-06-08)
- Yuri Prilukov (RUS), 1500m free (2004-06-08)
- Ryan Lochte (USA), 400m IM (2006-08-10)
- Ryan Lochte (USA), 100m IM (2008-10-12)
- Radoslaw Kawecki (POL), 200m back (2012-14-16)
Among the women, longer streaks are even rarer. Katinka Hosszu holds the record with a run of straight four titles in the 100m IM. Otherwise, only triples have been recorded so far. Since only one title defence happened in 2021, by Ranomi Kromowidjojo in the 50m fly and the Dutch retired later, in Melbourne we won’t see anyone joining the three-peaters.
Winning Streaks, Women
- Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 100m IM (2012-14-16-18)
- Yana Klochkova (UKR) 400m IM (1999-2000-02)
- Chen Hua (CHN), 800m free (1999-2000-02)
- Jenny Thompson (USA) 100m fly (1997-99-2000)
- Martina Moravcova (SVK), 100m IM (1999-2000-02)
- Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 200m IM (2014-16-18)
- Alia Atkinson (JAM), 100m breast (2014-16-18)
- Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 50m free (2014-16-18)
Last year in Abu Dhabi 4 world records fell: Florian Wellbrock (GER, 1500m free, 14:06.88), Siobhan Haughey (HKG, 200m free, 1:50.31), Maggie MacNeil (CAN, 50m back, 25.27), Sweden’s 4x50m medley relay (1:42.38, tied).
As for the number of records broken at a single edition, Doha 2014 stood out with 23 WRs, 18 were bettered in Manchester 2008 and 15 in Athens 2000.
Who Could Break Records in Melbourne?
Romania’s David Popovici is going after another WR after he managed to bring down Cesar Cielo’s 2009 shiny suit mark in the 100m free by clocking 46.86sec (he achieved it at the Europeans in Rome). In his pet event, the short-course WR (44.84) has belonged to Aussie Kyle Chalmers since last October. From a historical perspective, only the great Alexander Popov (RUS) held the two 100m marks simultaneously (between 1994 and 2000). Alain Bernard (FRA) also broke both the long-course and the short-course WR in this event but never topped the ranks simultaneously (in fact in the 25m pool he owned the mark for only six days).
Among the current men’s long-course world record holders, besides Popovici, Hunter Armstrong (USA, 50m back), Thomas Ceccon (ITA, 100m back), Adam Peaty (GBR, 50&100m breast) and Andriy Govorov (UKR, 50m fly) will race at the championships and have a chance to become both the long course and the short course WR-holder in the same event.
Anyone achieving this feat, shall join a privileged club having three members as of today:
- Paul Biedermann (GER), 200m free: 1:42.00 / 1:39.37 (both from 2009)
- Caeleb Dressel (USA), 100m fly: 49.45 (2021) / 47.78 (2020)
- Ryan Lochte (USA), 200m IM: 1:54.00 (2011) / 1:49.63 (2012)
As for the women, three current long-course world recorder-holders will be on the starting blocks: Kaylee McKeown (AUS, 100m back), Benedetta Pilato (ITA, 50m breast) and Lilly King (USA, 100m breast). Interestingly, McKeown owns the 200m short-course mark.
As the FINA Swimming World Cup finally made its way back to North America this October, Katie Ledecky opted to race in the 25m pool and first brought down the 800m mark in Toronto, then the 1500m WR in Indianapolis to join Katinka Hosszu who up until then had been the only ‘double’ WR-holder in the current field:
- Katie Ledecky (USA), 800m free: 8:04.79 (2016) / 7:57:42 (2022)
- Katie Ledecky (USA), 1500m free: 15:20.48 (2018) / 15:08.24 (2022)
- Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 200m IM: 2:06.12 (2015) / 2:01.86 (2014)
Unprecedented: Long Course and Short Course Worlds in the Same Year
2022 is the first year, when FINA stage World Championships both in the 50m and 25m pool – so plenty of summer heroes from Budapest may add another world title to this year’s tallies. Both in the men’s and women’s fields, seven respective world champions will have a shot at the short-course titles this week:
Male gold medallists from Budapest to race in Melbourne: Benjamin Proud (GBR, 50m free), David Popovici (ROU, 100&200m free), Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA, 1500m free), Thomas Ceccon (ITA, 100m back), Ryan Murphy (USA, 200m back), Nic Fink (USA, 50m breast), Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA, 100m breast).
Female gold medallists from Budapest to race in Melbourne: Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS, 100m free), Kylie Masse (CAN, 50m back), Kaylee McKeown (AUS, 200m back), Ruta Meilutyte (LTU, 50m breast), Benedetta Pilato (ITA, 100m breast), Lilly King (USA, 200m breast), Torri Huske (USA, 100m fly)
Among the men, only five of the 17 individual champions from 2021 will not be present in Melbourne, so in 12 events there is a chance that any of the following greats retains his title: Ben Proud (GBR, 50m free), Alessandro Miressi (ITA, 100m free), Hwang Sunwoo (KOR, 200m free), Shaine Casas (USA, 100m back), Radoslaw Kawecki (POL, 200m back), Nic Fink (USA, 50&200m breast), Nicholas Santos (BRA, 50m fly), Matteo Rivolta (ITA, 100m fly), Alberto Razzetti (ITA, 200m fly), Daiya Seto (JPN, 200&400m IM).
There is one more vacancy in the women’s field, where six events will not see the respective title-holders on the starting blocks, all others are already in town: Siobhan Haughey (HKG, 100&200m free), Li Bingjie (CHN, 400&800m free), Maggie MacNeil (CAN, 50m back&100m fly), Louise Hansson (SWE, 100m back), Tang Qianting (CHN, 100m breast), Zhang Yufei (CHN, 200m fly), Sydney Pickrem (CAN, 200m IM), Tessa Cieplucha (CAN, 400m IM).