2019 FINA World Championships Predictions: Medeiros, Liu, Fu to Battle in Women’s 50 Back

Fu Yuanhui is looking to win back the 50 back crown she won in 2015 Photo Courtesy: Maria Dobysheva

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The women’s 50 back, although not an Olympic event, is one of the biggest toss-ups of the meet. World record holder Liu Xiang of China set the world record at the Asian Games last summer to become the first woman under 27 seconds in the event. It also wiped another super suit record from 2009 off the books as only three women’s world records from 2009 remain.

Liu was a 27.85 at the FINA Champions Series in Guangzhou in April, which is almost a full second off her world record. Liu did not swim this event at the 2017 Worlds but was the bronze medalist in this event in Kazan in 2015. China has had a rich history in this event, winning three gold medals at Worlds since the event was introduced in 2001. The Chinese also have the three fastest times in history with Liu ahead of former world record holder Zhao Jing and 2015 World Champion Fu Yuanhui.

Fu has a chance to reclaim the world title she lost in 2017 to Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros. Medeiros has the top time in the world this year at 27.36 while Fu sits in third at 27.60. Last year, Fu had the second fastest time in the world at 27.16.

Medeiros sits fourth all-time and has been a consistent performer in this event the last few years as she holds the world record in short course meters, set in 2014. Medeiros did not have a major taper meet for the 50 back last summer so she should be itching to swim this event on a full rest.

Great Britain’s Georgia Davies sits fifth all-time in this event with her 27.21 from Europeans last summer. Davies has a lot of speed as she is coached by James Gibson at Energy Standard alongside great sprinters Sarah Sjostrom and Ben Proud. Davies has the pedigree and the training to be able to win a gold medal.

Russia’s Anastasia Fesikova, who sits sixth all-time with her 27.23 from Europeans last summer, is another favorite to win a medal. Fesikova, 29, was the gold medalist in this event in 2011 when she swam as Anastasia Zueva. She has since married and picked up where she left off. She is right at or under her best times from 10 years ago and that consistency could lead to a medal.

The Americans will have medal contenders in Kathleen Baker and Olivia Smoliga. Smoliga was the World Short Course Champion in the 50 back in December. She had a great showing in short course at those World Championships, but how will that translate to long course? She is one of the favorites for gold in the 100 back and she has been swimming lights out already this season. She swam a best time in the 100 back in April coming off a camp at altitude.

Current Records:

World Record: 26.98, Liu Xiang, CHN – 2018
Championships Record: 27.06, Zhao Jing, CHN – 2009
American Record: 27.43, Olivia Smoliga – 2018

2017 World Champion: Etiene Medeiros, BRA – 27.14
2018 Fastest Time: Liu Xiang, CHN – 26.98 (Asian Games)
2019 Fastest Times:

  1. 27.36, Etiene Medeiros, BRA
  2. 27.58, Anastasia Fesikova, RUS
  3. 27.60, Fu Yuanhui, CHN
  4. 27.65, Kaylee McKeown, AUS
  5. 27.66, Mariia Kameneva, RUS
  6. 27.75, Georgia Davies, GBR
  7. 27.76, Kathleen Baker, USA
  8. 27.78, Chen Jie, CHN

Swimming World’s team of Andy RossDan D’AddonaDavid RiederDiana Pimer and Taylor Covington will be selecting their choices for the medals at World Championships in each event. Read below who everybody picked.

Andy’s Picks:

  1. Etiene Medeiros
  2. Georgia Davies
  3. Olivia Smoliga

Dan’s Picks:

  1. Olivia Smoliga
  2. Liu Xiang
  3. Etiene Medeiros

David’s Picks:

  1. Liu Xiang
  2. Etiene Medeiros
  3. Anastasia Fesikova

Diana’s Picks:

  1. Etiene Medeiros
  2. Fu Yuanhui
  3. Olivia Smoliga

Taylor’s Picks:

  1. Liu Xiang
  2. Fu Yuanhui
  3. Georgia Davies

2019 FINA World Championships Predictions:

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  1. avatar

    According to entry lists, Liu Xiang is not entered in the 50m backstroke.