2021 FINA Short Course World Championships Day 2 Prelims: U.S., Canada Relays Running Close Again

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Claire Curzan (USA) in the women's 4x100m medley heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Claire Curzan; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher

2021 FINA Short Course World Championships Day 2 Prelims: U.S., Canada Relays Running Close Again

A day after tying for gold in the women’s 400 freestyle relay, there’s again very little separating the United States and Canada.

The United States grabbed the top seed from prelims of the 200 medley relay at the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships Friday, just slightly ahead of Canada.

Many of the protagonists were the same. The American foursome of Katharine Berkoff, Emily Escobedo, Claire Curzan and Kate Douglass clocked in at 1:44.50. Canada was second in 1:45.17 with the foursome of Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, Katerine Savard and Maggie MacNeil. (Douglass, Curzan, MacNeil and Savard all won golds in the tie on Thursday.)

Italy grabbed the third seed, followed by China and 400 free relay bronze medalist Sweden.

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Men’s 200 freestyle

Fernando Scheffer is the top seed after a tight 200 free in which seven tenths separated the top 11 finishers. The Brazilian was first in 1:42.42, just .01 up on South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang. Duncan Scott and Kieran Smith, the only American in the field, followed.

The fastest final 50 of the event was provided by Danas Rapsys, the Lithuanian sneaking in to a tie for sixth with a 25.49 on his final 50.

Among those missing out on the eight-man final are high-flying Dutchman Luc Kroon in ninth and Romania’s David Popovici in 14th.

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Women’s 100 freestyle

There may be no stopping Siobhan Haughey with the form she’s in, and for prelims of the 100 free at least, that remained true. The Hong Kong swimmer set the top time in prelims at 51.97 seconds, a quarter-second clear of her ISL teammate with Energy Standard, Sarah Sjostrom. The Swedish star was second in 52.21.

Canada’s Kayla Sanchez is the third seed in prelims, followed by the U.S.’s Abbey Weitzeil and Poland’s Kasia Wasick. Torri Huske makes it two Americans in the 16-swimmer semifinals, having finished ninth.

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Men’s 100 butterfly

Switzerland’s Noe Ponti set the pace at 49.49, downing his national record from the Swiss championship last month to grab the top seed. Second was Andrei Minakov in 49.60 with Youssef Ramadan of Egypt following.

Sixteen swimmers advanced to semifinals. Barely among them was American Tom Shields, who went 50.57 seconds to finish 16th, just .22 ahead of Marcin Cieslak. You have to scroll much further to find Michael Andrew, who followed up a lackluster showing in the 100 breaststroke by going 51.69. That’s 33rd and nowhere near advancing.

Chad le Clos finished 11th in 50.47 to advance to semifinals.

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Women’s 200 butterfly

The 200 fly was one of the most underwhelming events of the Tokyo Olympics. With the field thinned further at the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships, it’s more of the same.

That didn’t stop Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova from taking the top seed in prelims in 2:05.12. Russia has two of the top three seeds, with Anastasiia Markova third.

The favorite may yet be reigning Olympic champion Zhang Yufei, who is the second seed in 2:05.73. The American in the event, Charlotte Hooke, scraped into finals in seventh.

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Mixed 200 freestyle relay

Russia set the pace in the last relay of the morning, with the team of Andrei Minakov, Daniil Markov, Arina Surkova and Rozaliya Nasretdinova taking the top seed in 1:29.84. Minakov led off with a 21.04, and there might be tenths to gain in the back half with the women.

Italy is the second seed, with Leonardo Deplano uncorking a 20.91 for the fastest split of the morning. Netherlands was third with more or less its top team, while the United States was fourth.

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Women’s 800 freestyle

China’s Li Bingjie was the class of prelims with a time of 8:10.09, the quickest by more than three seconds. Canada’s Summer McIntosh grabbed the second seed in 8:13.37, setting a Canadian record in the process. She trashed the super-suited 8:19.99 that had stood since 2009 in the hands of Savannah King, set when McIntosh was 2.5 years old. Isabel Gose of Germany was third followed by Italy’s Simona Quadarella, the top seed entering the event.

The U.S. pushed one of two swimmers through, Katie Grimes finished seventh in prelims at 8:16.01. Emma Weyant misses out in ninth at 8:20.65.

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