A Look At the Big Names Who Will Be Missing From the World Championships

Adam Peaty of Great Britain prepares to compete in the 100m Breaststroke Men Semifinal during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 14th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Adam Peaty -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Editorial content for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships is sponsored by FINIS, a longtime partner of Swimming World and leading innovator of suits, goggles and equipment.


A Look At the Big Names Who Will Be Missing From the World Championships

The latest name to join the exodus from next month’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, was Kristof Milak, the 23-year-old Hungarian who won world titles last year in the 100 and 200 butterfly, breaking his own world record in the longer event. Milak announced Wednesday that he was withdrawing from Worlds. He stated, “I’m not on the level either physically or mentally to race against the world’s best swimmers.”

Milak said in his statement that he wanted to reset with the aim of returning to his usual form, with next year’s Paris Olympics as the implied target. And he is far from the only accomplish swimmer to miss the Fukuoka meet, with the allure of Olympic gold next year in Paris looming as the main target.

Adam Peaty, another gold medalist from the Tokyo Olympics and world-record holder in the 100 breaststroke, pulled out of April’s British Championships to focus on his mental health recovery. He previously missed last year’s Worlds in Budapest with injuries. Peaty has a chance to become only the second male swimmer (after Michael Phelps) to win Olympic gold in one race at three consecutive Olympics, and he has returned to training with an eye on Paris.

Several accomplished Australian swimmers were not part of the Dolphins’ 38-member squad named for Worlds. The biggest name missing is Cate Campbell, a 31-year-old four-time Olympian who returned to training this year and has posted strong competition results. Campbell missed last week’s Australian Trials, but her coach, Rohan Taylor, said, “Worlds was never part of Cate’s comeback plans.”

Also missing are Australia’s two top female breaststrokers from recent years, Jenna Strauch and Chelsea Hodges. Strauch, the silver medalist in the 200 breast at last year’s World Championships, skipped Trials with knee problems while Hodges, the breaststroke swimmer on Australia’s gold-medal-winning 400 medley relay in Tokyo, underwent major hip surgery in April with a four-month recovery time. On the men’s side, injuries knocked a pair of World Championship free relay medal winners, William Yang and Zac Incerti, out of Trials.

Penny Oleksiak, Canada’s co-Olympic gold medalist in the 100 free from the 2016 Olympics and bronze medalist in the 200 free in 2021, will not make the trip to Fukuoka because of shoulder problems. She previously missed last year’s Commonwealth Games with a knee issue. Oleksiak’s loss will be huge for Canada after she anchored four medal-winning relays last year in Budapest.

On the men’s side, one of the world’s rising young backstrokers, South Africa’s Pieter Coetze, will be absent. Coetze, who won medals in all three backstroke distances at both the Commonwealth Games and World Junior Championships last year, revealed the decision to Swimming World Magazine in an interview for “Gutter Talk.” Like almost every other swimmer not heading to Worlds, Coetze emphasized that he is prioritizing next year’s Olympics as his focus, even though there is no specific injury or issue that he cited as his reason for withdrawing.

“I actually won’t be competing in World Championships this year,” Coetze said. “I’ll just be training and doing some racing elsewhere over the course of this year. This year is just all about racing at the right time, getting the work done and just having fun. Next year is a big year, so I’m expecting big things. The training this year, it all builds up to the Olympics.”

Finally, multi-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu is not expected in Worlds as she is expecting her first child. She announced her pregnancy in an Instagram post in March. Unlike everyone else mentioned on this list, it is unclear if Hosszu plans to return to competition in the future.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 months ago

No Simone Manuel, she’s not entered into Us Nationals, although on recent form she’d be unlikely to qualify.

11 months ago

Thatʻs too bad. Keeping the machine well-oiled is better, or its gonna rust.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x