Budapest Bummer? Duncan Scott Latest to Withdraw From Thinned-Out Worlds

SCOTT Duncan LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 6 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Duncan Scott -- Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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Budapest Bummer? Duncan Scott Latest Star to Withdraw From Thinned-Out Worlds

You cannot help but feel for Duncan Scott. He tested positive for COVID-19 just weeks before the start of World Championships, and while he hoped for a miraculous recovery in time to swim three individual events plus relays, the quick turnaround was not in the cards. Scott is ranked first in the world in three individual events, and this meet looked like his chance to finally ascend to the top of the podium. To not get that chance at all because of the same COVID-19 pandemic that has derailed so many ambitions around the world over the past two years? It’s tough.

Now, we add Scott’s name to a list of top-level swimmers missing Worlds for one reason or another. The reasons for absences run the gamut, among them: taking a break after the Olympics, focusing on other international competitions later in the year, suspensions and injuries. Australian stars Emma McKeon and Ariarne Titmus chose to skip this meet, while Scott and fellow British star Adam Peaty had every intention of swimming in Budapest prior to their unfortunate setbacks.

In the short term, no Scott means better medal chances for the swimmers remaining in his events. He was set to make his major championship meet debut in the 400 IM on Day One in Budapest, but now the likes of Daiya SetoCarson FosterLeon Marchand and Chase Kalisz won’t have to worry about Scott chasing them down over the last two lengths of freestyle. The same competitors will benefit from Scott’s absence in the 200 IM along with the two men who joined him on the Olympic podium, Wang Shun and Jeremy Desplanches, and the men’s 200 freestyle also loses a key player with Scott’s fellow Briton Tom Dean now a slight favorite ahead of swimmers such as Hwang SunwooDavid Popovici and Kieran Smith.

At the same time, Scott’s absence will loom over all of these races, just as Peaty’s absence will hover over the men’s sprint breaststroke events and Titmus will be mentioned when the women’s 200 and 400 free finals go off. The swimmers who capture world titles and earn silver and bronze medals will absolutely deserve their honors, but when we analyze who are the best swimmers in the world in each event and overall, the results from the week in Budapest cannot be the be-all, end-all. Not in a year when a crowded schedule (due to COVID-19) and unfortunate injuries and illnesses meant that the world’s best swimmers did not all meet in the same pool. That’s despite FINA’s intentions in scheduling this “extraordinary” Worlds in Budapest only a few months in advance.

Fortunately for fans of swimming and for the swimmers themselves, most of those missing from Budapest this week will have opportunities to swim their focus meet of 2022 later on in the summer, most of them at the Commonwealth Games while Scott and Peaty could also compete at the European Championships. Comparing times from later in the year against Worlds performances will provide the most accurate pecking order for the year 2022.

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1 year ago

This would all be a non-issue if only FINA didn’t insist on having a rushed world champs after Fukuoka was cancelled .. they had it coming really

1 year ago

They – FINA and LEN – are “killing” the sport, money talks. I miss the old 4 year cycle.

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