FINA World Championships Predictions: Men’s 200 Breast

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Ippei Watanabe became the first man to break 2:07 in the men’s 200 breast earlier this year, but recent history says that this event could be unpredictable at the upcoming FINA World Championships.

Watanabe, remember, was similarly positioned to make a run at Olympic gold last summer. In the 200 breast semi-finals, he swam a time of 2:07.22, then the third-fastest mark in history, for a new Olympic record and the top seed.

One day later, Watanabe swam more than a half-second slower and finished sixth while the man in lane eight, Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin, stunned the world and won gold.

Balandin will return to swim the event in Budapest, as will Olympic bronze medalist Anton Chupkov, but not the silver medalist. Josh Prenot finished third in the event at U.S. Nationals last month, locking the third-fastest performer out of the event at World Champs.

Read below to see what Swimming World’s trio of experts think will happen in Budapest. David RiederJohn Lohn and Andy Ross will each offer their predictions for who will finish on the podium.

Men’s 200 Breast

Current Records:

World Record: Ippei Watanabe, JPN (2017) — 2:06.67
Championship Record: Daniel Gyurta, HUN (2013) — 2:07.23
American Record: Josh Prenot (2016) — 2:07.17

2015 World Champion: Marco Koch, GER — 2:07.76
2016 Olympic Gold Medalist: Dmitriy Balandin, KAZ — 2:07.46
2017 World No. 1: Ippei Watanabe, JPN — 2:06.67

Swimming World Predictions

David Rieder’s Picks:

Gold: Ippei Watanabe, JPN
Silver: Anton Chupkov, RUS
Bronze: Kevin Cordes, USA

John Lohn’s Picks:

Gold: Anton Chupkov, RUS
Silver: Ippei Watanabe, JPN
Bronze: Dmitriy Balandin, KAZ

Andy Ross’ Picks:

Gold: Ippei Watanabe, JPN
Silver: Kevin Cordes, USA
Bronze: Yasuhiro Koseki, JPN

Previous Events

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

Day Six:



    • avatar

      Would be perfect. But nobody can swim even 2:06 low.

Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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