FINA World Championships Predictions: Men’s 800 Free

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The men’s 800 free will be contested at the FINA World Championships for a ninth time in Budapest, but more and more swimmers figure to zero in on this distance over the next several years given its status as a new Olympic event.

Given that the world’s top distance swimmers have not raced in the 800 at a major meet in two years, this one is tough to peg. So take a look at the men who won medals in both the 400 and 1500 in Rio: Mack HortonSun YangGabriele Detti and Gregorio Paltrinieri. (Connor Jaeger, the Olympic silver medalist in the 1500, is retired.)

Sun held off Paltrinieri for gold in this event two years ago, with Horton earning the bronze. Detti didn’t even swim the 800 in Kazan in 2015, but he ranks No. 1 in the world for 2017 after winning bronze medals in both the 400 and 1500 in Rio.

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 800 Free

Current Records:

World Record: Zhang Lin, CHN (2009) — 7:32.12
Championship Record: Zhang Lin, CHN (2009) — 7:32.12
American Record: Michael McBroom (2013) — 7:43.60

2015 World Champion: Sun Yang, CHN — 7:39.96
2017 World No. 1: Gabriele Detti, ITA — 7:41.64

Swimming World Predictions

David Rieder’s Picks:

Gold: Gabriele Detti, ITA
Silver: Mack Horton, AUS
Bronze: Sun Yang, CHN

John Lohn’s Picks:

Gold: Sun Yang, CHN
Silver: Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA
Bronze: Gabriele Detti, ITA

Andy Ross’ Picks:

Gold: Gabriele Detti, ITA
Silver: Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA
Bronze: Mack Horton, AUS

Previous Events

Day One:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

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  1. Shaheen Alghofari

    Apparently the world record is slower than the American record . Joe Stott. Yang will be nowhere here

    • avatar
      David Rieder

      I have no idea how I missed that or where the 7:44 that was listed as the WR came from. The world record is very much 7:32.12…

  2. avatar

    The Italian pair of Patroinieri and Detti have to be favoured but Sun Yang is a potentially dangerous X factor. He has seemingly stepped away from longer events but this may still be within range.

    Horton has possibilities but there is no middle ground with him. He is either very good or pure “plod” and we’ve seen more “plod” than pace this year.

  3. avatar

    800 Detti, 1500 Paltrinieri.

  4. James Lane

    Hard to see past Paltrinieri, Yang and Detti. In my opinion a little too far for Horton. Incredible 400 swimmer is Horton but still I think too far for him to compete with the 1500 ‘specialists’.

    • James Lane

      I know it’s only an 800 race but I would argue it’s easier to come down a distance and remain competitive than to move up one

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