Gregorio Paltrinieri Leads Tight 800 Free Heats, Sun Yang Squeaks in

Gregorio Paltrinieri leads a tight 800 free field. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

FINA World Swimming Championships (Gregorio Paltrinieri)

Gwangju 2019

Day Three Heats (Men’s 800 Free)

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri is on top of a very tight 800 free field heading into tomorrow’s final with a 7:45.70 heat swim. He was in control throughout the second half of his heat swim as the Italian shut it down on the final 50 to conserve energy for tomorrow’s final. He won the bronze in 2017 and the silver in 2015 in this event as he is searching for his first gold. Paltrinieri is the two-time reigning World Champion in the 1500 free and also finished sixth in the 10K earlier in the World Championships.

The 800 free final will not be swum until day four finals on Wednesday night.

He is ahead of France’s David Aubry (7:46.37) and Australia’s Jack McLoughlin (7:46.42) as the top eight from this morning’s heats were separated by less than three seconds. The final will be a race of tactics and whoever swims the best strategy will come out on top.

“It was a good race, good heat swim so I am happy,” McLoughlin said. “In the final, lane three, it will be a good race tomorrow night. The 800 is very, very fast so I think tomorrow night is really going to step up again and hopefully I’ll be in the mix there. I think there are a lot of really good, class, quality swimmers that missed out there so it will be a good one.”

Reigning World Champion Gabriele Detti of Italy placed fourth in the heats at 7:46.46 as he is aiming to defend his gold from 2017.

Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk, who had the fastest time in the world in 2018, is seeded sixth for the final. He looked particularly easy in the second half of his swim and is looking dangerous to win his first World Championships gold. He will be joined in the final by fellow Ukrainian Sergii Frolov (7:47.25).

China’s Sun Yang, who won this event three times from 2011-2015, snuck into the final in eighth place at 7:48.12. He hasn’t been particularly sharp the last few years in the 800 free, but he has a lane tomorrow for the final so he shouldn’t be counted out.

Norway’s Henrik Christiansen (7:46.53) also qualified for the final in fifth place. He has yet to win a medal on the world level, despite swimming in many finals in his career.

1 PALTRINIERI Gregorio Italy ITA 7:45.70
2 AUBRY David France FRA 7:46.37
3 MCLOUGHLIN Jack Australia AUS 7:46.42
4 DETTI Gabriele Italy ITA 7:46.46
5 CHRISTIANSEN Henrik Norway NOR 7:46.53
6 ROMANCHUK Mykhailo Ukraine UKR 7:47.01
7 FROLOV Sergii Ukraine UKR 7:47.25
8 SUN Yang People's Republic of China CHN 7:48.12

USA’s Zane Grothe (7:50.14) and Jordan Wilimovsky (7:53.11) notably did not make the final after Grothe was 11th and Wilimovsky was 16th.

Australia’s Mack Horton (7:52.65), who has been extremely vocal about Sun Yang this week, did not make the final either, placing 14th.

“It was nine seconds better than trials so I think I am pretty happy with that,” Horton said. “Realistically I haven’t done that much work for the 800. Yeah. I’ve done more 400 and 200 work and 800 is more of a by-product.”

Horton lodged a silent protest during the medal ceremony of the 400 free when he refused to stand on the podium. FINA issued Horton a strong warning for these actions. Horton seemed unfazed by these actions, saying the focus is now on the Australia team’s performances through the end of the meet.

Another notable miss in the 800 came from Germany’s Florian Wellbrock, who was the 10K World Champion last week.  He was a potential medal favorite in this event and will also have a chance in the 1500 at the end of the meet.


    • Brandon Ortiz

      Darren Sarah Bodey go to sleep or do something.

    • Yanjing Wang

      Darren Sarah Bodey keyboard warrior so Irresponsible

    • James Hooper

      Darren Sarah Bodey Increase the 💉 dosage for the final!

  1. Jennifer Chu

    Sun Yang is being victimised by some of the arrogant over privileged Australian and USA swim team members. They’ve had a vendetta against him since the Rio Olympics! Shameful and so unsporting!

    • Bryce Schubert

      Jennifer Chu because he has a doping history and not to mention is under investigation for another doping violation so I think he has it coming. Plus to call the Australian and American swim teams “arrogant” and “over privileged” is a bit ignorant considering Yang’s behaviour the past few years.

    • Yanjing Wang

      Bryce Schubert see this
      “To be sure, Sun was banned from competition in 2014, but it was for only three months and for a proscribed substance, trimetazidine, that had been prescribed for angina, a heart condition. When Sun took the drug, it had been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list for less than five months, and today is no longer recognized as a stimulant by doping agencies.”
      Please do some research before you judge people.

    • Yanjing Wang

      Bryce Schubert And then “Sun Yang has been facing mounting criticism at the 2016 Rio Games after Australian gold medalist Mack Horton repeatedly slammed him as a “drug cheat,” and then French swimmer Camille Lacourt said the 200-m freestyle champion “pisses purple” in reference to an earlier failed drugs test”
      You are former swimmer too do u call this sportsmanship?

    • Jennifer Chu

      Bryce Schubert, best that you do your OWN research before you judge or comment and not follow the judgemental flock of sheep!

    • Ed Burton

      He is a drug cheat and was banned by the Chinese swimming association.

    • Jennifer Chu

      Sun Yang was banned for 3 months by the Chinese Swimming association BACK in May 2014. He had tested positive for the stimulant trimetazidine which had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency 4 months earlier, which he’d been taking as prescribed by a Doctor for heart palpitations and of which he was unaware was on the banned list. Much like Maria Sharapova! Jealousy abounds in Swimming.

    • Bryce Schubert

      Jennifer Chu even though at the time the substance was prescribed to him as medication, it’s HIS responsibility to check WADA’s prohibited substances every year and is his OWN fault if he doesn’t check it. WADA even said to Sun that he can get an exemption for the substance as a necessary medication but he chose not to for whatever reason. And to say I don’t do my research which I clearly know more about the process and WADA’s guidelines than you is again ignorant.

    • Bryce Schubert

      Yanjing Wang I call it athletes showing courage by demonstrating to FINA and other sporting bodies that they need to harden on doping offences by calling out convicted offenders. This is in the hope that athletes in ALL sports not just swimming, are clean and are on an even playing field which is what the spirit of sport is about.

    • Jennifer Chu

      Give him a break, this has been a Witchhunt by certain countries, since Rio! Not ignorant Sir, involved and versed in swimming for many years! Don’t understand why this Swim Event is Rio repeating itself! It should be about the many young talented swimmers who have trained so hard and are doing so well, not concentrating on the past, an attention seeker using bad sportsmanship and politics! Don’t make it personal!

    • Bryce Schubert

      Jennifer Chu it’s not the fact that it a reoccurring since Rio, it’s the fact that his committed another violation by smashing a blood vial which is why people are getting annoyed about him competing at the championships.

    • Jennifer Chu

      Bryce Schubert he was a very silly, young man, impulsive action to take, but his legal team explained his anger, the drug testers were not accredited testers for that competition in taking blood samples, one of the testers had been secretly filming him without his permission. He’s public enemy No1 but he’s been permitted to swim at the championships, none of us has the right to be judge and jury to point the guilty finger until the official investigation is finalised.

    • Bryce Schubert

      Jennifer Chu it’s still not an excuse. There are guidelines in place that every single athlete must follow regardless. I have to follow these guidelines and monitor the medications I take and giving samples when told to. He only has himself to blame for his actions and suffer the consequences for those actions.

    • Jennifer Chu

      Well I’m not FINA. They must have their reasons for allowing him to swim. I’m so against drugs both in sports or outside of sports. I dislike arrogant victimising by other swimmers. However I do respect your opinion.

    • James Hooper

      Its not just Australia and USA, it’s pretty much the entire world that thinks this guy is a cheating bum.

  2. Ed Burton


  3. Swee Khiang

    Let’s go Sun Yang!

  4. Shaheen Alghofari

    Joe Stottstott sun will not medal hehehe