Short Course World Championships: Alberto Razzetti Claims 200 Fly Gold and 200 IM Bronze (Day One Men’s Recap)

RAZZETTI Alberto ITA Gold Medal Men's 200m Butterfly Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 16/12/21 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Alberto Razzetti won gold in the 200 fly and bronze in the 200 IM in Abu Dhabi -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Short Course World Championships: Alberto Razzetti Claims 200 Fly Gold and 200 IM Bronze (Day One Men’s Recap)

The men’s star of day one at the Short Course World Championships was Italy’s Alberto Razzetti. Fresh off qualifying for his first Olympic final at the Tokyo Games and then winning his first European title in the 200 fly last month, Razzetti stormed home over the final 50 meters to win gold in the 200 fly in Abu Dhabi. Then, in the very next men’s final, he claimed bronze in another exciting finish in the men’s 200 IM.

Also on day one, Austria’s Felix Aubock opened the meet with gold in the 400 free, and Japan’s Daiya Seto held off the USA’s Carson Foster as well as Razzetti to win gold in the 200 IM. Then, Russia out-dueled Italy in the men’s 400 free relay to close out the evening.

Men’s 400 Freestyle FINAL

Austria’s Felix Aubock captured the first gold medal of the meet and his first-ever medal on a global stage in the 400 free. Aubock took over the lead after six lengths and then held Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys at bay by a few tenths at each split. Rapsys, the reigning short course world champion in the event, continued trying to close the gap as he stormed home, but Rapsys could not catch the Austrian.

Aubock finished in 3:35.90, while Rapsys claimed silver in 3:36.23. Also closing with blazing speed was Switzerland’s Antonio Djakovic, who was 26.14 on the last 50 to finish in 3:36.83 and claim bronze. The medal was also the first at a global-level meet for Djakovic, who narrowly missed out on making the Olympic final.

Italy’s Marco de Tullio finished one second back in fourth place, his time 3:37.83, while the USA’s Kieran Smith placed fifth in 3:38.77. Smith, the Olympic bronze medalist in this event and a senior at the University of Florida, was the second-fastest qualifier after prelims, but he was unable to shift into a higher gear and stick with the leaders.


Men’s 100 Backstroke Semifinals

In the first semifinal of the men’s 100 back, Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov raced to the top mark in 49.57. Kolesnikov is the top finisher from the Olympic Games participating at Short Course Worlds. He was the silver medalist in Tokyo behind countryman Evgeny Rylov, while the USA’s Ryan Murphy is also absent.

But the Americans will be represented in the final by Shaine Casas, who won the second semifinal in an identical 49.57, earning the second middle lane alongside Kolesnikov as the co-top qualifier. Casas was the 2019 U.S. national champion in the 100 back, but he narrowly missed the American Olympic team this summer. Casas could be in position to capture his first individual international medal Friday evening, although he may win a medal sooner as a member of the U.S. men’s 400 freestyle relay later in the session.

Greece’s Apostolos Christou qualified third in 49.89, while Poland’s Kacper Stokowski (49.94) and Italy’s Lorenzo Mora (49.99) were also under 50 seconds. Brazil’s Guilherme Guido, Russia’s Pavel Samusenko and Romania’s Robert Glinta also made the final, while Italy’s Thomas Ceccon, the fourth-place finisher in Tokyo, was locked out by one hundredth.


Men’s 200 Butterfly FINAL

A back-and-forth affair in the men’s 200 fly saw South Africa’s Chad le Clos hold the lead after 50 meters before Norway’s Tomoe Hvas led at the halfway point and then the United States’ Trenton Julian moved into the lead on the third 50. But on the final two lengths, Julian faded badly and ended up finishing fourth as Italy’s Alberto Razzetti surged ahead of the field. Razzetti, who had never before won a medal at a world-level meet, pulled away to touch three-quarters of a second ahead of the field in 1:49.06.

Razzetti was a finalist in the 400 IM and semifinalist in the 200 IM at the Olympics, but he did not even swim the 200 fly in Tokyo. He did, however, take gold in the event at the European Short Course Championships last month.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Noe Ponti also surged at the end to grab silver in 1:49.81, while le Clos took bronze, three hundredths back in 1:49.84. Julian ended up fading all the way to fourth as he finished in 1:50.01. After a 28.17 third 50, he was 29.71 on the way home. Similarly, in the long course 200 fly at U.S. Olympic Trials, Julian led for the entire race through 150 meters before he faded to fifth.


Men’s 100 Breaststroke Semifinals

Five swimmers broke 57 in the men’s 100 breast semis, and we can expect the medals to come from those swimmers. The Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga, the silver medalist behind Great Britain’s Adam Peaty at the Olympics, looked completely out of the race the halfway point of his semifinal heat, but he surged back in 29.33 to overtake and out-touch Nic Fink of the United States, 56.41 to 56.48. Those two ended up as the top two qualifiers for the final.

Meanwhile, world-record holder Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus won the first semifinal in 56.54 ahead of Germany’s Fabien Schwingenschlogl (56.80). Shymanovich will be looking for a measure of revenge after Fink edged him out in all three breaststroke events in the ISL final two weeks ago. Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi, the Tokyo bronze medalist, was fifth in 56.81. The Chinese pair of Yan Zibei and Qin Haiyang also made the final, along with Turkey’s Berkay Ogretir.

The USA’s Michael Andrew, who ranks third all-time in the long course 100 breaststroke and finished fourth in the event at the Olympics, ended up finishing seventh in his semifinal heat. He ended up finishing 14th overall in 57.83.


Men’s 200 IM FINAL

Japan’s Daiya Seto, who finished fourth in the 200 IM at the Tokyo Olympics in his only final of an otherwise-disappointing Olympic Games, bounced back to earn gold in the men’s 200 IM for the first time at the Short Course World Championships. Previously, he was the long course world champion in the event in 2019. Seto led wire-to-wire, building a margin of six tenths at the halfway point and more than a second at the 150-meter mark. Then, he barely held on as the USA’s Carson Foster and Italy’s Alberto Razzetti closed the gap.

Seto touched in 1:51.15, two tenths ahead of Foster in 1:51.35. For Foster, this was his first final at his first senior-level international competition, and he picked up a silver medal. He will have a chance at more medals later in the week in the 400 IM and as part of the U.S. men’s 800 free relay. Razzetti, meanwhile, picked up bronze in 1:51.54 for his second medal of the day after he won a shocking gold in the men’s 200 fly. After that remarkable double, Razzetti will surely be in the mix for gold in the 400 IM with Seto, Foster and others later in the week.

Greece’s Andreas Vazaios was in the mix at the 150-meter mark, but he could not quite keep pace on the freestyle. He ended up fourth in 1:51.94. China’s Wang Shun, the Olympic gold medalist in the event, finished fifth in 1:53.41, while Olympic silver medalist Duncan Scott of Great Britain finished a surprising seventh in 1:54.08. Michael Andrew, who took fourth in Tokyo, is swimming in Abu Dhabi, but he skipped the 200 IM.


Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay FINAL

In the final event of the night, the United States’ Ryan Held led off in a phenomenal 45.75 to give the Americans a lead, but then, Italy and Russia took over and battled for the gold medal. In the end, Russian anchor Aleksandr Shchegolev had just enough in the tank to pull away from Italy’s Lorenzo Zazzeri and win gold by 0.16.

The Russian team of Kliment Kolesnikov (46.44), Andrei Minakov (45.61), Vladislav Grinev (45.87) and Shchegolev (45.53) finished in 3:03.45, only a few tenths off the world record set by the United States at the 2018 Short Course World Championships, while Italy’s Alessandro Miressi (46.12), Thomas Ceccon (45.71), Leonardo Deplano (45.98) and Zazzeri (45.80) claimed silver in 3:03.61.

The U.S., following Held’s leadoff leg, settled into the third place and ended up with a bronze medal. Hunter TappShaine Casas and Zach Apple swam the final three legs for the Americans, in route to a final time of 3:05.42. Apple was the only returning swimmer from the U.S. squad that won Olympic gold in this event at the Tokyo Games.

The Netherlands made a run at a medal, and Jesse Puts closed on Apple with a 46.04 anchor split (compared to Apple’s 46.39), but the Americans remained seven tenths ahead.


DeepBlue Media is Swimming World’s official supplier of photos from the Short Course World Championships.