World Championships, Day Four Semifinals: Teen Star Lana Pudar Looking For Upset in 200 Butterfly

Lana Pudar

Editorial content for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships is sponsored by FINIS, a longtime partner of Swimming World and leading innovator of suits, goggles and equipment.


World Championships, Day Four Semifinals: Teen Star Lana Pudar Looking For Upset in 200 Butterfly

Just a few weeks ago, Lana Pudar was busy claiming a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly at the European Junior Championships in Belgrade. Now, the 17-year-old from Bosnia & Herzegovina is one race away from becoming the world champion in the event. Pudar prevailed in the second semifinal of the 200 fly at the World Championships in Fukuoka and will lead a field featuring American Regan Smith and Canadian Summer McIntosh into the chase for medals.

Despite her youth, Pudar possesses an impressive resume in the butterfly events, especially over 200 meters. She was the 2022 European champion in the event and at the 2021 World Short Championships, she was the bronze medalist. Obviously, she won’t be overwhelmed by the pressure of the moment and the fact that she will square off with two of the headliners in the sport, McIntosh and Smith.

Smith pulled double duty at the Marine Messe Hall. Early in the Night Four program, she wrapped up the top seed for the final of the 50 backstroke, where she clocked an American record of 27.10. In the 200 fly, Smith pressed the pace over the first three laps, the effort expended over those 150 meters taking a toll down the stretch. Still, Smith touched in 2:06.83 and will look to regain the 2:03-high form she displayed earlier this year.

McIntosh was also contesting her second event of the session, as she earlier earned the bronze medal in the 200 freestyle. McIntosh touched the wall in 2:06.85 and, like Smith, has been considerably faster this year.

Australian Elizabeth Dekkers won the first semifinal and will be the fourth seed in the final, on the strength of a 2:07.11 swim.


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