World Championships, Night 5: Summer McIntosh Makes Statement with 2:04.06 WJR in 200 Fly

Summer Mcintosh of Canada competes in rde Women's Freestyle 400m Heats during rde 20rd World Aquatics Championships at rde Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 23rd, 2023.
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships, Night 5: Summer McIntosh Makes Statement with 2:04.06 WJR in 200 Fly

Summer McIntosh wasn’t happy with the way her meet started at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. It’s getting better by the day.

McIntosh threw down an authoritative swim in the women’s 200 butterfly to win Thursday night, clocking in at 2:04.06. It lowers her world junior record and Canadian record and is the Americas record. It also defends her title from last year.

McIntosh outdueled Regan Smith, who started strong but slid to third in 2:06.58. In between was surging Aussie Elizabeth Dekkers, who went 2:05.46. Top seed out of prelims Lana Pudar landed fourth in 2:07.05.

“Going into the final I was really pumped up for it as I got gold last time here at worlds,” McIntosh said. “That was a really special moment for me, so to repeat it again that meant the world. I’m just really overly happy with the result.”

The race boiled down, to a certain degree, to skill vs. rest. Pudar has put all her eggs in the butterfly basket, limiting herself to the 100 and 200 and without a contending relay to support. Hence fifth in prelims (2:08.16) and a leading 2:06.60 in semifinals.

Smith and McIntosh both faced doubles that diminished how much attention they could place on their prelims swims in the 200 fly. Smith had semifinals of the 50 backstroke before the semifinal and adds the final of that event later Thursday. McIntosh medaled in the 200 freestyle Wednesday night with a bronze (and a world junior record) and turns around Thursday to lead off the Canadian 800 free relay.

Hence McIntosh third in prelims and semis, and Smith scraping out of prelims in 15th place and then blasting a torrid enough first 150 meters to reach the final and get a middle lane.

McIntosh controlled the field the whole way, first at each wall. She had Smith for company at the 50 and Pudar at the 100. The Bosnian turned for home in second but couldn’t hold it, overtaken by Dekkers and Smith on the final leg.

Later in the night, McIntosh split 1:53.97 in the 800 free relay, helping a limited Canadian relay finish fifth. Swimming doubles is something she’s gotten quite used to.

“Obviously it’s tough but I’ve done it before at last Worlds and it worked out pretty well,” she said. “So just kind of have to trust my training on that back end of the 2 free and recover as much as possible in between those two events.”

Smith also navigated her double with aplomb, augmenting the bronze in the 200 fly with silver in the 50 back, just a touch behind Kaylee McKeown.

“It’s definitely hard doing it prelims, semis and finals,” Smith said. “But I think I did a really good job of going into business mode and doing what I needed to do. I was very pleased that I was able to medal in both of my events tonight.”

Dekkers opened seventh after 50 meters but gradually built it up. Her final-50 split of 32.52 was the fastest in the race.

“It’s taken a lot to get there and trust that I can get there,” Dekkers said of her race strategy. “But the best part about racing is chasing those girls, so it’s really fun.”

Helena Bach, who led the way in prelims, tied Japan’s Airi Mitsui for fifth in 2:07.15. Laura Stephens of Great Britain (2:07.27) and Lindsay Looney of the U.S. (2:07.90) rounded out the final.


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10 months ago

IN DEFENSE OF… a World Championship

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