World Championships Preview — Men’s Butterfly: Absences of Milak, Dressel Create Opportunities (Predictions)

Josh Liendo -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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World Championships Preview — Men’s Butterfly: Absences of Milak, Dressel Create Opportunities

Between all three men’s butterfly events at the World Championships, there will be only one swimmer competing who has ever captured World Championship or Olympic gold in the stroke. That is Great Britain’s Ben Proud, the world champion in the 50 fly back in 2017. Caeleb Dressel, the 100 fly world-record holder, is still working his way back after an extended break, while 200 fly world-record holder Kristof Milak withdrew from Worlds, citing physical and mental health. The latest big name to reveal his absence was Chad le Clos, the 2012 Olympic champion in the 200 fly and a multi-time world champion in the 100 and 200-meter races.

We probably won’t see any butterfly world records in Fukuoka, but there is a chance for some younger and less-established swimmers as well as those accustomed to lower steps of the podium to claim the title of world champion, thereby building up some momentum for likely-tougher fields at next summer’s Paris Olympics.

Previous Events:

Men’s 50 Butterfly
WR 22.27 Andrii Govorov UKR Rome (ITA) July 1, 2018
CR 22.35 Caeleb Dressel USA Gwangju (KOR) July 22, 2019
WJR 22.96 Diogo Ribeiro POR Lima (PER) Sep. 3, 2022
Men’s 100 Butterfly
WR 49.45 Caeleb Dressel USA Tokyo (JPN) July 31, 2021
CR 49.50 Caeleb Dressel USA Gwangju (KOR) July 26, 2019
WJR 50.62 Kristof Milak HUN Budapest (HUN) July 29, 2017
Men’s 200 Butterfly
WR 1:50.34 Kristof Milak HUN Budapest (HUN) July 21, 2022
CR 1:50.34 Kristof Milak HUN Budapest (HUN) July 21, 2022
WJR 1:53.79 Kristof Milak HUN Netanya (ISR) June 30, 2017


Simon Bucher (AUT): This 23-year-old from Austria swam as fast as 51.20 in the 100 fly earlier this year. Contending in: 100 fly

Dylan Carter (TTO): A veteran at age 27, Carter has excelled in the 50 fly in recent years, winning silver at the 2021 Short Course World Championships and placing fourth at the long course Worlds last year, just six hundredths away from bronze. With none of last year’s medalists entered, he is the top returning swimmer. Contending in: 50 fly

Thomas Ceccon (ITA): Ceccon is better known as the world-record holder and world champion in the 100 backstroke, but he is a speedy butterfly swimmer as well. He was fifth at last year’s Worlds in the 50 fly, seven hundredths away from the podium. He was also the European champion in the event. Contending in: 50 fly

Chen Juner (CHN): Chen put up a time of 1:54.16 in the 200 fly at Chinese Nationals, which currently ranks third in the world in 2023. Contending in: 200 fly

Carson Foster (USA): The silver medalist in both individual medley events at last year’s Worlds, Foster has a real medal chance in the 200 fly. Last July after Worlds, he swam a time of 1:53.67, which would have missed the podium in Budapest by just six hundredths, and he won the event at U.S. Nationals in 1:54.30. Contending in: 200 fly

Tomer Frankel (ISR): Frankel, who competes for Indiana University, swam as fast as 51.14 in the 100 fly this year. Contending in: 100 fly

Maxime Grousset (FRA): Grousset won silver in the 100 free and bronze in the 50 free at last year’s Worlds, and now he has the speed to contend in butterfly as well. He swam a 100 fly time of 50.61 at the French Championships. Contending in: 50 fly & 100 fly

James Guy (GBR): Always dangerous in any race he swims, Guy took silver in the 100 fly at last year’s Commonwealth Games and bronze in the 200 fly, although he will not race the longer event in Fukuoka. Guy once split 50.00 as he helped Great Britain win Olympic gold in the mixed 400 medley relay. Contending in: 100 fly

Thomas Heilman (USA): This American teenager has burst onto the scene this year, recording world top-10 times of 51.19 (100 fly) and 1:54.54 (200 fly) in a pair of second-place finishes at U.S. Nationals. Given his recent rate of improvement, Heilman could be a spoiler in the battle for medalsContending in: 100 fly & 200 fly

Tomoru Honda (JPN): Honda was the silver medalist in the 200 fly at the Tokyo Olympics and took bronze at last year’s World Championships, and he is probably the slight favorite to win a world title this year without Milak in the field. Last October, Honda shattered the short course meters world record in the 200 fly with a time of 1:46.85, and he swam as fast as 1:52.70 earlier this year to become the fifth-fastest man ever in the event. Contending in: 200 fly

Ilya Kharun (CAN): Kharun began representing Canada late last year (after originally planning to swim for the United States), and he immediately captured silver in the 100 fly at the Short Course World Championships. Now, he heads to his first major long course meet with a medal chance in the 200 fly, having posted a time of 1:54.49 earlier this year. Kharun was also the 100 fly runnerup at Canadian Trials in 51.45. Contending in: 100 fly & 200 fly

Josh Liendo (CAN): Over the past two years, Liendo has rapidly become one of the world’s premier sprinters. He won bronze medals in the 100 free and 100 fly at last year’s Worlds before claiming 100 fly gold and 50 free bronze at the Commonwealth Games. At the end of a strong debut NCAA season at the University of Florida, Liendo won the 100-yard free at the NCAA Championships and became the second-fastest man ever while finishing second in two other events and contributing to a trio of NCAA-record-setting relays. Now, he is the favorite to win the 100 fly world title after recording a time of 50.36 in April, making him the fifth-fastest man ever behind the esteemed quartet of Dressel, Milak, Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic. Contending in: 50 fly & 100 fly

Jakub Majerski (POL): A finalist in the 100 fly at the 2021 Olympics and 2022 World Championships, Majerski earned a bronze in the event at last year’s European Championships. Contending in: 100 fly

Leon Marchand (FRA): In the midst of dazzling the world with his individual medley performances at last year’s Worlds, Marchand won silver behind Milak in the 200 fly, and he ranks ninth all-time in the event in 1:53.37. Contending in: 200 fly

Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN): Matsumoto could contend in the 100 fly this year after posting a time of 50.96 to take the win at the Japanese Championships in April. Contending in: 50 fly & 100 fly

Naoki Mizunuma (JPN): Finished second at the Japanese Championships but claimed silver behind Milak at last year’s Worlds in 50.94. Contending in: 100 fly

Teppei Morimoto (JPN): It could be a big year for Japan in the men’s butterfly races. Morimoto took second in the 200 fly at the country’s selection meet, his time of 1:54.74 overshadowed by Honda but still placing him in the international mix. Contending in: 200 fly

Jacob Peters (GBR): Peters swam a time of 51.16 at the British Championships to edge Guy in the 100 fly. Peters also clocked a time of 22.89 in the 50-meter race. Contending in: 50 fly & 100 fly

Noe Ponti (SUI): Ponti was the Olympic bronze medalist behind Dressel and Milak in the 100 fly, and last year at Worlds, he took fourth in the 200 fly and eighth in the 100 fly. Contending in: 100 fly & 200 fly

Ben Proud (GBR): This 28-year-old is really tough to beat over one lap. In addition to his 50 fly world title in 2017, he captured a second major championship last year in the 50 free before recording a time of 22.81 to win 50 fly gold at the Commonwealth Games. Contending in: 50 fly

Alberto Razzetti (ITA): Another swimmer better known for his individual medley skills, Razzetti qualified for the Worlds final in the 200 fly last year. He was the short course world champion in the event in 2021 and the European titlist in the 400 IM last year. Contending in: 200 fly

Diogo Ribeiro (POR): Ribeiro, 18, was the world junior champion last year in the 50 free, 50 fly and 100 fly, and his 50 fly mark of 22.96 stands as the current world junior record. Contending in: 50 fly

Dare Rose (USA): Rose was one of the breakout swimmers of U.S. Nationals. Successful in short course during the college season at Cal, Rose showed significant improvements in the 50-meter pool. Taking advantage of poor performances by some of the American favorites in the 100 fly, he won the event by a half-second at Nationals, his time of 50.74 making him the sixth-fastest American ever. Contending in: 50 fly & 100 fly

Szebasztian Szabo (HUN): This sprint specialist is always in the mix in the 50 fly, placing sixth at last year’s Worlds. He is the co-world-record holder in short course meters at 21.75 and won bronze in the event at Short Course Worlds in December. Contending in: 50 fly

Matt Temple (AUS): The top Australian in the 100 fly, Temple took fifth in the event at the 2021 Olympics and 2022 World Championships. Contending in: 100 fly


Men’s 50 Butterfly

Gold: Ben Proud (GBR)
Silver: Dylan Carter (TTO)
Bronze: Thomas Ceccon (ITA)

Anyone’s guess in this sprint, but Proud has built up some momentum over the past year as he tries to earn another 50-meter gold medal.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

Gold: Josh Liendo (CAN)
Silver: Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN)
Bronze: Maxime Grousset (FRA)

Tight race for second, with Mizunuma and Rose among those in the mix, but Liendo completes his rise with a world title, becoming the first Canadian male world champion since Brent Hayden in 2007.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

Gold: Tomoru Honda (JPN)
Silver: Leon Marchand (FRA)
Bronze: Carson Foster (USA)

Honda continues his strong year and rides the home-crowd advantage to gold. Marchand finishes well to edge out Foster at the finish, with both in the 1:53-low range.

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manoj ghimire
manoj ghimire
1 year ago

liendo, rose and heilman in 100.

Last edited 1 year ago by manoj ghimire
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