World Championships Semifinals: Claire Curzan, Hunter Armstrong Make Push For Titles

Claire Curzan of United States of America after competing in the swimming 100m Backstroke Women Heats during the 21st World Aquatics Championships at the Aspire Dome in Doha (Qatar), February 12, 2024. Photo Courtesy/Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The 2024 World Aquatics Championship saw four semifinal events on Day 2 from Doha.

Swimmers punched their tickets into the finals in the men’s 100 backstroke, women’s 100 breaststroke, women’s 100 backstroke and men’s 200 freestyle.


World Championships: Men’s 100 Backstroke Semis

Two swimmers were within three hundredths of a second after the heats of the men’s 100 backstroke.

Hunter Armstrong from the U.S. had the fastest time in heat 1 to earn the top seed heading into finals. He got to the wall in 53.04.

There was a bit of controversy after the event as it appeared Armstrong was slated to swim in lane 5, but swam in lane 4, according to a couple of social media reports. Lane 4 was designated to Greece’s Evangelos Makrygiannis, who appeared to swim in Lane 5, which means both swimmers were not in the lane designated on the start list. Neither swimmer was disqualified.

In the second heat, South Africa’s Pieter Coetze finished in 53.07 to win the heat and take second overall heading into finals.

Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez took the third seed in 53.22, followed by Greece’s Apostolos Christou (53.63), Switzerland’s Roman Mityukov (53.64), Greece’s Evangelos Makrygiannis (53.67), Czech Republic’s Miroslav Knedla (53.70) and USA’s Jack Aikins (53.72).

World Championships: Women’s 100 Breaststroke Semis

Tang Qianting claimed the top seed in the 100 breaststroke as China took two of the top three seeds in the event.

With no U.S. swimmers in the event, the field looked a little different, but was still a very strong field.

Tang took the top seed in 1:05.36, while her teammate Yang Chang was third in 1:06.27.

In the middle was Ireland’s Mona McSharry, who touched the wall in 1:06.11 to grab the second seed.

Tes Schouten of the Netherlands claimed the fourth spot in 1:06.30, while Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey was fifth in 1:06.41. An Olympic medalist in the 100 and 200 freestyles, Haughey has become an elite breaststroker as well in the past couple of years.

Alina Zmushka took the sixth spot (1:06.53), followed by Lithuania’s Kotryna Teterevkova (1:06.61) and Canada’s Sophie Angus (1:06.66), leaving Italy’s Benedetta Pilato and Sweden’s Sophie Hansson outside the finals.

World Championships: Women’s 100 Backstroke Semis

Claire Curzan of the U.S. threw down a strong time of 58.73 to win the second semifinal heat and take the overall top seed heading into finals. She was the only swimmer to break 59 seconds in the field.

Canada’s Ingrid Wilm won the first semifinal and was second overall in 59.55.

Two Australians also broke a minute as Jaclyn Barclay took the third seed in 59.83 and Iona Anderson was just behind at 59.94.

Great Britain’s Lauren Cox took the fifth spot at 1:00.03, followed by Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands (1:00.37). Rounding out the top eight were Kathleen Dawson of Britain (1:00.30) and Maaike de Waard of the Netherlands, who got to the wall in 1:00.68.

World Championships: Men’s 200 Free Semis

Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys continued his success on he world stage in the 200 freestyle. The only swimmer to break 1:45 in the semifinals, Rapsys finished in 1:44.96 to take the top seed into finals.

South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo took the second spot in 1:45.15, just ahead of Germany’s Lukas Martens (1:45.31).

USA’s Luke Hobson made the finals with the fourth seed (1:45.53), just ahead of Australia’s Elijah Winnington (1:45.90).

Germany’s Rafael Miroslaw (1:45.95), Brazil’s Guilherme Costa (1:46.06) and Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (1:46.24) rounded out the finalists.

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