World Championships: Summer McIntosh Shatters World Junior Record in 200 Fly; Set for Showdown with Flickinger

world-championships-MCINTOSH Summer TOR Toronto Titans (TOR) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 5 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Summer McIntosh Shatters World Junior Record in 200 Fly; Set for Showdown with Flickinger

If the performance by Summer McIntosh in the prelims was stunning, she had plenty more in store in the 200 butterfly semifinals at the World Championships.

The Canadian teen dropped two seconds from her prelims time, which was already the top seed, and crushed a 2:05.79 to break the World Junior Record and set her up with the top spot heading into finals. The previous record was set by Japan’s Suzuka Hasegawa (2:06.29), set in 2017.

McIntosh started fast with a 28.36 split and was able to hold off USA’s Hali Flickinger by 11 hundredths of a second.

Flickinger, the bronze medalist from the Tokyo Olympics in this event, took the second spit in 2:05.90, also nearly two seconds faster than her time from prelims.

The big question will be whether McIntosh or Flickinger — or both — have yet another gear in the finals. Having semifinals affects all swimmers with 200 and shorter races, but it really affects the 200 butterfly. The race is already one of the most grueling in the sport and having an added round at the World Championship and Olympic level is even more taxing.

If both McIntosh and Flickinger bring it as expected, it could be one of the best races of the meet.

Meanwhile, USA’s Regan Smith, the silver medalist in Tokyo, is also in the field, doing her double for the day. She took the third seed heading into finals, but was well behind Flickinger, as expected for this semifinal, easing to the wall in 2:07.13.

Bosnia’s Lana Pudar took the fourth spot in 2:07.58, ahead of China’s Zhang Yufei (2:07.76), the reigning Olympic gold medalist.

Australia’s Elizabeth Dekkers took the sixth spot (2:07.77), followed by Denmark’s Helena Back (2:07.82) and Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (2:07.89) to round out the World Championships finalists.

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