In the swimming community this year is about the World Championships in Budapest, considered as the main event of the year. The second most important is the national championships (qualifying for the world championships) held in April in a number of countries.
The world championships rosters are being formed, swimmers are surpassing each other’s times, world rankings are continuously changing, so let us summarize what has happened so far and highlight some names and achievements in different national championships.
As of Italians Olympic and world champion freestyler Federica Pellegrini is preparing to gain a medal in her seventh world championships, she won in 200 m freestyle with 1:55.94, the best result of this year (however it has already been topped by two other swimmers since then). Men freestyle swimmers also excelled, regarding the two rivals, Gabriele Detti won 200, 400 and 800 m, while Olympic champion and defending world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri claimed gold in 1500m, all their times were this year’s best (at least temporally). Italians are sending 20 swimmers for the world championships including upcoming youngsters such as 18-year-old Simona Quadarella, who won women’s 1500 m freestyle with the second best time of the year.
In the Russian national championships Yulia Efimova has strengthened her dominance in breaststroke events sending a message to her rivals what to expect from her in the world championships. She won all three events (50, 100 and 200 m) with world leading times and she tops all rankings now. At men’s race Evgeny Rylov swept backstroke events, however since then his time has already been surpassed in the world ranking. Vladimir Morozov excelled in shorter freestyle events, he claimed world leading time in 50 m with 21.44 during the semi-final and it is a new Russian record.
In the Chinese championships the champion of London and Rio Olympics, Sun Yang swept freestyle events, except for 50 m, he collected all victories, in 200 and 400 m he did so with the best time of this year. Chinese swimmers excelled in women’s 50 m backstroke as well, the top 3 of the championships led by Fu Yuanhui immediately took the podium of world rankings. 18-year-old Li Zhuhao, who swam in the final of 100 m butterfly in Rio Olympics, now won all three men’s butterfly events and all of his times got into top 3 in the world rankings.
Regarding the Japanese, excellent times were achieved in the championships, there were some surprises, such as Ippei Watanabe, who swam world record in January, now in 200 m breaststroke he was defeated by Yasuhiro Koseki, who won all breaststroke events. Yet both of them qualified for the world championships. At women’s race the only 16-year-old sprint princess, Rikako Ikee won several events and with her time achieved in 50 m butterfly she is presently second in the world ranking behind Sarah Sjostrom. Medley swimmer Yui Ohashi did not sit back, either, she won 200m and 400m, in the latter event – in which she won bronze medal in Rio Olympics – she leads world ranking.
Canadians also held their world championships trial in April, after which 26 swimmers were announced to get into the team for the world championships. It is not surprising that backstroke specialist Kyle Masse, who leads world ranking in 100 m, and Sydney Pickrem, world-leader in 200 medley, also are in the roster. 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak, who surprisingly won 100 m freestyle in Rio and gained 4 medals in the Olympics, now won both 100 m freestyle and 100 m butterfly, so she will definitely compete in these events in the championships to be held in July.
The list of national championships in April continues, since British and Hungarian championships are being held now, so next week we will get to know more participants for the world championships and probably there will be some changes in the world rankings as well.