World Aquatics Championships Doha: Six Fukuoka Gold Medalists Entered (Full Entry Lists)


by DAVID RIEDER – SENIOR WRITER

29 January 2024, 06:53pm

World Aquatics Championships Doha: Six Fukuoka Gold Medalists Entered (Full Entry Lists)

The entry lists for the swimming events at the upcoming World Aquatics Championships have been released, and as expected, many of the world’s premier swimmers will sit out the Doha meet next month as they prepare for the Paris Olympics in July. However, plenty of top-tier talent will make the trip to the Middle East to try to add to their record of swimming accomplishments and get in significant international racing experience.

Click here to view the full entry lists.

Out of 17 women’s individual events, 10 will feature at least one swimmer who won a medal at last year’s World Championships in Fukuoka while the men’s program will feature more established talent, with 14 of the 17 events featuring a 2023 medalist. Six individuals won won individual world titles last July will be in Doha: women’s 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly star Sarah Sjostrom, women’s 50 and 100 breaststroke winner Ruta Meilutyte, women’s 200 IM winner Kate Douglass, men’s 50 freestyle gold medalist Cameron McEvoy, men’s 800 and 1500 free champion Ahmed Hafnaoui and men’s 50 back titlist Hunter Armstrong.

Matt Richards, the British swimmer who won the 200 free at last year’s Worlds, is entered in Doha in the 100 free and for relay purposes. Great Britain still needs to qualify a 400 free relay team for the Olympics after the Fukuoka group, which was a medal favorite, was disqualified for a false start in prelims after Richards split a sizzling 46.89 on his leg.

Meanwhile, men’s 50 and 100 breaststroke world-record holder Adam Peaty is returning to the global stage for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics. Peaty will try to post strong times in the event as he tries to position himself for a potential Olympic three-peat in the 100 breast, an accomplishment no men’s swimmer aside from Michael Phelps has ever pulled off. Qin Haiyang, who swept the breaststroke events at the 2023 Worlds, is not entered, but the three men who shared 100 breast behind Qin silver in Fukuoka, Arno KammingaNicolo Martinenghi and Nic Fink, will pose a challenge for Peaty.

On the women’s side, Douglass will be in line for a big meet, as the gold-medal favorite in the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke, an event in which she joined the sub-2:20 club earlier this month. Australia’s Shayna Jack will go head-to-head with Sjostrom in the 50 and 100 free, with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey also in the 100 and favored in the 200 free. Other Fukuoka medalists on the entry lists include the Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen, New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather, Italy’s Simona Quadarella, Great Britain’s Lauren Cox, Italy’s Benedetta Pilato, the Netherlands’ Tes Schouten and China’s Yu Yiting.

In the men’s splash-and-dash, McEvoy will face off with the top-two finishers from the 2022 Worlds, Great Britain’s Ben Proud and the USA’s Michael Andrew. Hafnaoui will have to deal with Lukas Martens in the 400 free while the distance events should be exciting with the veteran trio of Gregorio PaltrinieriMykhailo Romanchuk and Florian Wellbrock in town after none of the trio won pool medals at last year’s Worlds.

In the absence of superstar Leon Marchand, American Carson Foster could have a big meet in the IMs, as he will face off with Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (200 IM) and Japan’s Daiya Seto (400 IM). Butterfly specialists Krzysztof Chmielewski of Poland, Tomoru Honda of Japan and Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal will also be seeking podium returns in Doha, as will 200 back bronze medalist Roman Mityukov.

Olympic relay qualification will be on the line in Doha, with only the medal-winners from each relay event at last year’s Fukuoka Worlds having secured their spots in Paris. That means the United States and Australia have little at stake in Doha while the aforementioned British team plus countries like China and Canada still have work to do. It’s unclear which relays each country will contest, although the American women might sit out some relays with a squad lacking depth behind Douglass and Claire Curzan.

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