See Whose Stock Has Risen Since the World Championships
Looking at the medal distribution from the World Championships, it’s easy to select athletes whose work in Fukuoka improved their standing in the sport. Obviously, Mollie O’Callaghan’s stock continues to rise, her double in the 100-meter freestyle and 200 freestyle boosting her status. The same can be said for China’s Qin Haiyang, who swept the breaststroke events, highlighted by a world record in the 200 distance.
But what about the individuals who did not reach a podium at the Marine Messe Hall? Rather than overlook these athletes, let’s tip the cap to a handful who finished outside of the medals at the World Champs, but certainly saw their stock rise just one year before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. On this crew, the advice is: Buy now!
Jordan Crooks, Cayman Islands: The University of Tennessee standout entered the World Champs as a short-course star, but left Fukuoka as a dual-threat. Enjoying a breakout performance in the big pool, Crooks finished sixth in the 50 freestyle (21.73) and seventh in the 100 freestyle (47.94). Crooks had his best time in the semifinals of the 100 free, where he touched in 47.71, and he was sub-48 in all three rounds.
Isabel Gose: Coming off a European title in the 400 freestyle from last summer, the German advanced to the finals of all three distance-freestyle events at the World Championships. Her best effort was a fifth-place finish in the 800 freestyle, where she clocked a time of 8:17.95. Gose added a sixth-place outing in the 1500 freestyle (15:54.58) and took seventh in the 400 free (4:05.27).
Eneli Jefimova: By advancing to the finals of the 50 breaststroke and 100 breaststroke at Worlds, the 16-year-old continued to show her promise. Efimova posted a best of 30.22 in the 50 breast and was seventh in the final. In the 100 breaststroke, the Estonian was sixth, and produced a best of 1:06.18 in the semifinals.
Lucas Matzerath: The second German on this list, Matzerath set a national record of 58.74 in the 100 breaststroke and was fifth in the final. Meanwhile, he turned in a sixth-place performance in the 50 breaststroke, with his fastest mark a 26.89 swim from the semifinals. On the road to Paris, Matzerath has positioned himself for a run at the podium in the 100 breaststroke.
Daniel Wiffen: As part of Ireland’s surge, the distance star was fourth in both the 800 freestyle and 1500 freestyle. In the 800 free, Wiffen set a European record of 7:39.19. Although he was off his personal best in the 30-lap discipline, Wiffen’s 14:43.01 effort was solid, and only garnered him experience to apply in this critical next year.