There is not much time left until the 17th FINA World Championships – the Event that is always full of surprises in a post-Olympic year. In swimming, the women’s 400m freestyle event is always highly anticipated and spectacular, as it is contested on the first day of the discipline’s competitions, on July 23 this year.
Olympic and world champions will clash over 400m at the brand new World Championships venue, the Dagály Aquatics Arena. Let’s take a look at the event’s expected protagonists - strictly on the basis of the figures and results of the recent past.
Katie Ledecky (USA)
Ledecky’s dominance in freestyle swimming is unique. She comes to Budapest as an Olympic and World champion. The young American star – turning 20 only this March – won nine gold medals altogether during the last two editions of the FINA World Championships. In 2013, Ledecky won the FINA Best Female Swimmer of the Year Award.
Boglarka Kapás (HUN)
She won the 400m freestyle final at the European Championships in London in last year, then finished fourth at the Rio Olympics in the same event some months later. At the World Championships in Kazan, the Hungarian swimmer finished eighth, nine seconds behind the tirumphant Ledecky.
Boglarka changed coach in 2016, and is ready to deliver a memorable performance in front of home crowds in Budapest this July, over 400m, too.
Jazmin Carlin (UK)
Although Jazmin was born in England, she is swimming for a Welsh club, also maintaining Welsh identity. For example, in 2014 she became the second Welsh lady to earn a gold medal in swimming at the Commonwealth Games. In Kazan, she just missed the podium by finishing fourth in the 400m freestyle final, but she won a silver medal in the same event at the Olympics last year.
Leah Smith (USA)
The American Smith can be Ledecky’s strongest challengers at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest. The swimmer finished third in the event in Rio, even though one month before the 2016 Olympic Games she swam her best time in 400 meters freestyle, which would have been enough for the second place in Brazil (4:00.65).