In addition to Casas and Flickinger, there are eight additional world-class swimmers to keep an eye on during the FINA Swimming World Cup 2022 season.
This year marks the return of the FINA Swimming World Cup, which will bring together world record holders, FINA World Champions, and Olympic gold medalists across three locations and three weeks as they begin their preparations for the 2023 World Championships and the 2024 Olympic Games.
In the next weeks, the FINA Swimming World Cup will make stops in Berlin (Germany), Toronto (Canada), and Indianapolis (United States). Listed here are ten of the best swimmers to keep an eye on as they compete in the 25-meter pool at each of these locations.
Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong, China
Haughey hasn’t raced much in 2022, but she had a career year in 2021. She earned two silver medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle events at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and two more gold medals in those events at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi to round out the year. The short course racing format suits Haughey, who established her maiden world record in the 200m in Abu Dhabi when she was 24 years old.
Haughey enters the Swimming World Cup season with a clean slate, with the opportunity to prove she is still one of the world’s best freestyle swimmers. Haughey may be able to answer two questions during this FINA Swimming World Cup season: can she lower her own world record? And will she be able to add another in the 100m freestyle?
Kylie Masse of Canada
Since the Rio 2016 Olympics, the 26-year-old Canadian has won medals at every significant meet, making him one of the most reliable backstrokers in the world. She won three short-course silver medals in each of the three backstroke lengths in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) last year, and this past summer, she won a gold medal in the 50 backstroke and a silver medal in the 100 backstroke at the FINA World Championships.
At this point in her amazing career, Masse is ranked third in the 50-meter backstroke and sixth in the 100-meter event on the list of all-time fastest swimmers. Given that Masse, a native of Windsor, has been residing and training in Toronto since 2015, the Toronto trip will be particularly significant for him.
Louise Hansson of Sweden
Hansson has been a major contributor to the Swedish national squad for nearly a decade. She won seven medals last year at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), including gold in the 100m backstroke. In the 100m butterfly at this year’s FINA World Championships, she almost missed the podium, but in August she won the European title.
Hansson can swim any event at the age of 25 due to her proficiency in sprint butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle, as well as her success in the short course individual medley. She is ranked fifth all-time in the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke and is known to swim strongly during the FINA Swimming World Cup season, so don’t be surprised if she is a major winner.
Hali Flickinger of USA
The native of Pennsylvania, who specializes in freestyle, breastroke, individual medleys, and relays for the formidable Team USA, won his first FINA Swimming World Cup as a youngster in 2011. Since then, Flickinger has dominated the collegiate circuit in the United States and has been instrumental in the University of Georgia Bulldogs’ NCAA team championships in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
The currently 27-year-old made her senior international debut in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. A year later in Budapest, she won her first medal at the FINA World Championships, a gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. In recent years, Flickinger has seen success in individual competitions on the international level, earning bronze in the 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter butterfly at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Shaine Casas of USA
The tornado of performance peaks and dips that Casas experienced in 2021 are best described by the adage that a champion is someone who does not give up after failure. The Texas native finished third and sixth at the US Olympic Trials for 2021, when only the top two competitors received tickets to Tokyo, and she concluded the year with an incredible six days in Abu Dhabi in December. Casas won six medals at the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2021, including two golds in the 100-meter backstroke and the 4×50-meter medley relay.
Before relocating to Austin, Texas, where he trained with Eddie Reese, former Texas A&M student-athlete Casas won three NCAA championships. Casas achieved a 200m backstroke personal best at the 2022 USA Trials to qualify for the American team competing at the 19th FINA World Championships. In Budapest’s 200-meter backstroke final, Casas set yet another personal best and won bronze, making him the first American on the world podium in the long course pool.
Casas lists basketball as a pastime outside of the pool. The 22-year-old fan of basketball icon Michael Jordan even eight times viewed the film The Last Dance about Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls!
Both swimming and basketball involve a lot of skill and practice, according to Casas. You cannot simply pick it up. Even if you have skill, it will take you years and years and years of labor to reach the top.
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