Olympic hero Kyle Chalmers among star turns at Fina World Swimming Championships

Australian 100m freestyle world-record holder confirmed for Abu Dhabi

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A host of Olympic medallists have been confirmed for the Fina World Swimming Championships at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi from December 16 to 21.

In a star-studded field, on Yas Island will welcome several international superstars including six-time Olympic medallist and world champion Kyle Chalmers from Australia, organisers of the event announced on Monday.

Joining him are Tokyo 2020 double gold medallist Tom Dean from Britain; multiple world champion Daiya Seto from Japan; South Africa’s Matthew Sates, overall winner of the Swimming World Cup 2021; and Olympic breakout star Lydia Jacoby from the USA.

In an impressive year so far, Chalmers set the world record in the men’s 100m freestyle (short course) at the Fina Swimming World Cup in Russia in October and is aiming to break further records this December.

‘‘It has been an incredible year for me,” Chalmers said. “I earned my first ever world record at the World Cup in Kazan and took home silver at the Olympic Games.

“What better way to end the year than at the Fina World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been a long journey back since my shoulder surgery at the start of the year, but the challenges, sacrifices and bridges I have had to climb to get to this point in my career make it all that more special.’’

Reigning Olympic champion in the 200m freestyle Dean and multiple world junior record holder (200m free, 200m individual medley) Sates will be the men to beat for the medium distance freestyle events.

The latter will look to continue his record-breaking run in Abu Dhabi, following his stellar performances in the 2021 Junior World Cup, where he set world records in the 200m freestyle and individual medley.

Returning to the UAE, following his appearance in the 2016 Fina World Cup, is Japan’s star Seto.

Specialising in butterfly, breaststroke, and freestyle, Seto’s career highlights include gold medal triumphs in the 400m individual medley at the 2012, 2014 and 2016 Fina World Swimming Championships.

Aiming for another gold in this December’s championships, Seto was also the first Asian swimmer to become a world champion in an individual medley.

Jacoby, 17, will be one of the top names from team USA following her breakout performance in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where she stunned the world by winning gold in the 100m breaststroke.

Her swift rise through the elite swimming ranks started in 2018 when she qualified for the US Olympic Swimming Trials at the tender age of 14.

“Medalling at this summer’s Olympics was a dream come true, and I’ll definitely be racing for more in the coming championships in Abu Dhabi,” Jacoby said.

“I can’t wait to finish off this incredible year strong with some of the world’s strongest athletes supporting me and racing alongside me.”

The line-up of international swimming superstars are among more than 1,000 athletes who will compete in 44 World Championship titles across six days, for a total $2.8 million prize pool.

Updated: November 29, 2021, 4:00 PM