The first night of finals from the opening stop of the 2022 FINA World Cup series in Berlin will feature 12 events, with some key names taking on tough doubles.
Among those is the American duo of Hali Flickinger and Beata Nelson, as Flickinger will take on the women’s 400 free and 200 fly and Nelson will race the women’s 50 back and 100 IM. Sweden’s Louise Hansson will race the same double as Nelson.
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Flickinger, who will have just over half an hour between races, qualified second out of the prelims in the 400 free, clocking 4:05.61 to trail German Isabel Gose (4:03.01), and in the 200 fly she sits fourth (2:06.83), though just over seven-tenths back of top seed Helena Bach (2:06.11).
Nelson sits fifth in the stacked women’s 50 back field, where Canadians Ingrid Wilm (26.35) and Kylie Masse (26.49) hold the top two spots and Hansson (26.58) sits third.
In the 100 IM, Nelson qualified first by nearly eight-tenths in 58.68, followed by Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte (59.40).
On the men’s side, Matt Sates will bookend the session by racing in the first men’s event on the schedule in the 400 free, and the last race of the night in the 100 IM.
Sates won the 400 free in three of the four stops on last year’s circuit, and the only man to beat him, Danas Rapsys, will go head-to-head with him tonight.
The two men were separated by just two one-hundredths this morning, with Rapsys (3:41.51) leading the pack and Sates (3:41.53) a close second. American Kieran Smith should pose a challenge for the win as well, as he sits third in 3:42.85.
In the 100 IM, Sates comes in with the fourth seed after clocking 53.27 in the heats, with Italian sprint dynamo Thomas Ceccon leading the way in 52.63.
Other races to keep an eye on include the men’s 100 breast, where Reece Whitley (57.06) was the surprise top qualifier over Nic Fink (57.28) and Nicolo Martinenghi (58.04), and the men’s 100 fly, where Germany’s Marius Kusch (49.88) leads a field that feature five finalists from last year’s Short Course World Championships.
Back to the women’s 400 free, Siobhan Haughey will be one to watch as she returns from an injury that forced her out of the World Championships this summer, while Shaine Casas is another marquee name in the mix after qualifying first in the men’s 200 back by over a second. Casas also missed the final of the 100 IM this morning by just one one-hundredth of a second.
Watch finals live here: