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World Swimming Championship Betting Preview - Day 1

The 2013 World Swimming Championships get underway tomorrow morning from Barcelona. Over the course of the eight days, there are no fewer than 34 individual events and we shall have previews, predictions and recommended bets for every single event. While heats and semi-finals may not be on the same day as the final, the previews will be posted the evening before the final of each event.

Sadly, there do not seem to be any firms that have each way terms in their markets, which is disappointing to see, but I will highlight any value each way bets in case anyone finds bookmakers offering this. Naturally, there will not be value bets in every single event - some events I will recommend no bet.

Sunday sees just two finals - the men's and women's 400m freestyle finals with the reigning Olympic champions both looking to continue their domination of their events, while there are up-and-coming young swimmers looking to knock them off their perch.

Men's 400m Freestyle

The 21-year old Chinese double gold medaliist, Sun Yang, is the overwhelming favourite to win this first men’s event of the championships. He came just 0.07 seconds away from the world record in winning gold in London in this event, beating the rest of the field by almost two seconds and he comes into Barcelona with the fastest time in the world. Despite his out-of-the-pool dramas, where he split with his long-time coach, reconciling with him and finding romance with an air stewardess, he is still in excellent shape and will be very focussed on taking three individual gold medals.

Sun Yang
Sun Yang is the big favourite to win the men's 400m Freestyle

His closest challengers are likely to be the Australian pair of David McKeon and Jordan Harrison, his compatriot, Yun Hao, and the North American duo of Ryan Cochrane and Connor Jaeger.

David McKeon has the second fastest time this season, setting the third fastest time by an Australian ever in the Australian Nationals in Adelaide. He will have been very disappointed with his failure to reach the final in London, but since changing coach, he seems to have found some extra speed and will be a real threat to the podium. His compatriot, the 17-year old Jordan Harrison currently has the fourth fastest time this year and he is viewed as one of the real stars of Australian swimming. These championships could be a fraction too early for him, but it would be no surprise to see him in the final at least.

Yun Hao finished fourth in the Olympic final last summer and is the silver medallist in this event in the short course World Championships. He may only be the eighth quickest in the world this year, but he has performed in the big events before and his times suggest that he is in the same high condition as he was for the Olympics last season. He could be a real threat for the podium.

Ryan Cochrane was unfortunate in London last summer as he won his heat, but missed out on the final by 0.01 seconds. He eased to victory in the Canadian trials earlier this year and will be in peak condition coming into this event. I doubt that he can win this event, but a medal is certainly not out of the question if he swims close to his personal best time.

Connor Jaeger has the fifth fastest time this year set in the USA National Championships and has been performing well in the college events. He has set several personal bests already this year, but whether he can perform on the big stage and compete for the medals remains to be seen.

The hugely experienced Tunisian, Oussama Mellouli, is always dangerous and he is a former world silver medallist in this event. However, he is generally more of a threat in the longer distances, and although he may well challenge for a medal, he just doesn’t seem to have the form in this event right now to be a major threat.

Finally, Kosuke Hagino has the third fastest time in the world this year, although his attention may be focussed on some of his other events. He has improved his personal best several times this year though and is one of Japan’s most promising talents. It would be foolish to write him off, but as it is not necessarily his primary event, we must be careful.


Sun Yang @ 1.20 (TAB)
David McKeon 10.0 (Paddy Power/Coral)
Oussama Mellouli 11.0 (Coral)
Kosuke Hagino 23.0 (Paddy Power/Coral)
Connor Jaeger 23.0 (Paddy Power/Coral/Sky Bet)
Gergo Kis 23.0 (Paddy Power/Coral/Sky Bet)
Ryan Cochrane 26.0 (Sky Bet)
Yun Hao 41.0 (Paddy Power/Coral)
Matt McLean 67.0 (Paddy Power/Coral)
Robbie Renwick 67.0 (Paddy Power/Coral)
Jordan Harrison 67.0 (Paddy Power/Coral/Sky Bet)


1. Sun Yang
2. David McKeon
3. Yun Hao


NO BET (Jordan Harrison and Yun Hao if each way offered anywhere)

Women's 400m Freestyle

The reigning Olympic champion, Camille Muffat, will be optimistic of adding the World Championship gold medal to her collection. She has the fastest time in the world this year by 0.68 seconds and has swum sub-4:03.00 several times, while no other swimmer has gone under that mark this year. She showed her ability in the Olympic final last year, setting a new Olympic record of 4:01.45 and if she goes close to that, she will win gold here.

There are only two other swimmers in this race that competed in the Olympic final last year – Lauren Boyle and Lotte Friis. Lotte Friis finished fourth in the Olympic final last year in a new Danish record, but you feel that she is concentrating more on the longer distances at these Championships. She is only the eleventh fastest in the world this year with a time of 4:06.49 and while she has shown that she can go faster, I would be surprised if she is challenging for the title. She could certainly win a medal though.

Lauren Boyle is swimming well this year and is currently the fourth fastest this year with a time of 4:04.24. She pushed Muffat all the way in their last contest in Vichy, losing by just 0.15 seconds, and she comes into this event in excellent form. She made it to both the Olympic final and the 2011 World Championship final, so she will be hoping to really challenge for a medal this time though.

The real threat to Muffat is the American sensation, Katie Ledecky. She is the third fastest swimmer in the world this year with a 4:04.05 in the American trials. That is a personal best for her, and given the leaps in performance that she has shown over the past 18 months, it would be no surprise if she goes quicker than that in Barcelona. While she is competing in several other events, this is her first event, so fatigue should not be an issue and she is a real contender.

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky will be looking to spring the upset in her first event

The two other names to keep an eye on are Bronte Barratt and Jazmin Carlin. The two are second and fifth fastest in the world respectively, but whether they can go any faster than that in this event remains to be seen. Carlin, in particular, is in sparkling form this year and she will certainly be eyeing up a medal in this event, but there are plenty of challengers for those podium spots.


Camille Muffat @ 1.91 (Coral)
Katie Ledecky @ 3.0 (Paddy Power)
Lauren Boyle @ 9.0 (Paddy Power)
Bronte Barratt @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
Jazmin Carlin @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
Mireia Belmonte @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
Lotte Friis @ 34.0 (Paddy Power)


1. Katie Ledecky
2. Camille Muffat
3. Lauren Boyle


Katie Ledecky @ 3.0 (Paddy Power)

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