Chase Kalisz, the world’s best all-around swimmer in 2017 and 2018, gave up that title at the world championships this week.
Kalisz, after taking 200m individual medley bronze on Thursday, ended his worlds by failing to qualify for the 400m IM final on Sunday. He finished 10th among the preliminary heats.
Kalisz entered worlds ranked No. 7 in the world this year in both IMs. But in 2017 and 2018, he was fastest in those events, sweeping the world titles in 2017 and Pan Pacific titles in 2018.
Kalisz was fueled this Olympic cycle by taking silver in the 400m IM at the Rio Olympics, ending the U.S.’ run of five straight golds in the event among Tom Dolan, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Now he goes into the Tokyo Olympic year having to deal with Japanese star Daiya Seto, who won the 200m IM on Thursday and qualified first into Sunday’s 400m IM final. The Rio Olympic 400m IM champion, Japanese Kosuke Hagino, struggled since Rio and took this summer off.
Unless Jay Litherland upsets Seto in the 400m IM final on Sunday, Caeleb Dressel will be the only U.S. man who goes into the Olympic year as a reigning world champion in an individual Olympic event, albeit in three events.
In the last quad, Lochte was the only U.S. man to go into the Olympic year as a reigning individual world champion in the 200m IM. Then the Americans starred in Rio with titles from Anthony Ervin and two each from Ryan Murphy and Phelps.
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