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Despite Struggling Throughout the Event, 23-Year-Old US Swimmer Makes Perfect Comeback to Walk Into World Championships

Published 07/04/2023, 1:30 PM EDT

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It was at the 2022 World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, where the United States won the most gold medals and left an indelible mark. Amidst many other swimming greats, the world was also witness to a then-22-year-old swimming prodigy who won the bronze medal in the 200m backstroke in that championships. He was on his way to becoming the next big thing in US swimming, but the swimmer struggled to get through the first four days in the US Nationals this year. He still had a final ace up his sleeve.

Shaine Casas impressed everyone in the swimming world with his performances in the previous two years. He certainly looked to dominate the swimming competitions, but faced twin setbacks in the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke at the US Nationals this year. However, with a massive comeback at the end, Casas turned his fortunes around and is now looking to excel in the world championships.

How Shaine Casas fully utilized his last opportunity in the 200 IM event

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As per a Swimming World Magazine article, Shaine Casas had a difficult time getting qualified in the finals of most events at the US Nationals. The 23-year-old missed out on the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke, bowing out of the consolation heats. Then, he shifted his attention to the 100m butterfly, where he finished 3rd in 51.42 seconds. It was a full second slower than his performance last year, and two-tenths slower than the qualifying spot.

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If that wasn’t enough setback for the swimmer, Casas also didn’t show up for the 100m backstroke heat, giving away his seat for the finals. After exhausting his options in nearly all events, Casas had, but one event, left to prove his mettle and book his ticket to Fukuoka later this month. Casas put all his energy and attention into the 200 IM, his final race, one in which he needed to excel.

Casas knew his personal best was 1:55:24 and clocking anywhere close to that meant sealing his spot for the finals. The start was shaky as he finished 4th in the heats with 1:59.60 and ended up getting the 8th lane in the next round. After all the hard misses that came his way, it was only fortunate that Casas get a break and he take full advantage of it. That is exactly what he did.

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Going into the World Championships, tougher competition awaits Casas

Shaine Casas swam on lane 8 and in the absence of Chase Kalisz, the fourth-place finisher from last year’s World Championships, Casas took full advantage of it. Although Carson Foster won the race, Casas came 2nd. And that was good enough to book a spot in the finals at the Fukuoka. The competition also marked the return of one of America’s famed swimmers Caeleb Dressel after a year-long gap. But a 17-year-old Kaii Winkler, someone who could’ve been a potential threat to other swimmers, including Casas, missed out due to an ankle injury.

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Casas will now travel to Fukuoka, Japan as the 3rd ranked swimmer in the world in 200 IM. As he will eye a world-class finish, Casas will look to beat Leon Marchand, the defending world champion. It will be a terrific showdown in Fukuoka later this month.

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Written by:

Tanmay Roy

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Tanmay Roy is a sports writer at EssentiallySports specializing in his coverage of the Olympics and other major American sporting events. His passion for sports was ignited by the early achievements of Michael Phelps, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe. As a writer for EssentiallySports, Tanmay's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks, showcasing his ability to craft engaging and thought-provoking stories.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh