SWIMMING: Dressel wins 100 m Free in fastest race in 10 years, Ledecky returns, but Australia sets 4×2 WR

World Champion Caeleb Dressel (USA): the fastest 100 m Free ever?

It seems to happen at least once in each World Championships, where the United States collects a bushel of medals in a single session, and it happened on Thursday, with two wins and six total medals … including the return of Katie Ledecky.

The showdown between the reigning Olympic Champion and World Champion was no contest, with American Caeleb Dressel overpowering the field on the way to a historic 46.96 victory in the 100 m Frestyle at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.

Dressel, the defending champion in the event, had been dominant in the qualifying, now he pushed hard from the start, racing through the first 50 m in 22.25, building a lead of almost 3/10ths of a second over Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini and Rio champ Kyle Chalmers (AUS).

He was almost as good coming home, as Chalmers closed hard and challenged for the lead while Chierighini faded to fifth. But Dressel touched first and stopped the clock in 46.96, moving to no. 3 all-time with the best mark ever in a textile suit. In fact, at 0.05 off the 46.91 world record by Cesar Filho (BRA) in the plastic suit era, this was likely the fastest two laps ever swum. The mark breaks Dressel’s own American Record of 47.17, set in winning the 2017 title in Budapest. “That’s a pretty quick time,” said Dressel afterwards.

Chalmers moved to sixth all-time at 47.08, and Russia’s Vladislav Grinev claimed the bronze with 47.82. American Blake Pieroni started the season with a best of 48.08, but finished fourth in 47.88, just behind his qualifying time of 47.87 from the semis. In Gwangju, he became the ninth American to swim under 48 seconds.

The U.S. got a second victory on the evening from Olivia Smoliga, 24, in the 50 m Backstroke. She had been sharp in the qualifying and followed up on her bronze medal in the 100 m Back by out-touching Brazil’s defending champion, Etiene Medeiros, 27.33-27.44, and breaking her own American Record from 2018.

Smoliga swam in lane two, away from the action in the middle of the pool, and charged hard over the last 20 meters to get to the wall first. At the finish, it might have helped that Smoliga is 6-2, compared to 5-6 for Medeiros!

In the women’s 200 m Butterfly, Katie Drabot of the U.S. took over the race after the first lap and had a tiny lead over qualifying leader Hali Flickinger at 150 m. But Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas – always in the shadow of Katinka Hosszu – rolled through the final lap to over take them both and win in 2:06.78. Flickinger and Drabot collected the silver and bronze medals, 0.17 and 0.26 behind. It was the first individual World Championships medals for both.

Defending champion Chase Kalisz won the bronze in the 200 m Medley, with Daiya Seto (JPN) winning his first gold in the event to go along with two World golds in the 400 m Medley. Seto took the lead on the Backstroke leg and maintained it to the touch over qualifying leader Jeremy Desplanches (SUI). Kalisz was way back after two legs, but charged to third on the Breaststroke leg and gained ground on the Freestyle, but still finished 0.22 behind the Swiss.

Ledecky returned to the pool after illness and immediately made an impact, bringing the U.S. into the lead in the 4×200 m Free relay. But Australia had too much remaining and Emma McKeon took the lead on the anchor, finishing with a world record of 7:41.50, erasing another 2009 plastic-suit record by China (7:42.08). The U.S. team of Simone Manuel, Ledecky, Melanie Margalis and Katie McLoughlin smashed the American Record of 7:42.56 from 2009.

Ledecky’s split of 1:54.61 was the third-fastest in the race. Australia’s Ariarne Titmus led off in 1:54.27 – fastest of the day – then came Canada’s Penny Oleksiak’s 1:54.36 anchor and then Ledecky. Remember that Federico Pellegrini (ITA) won the 200 m Free gold in 1:54.22. Ledecky will, it is assumed, compete in the 800 m prelims on Friday morning.

There was more excitement in the evening semifinals, as Australia’s Matthew Wilson won the second semi in 2:06.67, tying Ippei Watanabe’s world record from 2017. He had company on the scoreboard, as defending champ Anton Chupkov swam the then-no. 3 time ever in the first semi at 2:06.83. American Andrew Wilson finished behind Chupkov in 2:07.86, becoming no. 4 all-time in U.S. history. And the final is still to come!

With Lilly King have been disqualified for a touch infraction in the morning heats, Russia’s Yuliya Efimova easily led the semifinals in the 200 m Breast in 2:21.20. Americans Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley were the second- and fourth-fastest qualifiers in the semis of the 200 m Back.

Quite a day for the U.S., which now has pushed into the lead in the swimming medal standings with 14 (5-5-4) to 11 for Australia (4-4-3) with Russia third (0-4-3). Summaries so far:

FINA World Aquatics Championships
Gwangju (KOR) ~ 12-28 July 2019
(Full results here)

SWIMMING

Men

100 m Freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 46.96 (American Record; old, 47.17, Dressel, 2018); 2. Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 47.08; 3. Vladislav Grinev (RUS), 47.82; 4. Blake Pieroni (USA), 47.86; 5. Marcelo Chierighini (ITA), 47.93; 6. Nandor Nemeth (HUN), 48.10; 7. Clement Mignon (FRA), 48.43; 8. Breno Correia (BRA), 48.90.

200 m Freestyle: 1. Yang Sun (CHN), 1:44.93; 2. Katsuhiro Matsumoto (JPN), 1:45.22; 3. tie, Martin Malyutin (RUS) and Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:45.63; 5. Filippo Megli (ITA), 1:45.67; 6. Clyde Lewis (AUS), 1:45.78; 7. Dominik Kozma (HUN), 1:45.90; disqualified – Danas Rapsys (LTU).

400 m Freestyle: 1. Yang Sun (CHN), 3:42.44; 2. Mack Horton (AUS), 3:43.17; 3. Gabriele Detti (ITA), 3:43.23; 4. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 3:43.50; 5. Marco de Tullio (ITA), 3:44.86; 6. Xinjie Ji (CHN), 3:45.64; 8. Zane Grothe (USA), 3:45.78.

800 m Freestyle: 1. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), 7:39.27; 2. Henrik Christiansen (DEN), 7:41.28; 3. David Aubry (FRA), 7:42.08; 4. Jack McLoughlin (AUS), 7:42.64; 5. Gabriele Detti (ITA), 7:43.89; 6. Sun (CHN), 7:45.01; 7. Sergii Frolov (RUS), 7:47.32; 8. Mykhallo Romanchuk (UKR), 7:49.32.

4×100 m Freestyle: 1. United States (Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Zach Apple, Nathan Adrian), 3:09.06; 2. Russia (Grinev, Morozov, Kolesnikov, Rylov), 3:09.97; 3. Australia (McEvoy, Lewis, Graham, Chalmers), 3:11.22; 4. Italy, 3:11.39; 5. Great Britain, 3:11.81; 6. Brazil, 3:11.99; 7. Hungary, 3:12.85; 8. France, 3:13.34.

100 m Backstoke: 1. Jiayu Xu (CHN), 52.43; 2. Evgeny Rylov (RUS), 52.67; 3. Mitch Larkin (AUS), 52.77; 4. Ryan Murphy (USA), 52.78; 5. Matt Grevers (USA), 52.82; 6. Ryosuke Irie (JPN), 53.22; 7. Guilherme Guido (BRA), 53.26; 8. Robert Glinta (ROU), 54.22.

50 m Breaststroke: 1. Adam Peaty (GBR), 26.06; 2. Felipe Lima (BRA), 26.66; 3. Joao Gomes Jr. (BRA), 26.69; 4. Kirill Prigoda (RUS), 26.72; 5. Ilya Shymanovich (BLR), 26.85; 6. Zibei Yan (CHN), 26.86; 7. Michael Andrew (USA), 26.93; disqualified – Fabio Scozzoli (ITA).

100 m Breaststroke: 1. Peaty (GBR), 57.14; 2. James Wilby (GBR), 58.46; 3. Zibei Yan (CHN), 58.63; 4. Yashuhiro Koseki (JPN), 58.93; 5. Prigoda (RUS), 59.09; 6. Andrew Wilson (USA), 59.11; 7. Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ), 59.14; 8. Anton Chupkov (RUS), 59.19. (In semifinals: Peaty, 56.88, World Record; old, 57.10, Peaty, 2018).

100 m Butterfly: 1. Dressel (USA), 22.35 (American Record; old, 22.57, Dressel, in semifinals); 2. Oleg Kostin (RUS), 22.70; 3. Nicholas Santos (BRA), 22.79; 4. Michael Andrew (USA), 22.80; 5. Szebasztian Szabo (HUN), 22.90; 6. Andrii Govorov (UKR), 22.91; 7. Benjamin Proud (GBR), 23.01; 8. Andrey Zhilkin (RUS), 23.11.

200 m Butterfly: 1. Kristof Milak (HUN), 1:50.73 (World Record; old, 1:51.51, Michael Phelps (USA), 2009); 2. Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:53.86; 3. Chad le Clos (RSA), 1:54.15; 4. Federico Burdisso (ITA), 1:54.39; 5. Denys Kesyl (UKR), 1:54.79; 6. Zach Hartung (USA), 1:55.69; 7. Leonardo de Deus (FRA), 1:55.96; 8. Tamas Kenderesi (HUN), 1:57.10.

Women

200 m Freestyle: 1. Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 1:54.22; 2. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:54.66; 3. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 1:54.78; 4. Siobhan Haughey (HKG), 1:54.98; 5. Junxuan Yang (CHN), 1:55.43 (World Junior Record); 6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 1:56.59; 7. Charlotte Bonnet (FRA), 1:56.95; 8. Rio Shirai (JPN), 1:57.14.

400 m Freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 3:58.76; 2. Katie Ledecky (USA), 3:59.97; 3. Leah Smith (USA), 4:01.29; 4. Ajna Kesely (HUN), 4:01.31; 5. Jianjiahe Wang (CHN), 4:03.67; 6. Boglarka Kapas (HUN), 4:05.36; 7. Anna Egorova (RUS), 4:06.16; 8. Veronika Andrusenko (RUS), 4:08.60.

1,500 m Freestyle: 1. Simona Quadarella (ITA), 15:40.89; 2. Sarah Kohler (GER), 15:48.83; 3. Jianjiahe Wang (CHN), 15:51.00; 4. Ashley Twichell (USA), 15:54.19; 5. Maddy Gough (AUS), 15:59.40; 6. Ajna Kesely (HUN), 16:01.35; 7. Kiah Melverton (AUS), 16:01.38; 8. Mireia Belmonte (ESP), 16:02.10.

4×100 m Freestyle: 1. Australia (Bronte Campbell, Throssell, McKeon, Cate Campbell), 3:30.21; 2. United States (Mallory Comerford, Abbey Weitzeil, Kelsi Dahlia, Simone Manuel), 3:31.02 (American Record; old, 3:31.72, National Team, 2017); 3. Canada (Sanchez, Ruck, Oleksiak, MacNeil), 3:31.78; 4. Netherlands, 3:35.32; 5. China, 3:35.83; 6. Sweden, 3:36.33; 7. Japan, 3:36.79; 8. Germany, 3:39.07.

4×200 m Freestyle: 1. Australia (Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell, Emma McKeon), 7:41.50 (World Record; old, 7:42.08, China, 2009); 2. United States (Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Melanie Margalis, Katie McLoughlin), 7:41.87 (American Record; old, 7:42.56, National Team, 2009); 3. Canada (Sanchez, Ruck, Overholt, Oleksiak), 7:44.35; 4. China, 7:46.22; 5. Russia, 7:48.25; 6. Hungary, 7:54.57; 7. Germany, 7:55.63; 8. Japan, 7:56.31.

50 m Backstroke: 1. Olivia Smoliga (USA), 27.33 (American Record; old, 27.43, Smoliga, 2018); 2. Etiene Medeiros (BRA), 27.44; 3. Daria Vaskina (RUS), 27.51; 4. tie, Georgia Davies (GBR) and Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 27.65; 6. Kathleen Baker (USA), 27.69; 7. Caroline Pilhatsch (AUT), 27.78; 8. Kira Toussaint (FRA), 27.85.

100 m Backstroke: 1. Kylie Masse (CAN), 58.60; 2. Minna Atherton (AUS), 58.85; 3. Smoliga (USA), 58.91; 4. Taylor Ruck (CAN), 58.96; 5. McKeown (AUS), 59.10; 6. tie, Baker (USA) and Natsumi Sakai (JPN), 59.56; 8. Vaskina (RUS), 59.74.

100 m Breaststroke: 1. Lilly King (USA), 1:04.93; 2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 1:05.49; 3. Martina Carraro (ITA), 1:06.36; 4. Reona Aoki (JPN), 1:06.40; 5. Jingyao Yu (CHN), 1:06.56; 6. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 1:06.60; 7. Molly Renshaw (GBR), 1:06.96; 8. Arianna Castiglioni (ITA), 1:07.06.

100 m Butterfly: 1. Margaret MacNeil (CAN), 55.83; 2. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 56.22; 3. Emma McKeon (AUS), 56.61; 4. Elena di Liddo (ITA), 57.07; 5. Brianna Throssell (AUS), 57.09; 6. Kelsi Dahlia (USA), 57.11; 7. Louise Hansson (SWE), 57.16; 8. Marie Wattel (FRA), 57.29.

200 m Butterfly: 1. Boglarka Kapas (HUN), 2:06.78; 2. Hali Flickinger (USA), 2:06.95; 3. Katie Drabot (USA), 2:07.04; 4. Franziska Hentke (GER), 2:07.30; 5. Alys Thomas (GBR), 2:07.48; 6. Liliana Szilagyi (HUN), 2:07.68; 7. Svetlana Chimrova (RUS), 2:08.70; 8. Laura Stephens (GBR), 2:09.35.

200 m Individual Medley: 1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:07.53; 2. Shiwen Ye (CHN), 2:08.60; 3. Sydney Pickrem (CAN), 2:08.70; 4. Melanie Margalis (USA), 2:08.91; 5. Rika Omoto (JPN), 2:09.32; 6. Seoyeong Kim (KOR), 2:10.12; 7. Siobhan O’Connor (GBR), 2:10.43; disqualified – Yui Ohashi (JPN).

Mixed

4×100 m Medley: 1. Australia (Larkin, Wilson, McKeon, Cate Campbell), 3:39.08; 2. United States (Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel, Simone Manuel), 3:39.10; 3. Great Britain (Davies, Peaty, Guy, Anderson), 3:40.68; 4. Russia, 3:40.78; 5. Canada, 3:43.06; 6. Italy, 3:43.27; 7. Germany, 3:45.07; disqualified – Netherlands.