2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The sixth night of finals promises to be another action-packed session as medals will be up for grabs in five more events at the 2022 World Championships.
Day 6 will see finals in the women’s 100 freestyle, men’s 200 backstroke, both the men’s and women’s 200 breaststroke, and then the men’s 800 freestyle relay to finish things off.
The women’s 100 free brings intrigue as we’re missing all three Olympic medalists from last summer, while the women’s 200 breast is also seemingly up for grabs with Australian Jenna Strauch leading the pack and Tokyo silver medalist Lilly King not at her best (though she looked good in the semis).
In the men’s events, Ryan Murphy and Zac Stubblety-Cook are the big favorite to win gold in the 200 back and 200 breast, respectively, with Stubblety-Cook expected to take a run at the world record he set last month.
In the 800 free relay, the U.S. men might be the favorites as they aim to reclaim the title they haven’t won since 2013. The Americans won this event five straight times from 2005 until 2013 before falling to silver in 2015 and then back-to-back bronzes at the last two championships.
They qualified first this morning by over two and a half seconds in 7:04.39, and will bring in Drew Kibler and Kieran Smith for the final, who were both finalists in the individual 200 free.
In the prelims, Carson Foster led off in 1:45.62 and Trenton Julian anchored in 1:45.64, which were the only sub-1:46 splits in the entire field.
DAY 6 LINKS
We’ll also see semi-final rounds in the men’s 50 free and 100 fly, and the women’s 200 back and 50 fly.
While Day 6 has featured Caeleb Dressel racing the 50 free/100 fly semi-final double at the last two Worlds, we’ll now see Josh Liendo and Michael Andrew take it on. Dressel pulled out of the meet on Wednesday due to medical reasons.
We’ll also see four women—Sarah Sjostrom, Torri Huske, Marie Wattel and Claire Curzan—swim the final of the 100 freestyle and the semis of the 50 fly in tonight’s session.
Read a full preview of the session here.
SWIMSWAM WATCH PARTY
Women’s 100 Freestyle – FINAL
- Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS), 52.67
- Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 52.80
- Torri Huske (USA), 52.92
- Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 52.98
- Cheng Yujie (CHN), 53.58
- Kayla Sanchez (CAN), 53.59
- Marie Wattel (FRA), 53.60
- Claire Curzan (USA), 53.81
Mollie O’Callaghan used her patented back-half speed to claim her first career individual world championship title in the women’s 100 freestyle in what was an incredibly tight race between the top four finishers.
The 18-year-old Australian flipped in sixth at the 50-meter mark in 25.96, but closed in a scintillating 26.71 to run down the leaders and win gold in a time of 52.67.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, the world record holder in the event, got out to the early lead at the 50 in 25.35, followed closely by American Torri Huske and Canadian Penny Oleksiak.
O’Callaghan crept up on them coming home, and all four were in the fight with 10 meters to go.
With the win, O’Callaghan becomes the youngest 100 free champion since 1991, and brings Australia back on top after they won consecutive titles in this event in 2013 and 2015.
She just misses her personal best time of 52.49 set last month.
Sjostrom touched second in a time of 52.80, earning her fifth straight podium finish in the event. The 28-year-old won three straight silvers from 2013 to 2017 before winning bronze in 2019. She is the only world record holder in this event to have never won the world title.
Huske out-touched Oleksiak for bronze, 52.92 to 52.98, to give the American women their first World Championship medal in a sprint freestyle event not won by Simone Manuel since 2005.
Manuel won back-to-back titles in this event in 2017 and 2019, but didn’t compete at the U.S. Trials in April.
Huske also resets her best time, having led off the 400 free relay in 52.96, and becomes the first swimmer to win four medals at these championships.
For Oleksiak, she finishes fourth for the second straight major championship after finishing in the same position at the Tokyo Olympics.
Oleksiak also cracked 53 seconds for fourth in 52.98, and then there was a sizeable gap before the rest of the heat came in.
China’s Cheng Yujie secured fifth in 53.58.
Men’s 100 Butterfly – SEMI-FINALS
- Kristof Milak (HUN), 50.14
- Naoki Mizunuma (JPN), 50.81
- Josh Liendo (CAN), 51.14
- Noe Ponti (SUI), 51.18
- Simon Bucher (AUT), 51.22
- Jakub Majerski (POL) / Matthew Temple (AUS), 51.24
- Michael Andrew (USA), 51.28
Kristof Milak annihilated the field over the second 50 during the second semi of the men’s 100 butterfly, closing in 26.40 to establish the top time of the session in 50.14.
Milak, the second-fastest swimmer in history with a best time of 49.68, qualifies first into the final by nearly seven-tenths of a second while registering the 15th-fastest swim in history and second-fastest of his career.
This race was expected to be a showdown between Milak and reigning two-time champion Caeleb Dressel, but Dressel withdrew from the competition Wednesday due to medical reasons.
If Milak goes on to win the final, he would become the first European to do so since 1994 and the first Hungarian ever.
Naoki Mizunuma joined Milak as the only other swimmer sub-27 coming home (26.62) and sub-51 overall (50.81) to advance second into the final, lowering his Japanese National Record of 50.86 set earlier this year.
Canada’s Josh Liendo, who set a new National Record of his own earlier this year in 50.88, won the first semi in 51.14 to advance in third, while last year’s Olympic bronze medalist Noe Ponti moves through in fourth in 51.18. Ponti swam a season-best of 51.17 in the heats.
Qualifying fifth was Simon Bucher, who broke the Austrian Record this morning in 51.18 and narrowly missed it tonight in 51.22.
American Michael Andrew had the fastest opening 50 split of all 16 semi-finalists (23.49) but narrowly snuck into the final in eighth, holding on for fourth in the second semi in 51.28.
Women’s 200 Backstroke – Semi-finals
- World Record: 2:03.35, Regan Smith (USA) – 2019 World Championships
- Championship Record: 2:03.35, Regan Smith (USA) – 2019 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 2:04.68
- 2019 World Champion: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35
- Phoebe Bacon (USA), 2:05.93
- Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2:06.41
- Rhyan White (USA), 2:07.04
- Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2:08.28
- Peng Xuwei (CHN), 2:09.19
- Kylie Masse (CAN), 2:09.23
- Dora Molnar (HUN), 2:09.94
- Katalin Burian (HUN), 2:10.07
American Phoebe Bacon and Australian Kaylee McKeown duked it out in the second semi of the women’s 200 backstroke, turning one one-hundredths apart at the 150 before Bacon pulled away with a 31.88 final split to touch first in a time of 2:05.93.
Bacon, who won the U.S. Trials in a lifetime best of 2:05.08 in April, advances into the final first overall, while McKeown, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, qualifies second in 2:06.41.
Italian Margherita Panziera, who swam a best time of 2:05.56 in March 2021, was third in the semi and qualifies fourth overall in 2:08.28.
The first heat wasn’t as fast but still produced three of the top six qualifiers, as the other American entrant Rhyan White cruised to a two-second victory in 2:07.04 to lead China’s Peng Xuwei (2:09.19) and Canada’s Kylie Masse (2:09.23).
Masse was the silver medalist behind McKeown at the Olympics last summer, while White placed fourth and Bacon was fifth.
Given that Masse won the 50 back, and appeared to trail off over the second half of this race, she might not be in optimal form for the 200-meter event.
The home crowd will have a pair of swimmers to root for in this race on Friday, as Hungarians Dora Molnar and Katalin Burian move into the final in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Men’s 50 Freestyle – Semi-finals
- World Record: 20.91, Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 2009 Brazilian Championships
- Championship Record: 21.04, Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 2019 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 21.07
- 2019 World Champion: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 21.04
- Ben Proud (GBR), 21.42
- Lorenzo Zazzeri (ITA), 21.70
- Josh Liendo (CAN), 21.73
- Lewis Burras (GBR), 21.78
- Michael Andrew (USA) / Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE), 21.80
- Szebasztian Szabo (HUN), 21.81
- Bruno Fratus / Maxime Grousset (FRA), 21.83*
Ben Proud used his dynamic start to open up an early lead on the field and ultimately touch first by over three-tenths of a second in the opening semi of the men’s 50 free, clocking a time of 21.42 to advance first into the final.
Canada’s Josh Liendo (21.73) and Great Britain’s Lewis Burras (21.78) took second and third (third and fourth overall), while Italian Lorenzo Zazzeri blasted a best time of 21.70 to claim the second semi and qualify second overall.
Both Liendo and American Michael Andrew (21.80) successfully qualified for both the 100 fly and 50 free finals tomorrow night within less than an hour.
Bruno Fratus, the top qualifier out of the heats, recorded his 99th career sub-22 50 free but will need to hit 100 to earn a spot in the final, tying with Frenchman Maxime Grousset in a time of 21.83. Fratus clocked 21.71 in the prelims, while Grousset’s best time sits at 21.74.
WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL
- World Record: 2:18.95, Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA (2021)
- Championships Record: 2:19.11, Rikke Moller Pedersen, DEN (2013)
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:18.95
- 2019 World Champion: Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:20.17
- Lilly King (USA), 2:22.41
- Jenna Strauch (AUS), 2:23.04
- Kate Douglass (USA), 2:23.20
- Kelsey Wog (CAN), 2:23.86
- Kotryna Teterevkova (LTU), 2:23.90
- Molly Renshaw (GBR), 2:23.92
- Francesca Fangio (ITA), 2:25.08
- Abbie Wood (GBR), 2:26.19
In an impressive bounce-back showing after missing the podium in the 100 breast, Lilly King roared home from fifth at the final turn to win her first world title in the women’s 200 breaststroke, clocking a time of 2:22.41.
King, who reportedly dealt with COVID shortly before the championships, led at the 50 in 31.92 and then fell back to fifth by the 150, but made a massive push coming home in 36.36 to win by a wide margin.
This is her first-ever medal in this event at the World Championships, though she did win silver at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old also now has the complete set of World Championship gold medals, having won both the 50 and 100 in 2017 and 2019. She joins rival Yuliya Efimova as the only women to have won gold in all three events.
Australian Jenna Strauch was actually faster than King’s time tonight in the semis, going a best of 2:22.22, but she settles for silver here in 2:23.04, out-touching American Kate Douglass (2:23.20) for the runner-up position.
Douglass made a move on the third 50 and led at the final turn before falling to third, but still wins her first career individual Worlds medal after earning bronze in the 200 IM at the Tokyo Olympics.
Canadian Kelsey Wog (2:23.86), Lithuanian Kotryna Teterevkova (2:23.90) and Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw (2:23.92) followed in what was an incredibly tight battle for fourth.
MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL
- World Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Peirsol, USA (2009)
- Championships Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Peirsol, USA (2009)
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Evgeny Rylov (RUS), 1:53.27
- 2019 World Champion: Evgeny Rylov (RUS), 1:53.40
- Ryan Murphy (USA), 1:54.52
- Luke Greenbank (GBR), 1:55.16
- Shaine Casas (USA), 1:55.35
- Brodie Williams (GBR), 1:56.16
- Mewen Tomac (FRA), 1:56.35
- Adam Telegdy (HUN), 1:56.91
- Roman Mityukov (SUI), 1:57.45
- Benedek Kovacs (HUN), 1:58.52
Ryan Murphy finally claims his first individual LC World Championship title with a victory in the men’s 200 backstroke, using a strong middle 100 to roll to the win in a time of 1:54.52.
Murphy, who won this event at the 2016 Olympics and then won three straight silvers at the 2017 Worlds, 2019 Worlds and 2021 Olympics, flipped third at the 50 and then took off, splitting 28.48/29.33 over the middle 100 to lead the field by nearly one second at the final turn.
Although five men out-split him coming home, Murphy touched first by over six-tenths, with Great Britain’s Luke Greenbank charging home to solidify second in 1:55.16.
Greenbank, who was nowhere near the top of the world rankings coming into the meet, moves one step up on the podium after winning consecutive bronzes at the 2019 Worlds and 2021 Olympics.
Two Americans will stand on the podium in this event once again as Shaine Casas executed a great swim to claim third in 1:55.35, dipping under his previous best time by just over a tenth (1:55.46).
The U.S. wins this event for the first time since 2013, and get two swimmers on the podium for the seventh time in the last nine championships. The Americans won gold eight straight times from 1998 to 2013 before falling short at the last three editions.
Great Britain’s Brodie Williams took fourth in 1:56.16, re-lowering his PB from the semis by .01, while Frenchman Mewen Tomac also hits a best of 1:56.35 for fifth.
Women’s 50 Butterfly – Semi-finals
- Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 25.13
- Torri Huske (USA), 25.38 AR
- Melanie Henique (FRA), 25.41
- Farida Osman (EGY), 25.46
- Zhang Yufei (CHN), 25.54
- Marie Wattel (FRA), 25.56
- Claire Curzan (USA), 25.67
- Maaike de Waard (NED), 25.75
In what was the second swim of the session for both, Sarah Sjostrom and Torri Huske claimed the top two seeds for tomorrow night’s final of the women’s 50 butterfly in the first semi, clocking respective times of 25.13 and 25.38.
The swim is a new American Record for Huske, her second of the competition, as she knocks a tenth off Kelsi Dahlia‘s mark of 25.48 (that she swam three times).
Sjostrom will have a chance at winning her fourth straight title in the event tomorrow, and Huske could be the first American to medal in the women’s 50 fly since 2003.
France’s Melanie Henique paced the second semi in 25.41 for third overall, and she owns the second-fastest PB in the entire field behind Sjostrom at 25.17 (set June 2021).
Egypt’s Farida Osman, who has won back-to-back bronze medals in this event, was seven one-hundredths off her African Record in 25.46 to advance in fourth.
Marie Wattel and Claire Curzan join Sjostrom and Huske in qualifying for the final after swimming the 100 free final earlier in the session.
The time required to final in this race (25.75) was more than a quarter of a second faster than 2019 (26.01).
MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL
- World Record: 2:05.95, Zac Stubblety-Cook, AUS (2022)
- Championships Record: 2:06.12, Anton Chupkov, RUS (2019)
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS)
- 2019 World Champion: Anton Chupkov (RUS), 2:06.12
- Zac Stubblety-Cook (AUS), 2:07.07
- Erik Persson (SWE) / Yu Hanaguruma (JPN), 2:08.38
- Ryuya Mura (JPN), 2:08.86
- Nic Fink (USA), 2:09.05
- Anton McKee (ISL), 2:09.37
- Caspar Corbeau (NED), 2:09.62
- Matti Mattsson (FIN), 2:09.65
Although he was a bit slower than the semis and well off his world record, Zac Stubblety-Cook wins the world title in the men’s 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:07.07.
The Australian sat back in eighth at the 100 in 1:02.48 and was third at the last turn, but used a monstrous final 50 of 31.98 to earn his first World Championship title and Australia’s first-ever in this event.
Stubblety-Cook won the Olympic gold medal last year and set the world record last month in 2:05.95.
The only other swimmer to break 33 seconds coming home was Japan’s Yu Hanaguruma, who closed in 32.95 to move up from sixth at the 150 to tie Sweden’s Erik Persson for silver in 2:08.38, earning Japan its fourth medal in this event at the last three championships.
Persson’s silver is Sweden’s first in the men’s 200 breast as well.
Ryuya Mura (2:08.86) gives Japan two men inside the top four, while American Nic Fink, who had a chance to win a medal in all three breaststroke distances here in Budapest, was off his best in 2:09.05 for sixth.
Since moving to train at Georgia Tech, Fink’s focused more on speed and less on volume, as evidenced by his win in the 50 breast.
Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay – Final
- World Record: 6:58.55, USA – 2009 World Championships
- Championship Record: 6:58.55, USA – 2009 World Championships
- 2021 Olympic Champion: Great Britain – 6:58.58
- 2019 World Champion: Australia – 7:00.85
- Relay Lineups
- United States, 7:00.24
- Australia, 7:03.50
- Great Britain, 7:04.00
- Brazil, 7:04.69
- Hungary, 7:06.27
- South Korea, 7:06.93
- France, 7:08.78
- China, 7:10.93
The United States is back on top in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay after three straight defeats at the World Championships, winning gold by over three seconds in a time of 7:00.24
The quartet of Drew Kibler (1:45.54), Carson Foster (1:45.04), Trenton Julian (1:45.31) and Kieran Smith (1:44.35) came together to win the first American gold medal in the event since 2013 and record the sixth-fastest relay time in history.
This victory also comes after the U.S. team missed the podium in this event in Tokyo, which was the first time an American men’s relay failed to finish in the top three in Olympic history.
South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo held a slight lead after the opening leg in 1:45.30, and then Foster took over the lead for the U.S., with Australia’s Zac Incerti moving them into second place.
Elijah Winnington had gotten the Aussie team off to a strong start in 1:45.83, and then Samuel Short (1:46.44) and Mack Horton (1:45.72) closed things off to earn them silver in 7:03.50.
The Brits sat fifth at the final exchange, but Tom Dean anchored in a blistering 1:43.53 to get them in for bronze in 7:04.00, edging out the Brazilians (7:04.69).
Dean’s split stands up as the fourth-fastest in history with a relay takeover, not including relay lead-off legs from Paul Biedermann (1:42.81, 2009) and Michael Phelps (1:43.31, 2008).
Great Britain won gold last summer at the Olympics but were missing Duncan Scott here after he withdrew due to COVID-19.
Brazil breaks their South American Record by over two seconds, and move up four spots after finishing eighth at the 2021 Olympics.
This race featured four different nations compared to Tokyo: Hungary, South Korea, France and China.
Kristof Milak anchored the Hungarians home in 1:44.68 to edge out South Korea for fifth, recording the third-fastest split in the field behind Dean and Smith.
Milak was notably the fastest swimmer by a mile on the first 50, out in a scorching 23.20.
Men’s 50 Freestyle – Swim-off
- Maxime Grousset (FRA), 21.59
- Bruno Fratus (BRA), 21.62
France’s Maxime Grousset upset Brazilian Bruno Fratus to earn the eighth spot in tomorrow night’s final of the men’s 50 freestyle, out-touching him by three one-hundredths of a second in the swim-off.
The two men had tied for eighth in the semis in 21.83, and in a razor-thin battle where the two appeared to trade the lead a few times, Grousset got his hand on the wall first in a new best time of 21.59.
Fratus, who was going for his fifth career World Championship final in this event, just missed out in 21.62, though it stands up as his 100th-career swim under 22 seconds.
If the two men had gone those same times in the semis, they would’ve qualified second and third into the final.
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