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Swimming, Day 1: Two gold for USA, Sun (CHN) and France shine too
Yang Sun (CHN) and Katie Ledecky (USA) were the first heroes of the inaugural day of the swimming competitions at the 15th FINA World Championships, taking place in Barcelona (ESP). In the decisive race of the men’s 400m free, the Chinese star clearly took control of the field, getting the gold in 3:41.59 – an expected triumph for the 2012 Olympic champion in the 400m and 1500m free.
In the women’s final, Ledecky also won comfortably (3:59.82), but everyone was expecting a better reaction from the Olympic champion Camille Muffat – however, the French was not in her best shape and only finished seventh in a modest time of 4:07.67. The home crowd could enjoy the silver performance of local star Melanie Costa, and New Zealand got her first women’s medal at Worlds thanks to the bronze effort of Lauren Boyle.
The most thrilling races happened with the relays’ confrontation: among women, USA recovered the title lost in 2005 for Australia (and then for the Netherlands), while among men the predictable win of the North Americans was denied by an inspired quartet of France.
In semifinal action, the highlights go to the elimination of WR holder in the 50m butterfly, Spain’s Rafa Munoz (ninth of the semis), and of the 2005 and 2007 champion Roland Schoeman (RSA, 10th). In the women’s 100m butterfly, 2012 Olympic silver medallist Ying Lu (CHN) will not swim the decisive race, after her 11th place in the semis. Michael Jamieson (GBR), also second in London in the 200m breaststroke, missed the cut for the 100m breaststroke (15th), while in the morning heats, Brenton Rickard (AUS), the 2009 world champion, could not advance to the semis.