Swimming, Day 8 – Seven nations with gold in eight finals
The eighth and last day of the swimming competitions at the 15th FINA World Championships was marked by the variety of nations getting gold in the eight finals in the programme. Only one country – France - clinched two gold medals, thanks to the performance of Camille Lacourt in the men’s 50m backstroke, and after the surprising disqualification of USA in the men’s 4x100m medley relay. With this final outcome, the French delegation arrived third (nine podium presences, including four titles) in the swimming medals’ table, behind USA (29, comprising 13 gold) and China (also nine awards, but five wins).
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, the duel between the two world record performers Yulia Efimova (RUS) and Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) ended up in the Russian’s favour, while Japan got the gold in the men’s 400m IM: but when everyone expected a win from Kosuke Hagino, it was his teammate Daiya Seto who got the crown.
Swimming, Day 8 - Women's 4x100m medley relay: Record sixth gold for Franklin in US victory
Missy Franklin became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single FINA World Championships when she led the United States off to victory in the 4x100m medley relay. The tally carried the 18-year-old American past Tracy Caulkins (USA) and Libby Trickett (AUS), who both won five golds at a single Worlds, Caulkins in 1978 and Trickett in 2007. It was Franklin's ninth world gold in total (three from 2011 and six from 2013), a women's record, surpassing the eight acquired by Trickett and Kornelia Ender (GDR). Franklin, who also claimed four gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, led the USA off on the backstroke leg inside world record pace and Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano saw them safely home after the US men's medley quartet had been disqualified in the previous race after touching first.
The advantage in the battle for silver and bronze in the women's race changed hands throughout but there was never any doubt about the destination of gold. The United States won in 3:53.23, their fifth victory in the event, which took them past the four of the former GDR (East Germany). Australia, Olympic silver medallists behind the Americans in 2012, ultimately claimed the world silver, Cate Campbell coming through on the freestyle to bring them home in 3:55.22. Russia took bronze in 3:56.47, Yulia Efimova claiming her fourth medal of the championships to go with her 50m and 200m breaststroke golds and 100m breaststroke silver. Franklin's gold medals in Barcelona came in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 200m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay. Among the men, Michael Phelps won seven golds at the 2007 Worlds and Ian Thorpe (AUS) six in 2001.
Swimming, Day 8 - Men’s 4x100m medley: France world champion after US disqualification
With a roll of honour consisting in 11 victories out if the 14 FINA World Championships contested, the USA were ready to get a 12th crown in Barcelona. All was going apparently well, and the North American quartet touched first in 3:30.06, but a less than a minute later, the verdict was displayed on the scoreboard: dsq, disqualified. The mistake happened in the breaststroke leg, when Kevin Cordes left the blocks -0.04 before the arrival of Matt Grevers. The tolerance being until -0.03, the US team lost the race by the tiniest possible precipitation margin: 0.01!
Already in 2007, the name of USA is missing from the list of medallists in this event: in Melbourne, the mistake had happened in the preliminaries, when Ian Crocker, leaving for the butterfly leg also departed too early: -0.04!
Swimming, Day 8 - Women's 400m individual medley: Hosszu wins second Barcelona gold
Katinka Hosszu (HUN) claimed her second gold medal of the FINA World Championships when she added the 400m individual medley title to the 200m IM she won on Day 2 in the pool. Hosszu, who had won the 400 IM in 2009, reclaimed the crown in style, leading throughout, inside world record pace until the concluding freestyle leg.
Fourth in the 400 IM at the 2012 London Olympics, Hosszu won the world crown in 4:30.41, holding off a stirring challenge from home favourite Mireia Belmonte (ESP), who could not catch the Hungarian on the freestyle and took the silver in 4:31.21. It was the third medal for each swimmer in the same three events, Hosszu bagging gold in the 200 and 400m IM and bronze in the 200m butterfly and Belmonte collecting silver in the 200m butterfly and 400 IM and bronze in the 200m IM. Elizabeth Beisel (USA), the defending 400 IM world champion and Olympic silver medallist, claimed the bronze in 4:31.69.
Swimming, Day 8 - Men’s 1500m free: Sun (CHN) confirms supremacy since 2011
Dominating the longest event of the programme since 2011, Yang Sun (CHN) was the predictable winner of the 1500m free. The only possible question remaining was: will he get close to his own World Record of 14:31.02 established in the Olympic final in London? The answer after the final was clear: no. Leaving most of the initiative to Ryan Cochrane from Canada, Sun managed his effort until the 1400m-mark and then applied some more vigour to clinch the gold in 14:41.15, roughly 10 seconds slower than one year ago in the British capital.
He couldn’t threat either his Championships record from Shanghai 2011, when he had swum in a WR time of 14:34.14. Finally, as Katie Ledecky (USA) among women, Sun manages to win in the same edition of the Championships the three longest free events of the programme, the 400m , 800m and 1500m (only Grant Hackett, from Australia, has done the same, in Montreal 2005).
Swimming, Day 8 - Women's 50m freestyle: Kromowidjojo adds world triumph to Olympic gold
Double Olympic gold medallist Ranomi Kromowidjojo sprinted to the 50m freestyle world crown, beating Australian favourite Cate Campbell to bring the Netherlands their first title in the pool on the last day of the FINA World Championships. Kromowidjojo, who won the 50m and 100m freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics, sped away, holding the edge throughout, and touched first in 24.05. Campbell, who had won the Barcelona 100m freestyle title and was fastest in both heats and semi-finals of the 50m, picked up silver in 24.14. Francesca Halsall gave Britain their first medal in the Palau Sant Jordi pool, claiming the bronze in 24.30 a day after she finished fourth in the 50m butterfly.
Kromowidjojo, bronze medallist in the 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly in Barcelona, took silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 100m freestyle at the 2011 Worlds. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN), who had won the 50m butterfly 24 hours earlier, finished joint fifth with Campbell's younger sister Bronte. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), who regained the 100m butterfly world title in Barcelona and took the silver medal in the 100m freestyle, was fourth in 24.45, 0.15 seconds behind bronze medallist Halsall, who was world 100m freestyle silver medallist in 2009.
Swimming, Day 8 - Men’s 400m individual medley: Hagino (JPN) starts strong, but title goes to teammate Seto
Swimming his seventh final in Barcelona, Kosuke Hagino (JPN), who won the silver in the 400m free and in the 200m IM, was the man to beat after setting the best 2013 performance in April in a time of 4:07.61. His tiredness came perhaps to surface after the 300m-mark, when he lost the lead of the race, finishing only fifth in 4:10.77. Hagino was the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in this event. Instead, it was compatriot Daiya Seto who shone in Barcelona, getting his first individual medal (4:08.69) at a FINA World Championships. He had previously swum the heats of the winning Japanese 4x200m free relay at the Palau Sant Jordi.
The silver went to 19-year-old Chase Kalisz (USA), who touched home in 4:09.22. It is his first success at this level. Thiago Pereira (BRA), silver medallist in London last year, got this time the bronze, finishing in 4:09.48. It was his second podium presence in the Catalan capital, after ranking third in the 200m IM. This way, Pereira got the fifth medal for his country at these Championships.
Swimming, Day 8 - Women's 50m breaststroke: Efimova wins second Barcelona title
Yulia Efimova (RUS), who saw her newly minted world record from the heats broken by Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) in the semi-finals, took revenge by beating the Lithuanian in the women's 50m breaststroke final to win her second gold medal of the FINA World Championships. Efimova, gold medallist in the 200m breaststroke and silver medallist behind Meilutyte in the 100m event, edged her 16-year-old rival out by just 0.07 seconds, winning in 29.52 - inside the 29.78 world mark she set in the heats on the day before but a fraction outside the 29.48 posted by Meilutyte in the semi-finals. Meilutyte had to settle for silver in 29.59, with Jessica Hardy, 50m breaststroke world champion in 2007 and 2011, taking bronze in 29.80. That time matched the former world mark she brought to Barcelona before her European rivals rewrote the record book.
Olympic 200m breaststroke bronze medallist Efimova, who also won the 50m world title in 2009 and was second in 2011, leaves Barcelona with gold in the 50m and 200m breaststroke and silver in the 100m. Meilutyte won the 100m breaststroke on Day 3, having set a world record in the semi-finals. She now holds both the 50m and 100m world marks.
Swimming, Day 8 - Men’s 50m backstroke: Explosive Lacourt (FRA) captures gold in 24.42
Fastest of the semis in a 2013 best performance of 24.39, Camille Lacourt (FRA) confirmed his good shape and got the gold in 24.42, upgrading the silver of 2011. When in Shanghai, Lacourt was the runner-up behind Liam Tancock. In second, his teammate Jeremy Stravius touched with the same time of US Matt Grevers, in 24.54.
Stravius knows well what it means to be sharing a medal: two years ago, in the Chinese metropolis, he had precisely shared the gold with Lacourt in the 100m backstroke. Here in Barcelona, it is already Stravius' third podium presence after the bronze in the 100m and the gold in the 4x100m free relay. For Lacourt, this is his first award in the competition.
Swimming, Day 7 – Ledecky (USA) and Meilutyte (LTU) set second WR in Barcelona
The seventh day of the swimming competitions in Barcelona was highlighted by three new World Records and five finals distributing medals to 13 countries. The most impressive performance was achieved by Katie Ledecky (USA) in the women’s 800m free, where she set a new global mark of 8:13.86; at the same time, she became the second swimmer in history to win the 400m, 800m and 1500m free (also with WR) in the same edition of the Championships. This previous feat had been achieved by Hannah Stockbauer (GER) also at the Palau Sant Jordi, in 2003.
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, the final has not been swum yet, and already two new WR were established: in the morning heats, Yulia Efimova (RUS) had clocked 29.78, but the best world standard would only last few hours: in the semis, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) improved that performance, advancing first to the final with a time of 28.48. The Lithuanian had already set a WR in the 100m breaststroke (1:04.35).
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