Swimming, Day 1: Sun (CHN) and Ledecky (USA) revalidate their 400m world crown
In a first day of four finals at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), the best performance appeared in a semi-final, when Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) qualified first for the decisive race in a World Record of 55.74 in the women’s 100m butterfly. The Swedish star improved the previous best global mark from Dana Vollmer (USA), who had raced for gold at the London 2012 Olympics in a time of 55.98. In terms of performances, this was the highlight of the inaugural day in the capital of Tatarstan, but many other intense moments marked the finals’ session.
In the men’s 400m free, Chinese star Sun Yang found no major difficulties in revalidating his world title, touching home in 3:42.58. He was challenged by silver medallist James Guy (GBR) until the 300m-mark, but Sun’s final lap was sufficient to secure gold.
FINA looks ahead at the upcoming edition of the Swimming World Cup
FINA met with organisers of the annual Series of the FINA Swimming World Cup on August 2 to present the 2014 season reports and provide comprehensive feedback which included key broadcasting figures and TV revenue indication. The reports have been compiled by FINA long-term partner IEC.
Future SWC organisers gathered for the meeting in Kazan, where the FINA World Championships are currently underway.
Reports indicate that the 2014 SWC saw six World Records broken. The total broadcast hours was around 767,5K and 112 territories were covered (excluding places covered by the FINA Tv). This approximately represents 373 million households.
Men’s 4x100m free: France gets the gold; US out of the final
After a huge “tsunami” hit the preliminaries in the morning, with the non-qualification of the US team for the final, France revalidated the 2013 world title in a time of 3:10.74. The European team is always one of the quartets to watch in this event and was certainly one of the favourites to win, but things became easier with the unexpected and shocking 11th place of the US squad in the heats.
Since the creation of the FINA World Championships in 1973, USA had always qualified for the final. Moreover, from the previous 15 participations, it had been on the podium on 14 occasions, only losing a medal at the 2001 edition in Fukuoka (JPN), when the team was disqualified in the decisive race. In Kazan, the 11th spot in the heats assured US the Olympic qualification, but was of course a disaster for a team traditionally used to shine in this relay. Everyone remembers the epic fights in the last two editions of the Olympic Games – Beijing 2008 and London 2012 -, when, in the first case, Jason Lezak was precious to ensure the North American victory and the way for the unprecedented eight gold medals for Michael Phelps, and the sweet revenge of the French quartet in the British capital, three years ago.
Women’s 4x100m free: Australia “recovers” title in a new CR
Dominators of this event in the last editions of the FINA World Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013, the teams of United States and The Netherlands could not sustain Australia’s power in Kazan and had to content with the minor medals at stake. The Aussies did a perfect race, and conducted by Emily Seebohm, Emma McKeon, Bronte Campbell and Cate Campbell, they got the gold in a new Championships Record of 3:31.48, improving the best mark (3:31.72) set by the Dutch in Rome six years ago.
Australia had won this event twice in the history of the FINA World Championships, precisely in Montreal 2005, and at home, in Melbourne 2007, and had since then been bronze medallist in 2009, and second in Barcelona 2013. The new world champions had in Emily Seebohm (53.92), their slowest swimmer, but from the second leg on, McKeon (53.57), and especially the Campbell sisters (51.77 for Bronte and 52.22 for Cate) were decisive for the final outcome.
Women’s 400m free: Gold for Ledecky (USA) in a CR of 3:59.13
After very relaxed preliminaries, where she was under the World Record pace for the first 200m, few in the pool doubted that Katie Ledecky would not win the final of the women’s 400m free. The 18-year-old US swimmer did not disappoint and easily touched first in a new Championship Record of 3:59.13, improving the former best mark of the competition, held by Federica Pellegrini (ITA, 3:59.15) since Rome 2009.
Ledecky started the race very fast, swimming under WR pace until the 300m-turn, but could not keep the rhythm until the end, spoiling the opportunity to beat her best global mark of 3:58.37 set in August 2014. The US champion was already the world champion in this event, after her 3:59.82 win in Barcelona 2013. In the Catalonian capital, Ledecky was one of the swimmers of the Championships, getting four gold medals – 400m, 800m, 1500m and 4x200m free relay.
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