Pedro Adrega & Camille Chappelet, FINA Communications Department

The eighth and final session of the swimming competition at the FINA World Championships in Budapest (HUN) produced some more fine performances, namely two new World Records, both from US swimmers. Lilly King was associated to these achievements, with her 50m breast global mark of 29.40, and then as member of the North American quartet establishing a new world standard (3:51.55) in the women’s 4x100m medley relay. In total, 11 World Records were set during the eight days of competition. 

It was a perfect conclusion of the Championships for the US delegation, who clearly dominated the action at the Duna Arena. The North Americans were the clear leaders of the medal chart (22 nations had swimmers on the podium), with a total of 38 medals and 18 titles, out of the 42 events on the programme. The second most medalled nation, Great Britain, had “only” seven podium presences, including four gold medals. 

Also quite naturally, the best male swimmer of the Championships came from the US powerhouse: Caeleb Dressel was clearly the revelation of the competition, with no less than seven gold medals: 50m and 100m free, 100m fly, 4x100m free, 4x100m medley, 4x100m free mixed, and 4x100m medley mixed. This outstanding harvest has only one comparison point: the seven world titles obtained by Michael Phelps in Melbourne 2007. 

Sjostrom and Dressel - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In the women’s field, the best swimmer in Budapest was Sarah Sjostrom, from Sweden, with her three gold medals (50m free, 50m and 100m fly) and her silver award in the 100m free, plus her two World Records (in the 50m and 100m free). 

The other female swimmer in evidence, and without surprise, was Katie Ledecky (USA), who collected five gold and one silver: world titles in the 400m, 800m and 1500m free, 4x100m free and 4x200m free, and second place in the 200m free.

Coming back to the last day of competition in Budapest, Chase Kalisz gave one additional title to USA in the men’s 400m IM (in a new Championships record of 4:05.90), while the women’s USA team in the 4x100m medley also didn’t find special difficulties to get the gold. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) was the best in the 50m free, while Katinka Hosszu (HUN) gave a final satisfaction to her fans, by imposing her class in the women’s 400m IM. Camille Lacourt gave the sole title to France in the men’s 50m back, while Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) revalidated his 2015 title in the men’s 1500m free.

Women’s 50m breast

As expected, the fight for the medals in the first final of the day was contested by the fastest swimmers in the heats, by this order: Lilly King (USA), Yulia Efimova (RUS), Katie Meili (USA) and Ruta Meilutyte (LTU). And in the decisive race, this sequence of events hasn’t changed, with US King getting gold in a new World Record of 29.40. This improves the previous global mark (29.48) of Meilutyte, established in Barcelona 2013. The Lithuanian could not reach the podium this time in Budapest, finishing fourth in 30.20. The main challenger for King was Efimova, who finally earned silver in 29.57. The bronze went to the second US swimmer of the final, Katie Meili (29.99). King was already the winner of the 100m breast in the Magyar capital and is also the reigning Olympic champion. Moreover, she is the second US swimmer to win in this event, after Jessica Hardy in 2001 and 2011. Efimova, 2009 and 2013 world champion, and third in Kazan 2015 (in a race won by Sweden’s Jennie Johansson, followed by Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson), was the gold medallist in 2017 in the 200m breaststroke. The Russian great has now five consecutive medals in this event. Johansson concluded in fifth, in a time of 30.31.

MEILI Katie (USA), bronze 

"I managed to swim a personal best, finally, I went below 30 seconds. I am very happy about my time and place. After a silver medal, I gained a bronze as well at the World Championships. I would have been satisfied with this beforehand. I felt wonderful. I think Budapest became my favourite city!"

Chase Kalisz (USA) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Men’s 400m IM

The only swimmer performing under 4:10 in the semis, Chase Kalisz (USA) confirmed his credentials in the final of the men’s 400m IM, touching for gold in 4:05.90, a new Championships record. The former best time of the meet has been set 10 years ago, in Melbourne (AUS), by Michael Phelps, in a time of 4:06.22. The WR also belongs to the best Olympian in history, with a 4:03.84 effort from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Kalisz was also the 2017 200m IM champion, and had been silver medallist in the shorter distance at the 2016 Games in Rio. In Kazan 2015, he had been third in this event. Curiously, the podium in the Magyar capital has the same swimmers than in Russia, but in different order: the US winner upgraded his ranking, but Daiya Seto (JPN, bronze in Rio 2016), winner two years ago had to content this time with the bronze in 4:09.14. David Verraszto (HUN), “pushed” by the thousands of supporters at the Duna Arena maintained his runner-up position, in a time of 4:08.38. The second Japanese of the final, Kosuke Hagino, third at the 2012 Olympics, was sixth in Budapest (4:12.65).

KALISZ Chase (USA), gold

"I feel good. It's three years down the road. Everything kind a one big step year by year. I think I made a good step forward this year and made a good progress, but I have million things to work on. Certainly it wasn't a race what was technically perfect for me. I swam grate, but I think there are lots of improvement I can make. I will take a little bit time off after this. I'm in a good period now and I'm more focused and more motivated than ever."

VERRASZTO David (HUN), silver

"This swimming was 90%, but I am happy, as I have reached the world's second best time at the World Championships after a very difficult year. I would have wanted to become a world champion, but Kalisz was better than me. My strategy was that I will speed up in the finish and overtake him, but I felt after 300m that this is too much for me, so from there I paid attention to gaining the silver. I am 29 years old now, so if I had finished sixth place, I would have gone to work at a café, but it seems that not only the younger ones can continue swimming. Therefore, I will carry on as I have never won world championships, so I still have motivation. "

SETO Daiya (JPN), bronze

"I have been in a very good shape at this World Championships. Despite all this, I didn't succeed in bringing the expected results. Throughout the whole World Championships my impression was that the field is getting more stronger and because of this, I have to train harder too so that I can keep up with them. I didn't manage to win a gold medal, I couldn't make a triple as a world champion. I have to draw the conclusion and pay more attention next time. This is the best way to accept this bronze medal. Concerning my strategy, I tried to swim very fast at the beginning, so that I can relax during the breaststroke and have a good race in the finish. Unfortunately, this is not how it went, I didn't manage to break away from the field and the second part of the heat wasn't the way I imagined it either. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the medal is secured and I hoped that I can win with the freestyle and I changed my tactics. Eventually, I am content with the bronze"

Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Women’s 50m free

After establishing a new World Record of 23.67 in the semis, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) was the clear favourite for the win in women’s 50m free. The Swedish champion did not shake and convincingly triumphed in 23.69, getting her third gold medal in Budapest after the titles in the 50m and 100m butterfly. Sjostrom collected three medals at the 2016 Olympics, the gold in the 100m fly, silver in the 200m free and bronze in the 100m free. In Kazan 2015, she had been third in this event, behind Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED, silver) and Bronte Campbell (AUS, gold). This time, in the Duna Arena, the Dutch champion maintained her ranking (second in 23.85), while the Australian was eighth and last of the final, in 24.58. The bronze then went to Simone Manuel (USA), 2017 world and 2016 Olympic champion in the 100m free. Pernille Blume (DEN), winner of the 50m in Rio, had to content with the fourth place (24.00), while Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR, third last summer in Brazil) was fifth in 24.46.

SJOSTROM Sarah (SWE), gold

"This World Championships went well. I would have been satisfied with three gold medals beforehand too. I am happy that on the final day I managed to do it, but I have a little discomfort because of the 100m freestyle. Simultaneously, I am very proud that I could swim two world records at Budapest!"

KROMOWIDJOJO Ranomi (NED), silver

"This competition was simply unbelievable! My goal was to clinch a medal whatever its colour is. At 50m, a lot depends on the start and I didn't succeed in doing so well but all in all, I am very happy with the silver."

Camille Lacourt (FRA) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Men’s 50m back

In the men’s 50m back, Camille Lacourt gave the first swimming gold of these Championships to France, controlling operations and touching home in 24.35 – the French star had been faster in the semis, when he clocked 24.30. This triumph is the third consecutive one for Lacourt – a premiere in the history of the event – after the gold medals in Barcelona 2013 (24.42) and Kazan 2015 (24.23). Junya Koga (JPN), also the second best of the semis, earned silver in 24.51, while the bronze went to Matt Grevers, from the USA, in 24.56. The US athlete had been second in the last edition of the Championships and third four years ago in Barcelona. In Budapest, he was second in the final of the 100m backstroke.

LACOURT Camille (FRA), gold

“I am very happy. I have trained to be competitive in this event so I am glad it worked.”

“I have lived with a lot of emotion being on the podium for the last time of my career. All the difficult moments came back to my head. All the people that have supported me. Hearing to the “Marseillese” (French anthem) was extremely emotion. I had decided this would be the last one well before the Rio games. This was my personal move.”

“I am going to miss the adrenaline the most. These very tense moment in the call room, when the level goes up. But I won’t miss training at all.”

“I am going to remember how I have been able to stand after falling many times. I have come back and improved and this is going to serve me so much in my life.”

“Budapest 2017 was very well organised, like all World Championships. But what was amazing here was the crowd. It was definitely one of the best competitions of my career.”

“I have opened a restaurant in Paris, 6eme arrondissement, and I am doing coaching in companies. These are things I really enjoy doing now.”

KOGA Junya (JPN), silver

"It wasn't a very fast heat, so I could have won it as I can swim a better time. My strong point is the start, therefore I wanted to break away from the field very soon and keeping the advantage touch the wall, but compared to the semi-final, I got soar muscles, so I couldn't do my best."

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Women’s 400m IM

In the women’s 400m IM, local star Katinka Hosszu did a solitary race and confirm her favourite status, earning gold in 4:29.33, a new Championships Record, improving her own mark (4:30.31) from Rome 2009. The Magyar great (also 2017 champion in the 200m IM) is the World Record holder in this race, when she got the 2016 Olympic crown in Rio, in a time of 4:26.36. It is the fourth victory for Hosszu in this event, after her 2009, 2013 and 2015 successes. In 2011, the title had gone to Elizabeth Beisel (USA), also swimming the final in Budapest. This time, however, the US silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympics, was far from her glory days, concluding in seventh (4:37.63). The minor medals in the Magyar capital went to Mireia Belmonte (ESP, silver in 4:32.17) and Sydney Pickrem (CAN, bronze in 4:32.88). For the Spanish star, this is a repetition of the 2013 scenario in Barcelona, while for the Canadian swimmer this represents her first award at this level.

HOSSZU Katinka (HUN), gold

“I was trying to cherish every moment of this championships. I am so glad I could experience competition at home. I have learnt a lot this week as I usually do. Racing in front of the home crowd gave a lot of motivation for the future.”

“I swam the same events than in Kazan, even do in Kazan I couldn’t swim the 200m fly. I was happy that I could do it here, and that I am back at it.”

“I do love to race. It was very excited to swim at the Olympics. I love to challenge myself and see how I can race new events. I don’t get bored this way.”

“I think team Hungary is full of talents and it is exciting to see. They have the strength mentally and I hope that Laszlo and I can be role model to them.”

“I couldn’t imagine this emotion before of being on the podium. I had thought of a gold medal in my head but I tried to concentrate on what I had to do.”

“I am happy that a lot of kids came to the event. I hope I have impacted their life and inspire them. Hungary has met some expectations with this world championships and can definitely be proud.”

“This year’s World Cup won’t be as busy for me. I can even go sight-seeing this time around. I am really happy to go to Moscow and race there. It is so great to see how many people support us.”

“In Tokyo 2020 I expect a lot of fast swimming. It is still three years to go, a long time. I am going to work really hard towards Tokyo to do my best there.”

BELMONTE Mireia (ESP), silver 

 "I am really satisfied with the silver. I am happy to conclude the World Championships with a tally of three medals, including a gold. Katinka Hosszú was very fast right from the start, no surprise she was unbeatable this time as well, since her performance was stable throughout the entire tournament"

PICKREM Sydney (CAN), bronze

"It was a very difficult race, I got really exhausted. I couldn't see the others around me, I dealt only with myself. I am very satisfied with my result. This was a long week, I did my best, so I am very happy. I need some time to process all the things that happened to me at the World Championships. My tactic was to push it as hard as I can in the finish. Fortunately, I succeeded."

Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Men’s 1500m free

In the longest event of the swimming programme, Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) revalidated his 2015 title, getting the gold in an excellent time of 14:35.85. The Italian great (also 2016 Olympic champion) was evidently chasing the World Record of Sun Yang – who decided not to race this event due to tiredness -, and he seemed capable of doing it until the 1400m mark. Then, his energy went a bit down, but the advantage he had accumulated over Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) was enough to ensure a comfortable win. The Ukrainian, trailing Paltrinieri for most of the final, finally earned silver in 14:37.14, while Australia’s Mack Horton was a “distant” third in 14:47.70. The best winning series for this event in the history of the FINA World Championships still belongs to Australia’s Grant Hackett, champion in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2005.

PALTRINIERI Gregorio (ITA), gold

“This time Mykhailo was next to me and we did a great battle in the water. It feels amazing to be at the top of the podium again.”

“Me and Gabriele Detti are training together since 2012 and we do a lot of stuff together.”

“Italy has great athletes in open water. We have a great tradition and we keep it.”

“Kazan was amazing cause of the stadium but here in Budapest it is amazing too. Kazan was my first World Championships with a medal!”

“Tokyo is a long way to go but I am thinking about pool and open water, both. I will see and do anything that I can. It is cool because now I have a challenger, Mykhailo. I saw Mellouli a few years earlier, swimming both. It is fun. I like open water.” “I was really happy to discover that the 800m made it to the Olympics. It is one more chance for me to tae a medal.”

ROMANCHUK Mykhailo (UKR), silver

“I am so happy. We have more competition to come but I think I can beat him next time. I am going to challenge him.”

“I like to be here. It is an amazing place. It is not far from Ukraine and my parents could come to watch me.”

HORTON Mack (AUS), bronze

"My time was average. I wanted to take it harder. I was stressed a little bit, I struggled with my speed. I won't have a day off, I will continue practicing, maybe compete in Europe, but now is hard to tell."

The winning US team - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Women’s 4x100m medley

The second World Record of the session came in the women’s 4x100m medley relay, with the team of the United States swimming for gold in 3:51.55, and improving their global mark from the London 2012 Olympic Games, where the US quartet had clocked 3:52.05. The North Americans were always in control of the race and presented their best assets in each of the strokes – Kathleen Baker for back, Lilly King in breast, Kelsi Worrell in fly, and Simone Manuel in the free section. It is the seventh win for the North Americans in this event in the last eight editions of the Championships, with China “breaking” this series in 2009. In Budapest, the main challengers to the US supremacy was Russia, collecting silver in 3:53.38. The Australia quartet was third in the final, touching for bronze in 3:54.35.

The golden US quartet - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Men’s 4x100m medley

And the last final – the 75th – in the programme of the 17th FINA World Championships consecrated the United States as winners of the men’s 4x100m medley relay, in a time of 3:27.91. With a quartet formed by Matt Grevers (back), Kevin Cordes (breast), Caeleb Dressel (fly) and Nathan Adrian (freestyle), revalidated their 2015 world crown and celebrated their sixth triumph in the last eight editions of FINA’s showcase event – the gold in 2013 went to France and in 2007 Australia won at home in Melbourne. At the Duna Arena, the North Americans perfectly controlled operations and left behind the teams of Great Britain (silver in 3:38.95) and Russia (bronze in 3:29.76). Moreover, the US success meant the seventh gold medal – equalling the best harvest ever, from Michael Phelps in Melbourne 2007 – for Caeleb Dressel.

MANUEL Simone (USA), gold

“Six medals, is not too bad. I am very happy with my performances. I was happy to race for team USA and for my results.”

“I accept being a role model for minorities in the sport but also for people who want to live their dreams. I want to inspire people who want to achieve something.”

“Some of the highlights here were the crowd, very cool to be with the Hungarians swimming, the city too is beautiful. The ride back to the hotel is great.”

“We develop great friendships at those big meets and these are moments you don’t forget.”

GREVERS Matt (USA), gold

“The water taxi back was amazing. The views and the sight-seeing are beautiful. The crowd was amazing. The city really embraced this meet and we appreciate it.”

“I love 50’s at the World Championships because I think it allow us to stay longer in the sport. Everyone can swim a 50”

“I inspired myself here in Budapest It feels great. I will keep my motivation up and continue my progression.”

“There is always someone to fill the spot. People want to fill those gaps. Dressel did it and a lot of others too. I think Michael might come back. After watching this meet he might get the hitch. I know he is a competitor and he might want to help out.”