It is always sad when a good thing has to come to an end and the 2013 FINA World Championships has been a very good thing. On our final day to enjoy the action from Spain there are plenty of story lines to be watching in tonights finals:
- Men’s 50 backstroke – Can the two Frenchmen hold the 100 backstroke Olympic and World Champion at bay?
- Women’s 50 breaststroke – Wow! Wow! Wow! I think may be what I am saying after this race.
- Men’s 400 IM – If Hagino is on form it is hard to imagine that anyone can be close.
- Women’s 50 freestyle – Cate Campbell vs Ranomi Kromowidjojo. We have been treated to some amazing races this week and this maybe just one more to add to the list.
- 1500 freestyle – I mentioned amazing races above, this will not be one of them, although it may be an amazing performance. The question is; how fast will Sun Yang be?
- Women’s 400 IM – Katinka Hosszu has already made Ye Shiwen look very human in one race this weekend, will it happen again?
- Men’s 4 x 100 medley relay – Who can touch the Americans?
- Women’s 4 x 100 medley – And I say again who can touch the Americans?
And here we go!
Men’s 50 backstroke
Could the two Frenchmen, Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius keep the 100 backstroke Olympic and World champion American Matt Grevers at bay in the men’s 50 backstroke?
Lacourt yes, Stravius sort of.
Lacourt won the men’s 50 backstroke in a time of 24.42. After finishing second in the 50 and winning the 100 backstroke in 2011 (tying with Stavius) Lacourt was shut out of the medals at the Olympics finishing fourth in the 100 meter distance.
Tying for a medal at the world championships seems to becoming a habit for Stravius, who tied with Grevers for the silver in a time of 24.54.
Grevers time was a lifetime best improving on his previous best of 24.72 in 2010. This is first time that Grevers has medaled in the event at a major international competition.
Aschwin Wildeboer Faber of Spain who is much more of a 50 specialist than the three men who finished ahead of him posted a season’t best time of 24.58.
China’s Sun Xiaolei finished fifth in a time of 24.76, Daniel Orzechowski of Brazil finished sixth in a time of 24.87, Guy Marcos Barnea of Israel finished seventh in a time of 25.14 while his teammate Jonatan Josef Kopelev finished eighth in a time of 25.19.
Women’s 50 breaststroke
The women’s 50 breaststroke final was the fourth time that Russian Yuliya Efimova and Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte went head to head during the World Championships (100 breaststroke final and semi-final as well as the 50 breaststroke semi). In their three meetings before tonight Efimova took a backseat to Meilutyte, twice having to watch break the world record.
Efimova made sure that a fourth would not happen.
In an incredible race that came down to the final stroke Efimova won the 50 breaststroke in a time of 29.52 out touching Meilutyte who finished in a time of 29.59.
It was Efimova’s second victory of the weekend. She won the 200 breaststroke in similar fashion defeating Rikke Moeller Pedersen who had broken the world record in the semi-final. It is also the second time that the Russian has captured the 50 breaststroke World Championship title, winning the event in 2009.
Efimova did not break Meilutyte’s world record of 29.48, but improved on her prelims swim of 29.78.
At both the Olympics and the World Championships Meilutyte swam faster in the semi-finals than she did in the final in the 100 breastroke, but was still able to come away with victories in both events. She did the same thing in the 50 breaststroke, but this time it cost her and she had to settle for the silver.
American Jessica Hardy finished third in a time of 29.80. It is the fastest time that Hardy has swum in a textile suit and ties her American record, which she set in 2009.
Hardy won the event at both the 2007 and 2011 World Championships.
Hardy’s American teammate Breeja Larson finished fourth in a time of 29.95. Coming into the competition Larson’s lifetime best was a 30.40 which she swam the American trials to qualify for the team.
Larson became on the fourth women in history to swim a sub-30 in the event, joining the three women that finished ahead of her.
Sweden’s Jennie Johansson finished fifth in a time of 30.23.
200 breaststroke world record holder Rikke Moeller-Pedersen of Denmark finished sixth in a time of 30.72.
Moniek Nijhuis finished seventh in a time of 31.31.
Petra Chocova of the Czech Republic was disqualified in the event.
Men’s 400 IM
Heading into the competition Japanese champion and Olympic bronze medalist Kosuke Hagino was the favourite. Hagino had posted a 4:07.61, improving on his Olympic time by over a second and he was the only swimmer in the world to go under 4:10.
For much of the race Hagino continued to look like the favourite, but did not have enough in the final 50 meters to fend off a fast charging pack of swimmers.
Daiya Seto took over the lead off of the final turn and held off American Chase Kalisz and Brazilian Thiago Pereira to take the gold.
Seto won the event in a time of 4:08.69, improving on his lifetime best of 4:10.10.
Earlier in the year Seto achieved success that showed he may have been capable of this feat, winning the world short course championships in the 400 IM and finishing second in the 200 IM, setting the Japanese records in both events.
American and North Baltimore product Chase Kalisz stuck to a proven game plan. He has shown just how dangerous he can be in the back half of IM events all year and that continued in Barcelona.
Kalisz was behind Hagino by almost four full seconds at the 200 and the rest of the top five in the field by almost two seconds. After making up most of that ground in the breaststroke he had a phenomenal last 100 meters coming home in a time of 57.69 and finishing second in a final time of 4:09.22.
For Kalisz this caps off another phenomenal year of improvement coming into the year with a lifetime best of 4:12.59.
Soon after Thiago Pereira won the Olympic silver medal in the 400 IM the Brazilian announced that he would not be competing in the event moving forward, where have we heard that before?
Pereira changed his mind and put his hat in the ring in Barcelona. Although until the last 50 meters it looked like he may not go home with a medal, Pereira had the fastest last 50 meters in the field recording 28.04 and finished with the bronze, touching in a time of 4:09.48.
American Tyler Clary, who look a bit off his best form finishing third in the 200 backstroke earlier in the week had a very strong swim finish fourth in a season’s best time of 4:10.39.
Hagino slipped to fifth in a time of 4:10.77.
Hungarian David Verraszto finished sixth in a time of 4:13.68.
British swimmer Daniel Wallace finished seventh in a time of 4:13.72.
While Thomas Fraser-Holmes had a disastrous conclusion to a competition that he will not wish to remember, finished in a time of 4:17.46.
Women’s 50 freestyle
Australian Cate Campbell was able to get the best of Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo in the 100 freestyle, but the Dutch swimmer was not going to let that happen in the 50.
After collecting a silver in the 50 butterfly and a bronze in the 100 freestyle Kromowidjojo was determined to go home with at least one gold and did in her signature event.
At the Olympics she dominated the race winning in a time of 24.05, although she matched that time in her victory today Campbell made the race much closer than it was in London.
Campbell, who bronze in the event at both the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships finished in a textile best of 24.14. This caps off a great comeback season for Campbell who had an extremely disappointing 2012 Olympics.
Fran Halsall of Great Britain did it. After failing to win a medal in London and stating that she wanted start on a path of redemption, Halsall collected the first medal for Great Britain at the 2013 World Championships.
After having a very strong reaction after achieving very little success at their home Olympics in London, winning three medals in the pool, what will be the reaction of the British after the world championships?
Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden finished fourth in a lifetime best of 24.45. It is certain that Sjostrom would have liked to have finished the meet with a medal finish, but the Swede will go home happy after winning the 100 butterfly and finishing second in the 100 freestyle.
Australian Bronte Campbell finished tied for fifth with Jeanette Ottesen Gray of Denmark in a time of 24.66.
American Simone Manuel finished seventh in a lifetime best of 24.80. With that time Manuel once again breaks the girl 15-16 NAG record.
Dorothea Brandt of Germany finished eighth in a time of 24.81.
Men’s 1500 freestyle
Sun Yang of China finished the distance freestyle sweep, taking the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events at this year’s World Championships. This is a feat last accomplished by Australian Grant Hackett in 2005 and one, that by winning the 400 freestyle, South Korean Park Tae-Hwan prevented him for doing in 2011.
Unlike the 1500 meter event at the Olympics Sun left himself vulnerable right to end of the race, an opening that Canadian Ryan Cochrane almost took advantage of.
At the Olympics Sun dominated the event defeating Cochrane by more then eight seconds, in Barcelona it was a completely different race.
Sun had the led for the first 350 meters, which is when Cochrane took over the lead, which he held until the final 100. The definition of a lead in this case means Cochrane stayed two tenths of a second ahead of Sun.
At the 1400 mark Sun pulled away from Cochrane opening up just under a second lead going into the final 50 meters and no matter how much Cochrane has worked on his speed there was no way that he was going to catch the Chinese swimmer who won the event in a time of 14:41.15.
Cochrane finished second in a time of 14:42.48.
For Sun this is the seventh individual world championship medal of his career and his fifth gold. For Cochrane it is sixth individual world championship medal.
Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri finished third in a time of 14:45.37. Paltrinieri, who finished fifth at the Olympics, breaks his own Italian record time of 14:48.92.
Americans Connor Jaeger and Michael McBroom had incredible finishes in the 800 freestyle something that was to look out for again in the 1500.
They both had great races, but finished just outside the medals.
Jaeger finished in a lifetime best of 14:47.96 inching himself closer and closer to Larsen Jensen’s 2004 American record of 14:45.29. Jaeger who finished sixth at the Olympics and had a previous best of 14:52.51 was swum at the 2012 US Olympic Trials.
McBroom, who broke 15 minutes for the first time at the US World Championships trials this year finished fifth in a time of 14:53.95.
Coming into Barcelona Australian teenager Jordan Harrison finished sixth in a time of 15:00.44. This is disappointment for a young man that came into Barcelona with the second ranked time in the world, having recorded a 14:51.02 earlier in the year.
When Harrison posted his season’s best at the Australian trials in April he became the fastest 17 year old in history, so even though his performance in Barcelona was a disappointment this is just the beginning of what is sure to be a long and successful career for the young swimmer.
Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands finished seventh in a time of 15:03.10 while Daniel Fogg of Great Britain finished eighth in a time of 15:05.92.
Women’s 400 IM
Hungarian Katinka Hosszu has been a racing machine all year, preparing herself for the challenges that she knew she would face at the World Championships in Barcelona. The change in preparation has worked as Hosszu came away with a victory in the 200 IM on the second day of the competition and had more than enough gas left in the tank to win the 400 IM on the final day.
Just as she did in the 200 IM Hosszu lead the race from start to finish winning the event in a time of 4:30.41. Her time is a lifetime best by over two seconds improving her time of 4:32.83 from 2012.
At the world short course championships in Istanbul in December the Hungarian was defeated by both Hannah Miley of Great Britain and Ye Shiwen of China, today she got her revenge as neither woman present the slightest of challenges.
After winning a bronze in the 200 IM Mireia Belmonte Garcia continued to achieve success on home soil edging out American Elizabeth Beisel for the silver.
Going into the final 100 meters Beisel had just over a half second lead over Belmonte Garcia, but the Spaniard was able to overtake the American in the final 100 meters taking the silver in a time of 4:31.21.
Beisel the reigning world champion in the event finished third in a time of 4:31.69. Beisel, who has appeared to battling injuries at times in the season had a bit of a down year by her standards, but was able to make significant improvements between US Trials and Barcelona, something she was able to do in 2011 as well.
Beisel’s American teammate Mya Dirado finished fourth in a time of 4:32.70. Dirado posted a lifetime best to win the US Trials in a time of 4:34.34, dropping three seconds from her previous best of 4:37.88.
Hannah Miley of Great Britain who has looked great since the Olympics winning the world short course championships and coming into Barcelona with the world’s top time finished fifth in a time of 4:34.16.
Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos finished sixth in a time of 4:34.50.
In an absolutely shocking result Olympic champion Ye Shiwen finished seventh in a time of 4:38.51 followed by Miyu Otsuka of Japan who finished eighth in a time of 4:39.21.
Men’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay
Before the event began it looked as though the American relay that consisted of Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian would be a lock to win. Throughout the race and at the finish it looked like they had done what was expected of them, but that wasn’t the case, as officials disqualified the team due Cordes leaving early on a relay exchange.
After the race Adrian spoke to the press as reported by ESPN explaining that the mistake is a team mistake and that it shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of one individual, “A relay disqualification is not a particular individual’s fault,” said Nathan Adrian “It’s Team USA’s fault and it falls on all of our shoulders.”
“If us four ever step up again, we’re never going to have a disqualification, that’s for sure,” said Adrian. “It will really motivate him. I don’t doubt if in the next couple years we’re going to have the fastest breaststroker in the world swimming for Team USA. This could be a catalyst for that.”
With the Americans’ disqualified France took the gold. The team of Camille Lacourt, Giacomo Perez-Dortona, Jeremy Stravius and Fabien Gilot had a back and forth race with the Australians.
The team consisting of Ashley Delaney, Christian Sprenger, Tommaso D’Orsongna and James Magnussen were behind the French by 24 one-hundredths of a second going into the final 100 meters. Even with Magnussen, the 100 freestyle world champion, anchoring the relay they could not make up the difference losing to the French by 13 one-hundredths of a second.
France won the gold in a time of 3:31.51 followed by Australia who finished in a time of 3:31.64.
The Japanese team consisting of Ryosuke Irie, Kosuke Kitajima, Takuro Fujii and Shinri Shiohura finished third in a time of 3:32.26.
The Russians finished fourth in a time of 3:32.74, the Germans finished fifth in a time of 3:33.97, the Italians finished sixth in a time of 3:34.06 just ahead of Hungary that finished in seventh in a time of 3:34.09.
Women’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay
There was a great deal of excitement surrounding the women’s medley relay, not only for the race itself, but to see if Missy Franklin could win her sixth gold medal, the most by any woman at one World Championships.
History was made as the American team took the gold beating the Australians by just under two seconds.
Franklin led off in a time of 58.39, followed by Jessica Hardy who split 1:05.10, Dana Vollmer who split 56.31 and Megan Romano who anchored the team with a time of 53.43. They finished with a combined time of 3:53.23.
With the relay win Franklin collected her sixth gold of the competition, one more than American Tracy Caulkins (1978) and Australian Libby Trickett.
“I still can’t really believe that it happened,” Franklin told ESPN.
Franklin won gold in the 200 freestyle, 100 and 200 backstroke as well as the 4 x 100 freestyle and medley relays and the 4 x 200 freestyle relay.
The Australian team of Emily Seebhom, Sally Foster, Alicia Coutts and Cate Campbell finished second in a time of 3:55.22. Campbell was impressive putting up a split of 52.09 anchoring the team.
Followed by the Russian team consisting of Daria Ustinova, Yuliya Efimova, Svetlana Chimrova and Veronika Popova who finished third in a time of 3:56.47.
The Chinese finished fourth in a time of 3:57.30, the Japanese were fifth in a time of 3:58.06, the British were sixth in a time of 3:58.67, the Canadians were seventh in a time of 4:00.19 followed by the Germans who finished eighth in a time of 4:01.81.