2015 World University Games Day One Finals Recap: USA Sweeps Golds


Finals for day one of the World University Games will feature five individual semifinals, one individual final, and the finals of the 4×100 free relays.  Perhaps the biggest news coming out of the prelims was Henrique Martins in the 50 fly, as his 23.38 gives him the ninth-fastest time in the world this year.  Australia’s Holly Barratt will go in as the top qualifier in the women’s 50 fly.  Sarah Henry (USA) will be looking to keep her spot in the 400 IM, which is tonight’s only individual final.  Junya Hasegawa of Japan will be trying to hold off Jack Conger and Jacob Pebley of the USA in the 100 back.  Great Britain’s Craig Benson comes in with the fastest time in the 100 breast and Lisa Bratton of the United States is currently the top seed in the 200 back.

The USA took the top seeds for both relays.  We’re likely to see at least two legs swapped out on each relay, as neither one included any of the Americans who will be swimming the individual 100 free: Shannon Vreeland and Abbey Weitzeil for the women, and Jack Conger and Seth Stubblefield for the men.


Lu Ying of China won the first heat of the semis with a 26.05, which ties her for the tenth-fastest time in the world this year.  She finished just ahead of Canadian Samantha Correa‘s 26.34.  After those two, there were four swimmers bunched between 26.71 and 27.76.

In the second heat, Russian Svetiana Chimrova touched first in 26.21.  Holly Barratt of Australia touched second in in 26.61 and Darya Stepanyuk of Ukraine finished third in the heat in 26.71.  Her time ties her with Laura Quilter‘s (New Zealand) time from heat one.  Rounding out the top eight tonight will be Elena Di Liddo of Italy and Christina Bechtel of the USA, both with 26.73.


Jack Conger (USA) went out fast in heat one, turning first at the 50 and hanging on to win in 54.53 in a heat that saw three other men go under 55.0.  He finished just ahead of Russian Andrei Shabasov (54.65) and USA teammate Jacob Pebley (54.74).

Likewise, Junya Hasegawa of Japan led from start to finish in the other heat touching in 54.01.  He had to hold off a late charge by Italian Christopher Ciccarese, whose 54.23 will put him ahead of Conger for the second seed go into finals tomorrow.

The rest of the final heat will consist of Italy’s Matteo Milli (54.95), France’s Eddie Moueddene (55.42), and South Korea’s Seonkwan Park (55.42).


On July 4th, the USA takes the first gold medal of the swimming competition here at the World University Games.  Italy’s Stefania Pirozzi stormed out to touch first after the fly leg, and she held onto the lead at the 200 mark, as well.  Barbora Zavadova (Czech Republic) moved ahead during the breaststroke leg, but American Sarah Henry stormed ahead over the first 50 of the freestyle leg, outsplitting Zavadova by over a second and hanging on to secure the victory in a time of 4:38.88.  Zavadova touched second in 4:40.03.  Fellow American Hali Flickinger secured a second medal for Team USA, taking bronze with a 4:40.54 after having been second at both the 100 and 200 marks.

Flickinger’s last 100 prevented host South Korea from getting their first medal of the swimming competition, as Seoyeong Kim finished fourth in 4:41.78.  Italy’s Luisa Trombetti was just behind with a 4:41.84.  Despite her early lead Pirozzi ended up in sixth with a 4:42.02.  Rounding out the heat were Australia’s Ellen Fullerton (4:43.29) and China’s Xuanxu Li (4:45.88).


Great Britain’s Craig Benson will again be the top seed heading into tomorrow’s finals after winning heat two with a time of 1:00.16.  That time is currently the 11th-fastest time in the world this year.  The second seed will again go to Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Balandin, who won heat one in 1:00.27.  Caba Siladi of Serbia took the third seed with a 1:00.51.  The only country to have both swimmers make it to finals will be Great Britain, which may be the deepest country in the world this event; James Wilby had the fourth-fastest time of the morning with a 1:00.59.

The rest of tomorrow’s finals heat will consist of Oleg Kostin of Russia (1:00.62), Kazuki Kohinata of Japan (1:00.81), Australia’s Nicholas Schafer (1:00.86), and DJ MacDonald of the USA (1:00.93).


Japan’s Yuka Kawayoke led the first heat start-to-finish, touching in 2:11.62, as she appeared to shut it down over the final few strokes.  She still finished over a second ahead of her nearest competitor, Canada’s Barbara Rojas-Jardin (2:12.52).

In heat two, Simona Baumatrova of the Czech Republic was first at the 100 and 150.  Americans Lisa Bratton and Melanie Klaren both closed over the final 50, making up over a half second deficit, to touch in 2:11.08 and 2:11.58, respectively.  Baumatrova ended up hitting the wall in 2:11.60, which puts her ahead of Kawayoke for the third seed.

This sets up an interesting final for tomorrow night.  Kawakyoke has the fastest time this year of anyone in the final, and as I mentioned, she did not look she was taxing herself at the end of the race this evening.  But the USA representatives both looked strong as well.  Throw Baumatrova into the mix, and this race has the potential to be one of the more exciting of the week.

Rounding out tomorrow’s final will be Camille Gheorgiu of France (2:12.71), Alexandra Papusha of Russia (2:13.00), and Miki Takahashi of Japan (2:13.13).


The top three seeds going into tomorrow night are going to be about as tightly bunched as you can be, even for a 50.  Yauhen Tsurkin of Belarus just out touched Henriqe Martins of Brazil, 23.43 to 23.46, to win heat two.  The top two finishers in heat one were Italy’s Piero Codia (23.48) and Russia’s Oleg Kostin (23.52).  The fifth seed goes to China’s Yang Shi (23.77).  Sixth and seventh seeds will be Matthew Josa (23.86) and Andrew Seliskar (24.11).  The final spot belongs to Russia’s Aleksandr Sadovnikov (24.13).


The American quartet of Abbey Weitzeil, Shannon Vreeland, Maddie Locus, and Lia Neal set a new WUG record in 3:38.12, leading wire-to-wire.  Splits were 54.78, 54.34, 54.95, and 54.05.  The previous record was a 3:38.15, set by Russia when they hosted the 2013 edition of this event.

Japan’s team (Yui Yamane, Yasuko Miyamato, Aya Sato, and Mari Sumiyoshi) was in second for all except one 50 of the race, and ended up securing second place on Sumiyoshi’s anchor leg with a time of 3:41.15.  Sato was the only non-USA swimmer in the entire field to split under 55 seconds.  Russia finished close behind in third, touching in 3:41.34.  China took fourth with 3:41.99.  Fifth though seventh places belonged to Australia (3:43.73), Sweden (3:44.50), and Canada (3:44.90).  Italy’s relay was disqualified, but the results do not specify what the reason was.


Team USA celebrated July 4th by sweeping gold here for day one of the World University Games.  While the final result for the men was just as dominating as it was for the women, the outcome was not so clear at the outset.

Italy’s Giuseppe Guttuso put his team in the lead after the first 100.  His 49.62 opening leg was just ahead of USA’s Matt Ellis‘s 49.86.  Jonathan Boffa, who swims in the US for NC State, which has recently emerged as a sprint powerhouse, split a 49.11 on the second leg to preserve Italy’s lead through the 200m mark.  Michael Wynalda split a 49.38 on the second leg for the USA, meaning that at the halfway point, Italy was leading 1:38.73 to 1:39.24.

Enter Jack Conger.  I thought at first the relay exchange looked a little tight, but after watching the video again, it was a perfectly-executed relay exchange, and Conger essentially made up the deficit by the time he emerged from underwater.   Conger continued to storm ahead, splitting a 47.75 to give the US a 1.61 lead at the 300m mark.  That split is only .01 slower than Ryan Lochte’s 2012 Olympic 4×100 relay, and faster than both Lochte’s and Ervin’s splits in this race at Pan Pacs last year.  Seth Stubblefield anchored in 48.86 for the USA, touching the wall in 3:15.85.

Meanwhile Japan and Russia both ended up finishing ahead of Italy, who faded to fourth on the final leg of the race.  Japan touched in 3:17.98, Russia in 3:18.18, and Italy in 3:18.43.  Mikahail Polischuk split a 48.24 anchoring for Russia, which was faster than any split beside Conger’s.  Australia placed fifth in 3:18.66, the only other team to finish under 3:20.  The final three teams were Turkey (3:20.51), Belarus (3:20.82), and South Africa (3:21.07).  The PDF results show Australia disqualified, but again, there is no explanation recorded.


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Summer Universiade 2015 YouTube channel:

bobo gigi

Thanks for the link.
It’s not live but it looks like races are quickly posted.

bobo gigi

Very quiet live recap when all American swimswamers sleep. 🙂
And hard for me to comment something I can’t watch.
Thanks Robert for being awake and informing us live.

bobo gigi

Who is DJ MacDonald? A college swimmer? I’ve never heard of him before.

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