2019 World University Games: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The opening finals session from the 2019 World University Games in Napoli, Italy are set to get underway, with a total of four finals and five sets of semi-finals on the docket.

The highlight of this morning’s prelim session was Dean Farris dropping a scintillating 47.08 leg on the U.S. men’s 400 free relay, along with teammate Robert Howard also splitting sub-48 in 47.72. With Zach Apple expected to step in on the finals relay, the team has a great shot to take down the meet record set by Russia in 2013 of 3:10.88.

The Universiade Record that came closest to falling this morning came in the women’s 200 back, where American Lisa Bratton qualified first in 2:09.09, less than two-tenths off of Stephanie Proud‘s 2:08.91 from back in 2009.

Men’s 400 Free Final

  • World Record: 3:40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER), 2009
  • Meet Record: 3:45.96, Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), 2017
  1. Keisuke Yoshida, JPN, 3:49.48
  2. Matteo Ciampi, ITA, 3:50.04
  3. Anton Nikitin, RUS, 3:50.41

The men’s 400 freestyle appeared to be a three-man race through 350 metres, with Victor Johansson, Anton Nikitin and Keisuke Yoshida leading the pack, but the final 50 turned into a free for all with six swimmers in contention for a medal.

It ended up being Japan’s Yoshida who exploded over the last 50 with a 26.74 split to seal the win in a time of 3:49.48, which is actually slower than what Nikitin and Johansson had gone in the prelims (both 3:49.40).

Yoshida went a best of 3:48.68 at the Youth Olympic Games last October where he won bronze.

Matteo Ciampi of Italy wowed the home crowd as he moved up from fourth to second on the last 50, splitting 27.20, to snag silver in 3:50.04. Nikitin held on for bronze in 3:50.41, while American Trey Freeman moved up into fourth (3:50.55) and Johansson (3:50.94) fell to fifth.


  • World Record: 24.43, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2014
  • Meet Record: 25.72, Lu Ying (CHN), 2015
  1. Jeong Soeun, KOR, 26.50
  2. Ai Soma, JPN, 26.55
  3. Park Yerin, KOR, 26.57
  4. Tayla Lovemore, RSA, 26.60
  5. Kinge Zandringa, NED, 26.65
  6. Mayuka Yamamoto, JPN, 26.74
  7. Sofia Spodarenko, RUS, 26.84
  8. Huang Mei-Chien, TPE, 26.99

A pair of tightly contested semi-finals in the women’s 50 fly saw the eight qualifiers for the final all separated by less than half a second.

Jeong Soeun of South Korea topped the first semi in 26.50, and then it was Ai Soma (26.55) of Japan and another Korean Park Yerin (26.57) going 1-2 in the second semi for the top three seeds.

South African Tayla Lovemore, the top seed out of the prelims in 26.51, advances in fourth at 26.60.


  • World Record: 51.85, Ryan Murphy (USA), 2016
  • Meet Record: 52.60, Ryosuke Irie (JPN), 2009
  1. Justin Ress, USA, 53.47
  2. Grigory Tarasevich, RUS, 53.71
  3. Zane Waddell, RSA, 54.01
  4. Bryce Mefford, USA, 54.34
  5. Yohann N’Doye-Brouard, FRA, 54.38
  6. Gabriel Fantoni, BRA, 54.40
  7. Mark Nikolaev, RUS, 54.56
  8. Guilherme Basseto, BRA, 54.81

Justin Ress used a blistering 25.70 opening 50 to comfortably win the second semi of the men’s 100 back, clocking the top time overall in 53.47. That is a new season-best for Ress, bumping him up into 12th in the world rankings, and is also only two-tenths outside of his lifetime best set at last summer’s U.S. Nationals (53.26).

The former NC State Wolfpack member is the defending champion in this event, having claimed gold two years ago in a time of 53.29.

South African Zane Waddell threw down a personal best time to take second in the semi in 54.01, and American Bryce Mefford (54.34) and Russian Mark Nikolaev (54.56) also advanced from the heat.

Grigory Tarasevich paced the first semi in 53.71, easily advancing in second overall. Yohann N’Doye-Brouard of France was just a tenth off his PB to qualify fifth overall in 54.38.


  • World Record: 4:26.36, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2016
  • Meet Record: 4:34.40, Yui Ohashi (JPN), 2017
  1. Makayla Sargent, USA, 4:37.95
  2. Evie Pfeifer, USA, 4:40.16
  3. Ilaria Cusinato, ITA, 4:40.18

In somewhat of an upset it was an American 1-2 in the women’s 400 IM, as NC State representative Makayla Sargent took over two seconds off her lifetime best to win gold in a time of 4:37.95. Sargent’s previous best was 4:40.24 from last summer.

Her U.S. teammate Evie Pfeifer out-touched Italian Ilaria Cusinato, who was favored coming in, by .02 to snag silver in 4:40.16, the second-fastest swim of her career trailing her 4:38.68 from the 2018 Nationals.

Cusinato has been as fast as 4:34.65, done last June, and also won silver at the European Championships just over a month later in 4:35.05.

Great Britain’s Abbie Wood was coming in as a medal contender, but failed to take her mark at the start of the race and missed the swim entirely.


  • World Record: 57.10, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2018
  • Meet Record: 59.53, Igor Borysik (UKR), 2009
  1. Ian Finnerty, USA, 59.51
  2. Michael Houlie, RSA, 59.64
  3. Andrius Sidlauskas, LTU, 59.80
  4. Yuya Hinomoto, JPN, 59.92
  5. Craig Benson, GBR, 59.93
  6. Kirill Prigoda, RUS, 59.96
  7. Theo Bussiere, FRA, 1:00.18
  8. Berkay Omer Ogretir, TUR, 1:00.48

American Ian Finnerty popped off an impressive 59.51 in the first semi of the men’s 100 breast, qualifying first overall and marking his first time sub-1:00. The Indiana Hoosier had previously been 1:00.09 at the 2017 U.S. Open.

Finnerty also broke the Games Record, previously held by Ukrainian Igor Borsyik (59.53) from 2009.

After no one did it this morning, a total of six were under one minute tonight, including Andrius SidlauskasYuya Hinomoto and Kirill Prigoda in that first semi. Sidlauskas notably split 29.05/30.75 en route to his 59.80.

In the second heat, Michael Houlie of South Africa responded to Finnerty’s swim with a 59.64 to mark his first time under 1:00. Craig Benson also cracked the mark in 59.93.


  • World Record: 2:04.06, Missy Franklin (USA), 2012
  • Meet Record: 2:08.91, Stephanie Proud (GBR), 2009
  1. Asia Seidt, USA, 2:08.81
  2. Lisa Bratton, USA, 2:09.29
  3. Chloe Golding, GBR, 2:10.37
  4. Sonnele Ozturk, GER, 2:11.27
  5. Kathryn Greenslade, GBR, 2:11.41
  6. Tatiana Salcutan, MDA, 2:12.19
  7. Kennedy Goss, CAN, 2:12.74
  8. Marina Furubayashi, JPN, 2:13.19

Swimming in the first of two semi-finals in the women’s 200 back, Asia Seidt of the U.S. threw down a new meet record in a time of 2:08.81, chopping a tenth off of Stephanie Proud‘s 2009 mark of 2:08.91. Seidt’s previous best had also stood at 2:08.91 from the 2018 Columbus PSS.

Her teammate Lisa Bratton, who led the heats in 2:09.09, cruised through the second semi en route to the win in 2:09.29, setting up an exciting battle between the two tomorrow night. Bratton has been quicker than Seidt’s new best time on three occasions, holding a best of 2:08.20.

Chloe Golding of Great Britain was third fastest overall in 2:10.37, just off her PB of 2:09.93.


  • World Record: 22.27, Andrii Govorov (UKR), 2018
  • Meet Record: 22.90, Andrii Govorov (UKR), 2017
  1. William Yang, AUS, 23.39
  2. Yuya Tanaka, JPN, 23.61
  3. Lorenzo Gargani, ITA, 23.63
  4. Grigori Pekarski, BLR, 23.73
  5. Jack Saunderson, USA, 23.75
  6. Daniil Markov, RUS, 23.78
  7. Pawel Sendyk, POL, 23.78
  8. Coleman Stewart, USA, 23.84

William Yang of Australia gave himself some separation over the field in the semis of a hotly contested men’s 50 fly, leading by over two-tenths in 23.39 from semi-final 1. Yang holds a best of 23.23 from the Australian Championships in April.

Yuya Tanaka (23.61) of Japan and Lorenzo Gargani (23.63) of Italy qualified second and third overall from that heat, while Grigori Pekarski of Belarus paced semi 2 in 23.73 for fourth.

Americans Jack Saunderson (23.75) and Coleman Stewart (23.84) both advanced through in fifth and eighth, with Stewart’s swim his first ever under 24.


  • World Record: 3:30.05, Australia, 2018
  • Meet Record: 3:38.12, USA, 2015
  1. United States, 3:37.99
  2. Japan, 3:41.74
  3. Italy, 3:41.84

The American women’s 4×100 free relay had descending splits, culminating in a 53.87 anchor from Gabby DeLoof, as they won gold by close to four seconds in 3:37.99, breaking their 2015 meet record by just over a tenth (3:38.12).

Veronica Burchill gave them the lead opening up in 55.39, and then Claire Rasmus (54.63) and Catie DeLoof (54.10) extended the advantage before handing it off to Gabby.

The Japanese women edged out Italy for silver in 3:41.74, with a big 54.44 anchor from Runa Imai. Italy, who was a tenth back in 3:41.84, also had their fastest split come from their fourth swimmer: Aglalia Pezzato in 54.85.


  • World Record: 3:08.24, USA, 2008
  • Meet Record: 3:10.88, Russia, 2013
  1. United States, 3:11.03
  2. Brazil, 3:15.27
  3. Italy, 3:15.91

The American men followed up the women with a similarly dominating performance in the 4×100 free, topping runners-up Brazil by over four seconds in 3:11.03, narrowly missing the 2013 Russian meet record of 3:10.88.

Zach Apple, who was the lone swimmer to come in having not swum the prelims, unleashed a personal best 47.79 on the lead-off, with splits of 22.87/24.92, improving on his 48.03 from last summer Pan Pac heats. That ranks him fourth in the world this year, and also puts him first among Americans.

Dean Farris followed up with 22.23/25.25 splits to clock 47.48, four-tenths off of his prelim swim, but still the fastest in the field. Robert Howard went sub-48 a second time, splitting 47.74, and then Tate Jackson brought it home in 48.0.

The four Americans ended up having the four-fastest splits in the entire field, flying start or not.

Brazilian Felipe De Souza dropped a 48.13 anchor to overtake the Italians and claim silver in 3:15.27. They had solid splits all-around: Luiz Borges (49.57), Marco Antonio Ferreira (48.99), and Gabriel Ogawa (48.58) before De Souza.

Italy, with a pair of 48-second swims from Ivano Vendrame (48.91 – lead-off) and Alessandro Bori (48.87) took third in 3:15.91, and Japan was fourth in 3:16.38 with three legs hitting 48.9.

Other notable splits came from Russian Ivan Kuzmenko (48.54 swimming second) and Great Britain’s David Cumberlidge (48.76 lead-off).

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3 years ago

So…Farris not swimming any individual events?

Reply to  rsginsf
3 years ago


Reply to  rsginsf
3 years ago

Can’t wait for his 200 free split on the 4×2 free relay

3 years ago


Jack Fan
3 years ago

Hey SwimSwam, time to get a pic of Jack Saunderson for your “In this Story” section

3 years ago

What are the odds that this WUGs really beats the time of our Worlds relay?? Because damn that was fast 🔥

3 years ago

Brazil splits were wrong, they were corrected now
Marco Antônio was 48,00 and ogawa 49,5

3 years ago

What we need is these guys to transfer over to 200 free too

Reply to  Sqimgod
3 years ago

Farris will probably be as good in the 200 free + Haas , Pieroni /Conger+ Seliskar = Fantastic relay Possibility

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Oof. Dressel already the forgotten man.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

he might hop on that relay train as well …..

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

R.I.P. Lochte

3 years ago

The average time to make 100 free finals at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 trials has been about a 49.00ish. Suspect it’ll be closer to 48.75 at the slowest next summer, top four in finals will all be under 48 at a minimum, we may have the most depth ever seen, at least as good as the aussies looked on paper in 2012

Wanna sprite?
3 years ago

USA will break world record in 4×100 free relay in Tokyo and any number of guys could be on it

Reply to  Wanna sprite?
3 years ago

well they could break 2 of their Relay WR’s

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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