2019 World University Games: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2019 WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES/SUMMER UNIVERSIADE – SWIMMING

As Rihanna’s Only Girl (In The World) booms within the Napoli Natatorium for the umpteenth time, all can rest assured that the fourth session of the 2019 World University Games are set to begin. The competition will start with the finals of the women’s 1500m free, and subsequently followed by three sets of semi-finals and six additional medal deciding races.

Japan’s Waka Kobori occupies the top seed heading into the first race of the evening and is the youngest competitor in the field. She earned a top eight finish in this event at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships – her first major international competition – and is likely looking to go nowhere but up as she continues to develop her elite profile.

The US’s IM figurehead in Ella Eastin will look to earn her first medal of the competition during the finals of the 200 IM. She moved through the semi-finals in third behind Great Britain’s Alicia Wilson and Abbie Wood.

Kirill Prigoda of Russia and Washington native Daniel Roy are seeded 1-2 for the finals of the men’s 200 breast with a pair of 2:09’s – the only competitors to dip below 2:11 in the heats. Look out for a close race between these two.

Soon-to-be NC State freshman Katharine Berkoff is another must-watch after breaking the meet record in the prelims of the 100 back with a 59.57, earning a new lifetime best. That time cracked the top 10 in the world this year; she’ll need to drop three-tenths to manage her way into the top eight, which would also be around the time that earned a US Olympic bid in this event back in 2016.

WOMEN’S 1500 FREE – FINALS

  1. Waka Kobori (JPN), 16:16.33
  2. Moesha Johnson (AUS), 16:20.00
  3. Molly Kowal (USA), 16:20.94

Waka Kobori was out fast in the first third of the race, but Moesha Johnson inched her way ahead at the 500, and the two put a great deal of distance from the rest of the field. Around the 1000 mark, however, Kobori started to pull away, holding the lead all the way into the finish in a time of 16:16.33.

At the time that Johnson fell off, it looked as if Ohio State’s Molly Kowal was starting to make a push for third, but she was pretty far behind. In the end, Kowal indeed closed the distance; almost running down Johnson in the end, but ultimately settling for third with a solid 16:20.94. Johnson claimed the runner-up with a 16:20.00.

WOMEN’S 200 IM – FINALS

  1. Alicia Wilson (GBR), 2:11.35
  2. Ella Eastin (USA), 2:12.24
  3. Runa Imai (JPN) 2:12.25

Stanford’s Ella Eastin made a huge push for first on the backstroke leg, getting ahead of Great Britain’s Alicia Wilson at the 100 mark. Although she fell behind Wilson during the breaststroke portion, Eastin had a lead coming off the wall going into the final 50, thanks to a brilliant underwater.

Despite her lead, however, Wilson dominated Eastin in the last 50, crashing to the wall in a final time of 2:11.35 to take the win by almost a full second. Eastin, sporting an uncharacteristically slow free leg, faded to second with a 2:12.24, holding off a charging Runa Imai of Japan by the slimmest of margins. Imai claimed the bronze in 2:12.25.

MEN’S 100 FREE – SEMIFINALS

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Felipe De Souza (BRA), 48.82
  2. Zach Apple (USA), 48.84
  3. Tate Jackson (USA), 49.05
  4. Marco Ferreira (BRA), 49.10
  5. T-David Cumberlidge (GBR), 49.16/Ivana Vendrame (ITA), 49.16
  6. Heiko Gigler (AUT), 49.39
  7. Jaehoon Yang (KOR), 49.43

The first of two semi-final heats saw Brazilians Felipe De Souza and Marco Ferreira solidly claim the first and second spots with times of 48.82 and 49.10, respectively. De Souza’s time would go on to be good enough to seed him first going into tomorrow night’s finals – Americans Zach Apple and Tate Jackson also went 1-2 in the final semi-final heat, stopping the clock at 48.84 and 49.05. Apple and Jackson were actually behind the field at the turn, eventually blasting their way to the front with impressive back-halves.

Rounding out the remainder of the top eight is Great Britain’s David Cumberlidge (49.16), Italy’s Ivana Vendrame (49.16), Austria’s Heiko Gigler (49.39), and Korea’s Jaehoon Yang (49.43).

WOMEN’S 100 FLY – SEMIFINALS

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Tayla Lovemore (RSA), 58.57
  2. Lisa Hoepink (GER), 58.93
  3. Dakota Luther, (USA), 59.02
  4. Ai Soma (JPN), 59.07
  5. Kinge Zadringa (NED), 59.19
  6. Paulina Egorova (RUS), 59.38
  7. Giovanna Diamante (BRA), 59.58
  8. Hannah Genich (CAN), 59.59

50 fly specialist Ai Soma of Japan took it out quick in the first of two semi-final heats, turning at the wall well ahead of University of Georgia’s Dakota Luther. Luther had a monster back-half, however, and took home first in the heat  with a 59.02 – despite an awkward finish – narrowly ahead of Soma’s 59.o7.

In the second heat, South Africa’s Taylor Lovemore had a dominant showing, becoming the only woman to dip below the 59 second mark in the semis along with Lisa Hoepink of Germany. The two finished 1-2 in the semi, and will enter the finals session as the first and second seeds as well.

Also earning top eight finishes was Netherland’s Kinge Zadringa (59.19), Russia’s Paulina Egorova (59.38), Brazil’s Giovanna Diamante (59.58), and Canada’s Hannah Genich (59.59).

MEN’S 200 BREAST – FINALS

  1. Kirill Prigoda (RUS), 2:08.88
  2. Ilia Khomenko (RUS), 2:09.42
  3. Daniel Roy (USA), 2:09.63

Texas A&M’s Jonathan Tybur took it out blistering fast, touching the wall at the first 100 well ahead of Andrew Wilson‘s former meet record pace. With a huge pull-out, however, Russia’s Kirill Prigoda instantly got back into the lead going into the second half of the race. Stanford’s Daniel Roy‘s pullouts weren’t nearly on par with Prigoda’s, but the soon-to-be sophomore caught up to the leader as the two touched virtually simultaneously at the 150 mark.

In the end, Prigoda eventually pulled away, and his Russian teammate in Ilia Khomenko had an impressive surge of a last 50 to overtake Roy under the flags. The fellow countrymen finished with times of 2:08.88 and 2:09.42, while Roy settled for bronze with his 2:09.63 – a solid time nonetheless. Tybur, Roy’s teammate, ultimately faded to eighth.

WOMEN’S 100 BACK – FINALS

  1. Katharine Berkoff (USA), 59.29
  2. Elise Haan (USA), 59.62
  3. Silvia Scalia (ITA), 1:00.43

NC State’s Elise Haan was out ahead of her teammate and the newly-minted meet record holder Katharine Berkoff, and looked solid heading through the turn. Berkoff had a massive underwater, however, that propelled herself to the lead merely after surfacing.

Berkoff never looked back after the turn, eventually crashing into the wall in another personal best time of 59.29, lowering the meet record down from her 59.57 from the preliminary heats. Haan also recorded a lifetime best of 59.62 for the runner-up spot, completing the American 1-2. The Napoli crowd roared for Silvia Scalia, the Italian national that finished third with a 1:00.43 final time.

MEN’S 200 FLY – FINALS

  1. Aleksandr Kudashev (RUS), 1:55.63
  2. Nao Horomura (JPN), 1:55.94
  3. Takumi Terada (JPN), 1:55.99

Russia’s Aleksandr Kudsahev had a gutsy swim, bearing the burden of leading the 200 fly through the majority of the race. He was solidly ahead through the middle half of the race, but the Japanese duo of Nao Horomura – the meet record holder – and Takumi Terada began to close on the final 50.

In the end, Kudashev held them off for the win, notching a final time of 1:55.63. Horomura and Terada picked up the silver and bronze just behind Kudashev, registering times of 1:55.94 and 1:55.99, respectively.

WOMEN’S 200 BREAST – SEMIFINALS

Top 8 Qualifiers

  1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:23.89
  2. Emily Escobedo (USA), 2:24.36
  3. Daria Chikunova (RUS), 2:25.30
  4. Kaylene Corbett (RSA), 2:25.57
  5. Francesca Fangio (ITA), 2:25.75
  6. Katie Matts (GBR), 2:25.82
  7. Jocelyn Ulyett (GBR), 2:26.13
  8. Kanako Watanabe (JPN), 2:26.22

South Africa native Tatjana Schoenmaker, the winner of the 100 breast at these championships, had a dominant showing in the final 50 to pull away from the entirety of the field. She posted a 2:23.89 in the first semifinal, going 1-2 with her teammate Kaylene Corbett.

After narrowly missing the meet record this morning, Emily Escobedo looked cool, calm and collected in the second semi-final, easily taking the win with a time of 2:24.36. In the same heat, defending champion in this event Kanako Watanabe of Japan settled for third, narrowly squeezing into tomorrow night’s final with her 2:26.22.

MEN’S 50 BACK – FINALS

  1. T-Zane Waddell (RSA)/Justin Ress (USA), 24.48
  2. Grigory Tarasevich (RUS), 24.94

After trading meet records last night – with Ress lowering the record in the first heat and Waddell firing back with a record of his own in the next – the intense 50 back rivalry ended in possibly the most climactic way: a tie. Ress appeared to have the better start, but Waddell was closing fast. If it wasn’t thanks to an impressive lunge to the wall from Ress, it appeared that Waddell would have taken it.

Former Lousiville swimmer Grigory Tarasevich, a Russian national who already won the 100 back at these championships, picked up third place in this event with his 24.94 final time.

WOMEN’S 4 X 200 FREE RELAY – FINALS

  • WUGs Record: 7:53.88 (USA), 2015
  1. United States, 7:53.90
  2. Italy, 7:59.68
  3. Russia, 8:03.85

The USA quartet consisting of Kaersten Meitz, Paige Madden, Claire Rasmus and Gabby DeLoof dominated the women’s 800 free relay final, finishing almost six seconds ahead of the field in a final time of 7:53.90, just under a tenth off the meet record.

Fueled by the cheers of the stadium, Italy pulled away of a nagging Russian squad on the final leg, ultimately placing second with a time of 7:59.68, the last team under 8:00. Russia settled for bronze with their team’s combined effort of 8:03.85.

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AvidSwimFan
3 years ago

Many of the comments on Eastin are a little harsh IMO. No, she couldn’t have declined this spot because the notice came in late. Team USA usually only let’s relay only swimmers do double duty.

She earned each of these spots tho (the worlds obv after Baker declined) based on her times. 2:12 isn’t a good time. But she got silver. And hopefully there’s a story there, plus lots of room to be better at Worlds. If she isn’t it will be her first major LCM team, a good experience, and will motivate her for Tokyo.

cynthia curran
Reply to  AvidSwimFan
3 years ago

At least she gets to go to worlds and picked up another medal at WUG.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

“Berkoff had a massive underwater.” Where have I heard that befoe?

Wow
3 years ago

Waddell or Ress?

Waddell lover
Reply to  Wow
3 years ago

Waddell

Tomek
Reply to  Wow
3 years ago

Wadell AND Ress 🙂

gator
Reply to  Wow
3 years ago

BOTH!

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  gator
3 years ago

Shebat smoked ’em both in warmup.

Snarky
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Schooling was 23.9 in practice

Philip Johnson
3 years ago

I kinda feel bad for Berkoff, even with that time, still an outside shot to make the Olympic team. Any other nation, she would be a shoe-in for a spot.

AnEn
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

Not sure that is true. I think she would struggle to make the canadian or australian team.

Tomek
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

I think Berkoff will be faster come the trials, she is only 18 and keeps improving. I think Smith will win the trials but 2nd place will be the fight between Baker, Smoliga and Berkoff. Baker is the unknown, she can win outright or not make the team

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

You are forgetting Bacon, younger than Berkoff and faster. Although it should be Baker and Smith

Caleb
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

She’s the world-record holder and was swimming fantastic until her fluke injury so it would take a big upset for her not to make the team. Baker is a good half-second ahead of smith and the rest. She might not be 100% this summer due to training time lost, but I don’t thjnk that’s a factor for 2020. That said… someone’s going to go 58.5 and miss out… maybe even 2 or 3 people in the 58s, not counting the winner. So not much margin for error.

N80
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

We have Baker, Bacon, Berkoff, Nelson, Smith, Smoliga, Stadden, and Haan who all have chances. Entire final under 1:00 easy, probably 4 under 59, maybe 1 or 2 under 58. Although I’ve got to root for Bacon as the hometown girl, realistically I see Baker, Smith, and Smoliga as the biggest chances of making it

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

Definitely not a shoe in for Canada and Australia

Per
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
3 years ago

It is time for the 24/32 best in every event swim
at World/OG. I you come 10th at Worlds youre not the 10th best in the World. I love swiming and would like to see the best compete agianst each other. Who cares if the US win gold, silver and Bronze in one event or maybe Australia (100 free woman).

Lane 8
3 years ago

Great job Katharine Berkoff for a new meet record and PB! (Also nice job Elise Haan on achieving a PB as well – old best was 59.73 from 2018 Summer Nats)

Tomek
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

4-5 swimmers breaking 59s in 100 back in Olympic trials is possible

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

This has to be the deepest event ever for the United States, so much talent.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

EVER? USA has swept the medals at Olympics and had potential medalist not make.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  JimSwim22
3 years ago

What events and when? Not saying you’re wrong, just want to know.

Ervin
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

lol the womens 100 back has been one of the deeper events for along time

JimSwim22
Reply to  Philip Johnson
3 years ago

76 was the last time they allowed 3 entries pretty country. USA swept in a couple events that meet.

Hannah
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

Hopefully we can get a whole final under 1:00

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Tomek
3 years ago

And 1-2 (maybe 3) breaking 58.

Ol’ Gator
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Typical longhorn with the way too optimistic predictions 😉 nah I’m kidding as crazy as it is this is very possible

MarkB
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

Where have I seen this line before, “Berkoff had a massive underwater”?

Swimming4silver
3 years ago

lol the announcer talking about the piano

Out of the loop
Reply to  Swimming4silver
3 years ago

Where do all the piano jokes come from?

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Out of the loop
3 years ago

from Shields 200 fly ….

Lane 8
3 years ago

Maybe Ella’s saving up for Worlds. I’m wondering if she’ll suddenly pull off something big at Worlds after this disappointing swim.

Sun96
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

Do you think she can drop 4 seconds at Worlds to match Bakers time last summer?

Lane 8
Reply to  Sun96
3 years ago

it’ll be hard but maybe. 2 second drop is kind of likely.

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

She needs a really big drop at Worlds, hope to see that

Swimfan
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

I remember everyone thought that Townley was slow at Nationals last year…and he was, for Townley. Then a couple weeks later he crushed PanPacs. I trust she knows what she’s doing.

Acar
3 years ago

Roy got beat on every underwater.

HonestObserver
Reply to  Acar
3 years ago

He really did. If the race had been held in a 200 meter pool, Roy would have won. Unfortunately…..

Tomek
Reply to  Acar
3 years ago

it looked like he gave everything he had which is all one can ask from the swimmer

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Acar
3 years ago

So does Peaty, but you work with you got.

Pvdh
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Except Peaty is built like ultra super saiyan Trunks, while Roy….not so much

Newport Beach Lover
Reply to  Acar
3 years ago

Everyone has his/her strength. His strokes are very good. He could still got ahead of 5 others.

Sean S
Reply to  Acar
3 years ago

Prigoda has some of the very best pullouts in the world and Roy does not to say the least.