Crooks: “It Means A Lot to See This Come to Light” (Day 5 Flash Quotes)


In the same session that Daiya Seto made history for becoming the first swimmer to six-peat at Worlds, Jordan Crooks also wrote his name into the history books by giving the Cayman Islands their first-ever World Championship medal with his win in the men’s 50 freestyle.

He posted his fastest time — a sizzling 20.31 — in prelims for a new Cayman Islands record. He was a bit off that in the final, swimming 20.46, but it was still enough for gold as 20-year-old got his hand on the wall three hundredths ahead of Ben Proud.

“It feels great,” said Crooks about winning the race. “I am really grateful for my God, my coaches, my family and everyone who has helped me along this journey. It means a lot to see this come to light. This is awesome.”

This is Crooks’ first medal at a major international meet. Born and raised in the Cayman Islands, he’s now in his second year at the University of Tennessee. “I looked up to a lot of these guys. It was awesome to be able to race them and to have this experience. They are extremely talented and I have much respect for every one of them.”

The respect is certainly mutual. Silver medalist Ben Proud, who wasn’t even sure if he would attend the meet, added his voice to those impressed with Crooks. “Seeing Jordan swim so quick yesterday morning completely changed the dynamic of the race as suddenly we were all chasing someone. It brought a brilliant atmosphere to the call room, everyone was excited, and to have a new name on the scene and see a 20-year-old swim so quick is brilliant for the sport.”

For bronze medalist Dylan Carter, there’s an additional layer, as having both himself and Crooks on the podium made it two-thirds Caribbean swimmers. Carter represents Trinidad and Tobago and tore up the World Cup circuit with Triple Crowns in the 50 free, 50 back, and 50 fly.

Speaking on his own race he said, “I am happy to come away with something coming down here. it was really fun.” 

“Proud of Jordan, you know, to have two Caribbean athletes in the men’s 50 final. that’s brand new. So both of us on the podium That’s massive for the region and for serving the region, especially in the men’s 50 freestyle, which is you know, arguably the fastest, well the fastest event in the pool so proud of that.”

Newly Minted 4×50 Medley World Record Holders Share Their Thoughts

The world records in both the men’s and women’s 4×50 medley relays got taken down on Day 5 by Italy and Australia, respectively. These two relays mark the seventh and eighth relay world records that have been broken in Melbourne.

Nicolo Martinenghi, who split a blistering 24.95 on breaststroke, said after that race “It’s incredible to set a new world record. Last year, we were third. To do this with my teammates is special. We have a good team and a big team. We said that we have to do it, for our nation and for our team.” 

Backstroker Lorenzo Mora (22.65) touched on how special it is to get to swim with Martinenghi, Matteo Rivolta, and Leonardo Deplano. “You really feel how teammates work, how friendship works. It’s really different and really enjoyable with these guys.” 

Like the Italian men, it was the Australian women’s second world record of the meet. “It’s so exciting, so fun and so fresh,” said Mollie O’Callaghan, who led off in 25.49 for a new Oceanic and Australian record. “It’s something we rarely get to do —being part of a team in front of a crowd like this is special.” 

Emma McKeon took over butterfly duties on this relay, and said that she “knew [she] had to step up.” That was echoed by freestyler Madi Wilsonwho admitted to feeling some nerves over her role on the relay. “The medley spot is usually saved for the #1 freestyle, but Emma swam fly and I definitely felt the pressure, but I could not be happier with how it turned out.”

McKeon split 24.43 on fly, and Wilson brought them home in 23.32 and held off a charging Kate Douglass for gold.

Gregorio Paltrinieri Is Still Learning 

After collecting his second gold medal of the week, Italian distance star Gregorio Paltrinieri opened up about his race. “It was definitely harder than the 1500m free. I felt tight in the race, but I’m good. It’s another gold medal, so the result is good.”

“It’s important every time you learn something when you race,” he continued. “Even at 28, I am still learning. I am taking something from every race. It was important for me to come here and to compete again. It was the longest season with a lot of competition. The most fun part of our job is to compete. I am glad that I came and also to win two gold medals.” 

After a slightly disappointing season, silver medalist Henrik Christiansen spoke about how good it feels to be back in the thick of the action again. “It feels amazing. It’s really good to be back and being able to fight the other guys again. I feel like I’m putting on a show out there, and Gregorio (Paltrinieri) is not winning so easily and that’s a good feeling.”

The Norwegian went on to mention how pleased he is that the 800 freestyle is being swum more regularly in short course meters. “The 800m Freestyle is a new event on the short course circuit after it became an Olympic event, and it’s slowly starting to get added onto the short course programs. I feel like the 800m Freestyle is my strongest event, and I’m just happy to be able to swim an 800m here.”

Bronze medalist Logan Fontaine told the press that he’s “not really good in short course so it’s really good to get bronze.” 

Other Day 5 Flash Quotes

After winning gold in the women’s 400 IM, Hali Flickinger said “I am really excited. Short course isn’t really my strength. So to be able to put up a decent time, I’m really happy with it. I really hope that in my race I could get the breaststroke working and try to make it a little better so I don’t have to overcome such a gap in the backstroke. I learned a lot and it always helps me off the walls. Training helps me come off the walls strong.” 

Silver medalist Sara Franceschi was similarly pleased. “I’m very happy it’s my first World Championships, and first World Championships medal. It’s incredible, I haven’t had this feeling before. It’s a very fast time and a personal best. I’m just so happy.”

Kasia Wasickthe silver medalist in the women’s 50 free, spoke about the career year that she’s had.“A silver year for sure, I’m really happy, it’s been the best year of my career. Last year in Abu Dhabi I was third, today I’m second, so it’s been big success and I’m really happy and grateful for this year and the opportunity to race the best swimmers in the world.”

“I love swimming and I feel like I’ve had a second chance in life to be able to do what I love. When I retired I thought I am never going to be back in the sport. So when I got that chance I really enjoyed myself, and while there were hard moments, I still enjoyed those moments, as I know my career is not going to last forever and moments like this I’m going to remember forever.”

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3 months ago

I had my doubts about Crooks translating his heats/prelims form to finals but he came through in the 50 free.

Not only was this an impressive swim time-wise, but it shows a lot of maturity from the young star

I have a feeling we will be seeing this guy on the world stage for a while now

Joel Lin
3 months ago

Looking now like the women’s 400 IM will be the most wildly unpredictable event at the 2024 US Olympic Trials. Part of the unpredictability will be those who are great in both 400 free & 400 IM making their choice. The Ledecky factor might drive some great 400 free players to seriously consider the IM on Day 1. Non zero chance some ringers in other events look to the 400 IM as a Day 1 event (Alex Walsh).

Oh, and the up & comers + the established dominant ones in the IM…easily more than 1/2 dozen realistic potential/repeat Olympians in this event in that group too.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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