Historic 100m Freestyle Final Full Of Firsts, American Drought Continues

The men’s 100m freestyle final showcased a historic amount of firsts for the sport of swimming that shows just how internationally versatile the sport is becoming.


As soon as Chinese sprinter Ning Zetao stretched out in order to stop the clock in 47.84, he became the first Chinese man to ever win the 100m freestyle at a World Championships. With only one more freestyle event remaining on the schedule, the Chinese men have medalled in every single individual freestyle event at these world championships.

Famed Russian sprinter Alexander Popov was on deck to see Ning’s win. Popov said, “we witnessed a historic moment in the 100m freestyle,” referring to the first win ever by a Chinese male.

Behind Ning at the touch was Cameron McEvoy, the only other swimmer under 48-seconds at these championships. McEvoy was heavily favorited to win after Russian swimmer Vald Morozov was disqualified in the semifinals.

McEvoy ended up second in 47.95. One of McEvoy’s harshest critics was Popov who was a previous Olympic and world champion in the 100m freestyle. Popov said of McEvoy’s swim, “I think he was capable of producing a better result. As we all know sport is sport and there’s only one winner.”


Rounding out the top three behind McEvoy was Frederico Grabich of Argentina. Grabich was just short of the 48.11 Argentine record he set just a few weeks earlier at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

As he touched in for the bronze medal with a time of 48.12, he also became the first Argentine swimmer ever to earn hardware at a swimming world championships.

Grabich is having one of the most impressive years ever for Argentine swimming. At the Pan American Games he earned two individual medals including a gold in the 100m freestyle. With this bronze from worlds, Grabich now has three major international medals from the 2014-2015 season.

Grabich turned in fifth after the first 50 in 23.02, however came home with the third fastest last 50 in order to pass both Santo Condorelli of Canada and Marcelo Chierighini of Brazil in order to secure a podium spot.


Only one Canadian has ever medalled in the 100m freestyle at the World Championships and that was famed sprinter Brent Hayden. Hayden co-won the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships and took home the silver at the 2011 Worlds in Shanghai.

Thursday night. American-born sprinter Santo Condorelli put up the second best placement ever by a Canadian in the 100m freestyle at the world championships.

Condrelli managed to put forth a 48.19 despite being a 47.98 earlier this season at the Pan American Games. Condorelli was just 0.07 seconds shy of a podium position.

Turning first at the 50 in 22.75, Condorelli attempted to hold on for a medal. Cominng home in 25.44, that didn’t happen, but it still puts Condorelli’s name on the map as one of the top sprint freestylers heading into the 2016 Olympic Games.


If you take a look through swimming history, historically the Americans have been the most successful nation in the 100m freestyle. Winning the event a record six times, the Americans haven’t won the event since Anthony Ervin claimed gold all the way back in 2001 at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Defending Olympic champion Nathan Adrian wasn’t able to stop the American gold medal drought as he finished well off the podium, tying for seventh with Pieter Timmers of Belgium who broke the Belgian national record in the 100 free in semis. .

Adrian was a 48.31 at the touch.





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6 years ago

Congrats to Ning but i still can’t get over the whole doping situation, still a good swim for him. Was expecting Adrian to drop a lot after all his swims at the Grand Prixs, don’t know what happened there with him.

Reply to  Genny
6 years ago

Supposedly injured. He hasn’t been seen in the stands so probably needed recovery time.

6 years ago

Man, we’re having a tough time at this meet. Back to the drawing board I suppose.

6 years ago

Some are blaming the year-ahead team selection process for the relatively weak performance of the USA overall at these Worlds. I have thought for some time that USA swimming relies far too much on the older, “pro” swimmers to the detriment of younger ones’ development and the future of the team in general. Now while spots at big meets like the worlds or Olympics are earned in the pool, I think the over-the-top support of older swimmers like Phelps, Lochte, Grevers, Ervin, Nathan, and many similar females perpetuates this and makes it very difficult for new swimmers to break into the international picture. I think these folks should grow up, get a job, and leave some opportunities for the younger… Read more »

Reply to  Reid
6 years ago

I agree with your sentiment, but the youngsters need to step up and force the old pro’s into retirement by beating them into 7th place. National team funding could be amended to favour younger swimmers at the start of each 4yr Olympic cycle. IMHO there is no point in funding 28-30yr olds three years prior to the next Olympics. The money is better spent on fresh 22yr old grads.

Victor P
6 years ago

Overall slow times. 6 sub 48 swims in the London Olympics, and the 7th was faster than today’s bronze. The winning time would have tied for 4th in London. This is a very open event come next year.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Victor P
6 years ago

We don’t care about times at worlds or olympics.
Only the place counts.

6 years ago

Condorelli is Japanese born, not American born.

Reply to  swimswammer
5 years ago

I was about to say that. He was born in Hokkaido!

6 years ago

Adrian will be fine (I hope). It seems like he went 48 low at grand prix meets in 2013 but was sick at world champs. I think if he can get healthy, he will be in the running for gold no problem

bobo gigi
6 years ago

For USA the 100 free is much worse on the women’s side.
Last gold at world championships was in 1998 with Jenny Thompson.
Last gold at olympic games was in 1984 with Carrie Steinseifer tied with Nancy Hogshead.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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