2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- July 23 to 30, 2023
- Fukuoka, Japan
- Marine Messe Fukuoka
- LCM (50m)
- WORLD CHAMPS WATCH PARTY – DAILY
- Meet Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- Entry Book
- Live Results (Omega)
- Day 1 Prelims Live Recap | Day 1 Finals Live Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Live Recap | Day 2 Finals Live Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Live Recap | Day 3 Finals Live Recap
- Day 4 Prelims Live Recap | Day 4 Finals Live Recap
- Day 5 Prelims Live Recap | Day 5 Finals Live Recap
- Day 6 Prelims Live Recap | Day 6 Finals Live Recap
After taking the men’s 200-meter backstroke crown from defending champion Ryan Murphy on Friday night, 20-year-old Hungarian Hubert Kos credited his rapid rise in the event to his six months of working with Arizona State coach Bob Bowman.
Kos had never been under 1:57 in the 200 back before this year, when he clocked a world-leading 1:55.95 at April’s Pro Swim Series stop in Westmont. He fired off a 1:54.14 in Fukuoka to drop more than a second off his lifetime best and outduel the 28-year-old Murphy (1:54.83) for the world title.
“It is incredible,” Kos said. “A year ago I was only swimming 200m IM at the World Championships. Honestly I never thought I would swim backstroke, and now here I am, a world champion. I think it’s just the ‘Bob Bowman effect’ — that’s as simple as it is. I have been training with him for half a year now. We have a really, really good training group, and Bob knows a thing or two about swimming.”
It was the fourth individual gold medal by a Bowman-coached swimmer so far at Worlds following Leon Marchand’s victories in the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 fly.
Murphy saw room for improvement on his third length of the pool, which he thought was “a little bit soft” in this race.
“I always want to push that third 50 a little bit harder — that’s the hardest part of the race,” Murphy said. “I just thought I was a little bit soft on the third 50. I think when you let up there, it becomes harder to push that last fifty as well because if you are slowing down, it’s harder to speed up again.”
In the women’s 100 freestyle, 19-year-old Aussie Mollie O’Callaghan became the first woman to win the 100 free and 200 free at the same World Championships. The newly-minted 200 free world record holder clocked a 52.16 for the 100 free win, just off her personal-best 52.08 that she swam leading off the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay on Sunday. O’Callaghan edged Siobhan Haughey (52.49) and Marrit Steenbergen (52.71) to defend her 100 free crown.
“To be honest I came into this week just wanting to have fun and enjoy it and learn,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s just an incredible feeling. I think having fun is the most important part. Going into previous meets I was so nervous all the time. This is the first time that I’ve actually felt quite calm and just enjoyed every little bit.”
Qin Haiyang also made history in the men’s 200 breast with a world record of 2:05.48, becoming the first swimmer to sweep the 50, 100, and 200 distances in any stroke at Worlds. The 24-year-old Chinese handed former world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook his first finals loss in the event since July of 2019. Qin seemed a bit surprised by the world record, saying Adam Peaty‘s 100 breast world record is still his dream more than this one.
“(It’s) not my dream,” Qin said. “I dream of a 100 world record.”
Qin also discussed the devil and angel on his shoulders heading into this race debating whether to be content with two golds or really go for the triple.
“I learnt a lot from yesterday’s semi final, because we all know Zac Stubblety-Cook has a strong last 100,” Qin said. “So for me, my strength is my speed, and I have very good confidence in my speed. I also know if we touch the wall together at the 150, the last 50 I want to go with him. That’s why I know speed is my strength.
“But of course people have two sides,” he continued. “They’re a little bit of angel, and a little bit of devil inside. So this afternoon it was kind of a struggle between those two. I told myself, maybe I can lose this race, I’ve already got two gold medals. But before the race, I told myself, when I’m in the pool there is no loser, I don’t want to be a loser, I have to win. That’s why I used my speed, and that’s why I used my confidence to win this race.”
Kate Douglass missed the women’s 100 free podium by just a tenth of a second early in the session before the 21-year-old American returned to claim silver in the 200 breast (2:21.23) behind South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker.
“I am really proud of myself for both of my races tonight,” Douglass said. “I knew it’s going to be a challenge taking on the double for the one-hundred freestyle and backstroke. I stepped up to that challenge and I think doing both of those makes me proud of myself.
“The 100 free was disappointing to miss the podium by that much, but I think that really fueled me for the 200 breast,” she added. “I just really want to get on the podium and get a medal for ‘Team USA’, and I honestly think that was the motivation for that race.”
It was the fourth medal of the week for Douglass after triumphing in the 200 IM, taking silver in the 4×100 freestyle relay, and picking up bronze in the mixed 4×100 medley relay. She earned bronze in the 200 breast last year in Budapest.
“It is awesome to see myself grow every year, swimming in a different race or moving up on the podium, and I think that is an awesome feeling, but there is still a lot of room to improve and it just makes me really excited for the future,” Douglass said.
The British men got freestyle relay redemption after a DQ in the 4×100. The Olympic champion quartet of Duncan Scott, Matthew Richards, James Guy, and Tom Dean topped the podium in 6:59.08, nearly a second ahead of runner-up U.S. (7:00.02).
“We want to win next year and we want to be on the top of the podium,” said Carson Foster, who brought the Americans from 4th place to 2nd with his 1:44.49 split on the second leg. “We want to get that spot back, but you know, we went faster than last year, so there’s a lot to be proud of. We’re going to do our best to get back on top next year. We stay in contact throughout the entire year. We all work really hard, and so it feels great to be able to come together and do it together and to earn this together.”
At just 19 years old, Kai Taylor led off the Aussie men’s 4×100 free relay with a personal-best 1:45.79, helping his squad secure the bronze medal in 7:02.13.
“The race was amazing,” Taylor said. “All the boys came together and did what we needed to do. We would have liked to have either gotten second or first, but you know, we’ve all put in a massive effort and we couldn’t be prouder of each other. And bronze, we will take that.”