Yulia Efimova and Lilly King are even with one round to go.
The Russian took the latest episode of the Cold War swim rivalry, winning her trademark 200m breaststroke at the world championships in Budapest on Friday.
Earlier, American Simone Manuel won the 100m free in an upset, but Efimova was the clear favorite in the 200m breast. The Russian entered worlds with the top time in the world this year by two seconds.
Efimova passed King, four lanes to her right, with less than 100 meters to go and clocked 2:19.64. American Bethany Galat earned silver. King was fourth.
In four career head-to-head events in Rio and Budapest, King won both 100m breast duels, while Efimova finished higher in both 200m breast events.
King and Efimova are both entered in the 50m breast, with the final on Sunday and King the favorite. The 50m breast is not contested at the Olympics.
The women’s 100m free was much closer than the 200m breast on Friday. Manuel stunned world-record holder Sarah Sjöström in an American record 52.27 seconds.
The Swede Sjöström took silver in 52.31, followed by Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.69. American Mallory Comerford was fourth.
Sjöström was a heavy favorite going into the final, given she clocked 51.71 leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday, taking .35 off the world record. Sjöström was .08 faster than her world-record pace at the 50-meter mark, but Manuel passed her in the last 10 meters.
One year ago, Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak were surprise Olympic 100m free co-champions, topping then-world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. Campbell skipped worlds.
Manuel became the first U.S. woman to win the world 100m free title since Jenny Thompson in 1998.
The U.S. also grabbed silver and bronze medals in the men’s 200m backstroke.
Russian Yevgeny Rylov won in 1:53.61, with Olympic champion Ryan Murphy nearly chasing him down in the last 50 meters. Murphy ended up six tenths back, followed by countryman Jacob Pebley.
In semifinals, Caeleb Dressel broke the American record in the 50m freestyle to lead the qualifiers into Saturday’s final.
Australian Emily Seebohm was the fastest qualifier into the women’s 200m back final Saturday. Seebohm, the 2015 World champion, is joined by 100m back world-record holder Kylie Masse and silver medalist Kathleen Baker, plus Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu and 15-year-old American Regan Smith.
Women’s 100m Freestyle Results
Gold: Simone Manuel (USA) — 52.27
Silver: Sarah Sjöström (SWE) — 52.31
Bronze: Pernille Blume (DEN) — 52.69
4. Mallory Comerford (USA) — 52.77
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 52.78
6. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) — 52.94
7. Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 53.18
8. Emma McKeon (AUS) — 53.21
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