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Simone Manuel upsets world-record holder again for gold (video)

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Simone Manuel pulled off another upset for gold.

The Olympic 100m free co-gold medalist won the world 100m freestyle title by stunning world-record holder Sarah Sjöström in an American record 52.27 seconds in Budapest on Friday.

The Swede Sjöström took silver in 52.31, followed by Denmark’s Pernille Blume in 52.69. American Mallory Comerford was fourth.

“I always think I have a shot,” Manuel told media in Budapest. “It’s kind of been ingrained in me with [having] my two older brothers and just always wanting to keep up with somebody.”

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 and lowered her personal best by .42.

“It’s so stupid,” Sjostrom said, according to The Associated Press. “The refrigerator on my back was too heavy for me. If it happens when there’s 10 meters left, you can still do it. But with 25 it’s too much. I thought I was un-human the first 50, but I need to understand.”

One year ago, Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak were surprise Rio 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.

She also took back the American record from Comerford, the 19-year-old who lowered it leading off the 4x100m free relay Sunday.

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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Sarah Sjostrom follows world record with 100m butterfly title (video)

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Swede Sarah Sjöström just missed breaking a second world record in as many days at the world swimming championships.

Still, Sjöström easily won her fourth world title in the 100m butterfly in 55.53 seconds, following her Olympic gold medal. Sjöström won in Rio in a world-record 55.48. She’s the first woman to win four world titles in a single individual event.

American Kelsi Worrell earned bronze, her first individual medal at a major international meet. Worrell clocked a personal-best 56.37, finishing behind Australian silver medalist Emma McKeon (56.18).

“I actually could see [Sjöström] a little bit out of the corner of my eye and was like, I must be doing OK,” said Worrell, who missed the eight-woman Rio Olympic final by one spot.

Sjöström now owns the 11 fastest times in history. The next-fastest woman, 2012 Olympic champion Dana Vollmer, had a best time of 55.98.

On Sunday, Sjöström took .35 off the 100m freestyle world record leading off the 4x100m free relay for Sweden, which ended up fifth.

Sjöström is favored to win four individual titles in Budapest, with the 50m free and butterfly and 100m free later in the week.

Sjöström will not be swimming the 200m free in Budapest, keeping fans from a mouth-watering rematch with Katie Ledecky. Ledecky edged Sjostrom by .35 in the Rio Olympic final.

Women’s 100m Butterfly Results
Gold: Sarah Sjöström (SWE) — 55.53
Silver: Emma McKeon (AUS) — 56.18
Bronze: Kelsi Worrell (USA) — 56.37
4. Penny Oleksiak (CAN) — 56.94
5. Ahn Sehyeon (KOR) — 57.07
6. Rikako Ikee (JPN) — 57.08
7. Svetlana Chimrova (RUS) — 57.24
8. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 57.51

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Katie Ledecky-Sarah Sjostrom rematch at worlds not in the cards

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Sarah Sjöström will not swim the 200m freestyle at the world championships next month, passing up a showdown with Katie Ledecky, her agent confirmed Wednesday.

Sjöström might have had the best shot to keep Ledecky from sweeping the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at a second straight worlds in July.

The Swede gave Ledecky her toughest test at the Olympics, finishing .35 behind the American for silver in the 200m free. She outsplit Ledecky in the final 50 meters.

But Sjöström is focusing on the 50m and 100m butterflies and freestyles at worlds, like she did two years ago. At the 2015 Worlds, Sjöström’s time leading off the 4x200m free relay was faster than Ledecky’s winning time in the individual 200m free.

Likewise, Sjöström was world No. 1 in the 200m free entering the Rio Olympics, by .09 over Ledecky.

This year, Sjöström has been on fire. She clocked personal bests in the 50m freestyle (No. 2 all time) and the 100m free in April, three months before most swimmers peak. She has not contested a single 200m freestyle this year.

Meanwhile, Ledecky came off a long NCAA season to post the fastest times in the world this year in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees this spring.

In the absence of Sjöström, Ledecky’s top rivals could be Swede Michelle Coleman (three tenths behind Ledecky in the 200m free this year) and Australian Emma McKeon (.34 behind Ledecky in the 200m free).

Then there’s Chinese 15-year-old Li Bingjie, who ranks second in the 400m and 800m frees this year, trailing Ledecky by 1.54 seconds and 5.45 seconds, respectively.

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