Missy Franklin swims for a history-making gold No. 6 and Ryan Lochte eyes gold No. 4 on the final night of the world swimming championships Sunday (NBC, 4-6 p.m. ET).
Franklin is expected to lead off the U.S. women’s 4×100 medley relay in the backstroke (though she could swim the anchor freestyle, as well). The U.S. is favored to hold off Australia in the event, the last swim on the program at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
Should the Americans prevail, Franklin will finish the meet with six gold medals in eight events (she scratched the 50 backstroke after the preliminary heats and took fourth in the 100 freestyle). No woman has won six golds at a single world championships.
The only women to win six medals of any color are East German Kristin Otto and Americans Shirley Babashoff and Tracy Caulkins, all of whom accomplished the feat before Franklin, 18, was born. Otto is the only woman to win six gold medals at a single Olympics.
Lochte joins the men’s medley relay for the third leg, the butterfly. The U.S. men are favorites, albeit slightly less than the women, over the Aussies there. If the U.S. wins, Lochte will finish the meet with four golds and one silver in seven events. He won the 200 backstroke, 200 individual medley and the 4×200 free relay and was second in the 4×100 free relay. Lochte also took fourth in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 butterfly.
Lochte, the second most decorated swimmer in world championships history behind Michael Phelps, racked up five golds and one bronze in 2011 and four golds and one bronze in 2009.
The U.S. has already secured the top spot in the medal standings for both golds and overall medals. It has 12 golds (next highest is four) and 24 overall (next highest is 10). It is extremely unlikely to surpass the gold-medal total from 2011 (16), but has a shot of matching or exceeding the overall count from 2011 (29).
The U.S.’ best performance at a post-Olympics world championships came in 2005, when it won 15 gold medals and 32 overall, but Phelps competed at those worlds. That the Americans will finish close to those totals this year, with Phelps retired, is a testament to the depth of USA Swimming.
Men’s 50 Backstroke Final
1. Camille Lacourt (FRA) 24.39
2. Jeremy Stravius (FRA) 24.45
3. Guy Barnea (ISR) 24.73
4. Matt Grevers (USA) 24.79
4. Daniel Orzechowski (BRA) 24.79
6. Aschwin Wildeboer (ESP) 24.90
7. Jonatan Kopolev (ISR) 24.95
7. Sun Xiaolei (CHN) 24.95
The fastest man in the prelims and the then-world leader for 2013, American David Plummer, was last in the semifinals after slipping at the start Saturday. That leaves Lacourt and Stravius, the co-2011 world champions in the 100 back, as the clear favorites. Grevers is looking to become the first man to sweep the 50 and 100 back at one world championships. Barnea hopes to be the first swimmer from Israel to win an Olympic or world swimming medal of any color.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke Final
1. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 29.48 WR
2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 29.88
3. Jessica Hardy (USA) 29.90
4. Breeja Larson (USA) 30.20
5. Petra Chocova (CZE) 30.31
6. Rikke Pedersen (DEN) 30.57
7. Moniek Nijhuis (NED) 30.61
8. Jennie Johansson (SWE) 30.66
Efimova broke Hardy’s world record in Saturday morning’s heats. The Russian held it for all of eight hours until Meilutyte snatched it by three tenths in the semifinals. That made the order pretty clear going into the final of this non-Olympic event: Meilutyte-Efimova-Hardy. Larson was sixth at the Olympics in the 100 breast and fifth earlier at the Palau Sant Jordi. If either Hardy or Larson medal here, it means an American woman podiumed in every breaststroke event at these worlds, impressive given Rebecca Soni is taking the year off.
Men’s 400 Individual Medley Final
1. Chase Kalisz (USA) 4:11.87
2. Daiya Seto (JPN) 4:12.96
3. Tyler Clary (USA) 4:13.55
4. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 4:13.80
5. David Verraszto (HUN) 4:13.95
6. Daniel Wallace (GBR) 4:14.15
7. Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS) 4:14.52
8. Thiago Pereira (BRA) 4:15.81
A U.S. man has won 11 of the last 13 world or Olympic titles in this grueling event — Tom Dolan, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Lochte shaved this event from his program at trials, though he’s still the fastest American in the 400 IM in 2013. That leaves Clary, the two-time reigning world silver medalist, and Kalisz, 19, from Phelps’ North Baltimore Aquatic Club, to carry the torch. Kalisz waited a week to jump into the Palau Sant Jordi pool, this being his only event at worlds. Though he’s first into the final, the top three in the world this year are Seto, Hagino and Fraser-Holmes, all of whom have gone sub-4:11. Hagino’s world-leading time is 4:07.61, four seconds faster than Kalisz’s personal best. Hagino, 18, already has two silvers in Barcelona, and this is his sixth individual event.
Women’s 50 Freestyle Final
1. Cate Campbell (AUS) 24.19
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 24.33
3. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 24.54
4. Francesca Halsall (GBR) 24.61
5. Bronte Campbell (AUS) 24.62
6. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 24.65
7. Dorothea Brandt (GER) 24.85
8. Simone Manuel (USA) 24.91
Cate Campbell, the 100 free champ this week, is the clear favorite, a tenth faster than anyone this year. Kromowidjojo, the double Olympic champion in the 50 free and 100 free, is going for her fourth medal of worlds, but she has yet to win a gold. Ottesen Gray was the co-2011 world champion in the 100 and the 2013 world champ in the 50 butterfly. Halsall seeks Great Britain’s first medal of these worlds. Manuel, who turned 17 on Friday, set a personal best to make the final.
Gold: Cate Campbell
Bronze: Ottesen Gray
Men’s 1,500 Freestyle Final
1. Sun Yang (CHN) 14:54.65
2. Ryan Cochrane (CAN) 14:55.15
3. Connor Jaeger (USA) 14:56.62
4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 14:57.15
5. Pal Joensen (FAR) 14:57.76
6. Jordan Harrison (AUS) 14:58.62
7. Michael McBroom (USA) 14:59.73
8. Daniel Fogg (GBR) 15:00.48
Sun is attempting to become the second man to sweep the distance freestyles (400, 800, 1,500) at a world championships, joining Australian Grant Hackett (2005). Though the qualifying times Saturday were close, he’s a heavy favorite here. Sun broke Hackett’s world record in winning the 2011 world title at age 19, then lowered it by another three seconds in winning the Olympics by a mind-blowing eight-second margin. His top time for 2013, set at Chinese nationals, is three seconds better than anyone else. The silver could go to Cochrane, the two-time reigning world silver medalist and 2012 Olympic silver medalist. Or, it could go to Jaeger, bronze medalist in the 400 free earlier in the meet. Paltrinieri and Harrison are outside medal threats, as is McBroom, the silver medalist in the 800.
Women’s 400 Individual Medley Final
1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 4:32.72
2. Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) 4:34.64
3. Ye Shiwen (CHN) 4:34.93
3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN) 4:34.93
5. Hannah Miley (GBR) 4:34.94
6. Elizabeth Beisel (USA) 4:35.17
7. Maya DiRado (USA) 4:37.39
8. Miyu Otsuka (JPN) 4:37.77
Hosszu is favored to become the first woman since American Katie Hoff (2005, 2007) to sweep the individual medleys at a worlds. Ye swept the individual medleys at the Olympics, winning the 400 IM in world record time, but gained 11 pounds between London and Barcelona and fell to fourth in the 200 IM this week. She’s in the silver picture along with the crowd favorite Belmonte Garcia, who has a silver and a bronze at this meet already. Miley is the second fastest woman this year behind Hosszu. Beisel took silver to Ye in London.
Silver: Belmonte Garcia
Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final
1. United States 3:32.72
2. Australia 3:33.64
3. Russia 3:33.64
4. France 3:34.04
5. Japan 3:34.25
6. Italy 3:34.29
7. Hungary 3:34.64
8. Germany 3:34.91
Again, it should be the U.S. and Australia going one-two here. And, again, the Aussies will be done in by one poor leg. They didn’t have either of their swimmers make it out of the prelims in the 100-meter butterfly. If Lochte gets into the pool withing a half-second of Australia, it should be over. If he gives the U.S. freestyle anchor, likely Nathan Adrian, a half-second lead, that should be enough to hold off the 100-meter freestyle champion James Magnussen. Lochte’s only other time on this relay at a major international meet was at the 2007 world championships, where the U.S. was disqualified when Ian Crocker left the blocks .01 too soon on the third leg.
Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay Final
1. United States 3:58.66
2. Australia 3:58.73
3. China 3:59.39
4. Great Britain 4:00.04
5. Japan 4:00.18
6. Canada 4:00.34
7. Russia 4:00.69
8. Germany 4:01.30
The favored U.S. women could sweep the three relays for the first time at a worlds. They’ve got medalists in the 100 backstroke (Franklin, gold), 100 breaststroke (Hardy, bronze) and the 100 butterfly (Dana Vollmer, bronze) on the first three legs. However, Australia has medalists from the 100 back (Emily Seebohm, silver), 100 butterfly (Alicia Coutts, silver) and the 100 freestyle (Cate Campbell, gold). But the Aussies’ Achilles heel is the breaststroke, where they didn’t have anyone reach the 100-meter final. The Americans will need a solid two-second lead going into the final leg, but they should have it.