U.S. finishes World Swimming Championships atop medal standings

Leave a comment

The U.S. won five medals Sunday to finish the World Swimming Championships atop the gold and overall medal standings, albeit with its fewest medals in Olympic events at an Olympics or Worlds in 50 years.

The medals Sunday came from the men’s medley relay (gold); silvers from Connor Jaeger (1500m freestyle), Maya DiRado (400m individual medley) and Matt Grevers (50m backstroke); and bronze from Chase Kalisz (400m individual medley). The U.S. women’s medley relay with Missy Franklin finished fourth.

The U.S. won 23 medals and eight golds over eight days in Kazan, Russia.

It surpassed its fewest overall medals won at an Olympics or World Championships in the last 50 years, the 21 it won at the 1994 World Championships (not counting the boycotted Moscow 1980 Olympics).

However, the U.S. earned 18 medals counting only Olympic events, which marked its lowest output in that category at an Olympics or Worlds in 50 years. The previous low was 20 at the 2009 World Championships.

The U.S. won 29 overall medals at the 2011 and 2013 Worlds, with 24 and 25 in Olympic events those years, respectively. The last time it didn’t have the most gold medals was the 2001 Worlds (Australia). The last time it didn’t have the most overall medals was the 1986 Worlds (East Germany).

The U.S. also matched its fewest swimmers to win individual Olympic or World Championships titles in the last 50 years — two, Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte. In 1994, Janet Evans and Tom Dolan were the two World champions.

Ledecky, with five golds in five events, earned FINA’s Female Swimmer of the Meet for a second straight Worlds. As did China’s Sun Yang on the men’s side, after he won the 400m and 800m frees*.

The U.S. missed Michael Phelps, who sat out the meet as punishment for his Sept. 30 DUI arrest, and Franklin was not quite in her 2013 form that saw her win six gold medals in Barcelona.

But also, Australia had a resurgence, sweeping the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m backstrokes. Australia took 16 medals with seven golds overall. Its seven golds were more than its total from the 2011 Worlds, 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds combined.

China continued its rise over the last decade, finishing with 13 medals and five golds.

World Swimming Championships: Full meet results

In Sunday’s events, the U.S. men’s medley relay team prevailed with Ryan MurphyKevin CordesTom Shields and Nathan Adrian holding off Australia by .15.

The U.S. women with Franklin, Jessica HardyKendyl Stewart and Simone Manuel finished 2.35 seconds behind winner China. Sweden took silver and Australia bronze.

Earlier in the men’s 1500m freestyle, Chinese Olympic and World champion Sun shockingly did not show up for the final. Sun said in a post-meet press conference that it was due to a heart problem and declined to comment when asked about a reported warm-up altercation with a Brazilian swimmer, according to reporters on site.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won in his absence, followed by Jaeger in an American record for silver and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane getting bronze.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu swept the individual medleys for a second straight Worlds. DiRado won her first individual Worlds medal, a silver, 1.32 seconds behind. Canada’s Emily Overholt took bronze.

Japan’s Daiya Seto repeated as World champion in the grueling 400m individual medley. Kalisz, who earned silver behind Seto in his World Championships debut in 2013, took bronze behind Hungary’s David Verraszto this year.

Australian Bronte Campbell followed her 100m free title with gold in the 50m freestyle in 24.12 seconds, beating the reigning Dutch Olympic and World champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo by one tenth. Swede Sarah Sjostrom took bronze for her fourth individual medal of the meet.

In the non-Olympic men’s 50m backstroke, France’s Camille Lacourt won in 24.23, followed by Grevers in 24.61 and Australian Ben Treffers snagging bronze. Australian Mitch Larkin, attempting to sweep the backstrokes, finished fourth.

Grevers, the 2012 Olympic 100m back champion, finished third behind Larkin and Lacourt in the 100m back in Kazan.

In the non-Olympic women’s 50m breaststroke, Sweden’s Jennie Johansson edged Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson by .06, with Russian Yulia Efimova snagging bronze. Atkinson, who took bronze in the 100m breast earlier, is the first Jamaican to win a World Swimming Championships medal.

Michael Phelps answers Chad le Clos with world’s top 100m butterfly

Men’s 400m Individual Medley
Gold: Daiya Seto (JPN) — 4:08.50
Silver: David Verraszto (HUN) — 4:09.90
Bronze: Chase Kalisz (USA) — 4:10.05
4. Tyler Clary (USA) — 4:11.71
5. Jacob Heidtmann (GER) — 4:12.08
6. Dan Wallace (GBR) — 4:13.77
7. Roberto Pavoni (ITA) — 4:13.81
8. Yang Zhixian (CHN) — 4:16.74

Women’s 50m Freestyle
Gold: Bronte Campbell (AUS) — 24.12
Silver: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) — 24.22
Bronze: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) — 24.31
4. Cate Campbell (AUS) — 24.36
5. Chantal Van Landeghem (CAN) — 24.39
6. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (BAH) — 24.44
7. Francesca Halsall (GBR) — 24.51
8. Simone Manuel (USA) — 24.57

Men’s 1500m Freestyle
Gold: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) — 14:39.67
Silver: Connor Jaeger (USA) — 14:41.20
Bronze: Ryan Cochrane (CAN) — 14:51.08
4. Akram Ahmed (EGY) — 14:53.66
5. Stephen Milne (GBR) — 14:58.62
6. Michael McBroom (USA) — 15:06.81
7. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) — 15:09.77
DNS. Sun Yang (CHN)

Women’s 400m Individual Medley
Gold: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 4:30.39
Silver: Maya DiRado (USA) — 4:31.77
Bronze: Emily Overholt (CAN) — 4:32.52
4. Hannah Miley (GBR) — 4:34.79
5. Barbora Zavadova (CZE) — 4:36.73
6. Sakiko Shimizu (JPN) — 4:37.19
7. Aimee Willmott (GBR) — 4:38.75
8. Lara Grangeon (FRA) — 4:40.98

Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: USA — 3:29.93
Silver: Australia — 3:30.08
Bronze: France — 3:30.50
4. Great Britain — 3:30.67
5. Russia — 3:30.90
6. Japan — 3:31.10
7. Germany — 3:32.16
8. Poland — 3:34.34

Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay
Gold: China — 3:54.41
Silver: Sweden — 3:55.24
Bronze: Australia — 3:55.56
4. U.S. — 3:56.76
5. Denmark — 3:57.61
6. Canada — 3:57.96
DQ. Great Britain
DQ. Japan

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sun Yang won the 400m and 1500m freestyles. He won the 400m and 800m freestyles.

At U.S. Open swim meet, teens make a splash with Olympic trials on horizon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

While Olympic and world champions Katie LedeckySimone Manuel and Chase Kalisz notched expected victories at the U.S. Open on Thursday, a trio of teenagers lowered personal bests to further establish their Tokyo Olympic hopes.

At the top domestic meet of the winter, Alex WalshCarson Foster and Kieran Smith each earned runner-up finishes, but their performances stood out in the big picture: looking at June’s Olympic trials, where the top two per individual event make the team.

Walsh, a rising Nashville high school senior, took 2.23 seconds off her 200m individual medley best. She clocked 2:09.01, overtaken by .17 by Melanie Margalis, the Rio Olympic and 2019 World Championships fourth-place finisher.

Full meet results are here.

Walsh moved from fifth-fastest in the U.S. this year to No. 2 behind Margalis, passing Olympic and world championships veterans Ella EastinKathleen Baker and Madisyn Cox. Of those swimmers, only Eastin was also in Thursday’s final.

Walsh joined her younger sister, Gretchen, in Olympic qualifying position based on 2019 times. Gretchen, 16, ranks fourth in the U.S. in the 100m free this year. The top six in that event at trials are in line to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool.

The Walshes could become the third set of sisters to make the same U.S. Olympic swim team, and the second to do it in pool swimming after Dana and Tara Kirk in 2004.

Foster, 18, continued his ascent Thursday in taking second to Kalisz in the men’s 200m IM. The world junior champion lowered his personal best in the prelims and the final, getting down to 1:57.59. Foster passed Ryan Lochte, who is nearly twice his age, in Thursday’s final and in the 2019 U.S. rankings. Only Kalisz and Michael Andrew have been faster among Americans this year.

Foster is trying to become the youngest U.S. Olympic male swimmer since 2000, when a 15-year-old Michael Phelps made his Olympic debut. Foster, who has been breaking Phelps national age-group records since he was 10, committed to the University of Texas in March 2018, two years before he graduates high school in Ohio.

Then there’s Kieran Smith, now a prime candidate to fill a huge void in the 400m freestyle. Zane Grothe is the only American ranked in the top 20 in the world this year.

Smith, a 19-year-old from the University of Florida, took 2.29 seconds off his lifetime best on Thursday to jump from outside the top 10 to No. 2 in the U.S. on the year. Smith was already ranked No. 2 in the country in the 200m free.

Two more runners-up in the 50m freestyles — Erika Brown to Manuel and Zach Apple to Brazilian Bruno Fratus — lowered personal bests to move to No. 3 in each U.S. ranking list this year.

The U.S. Open continues Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. ET with live coverage on NBCSN and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Dressel recalls summer tears in Golden Goggles speech

Nathan Chen distances Yuzuru Hanyu in Grand Prix Final short program

Leave a comment

A brilliant Nathan Chen outscored a flawed Yuzuru Hanyu for a fourth straight head-to-head program, taking a 12.95-point lead at the Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy, on Thursday.

Chen, the two-time reigning world champion, tallied 110.38 points going into Saturday’s free skate. He landed a quadruple Lutz, triple Axel and quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination.

It’s the highest short program score in the world this season, leading the American to say “wow” in the kiss-and-cry area. His coach, the often-gruff Rafael Arutyunyan, banged his knee against his pupil’s.

Hanyu, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, hit a quadruple Salchow and triple Axel but then stepped out of a quad toe landing. He therefore failed to include a required jumping combination and ended up in second place.

“I wanted to do a great performance and do a good competition against [Chen], but that didn’t happen this time,” Hanyu, who was without longtime coach Brian Orser, or any other coach, said through a translator. Hanyu said Orser was busy last week, so he chose to use his lone accreditation on another coach who had travel delays.

Hanyu is not out of title contention. His world-leading free skate score this season is 16.61 points better than Chen’s best free skate from the fall Grand Prix Series.

Chen is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, but this is just his second head-to-head with Hanyu in that span. Chen defeated Hanyu at March’s world championships, where the Japanese megastar was likely affected by an ankle injury.

After Thursday’s program, Chen repeated what he said before the competition: he still feels like he’s chasing Hanyu.

“Yuzu is like the goat, he’s the greatest of all time, really,” Chen said. “So, to have this opportunity to be able to share the ice with a guy like that, someone that I’ve looked up to for a long time, someone that I’ve watched grow up through the junior ranks when I was like a baby, it’s really cool to be able see him now. It’s really cool to even just be able to see him person.”

The Grand Prix Final, the biggest annual event outside the world championships, continues Friday with the rhythm dance, women’s short and pairs’ free skate. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

Earlier in pairs, Chinese Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took their first step toward a first Grand Prix Final title. The Olympic silver medalists tallied 77.50, leading Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitriy Kozlovskiy by .85 going into Friday’s free skate.

Sui and Han were imperfect, with Sui putting her hand down on a throw triple flip landing. They are undefeated in this Beijing Olympic cycle and own the world’s top total score this season.

The U.S. failed to qualify a pair for the six-team Final for the 11th time in the last 12 years.

Grand Prix Final
Men’s Short Program
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 110.38
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 97.43
3. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 96.71
4. Dmitriy Aliyev (RUS) — 88.78
5. Alexander Samarin (RUS) — 81.32
6. Jin Boyang (CHN) — 80.67

Pairs’ Short Program
1. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — 77.50
2. Aleksandra Boikova / Dmitriy Kozlovskiy (RUS) — 76.65
3. Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS) — 75.16
4. Anastasia Mishina/Aleksandr Galliamov (RUS) — 71.48
5. Peng Cheng/Jin Yang (CHN) — 69.67
6. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN) — 67.08

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alysa Liu, with help from Olympic medalist, challenges top Russians