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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