Shaine Casas rebounded from missing the U.S. Olympic team by one spot to win a world short course swimming championships title.
Casas, a 21-year-old NCAA star at Texas A&M, won the 100m backstroke in 49.23 seconds, prevailing by .23 over Olympic silver medalist Kliment Kolesnikov of Russia in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
“The only thing that was going through my mind before this race was I needed to redeem myself,” Casas said. “I kind of proved that I’m still around and I’m somebody to mess with in the future.”
Casas was third in the 100m back at June’s Olympic Trials, where the top two made the team. He was arguably a pre-meet favorite given he entered ranked second in the nation since the start of 2019.
Short course worlds are in a 25-meter pool, a contrast from the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics. Many of the U.S.’ top swimmers are not competing at this meet.
In other finals Friday, American Charlotte Hook took silver in the 200m butterfly, 1.34 seconds behind Olympic champion Zhang Yufei of China. Like Casas, the 17-year-old Hook was third at Olympic Trials.
U.S. Olympian Nic Fink earned 100m breaststroke bronze behind gold medalist Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus and Italian Nicolo Martinenghi.
Katharine Berkoff, who was fourth at Olympic Trials, bagged bronze in the women’s 100m back. Swede Louise Hansson won in 55.20, .02 ahead of Canadian Kylie Masse.
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