Caeleb Dressel, Torri Huske, Alex Walsh win U.S. golds at swim worlds; 42-year-old medals

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BUDAPEST — Caeleb DresselTorri Huske and Alex Walsh gave the U.S. three gold medals from the four total events on the second night of the world swimming championships.

Dressel earned his second gold in as many events at these worlds, taking the 50m butterfly in 22.57 seconds, matching his second-best time, for his 15th career world title on Sunday. Dressel, who led off the victorious 4x100m freestyle relay Saturday, is expected to swim eight events over the eight-day meet.

“Feels good to get the first individual one out of the way. It’s always the most nerve-racking,” said Dressel, who won seven and then eight medals at the last two worlds. “It wasn’t perfect. None of my races are.

“I never come to these [meets] to count medals. It’s just about swimming fast. That’s all that’s on my mind.”

Brazilian Nicholas Santos, 42, earned silver to become the first swimmer in their 40s to win a world medal. American Michael Andrew took bronze, his first individual medal at an Olympics or worlds.

SWIMMING WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results | U.S. Roster

Huske, a 19-year-old rising Stanford sophomore, lowered her American record to win the 100m fly in 55.64 for her first individual Olympic or world medal. In Tokyo, Huske missed a medal by one hundredth of a second.

Canadian Maggie Mac Neil, who won the 2019 Worlds (55.83) and Tokyo Olympics (55.59), chose to race strictly relays at these worlds. Huske’s time Sunday would have tied for silver at the Olympics.

“I don’t really know how to put it into words because it’s kind of surreal,” Huske said. “I haven’t really processed it yet, but I’m just happy that I went a best time more than anything.”

Walsh took gold in the 200m individual medley, a year after winning Olympic silver in the event. Her time — 2:07.13 — would have won the Tokyo Olympic title by a massive 1.39 seconds. Yui Ohashi of Japan, who swept the individual medleys in Tokyo, didn’t qualify for Sunday’s final.

“I was totally calm before the final, I knew this was going to happen,” Walsh said. “After so many years of training, I knew what I was capable of.”

Australian Kaylee McKeown, who swept the backstrokes in Tokyo, withdrew from the 100m back on Sunday, reportedly to focus on the 200m IM. McKeown, fastest in the world in the 200m IM in 2021 despite not swimming it in Tokyo, touched 1.44 seconds behind Walsh on Sunday.

American Leah Hayes, a 16-year-old in her first major international meet, took bronze in a world junior record. Hayes, who has alopecia universalis and swims without a cap, lowered her personal best for the fourth time in her last five splashes. Between trials and worlds, she chopped 2.31 seconds off her PB.

“It’s surreal to be on the podium with my teammate and to get a world [junior] record when I wasn’t even expecting myself to win a medal at this world championships,” Hayes said.

American Nic Fink earned his first Olympic or world championships medal, a bronze in the 100m breaststroke at age 28. Italian Nicolo Martinenghi took gold in 58.26, topping Olympic silver medalist Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands by .26. Fink, who led at 50 meters, finished .39 back.

Brit Adam Peaty, who had won every Olympic and world title in the 100m breast since 2015, missed worlds due to a broken foot.

In semifinals, two-time reigning world champion and world record holder Lilly King squeaked into Monday’s 100m breast final in the eighth and last spot. King wouldn’t have made it if training partner Annie Lazor wasn’t disqualified for a leg kick that was not simultaneous. A FINA appeals jury will look at the protest of the DQ on Monday morning.

Monday’s other finals feature Katie Ledecky in the 1500m freestyle and Ryan MurphyRegan Smith and Claire Curzan in the 100m backstrokes.

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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