At 28, Hali Flickinger became the oldest American woman to win her first individual global gold medal in swimming, taking the 400m individual medley at the world short course championships in Melbourne on Saturday.
Flickinger, the Tokyo Olympic 400m IM bronze medalist, won in 4 minutes, 26.51 seconds after qualifying fifth into the final (race is timestamped in the video above this post). Short course worlds are in 25-meter pools, while most major international meets, including the Olympics, are in 50-meter pools.
“My goal going into this meet was to try to have fun. I haven’t had fun in a really, really long time. It’s due to inner things that I have going on,” Flickinger told Swimswam. “I think I needed to be at a swim meet and just enjoy not [just] the swimming part … but I think looking around and seeing my teammates and really embracing and treasuring the moment that I have because it’s not going to last forever.
“Just thinking about things and trying to find my path and my role in life and with swimming and where they fit together. I’m still trying to figure it out.”
Flickinger owns relay gold medals, plus a Pan Pacific Championships title in the 200m butterfly, but this was her first individual gold from a global championships.
Nic Fink is the only American man or woman to win their first individual global gold at an older age since World War I, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org, doing so at last year’s short course worlds just days older than Flickinger is now.
Also Saturday, American Carson Foster took silver in the men’s 400m IM behind Japan’s Daiya Seto, who won his sixth consecutive short course world title.
Short course worlds finish Sunday.
SHORT COURSE WORLDS: Full Results
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