Anton Chupkov

Lilly King completes sweep of Yuliya Efimova at FINA Champions Series

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Lilly King is the fastest breaststroker going into next month’s world championships. She can let her swimming do the talking when it comes to Russian rival Yuliya Efimova.

King beat Efimova three times in two nights at the FINA Champions Series stop in Indianapolis, wrapping up her breaststroke sweep in the 100m on Saturday. It marked their first races against each other since the 2017 World Championships.

King clocked 1:05.13 to hold off Efimova by .38 in the four-swimmer race.

King lowered her own fastest time in the world this year. She now owns the fastest times of 2019 in the 50m, 100m and 200m breasts among swimmers going to worlds. (The only woman with a faster breaststroke is training partner Annie Lazor, who did not qualify for worlds last summer, in the 200m.)

King and Efimova traded victories (and finger wags) at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds, with Efimova excelling at 200m. Now it appears King, who at 22 is five years younger than Efimova, is really coming into her own ahead of worlds in South Korea in late July.

Full FINA Champions Series results are here.

In other events Saturday, Jacob Pebley scored a rare win over Olympic champion Ryan Murphy in the 200m backstroke. Pebley, who took second to Murphy at nationals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, touched in 1:56.35 and .16 ahead of Murphy. Russian Yevgeny Rylov, who was not in Indianapolis, remains far and away the fastest in the world this year at 1:54.00.

Hali Flickinger swam the world’s fastest 200m butterfly of 2019, a 2:06.40 to crush Katinka Hosszu by 1.47 seconds. Flickinger was seventh in Rio and missed the 2017 World final, but she was second-fastest in the world in 2018 and appears destined for her first individual medal next month.

The U.S. last put a woman on the Olympic 200m fly podium in 2000 (Misty Hyman, gold) and last had a world champion in 1991 (Summer Sanders), its longest droughts for any pool event in both respects.

Hosszu was later scared in one of her trademark events, the 200m individual medley. The Olympic and world champion made up a 1.29-second deficit to Canadian Sydney Pickrem in the last 50 meters of freestyle. Hosszu’s time, 2:08.50, is the world’s fastest in 2019. Hosszu will try to sweep the IMs at a fourth straight worlds next month.

Dane Pernille Blume won a loaded women’s 50m freestyle. The Rio Olympic champion finished in 24.08, topping world-record holder Sarah Sjöström (24.18) and London Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.56). Sjöström remains fastest in the world this year with a 23.91.

Russian Anton Chupkov prevailed in a rematch of the 2016 Olympic medalists in the 200m breast. He clocked 2:08.98, which was 1.04 seconds faster than surprise Rio gold medalist Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan and 2.81 better than Josh Prenot. Chupkov has been the fastest in the world this year and last year.

The Tyr Pro Swim Series resumes with the last meet before worlds in two weeks in Clovis, Calif.

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MORE: Japan’s Olympic champion swimmer to miss world champs

Anton Chupkov rallies for 200m breast world title (video)

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Russian Anton Chupkov went from fourth to first in the last 50 meters to win the 200m breaststroke at the world championships in Budapest.

Chupkov, the Olympic bronze medalist, passed the world-record holder while swimming the second-fastest time in history, a 2:06.96.

Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki took silver, .33 behind, followed by Ippei Watanabe, who has the world record of 2:06.67.

Chupkov was a half-second behind going into the last length of the pool. He summoned the fastest final split time by eight tenths as part of a three-gold day for Russia.

The U.S. failed to earn a medal in this event for the third time in the last four worlds. Kevin Cordes entered Budapest ranked No. 3 in the world this year but ended up sixth, one spot behind Nic Fink. Cordes had earned medals in his previous three world championships breaststroke races — bronze in the 50m in 2015 and silver in the 200m in 2015 and the 100m on Monday.

Shock Rio gold medalist Dmitry Balandin of Kazakhstan failed to make the final. Rio silver medalist Josh Prenot was third at the U.S. Championships, missing the world team by one spot.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Results
Gold: Anton Chupkov (RUS) — 2:06.96
Silver: Yasuhiro Koseki (JPN) — 2:07.29
Bronze: Ippei Watanabe (JPN) — 2:07.47
4. Ross Murdoch (GBR) — 2:08.12
5. Nic Fink (USA) — 2:08.56
6. Kevin Cordes (USA) — 2:08.68
7. Ilya Khomenko (RUS) — 2:09.18
8. Matthew Wilson (AUS) — 2:10.37

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