Three world records fell on Friday night at the 16th World Swimming Championships (25m) while Lani Pallister (AUS), Kate Douglass (USA), and Ryan Murphy (USA) picked up an additional individual gold medal in Melbourne.
Mixed Freestyle Relay - France shows off depth & domination in world record setting relay
France completely dominated the mixed freestyle relay, breaking the world record with a 1:27.33 to lower the time of 1:27.89 set by the United States in 2018 as this is France’s first gold medal of the championships.
The team of Maxime Grousset (20.92), Florent Manaudou (20.26), Beryl Gastaldello (23.00), and Melanie Henique (23.15) now hold the distinction of world record holder, if they did not have that already.
I haven't been at the top of the podium since 2015,I had 19 major medals and now I have 20. I like the number 20 more. I appreciate all those earlier medals even more today than I did before.
“It was one of my goals this week to do the relay well. I wanted a new international title and I'm happy to share it with the team," Manaudou said. "At the end of the race, I understood that we were going to win but I was not yet thinking about the world record. When I saw that we were breaking the world record, I exploded with joy.”
The team won by seven-tenths over the Australians, who won silver at 1:28.03 with Kyle Chalmers (20.97), Matthew Temple (20.71), Meg Harris (23.73), and Emma McKeon (22.62).
McKeon’s split at the end puts her as the fastest woman of all time on a relay, breaking the tie she held with Ranomi Kromowidjojo at 22.73.
The bronze went to the Netherlands with Kenzo Simons (21.14), Thom de Boer (20.61), Maaike de Waard (23.35), and Marrit Steenbergen (23.43) at 1:28.53.
Women’s 200m Breaststroke - Kate Douglass backs up domestic success with domination on the world level
It was just a few weeks ago when American Kate Douglass swam the fastest 200 breaststroke in short course yards, a precursor to what was to come at the World Short Course Championships in Melbourne.
Although Douglass had put together some very impressive swims in the American-only short course yards venue, she hadn’t quite backed up that domination with a win on the global level.
On Tuesday, she backed that up with the 200m IM gold medal, and on Friday, she won the 200m breaststroke with a 2:15.77, putting herself seventh all-time.
Douglass, perhaps the most versatile swimmer in the world, also anchored the United States to gold in the 4x50m freestyle relay with the third-fastest split of all time.
Staying long and strong the first 100m, Douglass turned even with teammate Lilly King at the halfway point. After the 100m turn, she took the lead and never looked back, finishing 1-2 with King, who won silver at 2:17.13.
It’s definitely exciting to race next to Lilly, I knew she was going to push me. I know she goes out fast and I tend to come back faster in the last 100.I try not to get too stressed when she gets out ahead of me. I knew she was going to push me. This gives me a lot of confidence going into long course season. I am excited to be able to race some more short course meters and I certainly have a lot left in me.
King and Douglass find themselves in familiar positions on the podium, as King won the gold medal at the World long course championships in June with Douglass winning the bronze.
“It hurt, but I was kind of prepared for that,” King said. “I was gonna have to take it out if I was going to have a shot, and I did, and I died a little bit, and that’s ok. It happens sometimes, and Kate had a great swim, and I’m so glad to get that one-two finish for the US.”
Tes Schouten of the Netherlands added to her silver in the 100m with a bronze in the 200m at 2:18.19. Australia’s Jenna Strauch, who won silver between King and Douglass at the World Championships, finished fourth at 2:18.87.
Douglass won the third straight gold medal for the Americans in this event, backing up Annie Lazor (2018) and Emily Escobedo (2021).
Men’s 200m Breaststroke - Daiya Seto: new event, same world champion
We knew Daiya Seto was versatile, having won World Championship titles in the 200m and 400m IM, as well as the 200m butterfly. In order to be one of the world’s best IMers, you can’t have a weak stroke. And Seto has been world-class in the 200m breaststroke, as he currently sits fifth all-time with his best from the 2017 Swimming World Cup. But to see Seto on top of the world in a 200m breaststroke event, it proved just how good he really is.
On Friday evening in Melbourne, Seto nearly broke the world record en route to his 16th career World short course medal, and eighth gold, as he broke the Asian record with a 2:00.35.
Seto took the lead at the 100m mark, and never looked back, swimming away from defending champion Nic Fink (2:01.60), who broke his own American record in winning silver.
I was very surprised with my time, my main event is tomorrow and I hope to win again. This event is my new event. I like breaststroke and I will be racing it long course next year.
“I’ve been stuck at 2:02 for a very long time, so to not only break that time but go into the 2:01 mid-range is something to be proud of,” Fink said.
Seto was the face of a Japan team hoping to do some damage at a home Olympics in 2020, but did not reach the podium at all in Tokyo, and Japan only brought home three medals in the swimming pool. Seto won bronze at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest in the 200m IM, but this is his first gold medal at a major international meet since winning both IMs at the 2019 Worlds in Gwangju.
Next, his attention turns to the 400m IM tomorrow where he is going for the unprecedented six-peat.
Seto is also the second Japanese man to win this event at the World short course championships after Naoya Tomita won in 2010.
China’s Qin Haiyang, the early leader at the 75m, won his second career medal after silver in 2018 with bronze here at 2:02.22, beating former long course world record holder Ippei Watanabe (2:02.53) of Japan to the finish.
Women’s 50m Backstroke - Maggie Mac Neil breaks own world record
Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil, like the aforementioned Seto, is not known primarily as a backstroker, seeing the highest success in butterfly where she has won gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships. But Mac Neil showcased her world-class underwater kicks on Friday in Melbourne to break her own world record in the 50m backstroke at 25.25, lowering it from 25.27 to win the gold medal.
🇨🇦 Maggie Macneil in the 50m Backstroke Short course— World Aquatics (@WorldAquatics) December 16, 2022
2021 👉25.27 WR
2022 👉25.25 WR #FINAMelbourne22
I'm ecstatic, I knew it would be hard to swim a best time. I just really wanted to see the improvement - even just a couple of hundredths. I am learning so much and I was able to fix all those little errors tonight. Swimming Canada has definitely risen over the past few years and to see this tonight is amazing. It's great to bring this medal back to Canada. It's great to be swimming with Kylie. She is one of my best friends.
Mac Neil won her second straight gold medal in this event, backing up her win from last year as she is the second Canadian to win the event at this meet after Jennifer Carroll won in 2002. Mac Neil will turn her attention to the 100m butterfly, which will get underway tomorrow where she is one of the favourites in the stacked race. It may take a world record to win, and Mac Neil could very well see herself standing on the top of the podium to finish the World Short Course Championships in Melbourne.
Mac Neil won ahead of American Claire Curzan, who moved up to second all-time at 25.54, while Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan won bronze at 25.61 in a new Oceania record.
“Yeah, it's surprising like my first record is a 50 backstroke so it's kind of weird for me,” O’Callaghan said. “Typically, I don't do the backstroke, it’s not my playground, I do it for fun.
“This meet was just about having fun, having no pressure, and just enjoying it for once instead of being like, ‘oh my god, I got the weight of the world on me. I gotta touch first.’ I'm just going in it and learning new things, fix some new skills and coming off like, I guess the majority of us are coming off a break. Finishing school, surgery. Yeah, everything. So, it's been…it's been quite epic.”
Men’s 50m Backstroke - Ryan Murphy sprints to 50m backstroke gold medal on second attempt
Initially, it was Australia’s Isaac Cooper who touched the wall first, but due to the sound error, the race had to be re-swum an hour later in the session. Cooper was still able to win a medal on the re-swim, but finished second at 22.73 behind American Ryan Murphy (22.64), who added to his gold from the 100m earlier in the meet.
“It was definitely an interesting last hour,” Murphy said.“On the first start, we all heard the double beep and you know you just have to go if you are swimming in a world championship final... you just have to finish that race. But after the turn, I hit the wall and I felt that the wedge was still in...I thought "Oh shoot, we have to do that one again"
It worked out in my favour, but I feel for Isaac Cooper (AUS), he's 18 years old and winning a world title certainly means a lot. I am going to talk to him in the warm down pool and give him my congratulations.
Cooper was emotional walking around the deck after the medal ceremony, shedding tears as he hugged his family in the stands.
“They were just telling me to hold it together,” Cooper said. “I'm just gonna keep on pushing through and they try my best.
“I've gone to so many low points and what I want to do is be able to stand on top [of the podium]... every time I get close I get knocked back again. So if I can come back from this and I know that I'll be a better person, I'll be a better athlete. Hopefully, I suddenly show to the rest of Australia, sportsmanship and how to come back better than ever.”
Poland’s Kacper Stokowski won the bronze medal at 22.74, while the initial third-place finisher, Pieter Coetze of South Africa, finished fifth with a new African record of 22.84.
Women’s 100m IM - Marrit Steenbergen fulfils prophecy as world’s best IM sprinter
For many years, the Dutch women were led on relays by the likes of Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk and had been joined by many young up-and-coming Dutch stars on relays.
One of those rising pupils was Marrit Steenbergen, who had represented the Netherlands at the 2016 Olympics when she was just 16. She had been hopeful to fill the void left behind by Heemskerk and Kromowidjojo when they retired, and on Friday evening in Melbourne, she won her first World title in the 100m IM.
It's so unbelievable to see my name and hear that I am a world champion, I felt pretty good, all week I have been going well and the semi-final was really good In the race I saw the girls and I thought, I just have to fight for this and they really pushed me, and the result was really good and I am over the moon.
Fresh off a European title this summer in the 100m freestyle, which made her the sixth Dutch woman to win the continental crown, Steenbergen continued her momentum into the World short course championships, winning bronze in the 100m freestyle on Thursday, and now gold in the 100m IM on Friday. Her time of 57.53 saw her finish ahead of France’s Beryl Gastaldello (57.63) and Sweden’s Louise Hansson (57.68).
Steenbergen is now tied for fourth all-time and is the first Dutch gold medallist in the 100m IM.
Men’s 100m IM - Thomas Ceccon shows off versatility in gold medal swim
Italy’s Thomas Ceccon rather quietly won gold in the 100m IM on Friday with a 50.97, putting himself tenth all-time in the event. Ceccon won his first individual gold of the meet and upgrades his bronze medal from last year as he won gold over Canada’s Javier Acevedo (51.05) and Finlay Knox (51.10).
🇮🇹 Thomas Ceccon clinched Gold in the 100m Ind. Medley at #FINAMelbourne22.— World Aquatics (@WorldAquatics) December 16, 2022
Watch his race! 👇 pic.twitter.com/vCat1OHyAG
It was a big surprise for me, before I had won a medal (individual medal at the 25m world championships), but not a gold medal so this was a great result.
Ceccon took the lead at the 50m on the backs of his strong butterfly and backstroke while American Michael Andrew overtook Ceccon in breaststroke. On the final lap, Ceccon prevailed, splitting a 12.89, holding off the likes of Acevedo (12.78) and Knox (12.87), who joined him on the podium. This is Acevedo’s first individual medal at the world level while Knox adds to his bronze from the 200m IM on Tuesday.
Women’s 1500m Freestyle - Lani Pallister puts on a freestyle clinic for 15 minutes and 21 seconds
For the third time this week at the Melbourne Sport & Aquatic Centre, Australia’s Lani Pallister celebrated a gold medal swim, this time it was in the 1500m freestyle where she completely dominated the field with a 15:21.43. Pallister adds to her gold medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle as she has proven to the rest of the world she is one of the best swimmers in the world.
Out under Katie Ledecky’s world record pace early, she took three seconds off her best time, winning the heat by 25 seconds and nearly lapping silver medal winner Miyu Namba of Japan (15:46.76), who broke the Asian record in the process.
It was a little bit harder than I expected; the 800 surely took something out of me, it's been an incredible experience and I look forward to having a break over Christmas.
This event made its World short course debut with Pallister adding to her bronze medal in the event from the long course Worlds in June as she added momentum to her march towards the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka and potentially an Olympic debut in 2024.
Much has been made about Pallister’s struggles out of the water, as she overcame heart surgery and an eating disorder in recent years. Pallister was the world junior champion in 2019 in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle, but was unable to represent Australia in the Olympics. Now she appears to be one of the best distance swimmers in the world.
“After the year I had last year coming from such a low, to now having the icing on the cake,” Pallister said. “I can't wait to continue to build on my career.”
Pallister celebrated by singing the national anthem alongside her godmother and swimming legend Dawn Fraser.
THAT'S MAGIC😍— World Aquatics (@WorldAquatics) December 16, 2022
Lani Pallister and 3x Olympic Champion (100m Free) Dawn Fraser share a special moment together:) #FINAMelbourne22 pic.twitter.com/Dc7LIokboJ
“Yes, there are a few people missing including Katie Ledecky, but you can only race against those who show up. Lani stepped up four times,” Pallister’s coach Michael Bohl said.
“She put in a lot of hard work. You prepare to race the best and her training over the past 14 weeks has been really good.
“She has done a terrific job of getting herself moving, and she has a great training group.”
USA’s Kensey McMahon won the bronze medal at 15:49.15 from an earlier heat, as she out-swum China’s Zhang Ke (15:51.64), who had touched third in the heat at night.
Men’s 4x200m Freestyle - United States smashed world record in Budapest encore
The United States of America closed out the fourth night of swimming from the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) with a world record in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay at 6:44.12. The team of Kieran Smith (1:41.04), Carson Foster (1:40.48), Trenton Julian (1:41.44), and Drew Kibler (1:41.16) took nearly three seconds off the world record that Brazil set in 2018 at 6:46.81 as all four of the American swimmers were on the team this summer at the Budapest Worlds that won the gold medal.
Breaking the world record was the goal, we knew that from the minute this team was announced over the summer that the world record would be our goal and we knew we could do it. These are the four guys that won this summer and we are on kind of a roll right now.
Smith adds to his gold in the 400m freestyle last night and looks to be one of the favourites for the 200m freestyle on Sunday.
“Amazing two nights of racing for myself,” Smith said. “I had a really good lead off and it was a fun race and I am excited for the individual now.”
The Americans got a push early from the Australians, who finished with the silver in their home pool. The team of Thomas Neill (1:41.50), Kyle Chalmers (1:40.35), Flynn Southam (1:41.50), and Mack Horton (1:43.19) pushed the Americans for 600 meters and broke the old world record to get second at 6:46.50. The time will stand as the Oceania record.
The Italians won the bronze in a last-lap fight over Korea as the team of Matteo Ciampi (1:42.68), Thomas Ceccon (1:42.61), Alberto Razzetti (1:42.76), and Paolo Conte Bonin (1:41.58) won bronze at 6:49.63, with Korea finishing fourth at 6:49.67 after a lead-off by Hwang Sunwoo at 1:40.99 in a new Asian record.
Women’s 50m Freestyle semi-finals
Kasia Wasick sprinted to the top seed with a 23.37 in the semi-finals as she will duel with Australia’s hero Emma McKeon, the winner of the 100m freestyle from Thursday. McKeon swam a 23.51 while Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (23.77) and Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin (23.79) sit third and fourth ahead of tomorrow’s final.
Men’s 50m Freestyle semi-finals
The legend of Jordan Crooks grows as the swimmer from the Cayman Islands is once again the top seed heading into the final with a dominating performance at 20.31, four-tenths ahead of World long course champ Ben Proud of Great Britain (20.76). This same thing happened in the 100m freestyle where Crooks led the qualifiers after the heats and the semifinals, and even had the lead at the 75m, but finished seventh at the last wall. Crooks is now tied for fourth all-time as Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo (20.83), Australia’s Kyle Chalmers (20.91), Great Britain’s Lewis Burras (20.94), and Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter (20.94) sit outside the top two.