Australia’s Kaylee McKeown and France’s Leon Marchand were announced as swimmers of the championships on the final night of swimming as the United States won the best team award for winning 38 medals.

Men’s 50m Backstroke - Hunter Armstrong gets the touch over Justin Ress

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For the second year in a row, it’s an American 1-2 in the men’s 50m backstroke, but it’s the opposite as last year as world record holder Hunter Armstrong upgraded his silver from last year with a 24.05 to win gold on Sunday night in Fukuoka. Last year’s champion Justin Ress touched the wall second to complete the U.S. sweep for the second year in a row as Ress got second at 24.24.

“The race was alright,” Ress said. “I need to work on executing the details a little better, but I just had a good time and was just having fun. That's all you can do out there. There's nothing to prove. I just try to cut the pressure off and it's a good race.”

The United States has now won two of the three men’s backstroke gold medals this week in Fukuoka as Armstrong trains at the University of California, Berkeley with Ryan Murphy and coach Dave Durden.

“It feels amazing,” Armstrong said. “This meet feels like a different sort of challenge so I’m really glad I was able to end it on a high note. Every race you learn something new. This is a good experience and a good meet heading into Paris.”

The bronze went the way of China’s Xu Jiayu, who won his first medal in the event and of the week at 24.50.

“I feel very good and this is the first time I’ve won a medal in the 50m event,” Xu said. “I still need to improve my speed for the second half of the race, just like I need to improve the second half of my 100m Backstroke. Thank you to everyone for their support. I will keep working hard and make everyone feel happy for my results.”

Xu got to the wall ahead of last year’s World Junior champion Ksawery Masiuk (24.57) of Poland, and 100m silver medalist Thomas Ceccon (24.58).

Women’s 50m Breaststroke - Ruta Meilutyte breaks the tie to set world record

After tying Benedetta Pilato’s 2017 world record in the semi-finals at 29.30, Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte broke the tie to go 29.16 on Sunday night in Fukuoka to now sit atop the all-time rankings in the event. Meilutyte held the world record in 2013 as a 16-year-old before it was broken in 2017 by American Lilly King.

I’m happy, I felt that it was definitely possible to break the world record again. Moving forward I’m going to focus on the 100m and on enjoying the process on the way.
By Ruta Meilutyte

This is Meilutyte’s second straight World title in the 50m breaststroke, successfully defending her title from last year as she is the fifth to win two World titles in this event at the World Aquatics Championships.

King won the silver medal for the United States with a 29.94, which is her first medal of the week after getting fourth in the 100m and 200m breaststroke finals.

“Ruta has been swimming so fast all week so it was just seeing if I can go out with her from the start,” King said. “There is no 50m Breaststroke next year, so I don't have to worry about it too much.”

Pilato won the bronze at 30.04 after winning two straight silvers in 2019 and 2022.

“I am very happy today,” Pilato said. “I am very excited to compete here and this was a strange year for me so I am very happy. This is not my best time but today is important because of the medals so it’s amazing.”

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Last year’s bronze medalist Lara Van Niekerk of South Africa was fourth at 30.09 just ahead of Italy’s Anita Bottazzo (30.11) and China’s Tang Qianting (30.22).

Fukuoka’s own Satomi Suzuki (30.44) finished seventh ahead of Estonia’s Eneli Jefimova (30.48).

Men’s 1500m Freestyle - Ahmed Hafnaoui, Bobby Finke duke it out to nearly take down Sun Yang’s world record

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There had been talk all year over whether Sun Yang’s world record of 14:31.02 from the 2012 Olympics would fall on the last night of the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka. Early on, it appeared it would almost come to fruition as the 400m champ Samuel Short of Australia took the field out under world record pace through the first 500m.

However as the race progressed, Short could not hang on to the pace as the 800m silver medalist lost his lead at 1000 meters to reigning Olympic champion Bobby Finke of the United States. Finke and 800m champ Ahmed Hafnaoui traded the lead at the 1100m and eventually got under Sun’s world record pace. But those in the venue knew of Sun’s closing speed in London 11 years ago, but if anyone could come home in under 26 seconds, it could be either Hafnaoui or Finke who have garnered a reputation for finishing.

As the pair got to about 1300 meters, the Marine Messe crowd rose as the decibel level reached an all-time high for the swimming competition. By 1400, they were well under world record pace and the race turned up to a max.

As the two Olympic champions raced for home, their legs kicked in and it was a skirmish to get to the wall first.

The scoreboard read: Hafnaoui with gold at 14:31.54 and Finke with silver at 14:31.59. Sun’s world record will last at least one more day as Hafnaoui, age 20, and Finke, age 23, move to #2 and #3 all-time. The margin between them was the closest ever between gold and silver medalist at World Championships in any race longer than 200 meters.

“We’ve been working through the year for the 400m, 800m, and 1500m, and I think I deserve it,” Hanfaoui said. “Bobby is so fast at the end of the race. He pushed us to do the ‘14:31’. It was so close to the world record. I enjoyed the race and thanks to Bobby for pushing me.”

“It's always great to add to the tally,” Finke said. “Racing Ahmed was awesome. He pushed me faster than I thought I could go so I’m looking forward to racing him more often. I know he also has some finishing speed so I knew at the 1000m mark it was probably going to come down to a dogfight in the last fifty, so to be able to race him, and put up a good time, even though it was second, I'm happy with it.”

The early leader Short won his third individual medal of the week with a bronze at 14:37.28 as this is Australia’s first 1500m medalist since Mack Horton won bronze in 2017.

“I had nothing to lose going into this 1500m Freestyle,” Short said. “I don't think anyone expected me to get on the podium in this one. I'm pretty sure I took it out sub ‘3:50’ in the first 400m, which I don’t know if that’s been done before. It might not be the smartest move, but it paid off.”

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Hafnaoui, who is coached by Luke Ryan and Cory Chitwood at Indiana University, won Tunisia’s second ever gold medal in the 1500m freestyle after Oussama Mellouli won the gold in 2009. Hafnaoui also broke Mellouli’s African record of 14:35 from 2009.

Pre-race favorite Daniel Wiffen finished fourth for Ireland at 14:43.01 ahead of Germany’s Lukas Martens (14:44.51) as Wiffen finished fourth in the 800m as well and was unable to claim Ireland’s first swimming medal at the World Aquatics Championships.

Open water specialist Kristof Rasovszky (14:51.46) finished sixth for Hungary ahead of Mykhailo Romanchuk (14:53.21) of the Ukraine and David Aubry (14:56.63) of France.

Women’s 50m Freestyle - Sarah Sjostrom swims the second fastest time ever

Fresh off of setting a world record in the semi-finals, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom followed up last night’s swim with a 23.62 in tonight’s finals, just 0.01 off her newly minted world record set on Saturday night. Sjostrom showed her dominance in the one lap sprint events, winning her third World title in the 50m freestyle fresh after winning her fifth 50m butterfly title last night.

Sjostrom previously won this event at the 2017 and 2022 World Championships as she is the first to win the event three times. Sweden has now won medals in this event at nine of the last 12 World Championships as Sjostrom has won five straight and Therese Alshammar won three silvers and a gold between 2001 and 2011.

I am super happy with that, it was very busy yesterday with the world record and the gold medal, but I am super happy with this race.
By Sarah Sjostrom

The silver went the way of Australia’s Shayna Jack at 24.10 as she was slower than her 24.01 in the semi-finals that put her just outside the all-time top ten in 15th. This is Jack’s first ever individual medal at the World Aquatics Championships.

“I'm really happy that I got the job done tonight,” Jack said. “I was hoping to go a bit faster and to hopefully crack the ‘24’ seconds. But it wasn't my night for that. I'm really proud of what I did and that I got my hand on the wall for second. I'm so stoked. Being up against people like Sarah is just phenomenal. I get to watch her and see how she prepares. And I can continue to aspire to be like that.”

China’s Zhang Yufei won the bronze at 24.15 for her fourth medal of the week as she improved on her best time to sit 21st all-time. Zhang will also be in China’s medley relay later on in the session swimming the butterfly leg.

“Before today’s race, when I swam the 50m Freestyle, I felt a little nervous because I thought

other people would swim faster than me,” Zhang said. “After being through so many races, I finally feel that swimmers from Asian countries can now compete with swimmers from western ones in short distance events.”

USA’s Abbey Weitzeil, who was on par with Sjostrom at 25 meters, finished fourth at 24.32 ahead of Olympic champion Emma McKeon (24.35) of Australia, and Cheng Yujie (24.45) of China.

Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (24.46) placed seventh ahead of Marrit Steenbergen (24.61) of the Netherlands, who has had upwards of 20 swims this week in Fukuoka.

Women’s 400m IM - Summer McIntosh caps off Fukuoka with impressive 4:27

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Canada’s Summer McIntosh successfully defended her 2022 World Championships title in the 400m IM with a very impressive time of 4:27.11. The time is slower than her world record of 4:25.87 set earlier this year in April, but it is the third fastest performance in history in the 400m IM as the 16-year-old is the fourth swimmer to successfully defend the World title in the event. The time also lowered the championships record set in 2017 by Katinka Hosszu.

McIntosh, who swims for coach Brent Arckey in Sarasota, Florida, completely dominated the final from the jump. Having drastically improved her breaststroke since last year, McIntosh was able to put together four good splits on her 100’s to win the World title by four seconds.

Going into tonight I knew from last Worlds that it’s a really tough race to end on, I think it’s definitely one of the hardest races but at the same time it’s really fun and I wanted to see how hard I could push to see how close I could get and how far up I could get on the rankings.
By Summer McIntosh

In a repeat performance from last year, USA’s Katie Grimes won silver for the second straight year at 4:31.41, improving her best time to now sit 12th all-time. This is Grimes’s second medal of the World Championships after winning the bronze in the 10K open water race all the way back on July 15. Grimes just missed the American record of 4:31.12 set all the way in 2008 by two-time World champ Katie Hoff.

“I really focused on everybody else,” Grimes said of managing her emotions throughout the two weeks. “I cheered on my teammates and being able to watch prelims and finals every day was something that really distracted me. It’s a good motivator for me going into my races.”

“It’s not as fast as I wanted it to be, but I wasn’t expecting a PB,” Grimes said of swimming a best time. “I should be happy with it but I’m definitely not satisfied right now.”

The bronze went the way of Australia’s Jenna Forrester, who scored a huge best time at 4:32.30 as her best time coming into this year was 4:36. Forrester won Australia’s 23rd medal in the swimming competition.

“I'm really happy with the result,” Forrester said. “It was definitely tough, but yeah I'm really happy. This is something that I've dreamed of since I was a little girl so the fact that it's actually happening is just unbelievable.”

200m IM silver medallist Alex Walsh was fourth at 4:34.46 ahead of Great Britain’s Freya Colbert (4:35.28) and Italy’s Sara Franceschi (4:37.73). Great Britain’s Katie Shanahan (4:41.29) and last year’s World Juniors champion Mio Narita of Japan (4:42.14) also swam in the final.

Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay - United States ends relay woes with gold in men’s medley

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After four silvers and two bronze medals in relays at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, the United States finally won gold on the last night of competition in the men’s 4x100m medley relay at 3:27.20. The team of Ryan Murphy (52.04), Nic Fink (58.03), Dare Rose (50.13), and Jack Alexy (47.00) got close to their world record from the Tokyo Olympics, but ended the meet with a new championships record, taking down the 3:27.28 set by the United States in 2009.

“I love finishing that way,” Murphy said. “I think going into that race we take a lot of pride in racing for the US and having great swimmers across all four strokes gives us confidence going behind the blocks.”

Murphy and Fink are each racing in their fifth World Championships while Rose and Alexy are making their debuts at the international senior level.

“We didn’t see them as rookies,” Fink said. “They were good enough and confident enough to step up big this week. I don’t think they were relying on us to get them a big lead. They knew what they had to do and we knew what we had to do so in that sense we were all going into it knowing we had a job to do, and everyone accomplished their job.”

“It’s super special,” Rose said. “I knew we had two veterans on the team and we didn’t want let them down. I wanted to do something special at the same time so I put my head down at the wall and made sure I touched.”

“It felt great,” Alexy said of diving in with a lead. “When you have three of the best guys on their backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly in the world, you have some confidence going into the race. I knew that if I did my part then we would get the gold.”

It was expected to be a tough matchup with China, but the Chinese could not match the Americans across all four strokes, winning the silver at 3:29.00 with the team of Xu Jiayu (53.39), Qin Haiyang (57.43), Wang Changhao (51.56), and Pan Zhanle (46.62). The team broke the Asian record in the process for their 16th medal in swimming in Fukuoka. This is also China’s first medal in this event at the World Championships.

Australia won the bronze medal at 3:29.62 with a monster anchor leg from 100m freestyle World champion Kyle Chalmers at 46.89. The team of Bradley Woodward (53.38), Zac Stubblety-Cook (59.25), Matthew Temple (50.10) and Chalmers won their first Worlds medal in the relay since winning silver in 2015.

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The quickest splits outside the top three came from France’s Yohann Ndoye-Brouard (53.21), Great Britain’s James Wilby (58.48), France’s Maxime Grousset (49.27), and Great Britain’s Matthew Richards (46.93).

France finished fourth at 3:29.88 ahead of Great Britain (3:30.16), Japan (3:32.58), Canada (3:32.61), and Germany (3:32.91).

Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay - United States finishes on high note with women’s medley relay gold

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The American women broke the Australian stranglehold on the relays, winning the final gold medal of the 20th World Aquatics Championships with a 3:52.08 in the women’s 4x100m medley relay. The team of Regan Smith (57.68), Lilly King (1:04.93), Gretchen Walsh (57.06), and Kate Douglass (52.41) seemed to swim angry after a frustrating week with only seven gold medals for the entire team.

“It meant a lot for us to finish out with a bang,” Smith said. “I think the USA knows how to do medley relays really well. We just had something to prove tonight. We’ve all had great weeks but we’ve also had our ups and downs and I think we wanted to end on a really positive note and I think we executed perfectly and we did just that.”

“This is the race you look forward to,” King said. “It is our favorite way to close out the meet and I am really glad I got to race with these girls.”

“Gold is always the goal for anyone at this meet and I think there’s a lot to say even if you don’t get a gold, keeping your motivation for your next races to come and keeping yourself on your toes ready to do,” Walsh said. “We never lost that drive as a whole team and so I am really proud of all of us for persevering throughout the whole meet. It’s a long one, so this was the best way we could have possibly ended it. I think that this meet and this ending is a really good sign going into next year and Paris.”

“It’s definitely nerve-racking knowing I’ll be going against a world record holder,” Douglass said. “I had to be confident in my teammates and I was. They gave me a great lead and that was awesome to be able to dive in with the lead and I just had enough motivation to hold off Mollie on that leg.”

The Americans held the lead the entirety of the race as the Australians finished with the silver at 3:53.37 with the team of Kaylee McKeown (57.91), Abbey Harkin (1:07.07), Emma McKeon (56.44), and Mollie O’Callaghan (51.95). This is Australia’s third straight silver in the event at the World Championships as they have not missed the podium since 1994 in the women’s medley relay.

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Canada won the bronze at 3:54.12 with the team of Kylie Masse (58.74), Sophie Angus (1:06.21), Maggie Mac Neil (55.69), and Summer McIntosh (53.48) for their sixth medal of the swimming program.

The quickest splits outside the medalists came from China’s Wan Letian (59.49), Japan’s Satomi Suzuki (1:05.73), China’s Zhang Yufei (55.50) and Marrit Steebergen (51.96) of the Netherlands.