Portugal won its first ever gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships on Monday evening in Qatar while the United States won its first two golds of the Championships. Germany also won its first gold in swimming since 2015.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke - Nic Fink spoils the Peaty party
Nic Fink of the United States won his first World Championships title on Monday night in the 100m breaststroke with a 58.57, taking the race out hard and holding off the rest of the field that included half of the all-time top ten.
Fink, who is competing in his sixth Worlds and was eighth way back in Barcelona 2013, won his third straight medal in the event and his ninth career medal at the World Aquatics Championships.
“It’s definitely crazy getting the first Worlds gold at 100m breaststroke at the age of 30,” Fink said. “The fact I was able to accomplish so much in my career and I’m still experiencing new things is being really fun right now.
“To keep experiencing firsts at this point of my career, that’s really cool. The race has been super awesome, it’s been a super fun ride. So many fast names are here in breaststroke, that group is gearing so fast here and I’m just happy I put my hand on the wall first.”
Great Britain’s Adam Peaty, the world record holder and two-time reigning Olympic champion, won the bronze medal at 59.10 after coming in as the top seed from the semifinals. This is Peaty’s first World Championships since 2019 as he has taken a lot of time after the Tokyo Olympics to focus on his mental health. Although he went faster in the semi-finals, this is Peaty’s first medal in over four years at the World Aquatics Championships, and it is his 11th career medal at Worlds.
“It’s great to be in the race with the best of the world,” Peaty said. “I’m a little bit disappointed with the time. I should have put it in the perspective that I haven’t been in heats or semifinals for a while.
“I think I was a little bit too tense in the first 50m and I pushed a little bit too far. I’ve got to learn to get on a little bit easier, but it’s not gonna come easy.
“It gives me a lot of encouragement to get back, it’s really hard to come back to, we’ll see where we get from here.”
Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi won his second straight silver in the 100m breaststroke at 58.84. The 2022 World champ came home quicker than anybody on the back 50, turning fifth and finishing at 31.41, but it was not enough to catch Fink. This is the third straight medal for Martinenghi as the world junior record holder was in a dead-lock for silver last year in Fukuoka alongside Fink and Arno Kamminga, who was fifth here in Doha at 59.22.
“It’s always a pleasure to compete against the best,” Martinenghi said. “I saw Nic next to me and I tried to catch him. I feel really good, last year was tough. But I am here now, and I have won the silver medal. This is my third medal in three different World Championships, so I am really happy for myself, the team and my coach in particular. We are going in the right way, and we will continue to push. I don’t know how close I was to winning today, but I have a lot of work to do. I have to focus on myself.”
Fink broke the tie this time around as his gold in this event is the United States’s first in the men’s 100m breaststroke since Brendan Hansen won in Melbourne 2007.
Australia’s Sam Williamson just missed winning the bronze medal as he turned third at the 50, but couldn’t hold against the likes of Martinenghi and Peaty. Williamson finished fourth at 59.21 for a career best time.
Women’s 100m Butterfly - Angelina Kohler brings Germany back to the Top
Germany’s Angelina Kohler mastered all three rounds of the 100m butterfly at the World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024, taking the gold medal on Monday evening at the Aspire Dome with a 56.28. The time was slower than her best time from the semis at 56.11, but her gold medal is the first of her career at age 24.
This is also Germany’s first gold medal in women’s swimming at the World Aquatics Championships in swimming since 2009 and its first overall since 2015.
This has been a long climb to the top for Kohler, who won silver at the 2018 Youth Olympics in 2018, and missed qualification for the 2020 Olympics. She reached the semi-finals at the 2019 and 2022 World Championships, and finished fifth in Fukuoka last year for her first finals appearance at a major meet. With her swim last night, she is now ninth all-time.
“It was a surprise for me to win this competition because I came here with the best time overall of 57 and now I am overwhelmed and it is great,” Kohler said. “Before the start, I listen to a lot of music – it gives me so much power and helps to stay focused and calm. It is always like telling myself: You can do it! You are the best – encouraging myself. And that is it. I like Taylor Swift.
“It will take some time until I realized what I have just achieved for German swimming and it is just so crazy. It means so much that my head just cannot take it, I am speechless. I have a huge support here but it was not easy for me tonight. It is incredible. My parents are here and cheering for me, it is so nice – it is a special moment. All the hard work had paid off.”
The redemption arc seemed to be the overarching theme of the 100m butterfly final.
Claire Curzan of the United States won the silver medal at 56.61 as she is taking on a big schedule this week in Doha. This is Curzan’s sixth career medal at the World Aquatics Championships as she did not compete in Fukuoka due to being sick right before the World Championship Trials. But Curzan’s swim tonight was just off her lifetime best of 56.35 as she won her first 100m butterfly medal at a major long course meet.
“It is always an honor to win a medal for the USA,” Curzan said. “I really executed the race the way me and my coach had talked about. This was a super important result. And I am pretty happy with the double I have done. It is just great to be back on the stage again and I am excited despite the fact that it was super hard and it is blast to watch Team USA doing well. This was a really good start to this meet and it sets me up well.”
Sweden’s Louise Hansson broke through to get to the podium with a bronze at 56.94 as this is her first individual medal at the World Aquatics Championships after winning relay silver way back in 2015 in the 4x100m medley relay. Hansson, age 27, finished ninth last year in Fukuoka and fourth in Budapest 2022.
“I am just trying to enjoy every bit of this moment -- it feels great to swim under 57,” Hansson said. “I am proud of this and hoping to build momentum from this. It’s quite an open field and Angelina was obviously quick in the heats and semis, so I knew she was going to be tough. She’s definitely in her peak here, but I knew it was an open final and I knew if I was able to get a good race and I could win one of the medals. It was a great opportunity to get a medal and I’m sure those girls will be up there in Paris which is the big goal this year, just a couple of months of preparation.”
Australia’s Brianna Throssell finished fourth at 56.97, just off the podium and her best time of 56.96.
Men’s 50m Butterfly - Diogo Ribeiro moves from Apprentice to Master
Portugal’s Diogo Ribeiro was listed as the youngest guy in the final of the men’s 50m butterfly as the world junior record holder was looking to improve on his silver from last year’s World Championships in this event. Ribeiro has steadily improved over the years since winning the 2022 World Junior title, winning silver in Fukuoka last year, and out-touching the field to win gold in Doha at 22.97.
Ribeiro wasn’t in the lead at 15 meters, but came clawing back to win Portugal’s first ever gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships. He was off his best time of 22.80, but it is a huge moment for the 19-year-old and for Portuguese swimming.
“Yesterday and today I couldn’t sleep after lunchtime, thinking about being a World Champion,” Ribeiro said. “It was what I was expecting here because I was the top in the start list, but we know that being in a World Championships isn’t about doing your best in the heats or the semifinal, but (it’s about doing it) in the final. I think I achieved that and I’m so glad for it.
“When the start was really wrong for me, I thought for a moment I couldn’t win. My breakout wasn’t good, but then I gave my all. When I touched the wall and watched the time and I saw I was first, I got a feeling that I had never ever felt before.”
The silver medal went to Michael Andrew of the United States, who won his seventh career medal at the World Aquatics Championships at age 24, touching at 23.07. This is Andrew’s third career World Championships as he missed the team last year for Fukuoka. Andrew is also entered in the 50m breaststroke, freestyle, and backstroke later on in the week where medals are possible in all three.
Australia’s Cameron McEvoy won the bronze medal at 23.08 at age 29 as this sets him up well for the 50m freestyle later in the week as he will chase the 20.91 world record.
Women’s 200m IM - Kate Douglass puts on Four Stroke Clinic to Defend World Title
Kate Douglass of the United States swam her lifetime best in the 200m IM to defend her title from Fukuoka with a 2:07.05, keeping herself sixth on the all-time list as she took aim at Katinka Hosszu’s world record of 2:06.12 from 2015.
Douglass is one of the most versatile swimmers in the world as she is taking on four individual events this week in Doha, where she will swim the 50m and 100m freestyle as well as the 200m breaststroke. She showed that versatility on Monday evening by leading the 200m IM final every step of the way.
She was out in 26.81 on the first 50m, and came back to the field a little bit on backstroke, before stamping her authority on breaststroke. Yu Yiting of the People’s Republic of China drew even with Douglass through backstroke, turning 0.02 behind the Olympic bronze medalist. Canada’s Sydney Pickrem got within a half second after breaststroke, but Douglass turned on the jets on freestyle to finish in 30.21.
“To come back after winning in the summer and do it again and go even faster, it was an awesome feeling,” Douglass said. “They are both good races, so I am really happy with it. That was a great race, it was tough with different competitors - but I am happy to come out on top. It’s great to win gold last summer and win here and even go faster than last year is awesome.
“I was hoping for a best time in this race, and I just got under my best but I am happy with that. To see 2:07 was awesome and to be able to do the best time right now in the season gets me excited to see what I can do in a few months. I am happy with my decision to come to Doha and winning this makes everything worth it.”
Pickrem won the silver at 2:08.56, which is her lifetime best at age 26 as this is her first medal at the World Aquatics Championships since winning bronze in 2019.
“It means a lot after not being at the last World Championships,” Pickrem said. “It feels really special to be back here, no matter what the circumstances are, I know that not everybody is here but I came up with a pretty good race and I’m really proud about it.
“There were ups and downs (last year). So even today before (the final) I was so nervous, but you have to put it in perspective. Sitting and watching (Angelina Kohler) win 100m Fly in tears, well this sport means so much and I’m so thankful. I’m grateful to be here. Sometimes we get wrapped up and we forget it.”
Yu, age 18, won the bronze at 2:09.01 as last year’s Asian Games champion was off her best of 2:07.75 but she replicates her bronze from Fukuoka last year.
“My time in the final wasn’t so good, it was slower than Fukuoka, but I still got a bronze medal, so it’s great!” Yu said. “I’m honored to be among the medalists, because Douglass and Pickrem are very good swimmers.
“I want to have a better time in the next opportunity. For Paris I want to achieve a new personal best, like 2:07:00, two seconds faster than tonight. Will it be enough for a medal there? I don’t know! But I’ll try to make the best of myself and see what happens.”
Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko finished just off the podium in fourth at 2:10.17 ahead of last night’s anchor on the gold medal winning 4x100m freestyle relay Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands (2:10.24).
Men’s 100m Backstroke
Hunter Armstrong of the United States moved through the semifinals as the top seed in the men’s 100m backstroke at 53.04, despite swimming in an incorrect lane. The 23-year-old lined up behind the wrong lane in his heat, inadvertently switching with Greece’s Evangelos Makrygiannis but was cleared to advance to tomorrow’s final as the top seed. Makrygiannis advanced as well in sixth at 53.67.
Armstrong will do battle with South Africa’s Pieter Coetze (53.07), who was the World Juniors champion in 2022 in the 200m backstroke, as well as the 2017 World Juniors champion Hugo Gonzalez (53.22) of Spain. Armstrong is looking to improve on his two straight bronze medals from 2022 and 2023 in this event.
Greece also got another finalist in Apostolos Christou (53.62) as he is going for his first major medal.
Women’s 100m Breaststroke
Tang Qianting of the People’s Republic of China swam to the top time in the semis with a 1:05.36, lowering her best from 1:05.82 as the 2021 World Short Course champ moved to 13th all-time at age 19. She will be joined in the final by teammate Yang Chang (1:06.27) as the third seed.
Ireland’s Mona McSharry is searching for her nation’s first medal at the World Aquatics Championships as the second seed at 1:06.11 as she was fifth in Fukuoka last year.
Tes Schouten of the Netherlands is seeded fourth at 1:06.30 as she advanced to the final after finishing tenth in Fukuoka last year. She is ahead of Hong Kong, China’s Siobhan Haughey (1:06.41), who has had a lot of success in the 100m and 200m freestyle and has made it to her first non-freestyle championship final at the World Aquatics Championships.
Women’s 100m Backstroke
Claire Curzan of the United States showed no ill effects of the 100m butterfly final from earlier as she is the top seed into tomorrow’s 100m backstroke final at 58.73, swimming off her best time of 58.35. Curzan was the only swimmer under 59 seconds as Canada’s Ingrid Wilm (59.55) is second ahead of the Australian duo of Jaclyn Barclay (59.83) and Iona Anderson (59.94), who went 1-2 at last year’s World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships.
Great Britain and the Netherlands each got two finalists to tomorrow as well with Lauren Cox (1:00.03) and Kathleen Dawson (1:00.40) advancing for the Brits, while Kira Toussaint (1:00.37) and Maaike de Waard (1:00.68) will carry the flag for the Dutch.
Men’s 200m Freestyle
Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys swam his fastest 200m freestyle since 2019 as he is the top seed for tomorrow’s final at 1:44.96. The 28-year-old has not been sub-1:45 since the 2019 World Cup in Singapore as he is looking like his old self from pre-2020. If he can win the gold medal tomorrow night, it would be Lithuania’s first medal in men’s swimming at the World Aquatics Championships since 2009.