By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Monday, July 24, 2017BUDAPEST – The American swimmers exceeded all expectations on the first night of finals at the 17th FINA World Championships.
The U.S. won three golds and a silver Sunday, and set five American records along the way.
Winning gold were Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m free (Championships Record); Caeleb Dressel, Townley Haas, Blake Pieroni and Nathan Adrian in the 400m free relay; and Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell, Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel in the 400m free relay. Leah Smith won silver in the women’s 400m free.
The women’s 400m free relay was an American record. Meanwhile, Dressel and Comerford set American records leading off the relays. Dressel also broke another in the semifinals of the men’s 50m butterfly, and Kevin Cordes set the mark in the semifinals of the men’s 100m breaststroke.
How will the U.S. follow that up tonight? Here’s a look at the finals, and the American swimmers competing in each:
Men’s 100m Breaststroke
As mentioned above, Kevin Cordes set the American record in last night’s semifinals, qualifying second for tonight’s finals in 58.64. Cordes is competing in his third long course World Championships. He finished fourth in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Joining him in tonight’s finals as the third seed will be teammate Cody Miller, who won bronze in the 100m breast last year in Rio.
Both will be swimming on either side of 2016 Olympic Champion and world record-holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain. Peaty set the Championships record in last night’s semifinals.
The last time an American medaled in this event at Worlds was 2007, when Brendan Hansen took gold.
Women’s 100m Butterfly
Kelsi Worrell, coming fresh off her gold medal in the women’s 400m free relay, will compete as the third seed in this event. Worrell is one of the 30 American swimmers competing in their first long course World Championships. Last year at the Olympic Games in Rio, Worrell finished ninth in the 100m fly and won gold as a member of the 400m medley relay (prelims).
The top seed is Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, the world record-holder in this event and the defending World and Olympic Champion.
Olympian Dana Vollmer was the last American to medal in the women’s 100m fly at a World Championships, winning bronze in 2013. Vollmer was also the last American to win gold, in 2011.
Men’s 50m Butterfly
Caeleb Dressel captured the first seed in tonight’s finals by one-hundredth of a second over Ukraine’s Adrii Govorov. His time of 22.76, as mentioned above, was an American record.
Dressel, is a rising swimmer on the international scene. In addition to his two American records and gold medal in last night’s finals, he also won gold in the 400m free and medley relays at last year’s Olympic Games. He will be competing in six events here in Budapest. In addition to the 50m fly and 400m free relay, he will also swim the 50 and 100m freestyle, the 100m butterfly and the 400m medley relay.
American Tim Phillips is the seventh seed. Phillips is competing in his second long course World Championships. At the 2015 Worlds in Kazan, he finished 13th in the 100m butterfly and won gold as a member of the 400m medley relay (prelims).
An American has never won gold in the 50m butterfly at Worlds, but Eugene Godsoe won silver in this event at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
Women’s 200m IM
Melanie Margalis has been gradually creeping up on the world in this event. She finished seventh in the 200m IM at the World Championships in Kazan, and followed that up in Rio with fourth-place finish. In last night’s semifinals, she qualified second behind Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who played to the roaring approval of a raucous home crowd.
Madisyn Cox qualified as the sixth seed. She is competing in her first long course World Championships, but has some international experience under her belt as the silver medalist in this event at the 2015 World University Games.
Olympian Ariana Kukors was the last American to medal in this event at a World Championships with a bronze in 2011. She won gold and set the world record at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
The top 16 swimmers in most of Monday’s prelims will be competing in Monday night’s semifinals. The exception are the swimmers in the prelims of the women’s 1500m freestyle. The top eight swimmers in that event will compete in Tuesday night’s finals.
American swimmers advancing to tonight’s semifinals will be: Olivia Smoliga in the women’s 100m back (5th, 59.70); Kathleen Baker in the women’s 100m back (6th, 59.76); Matt Grevers in the men’s 100m back (2nd, 52.92); Ryan Murphy in the men’s 100m back (4th, 53.26); Lilly King in the women’s 100m breast (1st, 1:05.20); Katie Meili in the women’s 100m breast (4th, 1:06.39); Townley Haas in the men’s 200m free (4th, 1:46.50); and Blake Pieroni in the men’s 200m free (9th, 1:46.88).
Katie Ledecky was the lone American swimmer in the 1500m free. She qualified first in 15:47.54.
For more expert analysis and insight from the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, catch Deck Pass Live, right here onsftest.usaswimming.org. The show begins approximately one hour after finals. Also, follow our coverage from Hungary on Facebook and Twitter. #DeckPassLive.