By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Friday, July 28, 2017
BUDAPEST – Who knew the power of a simple swim cap?
“Getting behind the blocks with the USA flag on your cap is such an honor,” said Melanie Margalis after winning gold in the women’s 800m free relay Thursday. “You just feel ready to go when you have that cap on.”
There must be something to it, as the United States leads all nations in the medal count this week, winning 20 overall in the pool after five days of competition – 9 gold, 8 silver and three bronze.
Here’s a look at the Americans’ prospects in tonight’s finals, and some results from prelims.
Women’s 100m Freestyle
Defending Olympic champion Simone Manuel is the United States’ top seed in this event, qualifying second for tonight’s finals. Manuel is competing in her third World Championships, but really burst onto the scene last year in Rio, when she tied Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for Olympic gold in the 100m free in American-record time. She has already won gold twice this week in the 400m free relay and the mixed 400m medley relay.
The third seed went to Manuel’s teammate, Mallory Comerford. Comerford is the American record-holder in the 100m free, having broken the mark last month at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis. Comerford is competing in her first World Championships and has won gold in the 400m free relay, the mixed 400m medley relayy, and the 800m free relay.
The last American to win a medal in the women’s 100m free at a World Championships was Natalie Coughlin with a silver in 2005. Jenny Thompson was the last woman to win gold in 1998. Americans have never double-medaled in this event at Worlds.
Men’s 200m Breaststroke
Kevin Cordes and Nic Fink qualified fifth and eight for tonight’s finals.
Cordes has one two medals here in Budapest – gold swimming in the prelims of the mixed medley relay, and silver in the 100m breaststroke. He won a silver in this event at the 2015 World Championships.
Fink is a veteran of three World Championships teams. His best showing in the 200m breast was 10th in 2015.
The last American to win gold in this event at Worlds was Brendan Hansen in 2005. The U.S. has medaled in the 200m breast in 13 of the 16 World Championships so far.
Women’s 200m Breaststroke
World Championships rookie Bethany Galat qualified as the second seed in the 200m breaststroke. This meet is her first major international competition.
Coming fresh off her victory in the 100m breaststroke, Lilly King is the eighth seed. Known primarily for her prowess in the shorter breaststroke events, King was the national champion in this event last month Indianapolis. She finished 12th in Rio in the 200m breast.
The last American to medal in this event at Worlds was Micah Lawrence with a silver in 2015. Rebecca Soni won the last gold in 2011.
Men’s 200m Backstroke
Olympic Champion Ryan Murphy is the second seed. Murphy won bronze in the 100m back earlier this week and swam in the prelims of the gold medal-winning mixed 400m medley relay. He is competing in his second world championships. At Worlds in 2015, he finished fifth in the 200 back.
Jacob Pebley is the fifth seed. He swam the 200m backstroke along with Murphy in Rio, where Pebley finished fifth. This is his first long course World Championships.
The United States has won eight of the last nine World titles in this event, with Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol accounting for seven of those. Lochte was the last American to win gold in the 200 back at Worlds, in 2013.
Men’s 800m Free Relay
The team of Conor Dwyer, Clark Smith, Jay Litherland and Zane Grothe qualified seventh in this morning’s prelims. The official line-up for tonight’s finals will be released about an hour before the start. Townley Haas and Blake Peironi are likely to be in the mix.
Before taking silver in 2015, the U.S. won five straight World Championships in this event.
The top 16 swimmers from this morning’s prelims in the shorter events will advance to tonight’s semifinals. The top 8 swimmers from the prelims of the women’s 800m free will swim in tomorrow night’s finals.
Here’s a look at how the American swimmers fared in this morning’s prelims:
- Caeleb Dressel, 2nd, men’s 50m free, 21.61
- Nathan Adrian, 9th, men’s 50m free, 21.99
- Kelsi Worrell, 2nd, women’s 50m butterfly, 25.65
- Sarah Gibson, 22nd, women’s 50m butterfly, 26.65
- Dressel, 1st, men’s 100m butterfly, 50.08
- Tim Phillips, 16th, men’s 100m butterfly, 51.96
- Kathleen Baker, 1st, women’s 200m backstroke, 2:06.82
- Regan Smith, 4th, women’s 200m backstroke, 2:08.13
- Katie Ledecky, 1st, women’s 800m freestyle, 8:20.24
- Leah Smith, 2nd, women’s 800m freestyle, 8:21.19
For more expert analysis and insight from the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, catch Deck Pass Live, right here on usaswimming.org. The show begins approximately one hour after finals. Also, follow our coverage from Hungary on Facebook and Twitter. #DeckPassLive.