By USA Swimming | Tuesday, December 11, 2018
HANGZHOU, China – The United States kicked off the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in impressive fashion Tuesday with five medals, including a gold-medal sweep of the 400-meter freestyle relays, at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center.
In the final race of the night, the U.S. quartet of Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida), Blake Pieroni (Valparaiso Ind./Unattached), Michael Chadwick (Charlotte, N.C./Team Elite) and Ryan Held (Springfield, Ill./Wolfpack Elite) took down a 9-year-old world and American record with a gold-medal winning time of 3 minutes. 3.03 seconds in the men’s 400m free relay. Dressel also broke the American record in the 100m free with a 45.66 lead-off split.
Minutes earlier the Team USA women took gold in 3:27.78 with Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), Lia Neal (Brooklyn, N.Y./Team Elite), Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville) and Kelsi Dahlia (Westampton, N.J./Cardinal Aquatics) earning the win.
The U.S. added three individual silver medals on Tuesday: Comerford in the women’s 200m free in an American record 1:51.81, Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg Aquatics) in the women’s 400m individual medley in 4:25.84 and Josh Prenot (Santa Maria, Calif./California Aquatics) in the men’s 200m IM in 1:52.69.
A complete look at Tuesday’s action:
Men’s 400m Freestyle – Final
Gold – Danas Rapsys (LTU), 3:34.01 (Meet Record)
Silver – Henrik Christiansen (NOR), 3:36.64
Bronze – Gabriele Detti (ITA), 3:37.54
6. Zane Grothe (Boulder City, Nev./Unattached), 3:38.99
Grothe also reached the final in this event at the 2016 FINA World Championships (25m), placing seventh.
Women’s 200m Freestyle – Final
Gold – Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 1:51.38
Silver – Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville), 1:51.81 (American Record)
Bronze – Femke Heemskerk (NED), 1:52.36
Comerford claims Team USA’s first medal in Hangzhou after finishing fifth in the same event in 2016.
Comerford won her first career individual medal at the FINA World Championships (25m) after taking four relay medals in 2016.
Comerford broke the American record twice on Tuesday, touching in 1:52.62 in the prelims. The previous mark of 1:52.74 was set by Missy Franklin in 2015.
Men’s 200m Butterfly – Final
Gold – Daiya Seto (JPN), 1:48.24 (World Record)
Silver – Chad le Clos (RSA), 1:48.32
Bronze – Li Zhuhao (CHN), 1:50.39
5. Zach Harting (Madison, Ala./University of Louisville), 1:51.57
Harting places fifth in his FINA World Championships (25m) debut.
Women’s 400m Individual Medley – Final
Gold – Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 4:21.40
Silver – Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg Aquatics), 4:25.84
Bronze – Fantine Lesaffre (FRA), 4:27.31
Margalis won her second career FINA World Championships (25m) medal after taking bronze in the 200m IM in 2014.
Margalis (on winning silver on the opening night of competition): “It’s pretty exciting on the first night just to see Mal (Comerford) get second place and kind of get fired up for my swim.”
Men’s 200m Individual Medley – Final
Gold – Wang Shun (CHN), 1:51.01
Silver – Josh Prenot (Santa Maria, Calif./California Aquatics), 1:52.69
Bronze – Hiromasa Fujimori (JPN), 1:52.73
Prenot reaches the podium after finishing fourth in the 200m IM at this event two years ago.
Prenot was fifth at the 100-meter mark before moving to second on the back half of the race.
Prenot (on his silver-medal performance): “That was awesome. In the morning I was just stoked to sneak into the final. I think there was 0.5 between first and eighth. I just had to trust in the training I did this fall that I could finish that last hundred strong and get my hand on the wall.”
Women’s 400m Freestyle Relay – Final
Gold – United States (Olivia Smoliga, Lia Neal, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Dahlia), 3:27.78
Silver – Netherlands, 3:28.02
Bronze – China, 3:30.92
Team USA clinches its first gold medal of the FINA World Championships (25m).
The U.S. was third at the 200-meter mark before Comerford grabbed the lead for good on the third leg.
Neal, Dahlia, Veronica Burchill and Erika Brown posted the top qualifying time in the prelims.
Dahlia (on winning relay gold): "Relays are so fun, and … these girls I really trusted them. I was happy to be the anchor, and it’s great to start off the meet with a relay gold. Olivia and Mallory set the tone tonight. They had great swims earlier in the meet, so we were fired up."
Smoliga (on swimming on a relay with former NCAA rivals): “It’s an honor representing Team USA and being able to compete with these girls that we’ve known each other for so long. We were joking around that it's kind of like a collegiate meet. We swam together in college for a couple of years, so it was really fun to come together for the USA.”
Men’s 400m Freestyle Relay – Final
Gold – United States (Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Michael Chadwick, Ryan Held), 3:03.03 (World Record, American Record)
Silver – Russia, 3:03.11
Bronze – Brazil, 3:05.15
Team USA broke its own world record that had stood since the 2009 Duel in the Pool in Manchester, England.
The U.S. held off Russia down the stretch to win by eight-hundredths of a second.
Caeleb Dressel led off with an American record 45.66 in the 100m free. Ryan Held also broke the record earlier Tuesday with a prelim leadoff of 45.82.
Held, Kyle DeCoursey, Michael Jensen and Matt Grevers posted the third-fastest qualifying time in the prelims.
Held (on whether they thought a world record was possible): “We knew this was our event, our time to shine in short-course meters. We knew it was definitely possible, so we had it in the back our mind while racing. The girls set the standard high and got the ball rolling, got momentum going. We just had to follow suit.”
Chadwick (on winning gold and setting a world record with this group of teammates): “It’s a great honor. We’ve been friends for about four years now. We’ve raced each other many times at NCAAs … We couldn’t be closer friends and it’s pretty awesome to be able to do that together.”
Men’s 100m Backstroke – Semifinal
1. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 49.21
3. Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla./California Aquatics), 49.52
5. Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill./Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics), 49.97
Murphy and Grevers qualify for Wednesday’s final with top-eight finishes.
Women’s 50m Breaststroke – Semifinal
1. Alia Atkinson (JAM), 29.54
5. Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas/New York Athletic Club), 30.09
Meili advances to Wednesday’s final with a top-eight finish.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke – Semifinal
1. Fabio Scozzoli (ITA), 56.30
7. Andrew Wilson (Bethesda, Md./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), 56.92
10. Michael Andrew (Lawrence, Kan./Race Pace Club), 57.24
Wilson moves on to Wednesday’s final with his seventh-place finish.
Women’s 100m Backstroke – Semifinal
1. Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), 56.13
2. Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/Cal), 56.27
Smoliga and Baker are the top two qualifiers for Wednesday’s 100m back final.
Smoliga set an American record in Tuesday’s prelims with a time of 55.47.