U.S. Adds Five Gold Medals, Two World Records at FINA World Championships (25m)

U.S. Adds Five Gold Medals, Two World Records at FINA World Championships (25m)

By USA Swimming  | Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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HANGZHOU, China – Led by a three-medal performance from Olympian Kelsi Dahlia (Westampton, N.J./Cardinal Aquatics), Team USA continued its fast start to the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) on Wednesday, winning five gold medals and setting a pair of relay world records.

Dahlia opened the session with gold and a world record in the women’s 200-meter medley relay, closed it with gold and a world record in the mixed 200m freestyle relay and won silver in the women’s 200m butterfly in between.

Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas/New York Athletic Club), Dahlia and Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville) got the night started with gold and a world record in the women’s 200m medley relay in 1 minute, 42.38 seconds.

Dahlia and Comerford teamed with Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida) and Ryan Held (Springfield, Ill./Wolfpack Elite) to close the session with gold and a second world record in the mixed 200m free relay with a time of 1:27.89.

Also winning gold Wednesday were Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla./California Aquatics) in the men’s 100m backstroke in 49.23, Blake Pieroni (Valparaiso Ind./Unattached) in the men’s 200m free in 1:41.49 and Smoliga in the women’s 100m back in 56.19.

Dahlia claimed her silver in the women’s 200m fly in an American record of 2:01.73.

A complete look at Wednesday’s action:

Women’s 200m Medley Relay – Final

Gold – United States (Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Dahlia, Mallory Comerford), 1:42.38 (World Record, American Record)
Silver – China, 1:44.31
Bronze – Netherlands, 1:44.57

The U.S. led wire to wire and broke its own world record of 1:43.27 set at the 2016 FINA World Championships (25m). Dahlia also swam butterfly on that relay two years ago. 
Smoliga led off the relay with an American record 50m back split of 25.97. 
Comerford won her third medal, second gold, of this week’s event.
Kathleen Baker, Meili, Kendyl Stewart and Erika Brown qualified first in this morning’s prelims.   

Comerford (on setting a world record and her anchor leg): “So excited, so awesome. Just being able to do it with these girls, it’s so much more fun to do it with them than by yourself. They get me pumped up. Just diving in off Kelsi, I knew that we were in a good place and I was just ready to go.”

Smoliga (on the motivation needed for a session with multiple swims): “We definitely want to keep the ball rolling. We saw Team USA in the stands cheering us on and that gives us all the motivation we need.” 

Men’s 100m Backstroke – Final

Gold – Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla./California Aquatics), 49.23
Silver – Xu Jiayu (CHN), 49.26
Bronze – Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 49.40
6. Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill./Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics), 50.02

Murphy won his first FINA World Championships (25m) individual medal gold medal. He took bronze in the 200m back in 2012.
Murphy took gold by just three-hundredths of a second ahead of crowd favorite Xu Jiayu.  

Murphy (on the tight finish): “That was super close. It wasn’t the cleanest race for me, but it’s good to be tough and to race the best.”

Murphy (on Team USA at this event): “I think everyone is in good spirits. A lot of us haven’t really raced short-course meters before so we’re kind of coming in her with no time expectations, which takes a lot of the pressure off. So we’re just coming in, having fun and racing.”

Women’s 200m Butterfly – Final

Gold – Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:01.60
Silver – Kelsi Dahlia (Westampton, N.J./Cardinal Aquatics), 2:01.73 (American Record)
Bronze – Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN), 2:04.04

Dahlia broke her own American record of 2:02.89 set at the 2016 FINA World Championships (25m).
Dahlia won gold earlier in the session in the 200m medley relay and has three total medals this week. 

Dahlia (on her runner-up finish and busy session): “I really wanted to get Katinka. We’ve gotten to swim with each other a lot this fall at the World Cups. I thought I could get her, but she really pushed me, and I went a best time by over a second. To have the 200 medley relay to start before that, a world record, I couldn’t be more excited for how this night has gone.”

Men’s 100m Breaststroke – Final

Gold – Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), 56.01 (Meet Record)
Silver – Ilya Shymanovich (BLR), 56.10
Bronze – Yasuhiro Koseki (JPN), 56.13
8. Andrew Wilson (Bethesda, Md./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), 57.19

Wilson also will compete in the 50m and 200m breast later this week. 

Women’s 50m Breaststroke – Final

Gold – Alia Atkinson (JAM), 29.05
Silver – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), 29.38
Bronze – Martina Carraro (ITA), 29.59
5. Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas/New York Athletic Club), 29.89

Meili also won gold on the women’s 200m medley relay earlier in the session. 

Men’s 200m Freestyle – Final

Gold – Blake Pieroni (Valparaiso, Ind./Unattached), 1:41.49
Silver – Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:41.78
Bronze – Alexander Graham (AUS), 1:42.28

Pieroni won gold from lane eight after qualifying eighth in this morning’s prelims.
Pieroni claimed his second gold medal of the event after winning the 400m free relay on Tuesday. This win marks his first individual gold at the FINA World Championships (25m).

Pieroni (on bouncing back to win gold): “It was a great race, probably not a perfectly split race but I felt a lot better than this morning. This morning was kind of a struggle, and I definitely wanted to go out a bit faster tonight. Not necessarily 2 seconds faster at the 100, but regardless of the time or how it was split I’m happy with the win.”

Women’s 100m Backstroke – Final

Gold – Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), 56.19
Silver – Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 56.26
Bronze – Georgia Davies (GBR), 56.74
5. Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/Cal), 56.89

Smoliga claimed her second gold medal of the session and third of the meet. She also won gold in the 400m free relay and 200m medley relay.
Smoliga set the American record in the 100m back in Tuesday’s prelim session. 

Smoliga (on winning gold): “Just the fact that I was able to race hard next to such strong women in my heat means the world to me. I really wanted to get my hand on the wall first, go as hard as I could and I’m really glad it turned out the way that it did.” 

Mixed 200m Freestyle Relay – Final

Gold – United States (Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Kelsi Dahlia, Mallory Comerford), 1:27.89 (World Record, American Record)
Silver – Netherlands, 1:28.51
Bronze – Russia, 1:28.73

Team USA eclipsed the world record of 1:28.57 set by the Netherlands in 2017. 
The U.S. has won gold in all four relays in Hangzhou, setting three world records.
Dahlia won three medals on Thursday – gold in the women’s 200m medley relay, gold in the mixed 200m free relay and silver in the women’s 200m fly. She has won four medals thus far. 
Comerford won two medals for the second straight night. She also won gold in the women’s 200m medley relay today.

Michael Andrew, Michael Chadwick, Olivia Smoliga and Madison Kennedy posted the top qualifying time in the prelims.   

Comerford (on the mixed relay format): “It was awesome to be on a relay with these guys. The mixed relay also adds a bit of a different feel to it. Being able to race with two boys and of course Kelsi is always so much fun. 

Dressel (on his leadoff split): “There’s always room for improvement, but on these relays you’re only a quarter of the race so you’ve got to make sure you do your job as best you can. That’s my goal. I wasn’t looking for a time, just getting my hand on the wall first and getting some clean water for the rest of the three on the relay.”

Women’s 100m Freestyle – Semifinal

1. Femke Heemskerk (NED), 51.84
5. Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville), 52.36
6. Lia Neal (Brooklyn, N.Y./Team Elite), 52.69

Comerford and Neal qualify for Thursday’s 100m free final with top-eight finishes. 

Men’s 100m Butterfly – Semifinal

1. Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida), 48.93
8. Jack Conger (Rockville, Md./Nation’s Capital Swim Club), 50.41

Dressel and Conger advance to Thursday’s 100m fly final with top-eight finishes.



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