Smoliga Shines as Team USA Claims Six Medals at FINA World Championships (25m)

Smoliga Shines as Team USA Claims Six Medals at FINA World Championships (25m)

By USA Swimming  | Saturday, December 15, 2018

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HANGZHOU, China – Headlined by a second backstroke individual gold medal from Olympian Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), Team USA won six medals Saturday at the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

The Americans currently top the medal table with 27 total medals, 11 of them gold, with one night of competition remaining.

Smoliga continued her strong showing with gold in the women’s 50-meter backstroke in an American record 25.88 seconds after also taking gold in the women’s 100m back on Wednesday.

The U.S. placed two on the podium of the women’s 200m individual medley with Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg Aquatics) taking silver in an American record 2:04.62 and Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/Cal) earning bronze in 2:05.54.

Margalis added a second silver to close the session as a member of the women’s 800m freestyle relay, which placed second in an American record 7:35.30. Leah Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa./Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics), Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville) and Erika Brown (Charlotte, N.C./Tennessee Aquatics) joined Margalis on the relay.

Also claiming silver on Saturday was the men’s 200m freestyle relay lineup of Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla./California Aquatics), Michael Andrew (Lawrence, Kan./Race Pace Club), Dressel and Ryan Held (Springfield, Ill./Wolfpack Elite) in American record 1:30.90, as well as Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas/New York Athletic Club) in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:03.63.

A complete look at Saturday’s action: 

Men’s 200m Freestyle Relay – Final

Gold – Russia, 1:30.54 
Silver – United States (Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held), 1:30.90 (American Record)
Bronze – Brazil, 1:31.49

Team USA broke the American record of 1:31.25 set at the 2014 FINA World Championships (25m).
Dressel won his team-high seventh medal in Hangzhou – 4 gold, 3 silver. 
Matt Grevers, Andrew Wilson, Jack Conger and Michael Chadwick qualified third in the prelims.  

Women’s 200m Individual Medley – Final

Gold – Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:03.25
Silver – Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg Aquatics), 2:04.62 (American Record)
Bronze – Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, N.C./Team Elite/Cal), 2:05.54

Margalis eclipsed her own American record of 2:04.65 set earlier this year.
Margalis and Baker both won their second individual silver medals this week.

Baker (on her race and earning bronze): “I just sort if went for it on that one. This was my last individual, so I really wanted to leave everything in the pool I could. It definitely hurt pretty bad coming home on that freestyle, but I’m happy with that time and to get to share the podium with Mel is awesome.” 

Men’s 50m Butterfly – Final

Gold – Nicholas Santos (BRA), 21.81 (Meet Record)
Silver – Chad le Clos (RSA), 21.97
Bronze – Dylan Carter (TTO), 22.38

There were no Americans in tonight’s men’s 50m fly final.

Women’s 50m Backstroke – Final

Gold – Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), 25.88 (American Record)
Silver – Carolina Pilhatsch (AUT), 25.99
Bronze – Holly Barratt (AUS), 26.04

Smoliga also won individual gold in the women’s 100m back on Wednesday.
Smoliga broke her own American record of 25.97 set earlier in the meet. Her time is also the fastest in the world this year. 

Smoliga (on winning for her teammates): “I just wanted to win for Team USA. They’ve been such great supporters and you can really hear them cheering in the stands.”

Smoliga (on her race): “It feels like a blur to me. It goes by so quickly. I saw both girls on either side of me off the turn and I knew I had to have a really good finish. I tried my best to get my hand on the wall first. 

Men’s 400m Individual Medley – Final

Gold – Daiya Seto (JPN), 3:56.43
Silver – Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS), 4:02.74
Bronze – Brandonn Almeida (BRA), 4:03.71

No Americans competed in the men’s 400m IM final.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke – Final

Gold – Alia Atkinson (JAM), 1:03.51
Silver – Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas/New York Athletic Club), 1:03.63
Bronze – Jessica Hansen (AUS), 1:04.61

The American record holder in the event, Meili won her first individual medal at the FINA World Championships (25m). 
Meili also was fifth in the women’s 50m breast earlier in the meet. 

Meili (on her race): “It was an awesome race. I got out-touched at the end, which is never fun, but I felt like I swam my own race and did my best and that’s all I can ask for.”

Women’s 800m Freestyle Relay – Final

Gold – China, 7:34.08 
Silver – United States (Leah Smith, Mallory Comerford, Melanie Margalis, Erika Brown), 7:35.30 (American Record)
Bronze – Australia, 7:36.40

The U.S. broke an 8-year-old American record by more than 3 seconds. The previous mark was 7:38.42 set in 2010.
Margalis won her second silver medal of the night after also placing second in the women’s 200m IM.
Lia Neal, Veronica Burchill, Brown and Smith qualified third in the prelim session.

Smith (on her teammates' performances): “I was really inspired by the times my teammates were able to put up after me, and get in there for the medal. I’m just really proud of all the girls I swam with and it’s always an honor to swim on a relay for the USA. 

Margalis (on comparing her two silver medals tonight): “It’s way more fun when you’re with your friends. I definitely prefer a relay medal to an individual medal. I have been nervous all day long waiting for this relay tonight. It’s a lot more fun when you get to share it.” 

Brown (on competing in her first FINA World Championships final): “I’m just really thankful to be a part of Team USA with such great girls, and it’s a great honor.” 

Men’s 100m Freestyle – Semifinal

1. Chad le Clos (RSA), 45.89
3. Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks), 46.09
6. Blake Pieroni (Valparaiso, Ind./Unattached), 46.31

Dressel and Pieroni advance to Sunday’s 100m free final.

Women’s 100m Butterfly – Semifinal

1. Kelsi Dahlia (Westampton, N.J./Cardinal Aquatics), 55.09
4. Kendyl Stewart (Carlsbad, Calif./Team Elite), 56.62

Dahlia and Stewart qualify for Sunday’s 100m fly final.

Women’s 50m Freestyle – Semifinal

1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 23.50
4. Mallory Comerford (Kalamazoo, Mich./University of Louisville), 23.83
8. Madison Kennedy (Avon, Conn./SwimMAC Carolina), 24.00

Comerford and Kennedy move on to Sunday’s 50m free final.

Men’s 50m Breaststroke – Semifinal

1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), 25.76

No Americans advanced to tonight’s semifinals of the men’s 50m breast. 



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