U.S. Wins Five Medals, Franklin Earns Sixth Gold as FINA World Championships Conclude
BARCELONA – Highlighted by a record sixth gold medal from Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.), American swimmers won five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze – Sunday at the 15th FINA World Championships.
Leading the way for the U.S. on the eighth and final day at Palau Sant Jordi were Franklin, Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.), Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) and Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who won gold in the women’s 400m medley relay in 3:53.23.
In the process, Franklin became the first woman to collect six gold medals at a single FINA World Championships. She topped the podium in the 100m back, 200m back, 200m free and all three relays.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Franklin said. “I still can’t really believe that it happened. Coming into this meet, I wanted to see where I was after London. I had some really great races that I’m really proud of, and there’s a bunch where I know there’s a lot of room to improve on. I’m really excited about the next year, and the year after that, and all the years following those.”
The Americans’ final medal count was 31 – 14 gold, eight silver and nine bronze – in pool and open water competition. They led all nations in in both gold medals and total medal count, and were awarded FINA’s trophy as the top team of the meet in the pool.
Also winning medals for the U.S. on Sunday were Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) with a silver in the men’s 50m backstroke (24.54), Chase Kalisz (Bel Air, Md.) with a silver in the men’s 400m IM (4:09.22), Hardy with a bronze in the women’s 50m breaststroke (29.80) and Elizabeth Beisel (Saunderstown, R.I.) with a bronze in the women’s 400m IM (4:31.69).
Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) won FINA’s award for the top female swimmer of the meet. Ledecky won four gold medals in Barcelona – in the 400m free, 800m free, 1500m free and 800m free relay. She set the American record in the 400m free and the world record in both the 800m and 1500m free. Sun Yang of China was the male swimmer of the meet.
In the final event of the meet, Franklin jumped out to a lead in the first leg of the women’s 400m medley relay, and the U.S. never looked back, building its distance on the field with each 100. They finished two seconds ahead of Australia, who touched in 3:55.22. Russia was third in 3:56.47.
The U.S. has now won back-to-back World Championships titles in this event.
In the men’s 400m IM, Kalisz trailed the pack in sixth place through the 200-meter mark, before surging in the breaststroke leg. By the end of 300 meters, he had moved into fourth place and made his way home in the freestyle. He missed gold by a half second, finishing behind Daiya Seto of Japan. Seto won gold in 4:08.69, while Thiago Pereira of Brazil took bronze in 4:09.48. Kalisz’s teammate, Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.), was fourth in 4:10.39.
Grevers tied with France’s Jeremy Stravius for silver in the men’s 50m backstroke. Camille La Court of France was first in 24.54. Grevers won two medals at this meet, including gold in the 100m back last Tuesday.
The last three world record-holders in the 50m breast took home all the hardware Sunday.
Hardy held the record at 29.80 from 2009 until yesterday morning, when Russia’s Yuliya Efimova broke it in 29.78. Then Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte broke that record in semifinals in 29.48.
On Sunday, Efimova took gold in 29.52, followed by Meilutyte in 29.59 and Hardy.
Hardy has medaled in this event in each of the World Championships in which she’s competed in, including a silver in 2005, and a gold in 2007 and 2011. Her time Sunday tied her American record.
Coming into this meet, the U.S. had won three of the last four World Championships in the women’s 400m IM. Beisel was the defending champ. Both she and teammate Maya DiRado (Santa Rosa, Calif.) were in the hunt the whole way, but couldn’t catch Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who won gold in 4:30.41. Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain was second in 4:31.21, followed by Beisel. Dirado finished fourth in 4:32.70.
Simone Manuel (Sugar Land, Texas), the lone American competing in the final of the women’s 50m free, finished seventh in 24.80. She was competing in her first finals at a major international meet.
The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo won gold in 24.05, while Australia’s Cate Campbell took the silver in 24.14. Francesca Halsall of Great Britain was third in 24.30
Competing at their first World Championships, Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J.) and Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas) both won events earlier in the meet, Jaeger taking bronze in the 400m free and McBroom winning silver and setting an American record in the 800m free.
In Sunday’s 1500 free, the duo finished just out of the medal standings in fourth and fifth place, Jaeger turning in a time of 14:47.96 and McBroom turning in a time of 14:53.95. Sun Yang of China was first in 14:41.15. Ryan Cochrane of Canada was second in 14:42.48 and Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy was third in 14:45.37.
In the men’s 400m medley relay, Grevers, Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.), Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) touched the wall about a second and a half ahead of the rest of the field in the men’s 400m medley relay, but were disqualified for a false start in the back-to-breast exchange.
France took gold in 3:31.51. Australia took silver in 3:31.64 and Japan was third in 3:32.26.
“A relay disqualification is not a particular individual swimmer’s fault,” Adrian said. “It’s Team USA’s fault. It falls on all of our shoulders. If we four ever step up together again, we’re never going to have a disqualification, that’s for sure.”
For more information about the U.S. Team at FINA World Championships visit, www.usaswimming.org. For complete results, visit www.omegatiming.com.