BARCELONA – Missy Franklin won her third gold medal of the meet Wednesday at the 15th FINA World Championships, finishing atop the field in the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:54.81.
Michael McBroom also brought home some hardware for the U.S., winning silver and setting an American record in the men’s 800m freestyle in 7:43.60.
Halfway through the competition at Palau Sant Jordi Pool, the Americans’ medal count stands at 16 – seven gold, five silver and four bronze. They lead all teams in both gold medals and total medal count.
Women’s 200m Freestyle
Franklin and France’s Camille Muffat jumped out to a quick lead in the women’s 200m freestyle, with Muffat holding a slight lead over Franklin at the first turn. Franklin took the lead at the 100-meter mark and looked poised to walk away with the race as the field approached the final wall.
Italy’s Federica Pellegrini made a move in the final 50 meters, but Franklin was able to hold her off down the homestretch for gold. Pellegrini took silver in 1:55.14, while Muffat won bronze in 1:55.72. American Shannon Vreeland finished seventh in 1:57.41.
“I knew (Pellegrini) was going to have a really strong second 100, so I tried to take it out with Muffat and stay ahead of Pellegrini in the second 100,” Franklin said. “I’m really, really happy with my swim there. You kind of use each swim to motivate the next one. That’s a best time for me. I told myself if I go a 1:54, I would be the happiest girl alive, so I’m happy with the 1:54, and it happened to be a gold medal, too, which I’m thrilled about.”
Franklin also won gold in the 400m free relay on the first night of competition and the 100m back Tuesday. She scratched from the semifinals of the 50m back after this morning’s prelims and has four events remaining – the 100 free, the 200 back, the 400 medley relay and the 800 free relay.
“If I had made finals (in the 50m back), it would have also been before the relay tomorrow night,” Franklin said. “So with it being right before this and right before the relay, we decided the risks outweighed the rewards for that race. It was fun to swim it this morning, but I think I’m happy with the decision to scratch.”
Men’s 800m Freestyle
In the men’s 800m free, Chinese distance juggernaut Sun Yang held a half-second lead on the rest of the field for much of the race, with three or four swimmers sticking to his side the whole way, including McBroom, teammate Connor Jaeger and Canadian Ryan Cochrane.
At the 600-meter mark, McBroom moved into second position, with Jaeger and Cochrane swimming neck-and-neck with him. When they turned for the bell lap, the race was on.
Sun took off and distanced himself by about a body length in two or three strokes. McBroom, Jaeger and Cochrane sprinted down the final 50 behind Sun for the remaining two spots on the medal stand.
When the water finished churning, Sun had gold in 7:41.36, followed by McBroom for silver. Cochrane took bronze in 7:43.70. Jaeger was fourth in 7:44.26.
McBroom was competing in his first World Championship final. He became the first American since Larsen Jensen in 2005 to win a medal in this event. The U.S. has never won gold in the 800m free.
“I was just trying to get out there and race, and see what I could do,” McBroom said. “Luckily it worked well for me, and I put down the race I thought I could.”
Both McBroom and Jaeger swam faster than the former American record of 7:45.63, set by Jensen at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal.
“I saw (Cochrane) really run me down the last 50, and I had nothing left,” Jaeger said. “But I was so relieved when I looked up at the scoreboard and my teammate, Michael McBroom, got a silver medal. I’m just really happy for him – a silver medal is pretty fantastic.”
Men’s 200m Butterfly
Tom Luchsinger and Olympian Tyler Clary and represented the United States in the finals of the men’s 200m butterfly. Both swimmers took the race out conservatively, but Luchsinger moved into second position at the 100-meter mark. Unfortunately, he could not hold on from there, fading to fifth at the finish in 1:55.70. Clary was seventh in 1:56.34.
Winning gold was Chad Le Clos of South Africa, who out-touched Michael Phelps in this event at last year’s Olympic Games. His time was 1:54.32. Pawel Korzeniowski of Poland was second in 1:55.01, followed by Wu Peng of China in 1:55.09.
Despite missing out missing out on the medal stand, Luchsinger was encouraged by his swim. He was competing in his first World Championship final.
“Really there kind of wasn’t a strategy with that (race),” Luchsinger said. “(Men’s coach) Bob Bowman talked about it a little bit beforehand, and he just said, ‘Go race and have fun.’ So that’s what I did, and I really enjoyed it. I would have loved to have won a medal, but that’s OK. It’s my first time; hopefully it won’t be my last.
“One thing I’ve taken away from this meet is how much fun racing is in general. That’s something I’ve learned a lot from all of the people on this team. It’s really an honor to be a part of it, and they’ve taught me so much about a lot of different stuff.”
Men’s 50m Breaststroke
No Americans competed in the men’s 50m breaststroke final. Taking gold was Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa in 26.77, followed by Christian Sprenger of Australia in 26.78 and Giulio Zorzi of Russia in 27.04.
The following American swimmers competed in tonight’s semifinals: Nathan Adrian, 1st, men’s 100m freestyle (47.95); Jimmy Feigen, 2nd, men’s 100m freestyle (48.07); Rachel Bootsma, 6th, women’s 50m backstroke (27.93); Cammile Adams, 2nd, women’s 200m butterfly (2:06.75); Maya Dirado, 12th, women’s 200m butterfly 2:08.28; Ryan Lochte, 1st, men’s 200m IM (1:57.07); Conor Dwyer, 10th, men’s 200m IM (1:58.56).
The top eight swimmers in each event will compete in tomorrow night’s finals.
The 15th FINA World Championships continues Thursday. For complete results, go to www.omegatiming.com.
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