By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Thursday, July 27, 2017
BUDAPEST – A short, mid-term report from the 17th FINA World Championships:
After four days of competition – with four to go – the United States leads all nations with 16 medals overall in the pool, including six gold, seven silver and three bronze.
So far, the U.S. has won all relays – the men’s and women’s 400m free relay, and the mixed 400m medley relay. The Americans have taken gold in three individual events, all on the women’s side: the women’s 400m and 1500m freestyle, and the women’s 100m breaststroke.
What do their prospects look like for the rest of the week? Let’s start with tonight’s finals.
Men’s 200m IM
Chase Kalisz is the top seed heading into tonight’s finals of this event.
A three-time veteran of the World Championships, Kalisz had been primarily known for his prowess in the 400m IM. He won silver in that event at the 2013 World Championships and bronze at the 2015 World Championships. Last year, in Rio, he won silver in the 400m IM behind Kosuke Hagino of Japan.
Tonight will be his first time swimming the 200m IM at a major international competition. He will again face off against Hagino, who is the second seed.
He is also slated to compete in the 400m IM on the final night of the meet.
The U.S. has won seven straight gold medals in this event at Worlds, going back to Michael Phelps in 2003 (three straight) and Ryan Lochte, beginning in 2009 (four straight).
Men’s 100m Freestyle
The United States’ representatives for this event last year in Rio – Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian – qualified second and third for tonight’s finals.
Dressel has already won two gold medals this week in Budapest, one in the 400m free relay on the first night of competition, and one in last night’s world record-setting 400m mixed medley relay. He also finished fourth in the 50m fly on Monday.
These World Championships mark Dressel’s second major international competition. Last year in Rio, he won gold in the 400m free relay and finished sixth in the 100m free.
By contrast, Adrian is a veteran of five World Championships and three Olympic Games. With 10 career FINA World Championships medals – including his sixth gold, which he won in the 400m free relay on Sunday – Adrian has entered elite company in Budapest. Only four other American men have posted a double-digit medal tally in World Championships action - Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol and Matt Biondi.
The last time the U.S. won a medal in the 100m free at a World Championships was in 2013, when Olympian Jimmy Feigen won silver. The last American to win gold was Anthony Ervin in 2001.
Women’s 50m Backstroke
Kathleen Baker is the lone American to qualify for tonight’s finals in this event. She is the third seed. Baker, the silver medalist in the 100m back at the 2016 Olympic Games, also won silver in the 100m back here on Tuesday. She is competing in her second World Championships. This is the first time she has swum the 50m back in a major international competition.
Missy Franklin was the last American to win a medal at Worlds in this event, a bronze in 2011. Leila Vaziri was the last American to win gold, in 2007.
Women’s 200m Butterfly
No Americans qualified for the final of the women’s 200m butterfly. Hali Flickinger was ninth in last night’s semifinals in 2:07.89, and Dakota Luther was 15th in 2:09.55. Franziska Hentke of Germany is the top seed in 2:06.29.
Women’s 800m Free Relay
The team of Melanie Margalis (1:56.58), Cierra Runge (1:59.17), Hali Flickinger (1:58.46) and Madisyn Cox (1:59.52) qualified third in this morning’s prelims in 7:53.73, behind China and Japan. While nothing is official until an hour before prelims, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Mallory Comerford and Leah Smith are all likely possibilities for swimming in tonight’s finals.
The American women have won gold in six of the last seven World Championships in this event, including the last one in 2015.
The top 16 swimmers from each of this morning’s prelims in individual events will advance to tonight’s semifinals. Here’s a look at how the American swimmers fared:
Simone Manuel, 3rd, women’s 100m free, 53.17; Mallory Comerford, 5th, women’s 100m free, 53.42; Ryan Muprhy, 1st, men’s 200m backstroke, 1:56.11; Jacob Pebley, 14th, men’s 200m backstroke, 1:58.05; Lilly King, 2nd, women’s 200m breaststroke, 2:24.28; Bethany Galat, 5th, women’s 200m breaststroke, 2:24.56; Kevin Cordes, 5th, men’s 200m breaststroke, 2:09.47; Nic Fink, 7th, men’s 200m breaststroke, 2:09.90.
For more expert analysis and insight from the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, catch Deck Pass Live, right here on usaswimming.org. The show begins approximately one hour after finals. Also, follow our coverage from Hungary on Facebook and Twitter. #DeckPassLive.