By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Sunday, July 30, 2017
BUDAPEST – At any given international competition, you’ll hear a lot of talk from American swimmers about what an honor it is to represent the United States, and how proud they are to don that cap with the Stars and Stripes on it when they’re standing behind the blocks.
Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the Americans capped the 17th FINA World Championships Sunday winning gold in team events – the men’s and women’s 400m medley relay.
Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell and Simone Manuel won gold and set the world record with a time of 3:51.55 in the women's medley. It broke the former mark of 3:52.05, set by the Americans at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
It was the third straight gold for the U.S. women at a World Championships in this event. They also won gold in the 400m medley relay at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
“I know all of us put our hearts out on the line for that,” Baker said.
“Every day we wanted to make a statement,” Worrel said. “Of course we wanted to finish with a bang, and no better way to do that than with a gold and a world record.”
Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes, Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian followed suit, winning gold in 3:27.91. Their time was just 63-hundredths off the world record set by their compatriots at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
The American men have lost this event just twice at a World Championships, in 2007 and 2013. Both were the result of false starts on exchanges off the blocks.
“We take great pride in this event, and personally, I knew I wanted to go just the best time that I could at this meet, and that was able to happen with these three guys behind me,” Grevers said. “I got that extra adrenaline rush, that extra confidence. You want to perform not just for yourself, but it’s more about the team. You just want to finish on a high note.”
On the topic of team, no other came close to the Americans in the pool this week. They won 38 medals overall, including 18 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze. The U.S. also won seven of the eight relays in Budapest, the lone exception a bronze in the men’s 800m free relay.
Caeleb Dressel won the male swimmer of the meet award. Dressel won seven gold medals at this meet, and set two world records and four additional American records. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden was the female swimmer of the meet.
The only other swimmer to win seven gold medals at a World Championships was Michael Phelps in 2007.
“It’s probably the most fun I’ve had within seven or eight days,” Dressel said. “It was just a lot of fun. The atmosphere here – it was an absolute blast, getting to do what I love to do.”
Women’s 50m Breaststroke
After setting the American record in last night’s semifinals of the women’s 50m breaststroke, King finished the job today, winning gold and breaking the world record in that event in 29.40. The former record, set by Rute Meilutyte of Lithuania at the 2013 World Championships, stood at 29.48.
King swam away with four gold medals and four world records in Budapest. I addition to her two golds tonight, she also won gold and set a world record in the 100m breaststroke and the mixed 400m medley relay.
“I did what I came here to do, and luckily I was able to finish the meet – which is something I had trouble doing in the past – and get those two world records and get those golds,” King said. “It was great because I had the girls with me that last race. It wasn’t just me tonight, and I’m thankful I had them there for that.”
Teammate Katie Meili finished third behind King in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.99. With her performance tonight, Meili became the fourth-fastest American woman of all time in this event. Meili finishes the meet with three medals. She also won silver in the 100m breast and swam prelims on this morning’s 400m medley relay.
Men’s 400m IM
Chase Kalisz won his second gold medal of the meet in the men’s 400m IM, setting a championship record in 4:05.90. It was the fourth-fastest performance of all time in this event, making him the third-fastest swimmer of all time, behind childhood idols Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Kalisz won a gold medal in the 200m IM on Thursday, his first gold in a major international competition, and his first time swimming that event on the world stage. The 400m IM has been his specialty since making his first Worlds team in 2013. He won silver in this event in 2013, bronze in 2015, and silver at the 2016 Olympic Games.
It was the first time the United States won a World Championship title in the 400m IM since Ryan Lochte did it in 2011.
“When I grew up, I knew that was our thing – the IM,” Kalisz said. “I watched those guys swim, and I watched them dominate, and to be able to carry on their legacy – swimming my best right now – I think it’s awesome. I’m on top of the world right now.”
Teammate Jay Litherland finished 5th in 4:12.05. Litherland won gold Friday swimming in the prelims of the 800m free relay.
Other Medalists and Finalists
Other swimmers winning medals for the U.S. Sunday include Manuel, who won bronze and set an American record in the women’s 50m free (23.97). The last American woman to medal in this event was Amy Van Dyken, who won gold in 1998.
Manuel won six medals here in Budapest. In addition to her two tonight, she also won gold in the 100m free, the 400m free relay, the mixed 400m medley relay and the mixed 400m free relay.
Matt Grevers won bronze in the men’s 50m backstroke in 24.56. The U.S. has now won four World Championship medals in the 50 back, with Grevers winning three of those. He won four medals this week, including a silver in the 100m back and gold in the mixed 400m free relay.
The United States’ Justin Ress finished sixth in the 50m back in 24.77.
Other swimmers competing in finals for the U.S. tonight were Leah Smith and Elizabeth Beisel, who finished sixth and seventh in the women’s 400m IM in 4:36.09 and 4:37.63.
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.
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