By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Thursday, July 25, 2019
GWANGJU, South Korea – With half the meet behind them, the United States has won eight medals so far at the 18th FINA World Championships – three gold, three silver and two bronze.
That might be a little off pace for the Americans, but there are four more days to go. And tonight’s finals look promising, with Americans holding the top seed in three of the five events.
Day 5 began Thursday with prelims of the women’s 100m freestyle, men’s 200m backstroke, women’s 200m breaststroke, men’s 200m breaststroke and women’s 800m free relay. The top eight teams from the relay will competing in tonight’s finals. The top 16 swimmers in the other events will compete in tonight’s semifinals.
Americans competing in this morning’s prelims were Simone Manuel in the women’s 100m free (1st, 53.10); Mallory Comerford in the women’s 100m free (6th, 53.57); Ryan Murphy in the men’s 200m backstroke (1st, 1:56.61); Jacob Pebley in the men’s 200m backstroke (16th, 1:58.07); Micah Sumrall in the women’s 200m breaststroke (tie, 8th, 2:25.17); Lilly King in the women’s 200m breaststroke (DSQ); Andrew Wilson in the men’s 200m breaststroke (8th, 2:09.61); Josh Prenot in the men’s 200m breaststroke (tie, 9th, 2:09.68); and Allison Schmitt, Gabby DeLoof, Melanie Margalis and Leah Smith in the women’s 800m free relay (2nd, 7:51.58).
Medals are on the line in four events tonight – the women’s 200m butterfly, men’s 100m freestyle, women’s 50m back, men’s 200m IM and the women’s 800m free relay.
Here’s how the American swimmers look in each of those events:
Women’s 200m Butterfly
Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot are the top two qualifiers for tonight’s finals of the women’s 200m butterfly. Flickinger was the national champion in this event in 2017 and 2018. She competed in the 200m fly at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where she placed seventh, and at the 2017 FINA World Championships, where she placed ninth.
Drabot is competing in her first long course World Championships. She won bronze in this event at last year’s Pan Pacific Championships,
Men’s 100m Freestyle
Caeleb Dressel will be defending his World title from 2017 tonight as the top seed. So far this week, Dressel has won three medals – gold in the 50m butterfly and the 400m free relay, and silver in the mixed 400m medley relay. He holds the American record in this event at 47.17, set at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, and is the seventh-fastest swimmer of all time.
Joining Dressel in tonight’s finals of the 100m free will be Blake Peironi. A gold medalist in the 400m free relay at the 2016 Olympics, Pieroni is competing in his second World Championships. Last time around, in Budapest, Pieroni won gold in the 400m free relay and the 400m mixed free relay, and a bronze in the 800m free relay. This will be his first World Championship finals in an individual event. He won gold in the men’s 400m free relay on the first night of competition here in Gwangju.
Women’s 50m Back
Two nights after placing sixth in the 100m back, Kathleen Baker is back in the water tonight as the top seed in the 50. She finished fifth in this event at Worlds in 2017. A 2016 Olympian, Baker is competing in her second World Championships.
Her teammate, Olivia Smoliga is the fifth seed. Like Baker, Smoliga is a 2016 Olympian competing in her second long-course World Championships. She won bronze on Tuesday in the women’s 100m back.
Men’s 200m IM
Chase Kalisz, the defending world champion in this event, is the fourth seed in tonight’s finals. He is competing in his fourth World Championships. Abrahm DeVine is the seventh seed. He was seventh in the 200m IM at the 2017 World Championships, and fifth at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.
Women’s 800m Free Relay
The team of Allison Schmitt, Gabby DeLoof, Melanie Margalis and Leah Smith qualified second behind the Australians for tonight’s finals with a time of 7:51.58. Splits for each swimmer were as follows: Schmitt, 1:59.37; DeLoof, 1:58.35; Margalis, 1:56.37; and Smith, 1:57.49. The lineup for tonight’s finals will be released shortly before the start of the session.