By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Sunday, July 28, 2019
GWANGJU, South Korea – This is it. Day 8 of the 18th FINA World Championships. The competition comes to a close tonight with the finals of eight events.
Here’s how tonight’s finals are shaping up for the American swimmers:
Men’s 50m Backstroke
Ryan Murphy will get a warmup for the finals of the men’s 400m medley relay in the first event of the night – the men’s 50m backstroke. Murphy is the fourth seed. This is the first time Murphy is swimming this event at a World Championships. He’s had an up-and-down week so far, winning silver in the 200m back and the mixed 400m medley relay, but placing fourth in the 100m back.
Joining him is teammate Michael Andrews, who has finaled in each of the 50-meter events here in Gwangju.
The last American to win gold in this event was Randall Bal in 2001. Matt Grevers was the last American to medal with a bronze in 2017.
Women’s 50m Breaststroke
Lilly King will also get a warmup before swimming the finals of the women’s 400m medley. She is the top seed in the finals of the 50m breast. King is the defending world champion in this event and the world record holder. So far this week, King has a gold in the 100m breast and a silver in the mixed 400m medley relay.
Men’s 1500m Freestyle
No Americans qualified for this final. The top seed is Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, who also won the 800m freestyle earlier in the week.
Women’s 50m Freestyle
It’s been a busy week for Simone Manuel, who won gold and set an American record in the 100m free two nights ago, and won gold and helped set a world record in the mixed 400m free relay last night. She also won silver in the women’s 400m free relay, the mixed 400m medley relay, and the women’s 800m free relay. She is the fourth seed in tonight’s 50 and will also likely swim on the American women’s 400m medley relay. Manuel won bronze in this event at the 2017 World Championships. The last American to win gold in the 50 at Worlds was Amy Van Dyken in 1998.
Men’s 400m IM
Jay Litherland is the lone qualifier for the Americans tonight in this event. He is the third seed. Litherland was fifth in the 400m IM at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and fifth at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Defending world champion Chase Kalisz finished 10th in prelims and did not qualify for finals. The U.S. has won 7 of the last 11 world championship titles in this event.
Women’s 400m IM
Ally McHugh qualified as the fifth seed. While McHugh is competing in her first World Championships, she does have some experience in international competition. She finished 9th in the 400m IM at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and won silver in this event at the 2017 World University Games. Teammate Brooke Forde just missed qualifying for finals, finishing ninth in this morning’s prelims.
Men’s 400m Medley Relay
Matt Grevers, Michael Andrew, Jack Conger and Zach Apple qualified second behind Russia in this morning’s prelims in 3:31.93. Their splits were as follows: Grevers, 52.89; Andrew, 59.75; Conger, 51.70; Apple, 47.59. The final lineup will likely be Ryan Murphy, Andrew Wilson, Caeleb Dressel and either Blake Pieroni or Nathan Adrian, but that is not official. The official lineup will be released shortly before the start of tonight’s session.
Women’s 400m Medley Relay
Olivia Smoliga, Melanie Margalis, Katie McLaughlin and Mallory Comerford qualified first for tonight’s finals in 3:55.39. Their splits were as follows: Smoliga, 58.79; Margalis, 1:06.40; McLaughlin, 57.15; and Comerford, 53.05. The final lineup will likely be either Kathleen Baker or Regan Smith, Lilly King, Kelsi Dahlia and Simone Manuel, but that is not official. The official lineup will be released shortly before the start of tonight’s session.