The final day of the 2021 FINA World Championships (25m) saw three events won by the U.S., as well as a World Junior Record and American record go down.
Things kicked off with the women’s 4x50-meter freestyle relay, where the U.S. sent out the contingent of Abbey Weitzeil
, Claire Curzan
, Katharine Berkoff
and Kate Douglass
. The team alternated leads with Sweden and the Netherlands throughout the race, but ultimately it was the American quartet touching in 1:34.22 for gold.
“Before the race, I think we were all just pretty excited because it is the last night and we are going home tomorrow,” Douglass said. “We were all just pretty excited to start the finals session off on a good note, and that is what we did.”
The gold gives the U.S. women their second-consecutive win in the event at short-course world championships. Weitzeil led off with a 23.59 split, followed by a 23.40 from Curzan, 23.81 from Berkoff and 23.42 from Douglass. Torri Huske also earns a gold medal for her preliminary swim in the event.
Both breaststroke events on the night featured an American gold and came down to just a few one-hundredths of a second separating gold from silver. The men’s 50m breaststroke featured just two one-hundredths between the U.S.’ Nic Fink
(25.53) and Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi (25.55) for gold. Fink’s time bested his own American record which he set in yesterday’s semifinals and goes down as the 18th fastest time in history. Fink is now the eighth-fastest swimmer ever in the event.
The women’s 200m breaststroke title went to Emily Escobedo
, who out bested Russian Swimming Federation’s Evgeniia Chikunova 2:17.85 to 2:17.88. Her gold is the first individual medal that Escobedo has ever won at a FINA World Championships competition.
“I’m really excited about it,” Escobedo said in a TV interview after her race. “It was my first world champs, so it is just an honor. . . Team USA does have a small team, but they have been killing it, so I just wanted to do my part for the team.”
found himself on a podium again, this time via a silver-medal performance in the 100m freestyle. Held was under the world-record split at the 50-meter mark, but would eventually be out-touched by Italy’s Alessandro Miressi 45.57 to 45.63. The medal gave Held his fifth medal of the meet, before adding the sixth to his tally later in the session.
also tallied an individual medal with a silver in today’s 200m backstroke, where his 1:48.81 fell just .13 seconds behind Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki for gold. Casas’ time is a new personal best and gives him medals in two-of-three backstroke events at the meet following today’s silver in the 200 and Friday’s gold in the 100.
The young tandem of Curzan and Huske took to the 100m butterfly and would go on to post a 3-4 finish. Curzan’s bronze medal time of 55.39 set a new World Junior Record, while Huske’s 55.75 moved her up to No. 4 on the all-time list of American swimmers in the event.
“I was coming out of the [4x50m freestyle] relay so I was really excited,” Curzan said. “I was kind of riding a high wave for Team USA after winning. I’m honored to have another record, I think it is an amazing opportunity and a blessing to have, and it was great having Torri in my heat to help push me and comfort me and support me.”
Wrapping up the medal-winning efforts for the Americans was the men’s 4x100m medley relay. The U.S. men nabbed silver in 3:20.50 behind Italy’s gold-medal time of 3:19.76. The silver-medal team was comprised of Casas (50.44), Fink (55.27), Trenton Julian
(49.36) and Held (45.43).
"I love being on the medley relay, it is a great pride point of patriotism and national pride,” Held said. “Shaine had just come from the 50 back, Nic had just come from the 200 breast, Julian coming in as a last-second replacement for Tom [Shields], just all of those guys stepped up and I’m super proud of them.”
"I don’t know how many people can say they have had that many swims on the last day as our medley relay did," Fink added. "For us to show up like that, and everyone split well, it is good having us all swim that fast.
The U.S. leaves Abu Dhabi with the most gold (9), silver (9), bronze (12) and total medals (30) of any country, resulting in the U.S. being awarded "Team of the Meet" honors. For a look at the individual U.S. medal table, click here
For more on the competition, visit https://www.fina.org/competitions/2/15th-fina-world-swimming-championships-25m-2021/schedule?phase=All