BARCELONA, Spain – American swimmers won five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze – Sunday at the 15th FINA World Championships.
Leading the way for the U.S. on the eighth and final day at Palau Sant Jordi pool were Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano, who won gold in the women’s 400m medley relay in 3:53.23.
Also winning medals for the U.S. were Matt Grevers with a silver in the men’s 50m backstroke (24.54), Chase Kalisz with a silver in the men’s 400m IM (4:09.22), Hardy with a bronze in the women’s 50m breaststroke (29.80) and Elizabeth Beisel with a bronze in the women’s 400m IM (4:31.69).
The Americans’ final medal count was 31 – 14 gold, eight silver and nine bronze. They led all nations in in both gold medals and total medal count, and were awarded FINA’s trophy as the top team of the meet.
The United States’ Katie Ledecky won FINA’s award for the top female swimmer of the meet. Ledecky won four gold medals in Barcelona – in the 400m free, 800m free, 1500m free and 800m free relay. She set the American record in the 400m free and the world record in both the 800m and 1500m free. Sun Yang of China was the male swimmer of the meet.
WOMEN'S 4X100M MEDLEY RELAY
Franklin jumped out to a lead in the first leg of the women’s 400m medley relay, and the U.S. never looked back, building its distance on the field with each 100. They finished two seconds ahead of Australia, who touched in 3:55.22. Russia was third in 3:56.47.
The U.S. has now won back-to-back World Championship titles in this event.
“I think we’re all just really excited to be up there together and do a relay together,” Vollmer said. “I’m excited we all swam so well and put it all together. Everybody just really stepped up more than I ever thought they would."
Each of the women on the team has won multiple medals this week. As mentioned earlier, Hardy also won bronze in the 50m breaststroke Sunday. Vollmer won bronze in the 100m butterfly, and Romano anchored the Americans’ gold-medal-winning 400m free relay on the first night of competition.
“I thought it was awesome, just to go out with a bang,” Romano said. “I started off the meet with a gold with these guys and ended it with a gold.”
Franklin took home the biggest haul, winning six gold medals, in the 100m back, 200m back, 200m free and all three relays. She is the first woman to win six golds at a World Championships.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Franklin said. “I still can’t really believe that it happened. Coming into this meet, I wanted to see where I was after London. I had some really great races that I’m really proud of, and there’s a bunch where I know there’s a lot of room to improve on. I’m really excited about the next year, and the year after that, and all the years following those.”
MEN'S 400M IM
In the men’s 400m IM, Kalisz trailed the pack in sixth place through the 200-meter mark, before surging in the breaststroke leg. By the end of 300 meters, he had moved into fourth place and made his way home in the freestyle. He missed gold by a half second, finishing behind Daiya Seto of Japan. Seto won gold in 4:08.69, while Thiago Pereira of Brazil took bronze in 4:09.48. Kalisz’s teammate, Tyler Clary, was fourth in 4:10.39.
Kalisz, 19, was competing in his first World Championship finals.
“It’s been my goal all along to go under 4:10, and medaling was just a bonus on top of it,” Kalisz said. “I kind of had that goal from the start of the season, coming from the Junior National Team. I knew it was going to be tough to make the transition (to the World Championship Team), but I’m very, very happy with the outcome."
MEN'S 50M BACKSTROKE
Grevers tied with France’s Jeremy Stravius for silver in the men’s 50m backstroke. Camille La Court of France was first in 24.54. Grevers won two medals at this meet, including gold in the 100m back last Tuesday.
Only one other American has won a medal in the 50m back at a long course World Championships. Randall Bal won gold in 2001.
WOMEN'S 50M BREASTSTROKE
The last three world record-holders in the 50m breast took home all the hardware in this event Sunday.
Hardy held the record at 29.80 from 2009 until yesterday morning, when Russia’s Yuliya Efimova broke it in 29.78. Then Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte broke that record in semifinals in 29.48.
On Sunday, Efimova took gold in 29.52, followed by Meilutyte in 29.59 and Hardy.
Hardy has medaled in this event in each of the World Championships in which she’s competed, including a silver in 2005, and a gold in 2007 and 2011. Her time Sunday tied her American record.
WOMEN'S 400M IM
Coming into this meet, the U.S. had won three of the last four World Championships in the women’s 400m IM. Beisel was the defending champ. Both she and teammate Maya Dirado were in the hunt the whole way, but couldn’t catch Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who won gold in 4:30.41. Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain was second in 4:31.21, followed by Beisel. Dirado finished fourth in 4:32.70.
“It hurt really bad, but I’m really pleased with the time,” Beisel said. “I did not think I was going to be that fast, and coming home with a medal is even cooler, so I’m excited.
“I’ve been trying to work on fly a lot lately, because I’m always out last and it’s sort of hard for me to catch up on backstroke, so I’m glad I wasn’t last tonight (in the fly). That’s all coach (Gregg) Troy wanted from me."
SATURDAY, AUG. 3
WOMEN'S 800M FREESTYLE
The women’s 800m freestyle was Katie Ledecky’s fourth race of the meet. She also swam the 400m free, 1500m free and 800m free relay earlier in the week, winning gold in each and setting a world record in the 1500m free and an American record in the 400m free.
In the 800m free, Ledecky trailed Lotte Friis of Denmark by as much as a body length, but started gaining ground at the 600-meter mark. Ledecky took the the lead at 650 meters, and was twelve-hundredths ahead of world-record pace with 100 meters to go.
She finished about two and a half seconds ahead of Friis, who touched in 8:16.32. Lauren Boyle of New Zealand was third in 8:18.58. American Chloe Sutton, who has competed with Ledecky in each of Ledecky’s three individual races, was sixth in 8:27.75.
“It doesn’t really matter what’s going on in the middle of the race,” Ledecky said. “It’s all about getting your hand on the wall first. My coach really wanted me to push the last 200, and I just stayed patient throughout the race like I did the other day (in the 1500), and made my move where I had to.”
The U.S. has medaled in 14 of 15 World Championships in this event. The last American to win gold was Kate Ziegler in 2007.
“It’s good to finish off on a great note,” Ledecky said. “I exceeded all expectations I had going into this meet and met all my goals, and I’m really happy right now.”
WOMEN'S 200M BACKSTROKE
Missy Franklin took the lead from the start of the women’s 200m backstroke and cruised to the meet record, finishing almost two body-lengths ahead of silver medalist Belinda Hocking of Australia, who touched in 2:06.66. Hilary Caldwell of Canada won bronze in 2:06.80. Franklin’s teammate, Elizabeth Pelton, was fifth in 2:08.98.
Franklin’s time Saturday was seven-tenths off the world record she set in the 200m back last year in London. She has now won this event at back-to-back World Championships and is the top-ranked swimmer in the world in the 200m back for the third straight year.
“The 200 back is my favorite race, but it’s probably the most painful,” Franklin said. “I enjoy it, but it hurts a lot. I tried to swim a smart race and stick to my race plan. I’m really happy with a 2:04. It’s right where I was in London. I haven’t been there all season, so to be a 2:04 again, I’m really, really happy.”
It was the fifth gold medal of the meet for Franklin, who also took first in the in the 100m back, 200m free, 400m free relay and 800m free relay. She’s swum six finals so far, and is expected to cap the meet with the finals of the 400m medley relay on Sunday.
“It’s nice to end my individual races on that note, and then end the meet tomorrow hopefully on a great note,” Franklin said. “It’s incredible. I never could have imagined this (performance) coming into this meet. It’s nice knowing that after London I was still able to motivate myself, and that all the work I put in this past year has been worth it.
FRIDAY, AUG. 2
MEN'S 200M BACKSTROKE
The 200m back was the first of three swims for Ryan Lochte Friday. He also qualified first in the semifinal of the men’s 100m butterfly (51.48), then went on to help the Americans to gold in the 800m free relay.
Lochte took the lead from the start of the men’s 200m backstroke and held on through the finish for gold by a half a body-length over runner-up Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland, who touched in 1:54.24. Tyler Clary moved into third at the 100-meter mark and stayed there for the bronze.
Americans have won gold at the last eight World Championships in this event. Lochte has won three of those – in 2007, 2011 and this year.
“The 200 back is probably one of the hardest events on your legs and just your body in general,” Lochte said. “I think it’s the exact same time I went at the Olympics, and with the little amount of training I’ve done this year, I think that’s going to set me up pretty good for 2016.”
Lochte and Clary also finished first and third at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. Then last year at the Olympic Games in London, it was Clary who took gold while Lochte took bronze.
“I will call it something I can live with,” Clary said. “I haven’t placed higher than third in that event at a World Championships. To be able to tie that after the year I had is not too bad. I didn’t really feel like myself in the water until after World Championship Trials, and my only goal was to come in and have a really good race technically. I executed my details well and wanted to go 1:54-mid, and that’s exactly what I did."
MEN'S 4X200M FREESTYLE RELAY
Conor Dwyer, who took silver in the 200m free earlier in the week, led off the 800m free relay and put the team in third position at the 200-meter mark, behind Russia and France. Lochte then took the lead in the second leg by six-tenths over Russia. His split of 1:44.98 was the second-fastest in the 32-man field.
Charlie Houchin increased the Americans’ lead to about a body length in the third leg, and Ricky Berens brought them home. Russia finished second in 7:03.92, while China was third in 7:04.74.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the triple,” Lochte said. “I was just focusing on my first race, after that focusing on my second and then my third. No matter what the outcome was in the first and second race, I had to pull it together for Team USA.
“When you get together for a relay, you don’t care about the pain. You don’t care about anything like that. You just get up there and put together a good race for the other guys.”
The U.S. has now won this race at five straight World Championships and has not lost the 800m free relay on the international stage since 2003.
“That’s always going through your head – protecting that (tradition),” Berens said. “It’s a different race without Phelps, but we’re here to show the world we’re all right.”
WOMEN'S 200M BREASTSTROKE
Micah Lawrence knew she was in for a tough race in tonight’s finals of the women’s 200m breaststroke. In Thursday’s semifinals, two swimmers – Russia’s Yuliya Efimova and Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen – swam under the 2 minute, 20 second mark, with Pedersen breaking the world record in 2:19.11.
Lawrence said her plan was to take the race out controlled and relaxed and hopefully be in striking distance near the end. It didn’t work out quite that way, but Lawrence said she was happy with her bronze medal. Efimova was first in 2:19.41, followed by Pedersen in 2:20.08.
Lawrence was swimming in her first long course World Championship final. Her third place was an improvement over her sixth-place finish in this event at last year’s Olympic Games.
“It’s really my first international medal, so that’s pretty cool,” Lawrence said. “It was pretty crazy having two people go under 2:20 (in semifinals), and then one of them did it again tonight. Everyone is fast at this level. You’ve got to swim your own race, and you can’t be paying too much attention to everyone around you. It is a race, though, so eventually you’re going to have to buck up and beat them."
THURSDAY, AUG. 1
MEN'S 200M IM
Lochte kicked it off for the U.S. in the first final of the night, the men’s 200m IM. His win was just the second gold medal this week for the American men.
He took the first 100 out strong and in control, trailing Brazil’s Thiago Pereira by just fractions of a second at each wall. He then made his move in the breaststroke leg, surging ahead of the field and bringing it home in the final 50.
He finished about 1.3 seconds ahead of Kosuke Hagino of Japan, who touched in 1:56.29. Pereira was third in 1:56.30.
“My goggles fogged up, so I really couldn’t see the rest of the field,” Lochte said. “When the freestyle came, I was just hoping I was in first.”
Lochte’s gold made up for his disappointing fourth-place finish in the 200m free earlier this week. It marks the third time he’s won a World Championship title in this event, setting a world record in Rome in 2009 and Shanghai in 2011.
Between Lochte and Michael Phelps, Americans have won the 200m IM at every World Championships for the last 10 years.
“It feels good considering my training this year,” Lochte said. “It hasn’t really been there, so I was happy to get a win out of this"
WOMEN'S 4X200M FREESTYLE RELAY
The women’s 800m free relay was neck-and-neck between the United States, Australia and France through the third leg. As the anchors dived in for the final leg, Australia held about a second lead over the U.S., which was quickly erased by Franklin.
By the end of her first 100 meters, the U.S. held a second’s lead over the rest of the field. Franklin never looked back, finishing about two body lengths ahead of runner-up Australia, who touched in 7:47.08. France was third in 7:48.43.
The U.S. has now won five of the last six World Championships in this event.
With this race, Ledecky has won three golds in Barcelona and is undefeated on the international stage, going back to last year’s Olympic 800m freestyle.
“It was my first relay on a U.S. team, so it just meant a lot to get up and race with three other girls behind me,” Ledecky said. “I had a ton of fun with all three of them. It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had in a race.”
It was the second gold medal this week for Shannon Vreeland, who was also on the winning 400m free relay on the first night of competition.
“Katie led it off like a champ,” Vreeland said. “I knew she had an outstanding meet so far, so I was really excited to see what she could do on this relay, and having (Karlee Bispo and Franklin) behind me, I was really confident with the rest of the relay. With Missy as an anchor, you have a lot of confidence. You can’t go wrong.”
Bispo swam in her first final at a major international meet and won her first career World Championship gold.
“To be with three Olympians and amazing people, and to be able to represent my country, look back and hear the USA chant, wear the flag on our suits and caps and win the gold medals is something I’ll never forget,” Bispo said. “I was trying to hide back the tears hearing the National Anthem. It’s definitely an unforgettable memory.”
“Regardless of what my time was, I knew I had to leave everything in that pool,” Franklin said. “I was scared my first hundred because I was so excited, and I took it out so fast, but I knew I had to bring it home with everything I had. I was just thinking about these girls the whole time."
MEN'S 100M FREESTYLE
Nathan Adrian went out after it in the men’s 100m freestyle, flipping second at the wall and heading out into clear water. At about halfway down the homestretch, the rest of the field began to surge, including teammate Jimmy Feigen.
In the end, Adrian just couldn’t hold off Feigen and Australian James Magnussen. Magnussen won gold in 47.71, followed by Feigen, then Adrian.
Feigen also won silver, along with Adrian, in the 400m free relay on the first night of competition. But Thursday was his first time competing in an individual final at a long course World Championship.
“I started out a little shaky with this whole World Championships thing, but I think it’s coming together in the end,” Feigen said. “Nathan and I have a long history of first and second, so I’m glad we were both there next to each other. I had him for support this entire meet. He’s been a great teammate. I can’t say enough nice things about him.”
Thursday’s race was the first time an American has medaled in this event in the last five World Championships. The last American to win a medal at the World Championships was Anthony Ervin, who took gold in 2001.
“It’s not bad for (Feigen’s) first individual international meet,” Adrian said. “It was solid. It’s just so exciting to have two Americans on the podium, especially in the 100 freestyle. It’s been such a long time. It’s just good to be up there."
As for his own race, Adrian felt he had some good speed, especially in the first 50.
“I went out in 22.3, and it felt like nothing,” Adrian said.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31
WOMEN'S 200M FREESTYLE
Franklin and France’s Camille Muffat jumped out to a quick lead in the women’s 200m freestyle, with Muffat holding a slight lead over Franklin at the first turn. Franklin took the lead at the 100-meter mark and looked poised to walk away with the race as the field approached the final wall.
Italy’s Federica Pellegrini made a move in the final 50 meters, but Franklin was able to hold her off down the homestretch for gold. Pellegrini took silver in 1:55.14, while Muffat won bronze in 1:55.72. American Shannon Vreeland finished seventh in 1:57.41.
“I knew (Pellegrini) was going to have a really strong second 100, so I tried to take it out with Muffat and stay ahead of Pellegrini in the second 100,” Franklin said. “I’m really, really happy with my swim there. You kind of use each swim to motivate the next one. That’s a best time for me. I told myself if I go a 1:54, I would be the happiest girl alive, so I’m happy with the 1:54, and it happened to be a gold medal, too, which I’m thrilled about."
MEN'S 800M FREESTYLE
In the men’s 800m free, Chinese distance juggernaut Sun Yang held a half-second lead on the rest of the field for much of the race, with three or four swimmers sticking to his side the whole way, including Michael McBroom, teammate Connor Jaeger and Canadian Ryan Cochrane.
At the 600-meter mark, McBroom moved into second position, with Jaeger and Cochrane swimming neck-and-neck with him. When they turned for the bell lap, the race was on.
Sun took off and distanced himself by about a body length in two or three strokes. McBroom, Jaeger and Cochrane sprinted down the final 50 behind Sun for the remaining two spots on the medal stand.
When the water finished churning, Sun had gold in 7:41.36, followed by McBroom for silver. Cochrane took bronze in 7:43.70. Jaeger was fourth in 7:44.26.
McBroom was competing in his first World Championship final. He became the first American since Larsen Jensen in 2005 to win a medal in this event. The U.S. has never won gold in the 800m free.
“I was just trying to get out there and race, and see what I could do,” McBroom said. “Luckily it worked well for me, and I put down the race I thought I could.”
Both McBroom and Jaeger swam faster than the former American record of 7:45.63, set by Jensen at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal.
“I saw (Cochrane) really run me down the last 50, and I had nothing left,” Jaeger said. “But I was so relieved when I looked up at the scoreboard and my teammate, Michael McBroom, got a silver medal. I’m just really happy for him – a silver medal is pretty fantastic.”
TUESDAY, JULY 30
WOMEN'S 1500M FREESTYLE
Ledecky and Lotte Friis of Denmark quickly separated themselves from the pack in the women’s 1500m freestyle and were about four or five seconds ahead of world record pace the whole way.
Friis held a slight lead over Ledecky through the 1300-meter mark, when Ledecky pulled ahead. The two were neck-and-neck over the next 100 meters, before Ledecky surged ahead for good. Friis finished second about two seconds behind in 15:38.88, followed by Lauren Boyle of New Zealand in 15:44.71. American Chloe Sutton finished eighth in 16:09.65.
“The main goal was just to come out on top,” Ledecky said. “I knew we were going pretty fast, and I figured whoever was going to come out on top was going to get the world record. I had to be careful not to push it too early, not to push it too late, and just touch the wall first. Around the last 200, I knew I could take off.”
Both Ledecky and Friis finished ahead of the former world record time of 15:42.54, set by American Kate Ziegler in 2007. All three medalists swam faster than the former meet record of 15:44.93, set by Alessia Filippi of Italy at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
“(The world record) means the world to me,” Ledecky said. “Kate Ziegler, who had the world record, is from my area (back home). I’ve looked up to her my whole life, and I'm really honored to break that world record and to keep it in Potomac Valley.”
WOMEN'S 100M BACKSTROKE
Franklin led the women’s 100m backstroke from start to finish, touching a little more than a half-second ahead of her closest competitor, Emily Seebohm of Australia, who finished in 59.06. Japan’s Aya Terakawa was third in 59.23. Franklin’s teammate, Elizabeth Pelton, was fourth in 59.45.
“As bad as it always is at the end, I just kept pushing,” Franklin said. “I knew the field was going to be tough. It was right near my best time, so I’m very happy with that.”
The results were a repeat of last year’s 100m backstroke finals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where the same three women finished in the exact same order.
“It feels awesome,” Franklin said. “I’m so, so happy. It was awesome being in that heat with Elizabeth Pelton, too. We’re going to be teammates next year at Cal together. She did a great job. Emily (Seebohm) also did really great. We were on the podium together last summer, so to be on the podium together again is such an honor.”
MEN'S 100M BACKSTROKE
The men’s 100m backstroke was classic Grevers, who used his trademark back-half speed to pull ahead in the final 50 meters for the win. Plummer was right there with him, finishing 19-hundredths of a second behind. Jeremy Stravius of France was third in 53.21.
“It fun to win these big events, so I’m happy,” Grevers said. “I thought I was going to do a little more. I turned the switch on a little bit early, and I should have expected with the sort of training I did this year, the last 15 to 10 meters were going to hurt bad. I was just hoping it wouldn’t.”
Tuesday’s race was the second straight year the Americans finished 1-2 in the men’s 100m back at a major international competition. Last year, it was Grevers and teammate Nick Thoman who took silver and gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“That’s what I’m most excited about,” Grevers said. “David’s an amazing guy. That win is big for him all around, so it’s really cool to see we were able to do that.”
Plummer was pleased to carry on the American tradition in the 100 back.
“To be up there with Matt in the top two spots for our country is really amazing,” Plummer said. “I think the whole heat would have liked to have been faster, but getting my hand on the wall second was all that mattered.”
MEN'S 200M FREESTYLE
In the men’s 200m freestyle, Yannick Agnel of France was in control of the race from the very first turn, leaving the rest of the field fighting for second. Conor Dwyer swam a controlled race, gaining ground on the pack at each wall.
Fifth at the 150-meter mark, Dwyer reeled his competitors in down the final 50 meters for silver. Agnel was first in 1:44.20, while Danila Izotov of Russia was third in 1:45.59. Lochte, who was third at the final wall, slipped to fourth in 1:45.64.
“(Michael Phelps) was texting me yesterday, just saying to go out quicker,” Dwyer said. “I guess I didn’t do that. But he said to hit the wall, come home, and don’t worry about anything but getting your hand on that wall. So I took his advice and it turned out well.”
Lochte was disappointed in his swim, but said he couldn’t dwell on it.
“Tonight wasn’t my night,” Lochte said. “I’ve just got to forget about that race and move forward. I still have a bunch more racing to go, so I can’t think about that any more. I wanted to do better, but I didn’t. I’ve just got to forget about it and move forward.”
WOMEN'S 100M BREASTSTROKE
Everyone was chasing Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte in the women’s 100m breaststroke. On Monday, Meilutyte set the world record in this event in the semifinals in 1:04.35. The former mark, set by Jessica Hardy in 2009, stood at 1:04.45.
Hardy was second behind Meilutyte at the turn in Tuesday’s race, and held on down the homestretch for bronze. Meilutyte won gold in 1:04.42, while Russia’s Yuliya Efimova took silver in 1:05.02. American Breeja Larson finished fifth in 1:06.74.
Despite holding the world record since 2009, Tuesday’s race marked the first time since 2007 that Hardy has swum the 100m breast at a major international competition.
“I had a lot lower expectations coming into this meet,” Hardy said. “I don’t know if that’s the right thing to say, but I’m really surprised with how this meet is going. To win a medal in that (event) is really fun after not swimming it for a while. It’s the kind of race I’ll remember forever because it’s the fastest field I’ve ever swum in. I was relaxed and had fun, and I think I trained pretty well this year, so I think that’s the difference.”
MONDAY, JULY 29
MEN'S 50M BUTTERFLY
In the men’s 50m fly, Eugene Godsoe dove in, powered his way down the pool and got his hand on the wall fast enough to win the silver medal from lane 8 in 23.05. He finished just four-hundredths of a second behind Cesar Cielo of Brazil. France’s Fred Bousquet was third in 23.11.
“Coming in lane 8, I knew I had no pressure,” Godsoe said. “I just had to execute. The 50 fly is just one of those events where if some of those guys are trying too hard, they’re going to be a little bit slower. So I knew if I could go a tenth or two-tenths faster (than I swam in semifinals), I’d have a chance to medal in it.”
Godsoe said the race set him up well for the 100m fly later in the week.
“I’m really excited for the 100,” he said. “I knew coming in if I could match, or even come close to my 50 time, I was going to have a great 100. For me to go three-tenths faster, I’ve got some speed in me.
WOMEN'S 100M BUTTERFLY
Dana Vollmer took the first length of the women’s 100m butterfly out with the rest of field, turning in fourth place, about a half a second behind Jeanette Ottesen Gray and just a fraction of a second behind Ilaria Bianchi of Italy and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.
As they raced down the final 50 meters it was a four- or five-way race between the swimmers in the center of the pool before Sjostrom began pulling ahead with about 20 meters to go. Sjostrom touched first in 56.53, followed by Alicia Coutts of Australia in 56.97 and Vollmer in 57.24. Donahue was eighth in 58.30.
Vollmer, who holds the world record in this event at 55.98 and was the defending world and Olympic champion, had a strong week of training heading into the meet and was hoping for a faster swim. Still, she took some positives away from her performance.
“The past two days I’ve been pretty sick, and that’s just bad luck,” Vollmer said. “Normally I’m not one to get sick at meets. It’s disappointing and frustrating. But I’m still really proud of myself for coming in and giving it my all and coming away with a bronze medal.
“No matter how bad I feel, I can still get up there and lay it on the line for less than a minute. That’s what I kept telling myself – just take all the training I’ve done and pull it together for those 57 seconds."
SUNDAY, JULY 28
WOMEN'S 400M FREESTYLE
Katie Ledecky led the women’s 400m freestyle from start to finish, building her distance on the rest of the field with each length of the pool. She was ahead of world-record pace through the 300-meter mark, but fell off pace by 15-hundredths heading into the last 50 meters.
By that time, everyone else was racing for second. Spain’s Melanie Schmid took that honor, winning silver in front of her home crowd in 4:02.47. Lauren Boyle of New Zealand won bronze in 4:03.89.
“I just got into it, and I’m still in shock over the time,” Ledecky said. “I didn’t know really how fast I was going, but it just shows what happens when you get in a race with the best in the world. It was such an honor to be in the heat with those girls. We all pushed each other, and it felt really good.”
Distance legend Janet Evans was the last American woman to win this event at a World Championships, in 1991.
“It’s such an honor,” Ledecky said. “The U.S. has such a great tradition of distance swimmers, so I just tried to do my best to live up to that.”
WOMEN'S 4X100M FREESTYLE RELAY
After a blistering lead-off from Australia’s Kate Campbell, the U.S. played catch-up with the Aussies the whole way in the women’s 400m free relay. The U.S.’s Megan Romano came from seven-tenths of a second behind in the final leg of the race to nip Australians by 12-hundredths. The Netherlands took third in 3:55.77.
It marked the first time the U.S. women have won this event at a World Championships since 2003. It also marked the first time Romano has competed at a long course World Championships.
“I’ve done this my whole career,” Romano said. “I just love to race, and relays are awesome. It’s just so awesome to be able to compete with these girls right next to you. I was doing it for them. It’s fun and I love it, and I can’t not go fast.”
Franklin and Natalie Coughlin were holding hands as they cheered Romano down the homestretch.
“We knew Megan could do it, but we knew the Australians had an incredible anchor too,” Franklin said. “Watching her close was unbelievable.”
MEN'S 4X100M FREESTYLE RELAY
The men’s 400m free relay was a close race the whole way, with Nathan Adrian, the Olympic gold medalist in last year’s 100 free grabbing the lead in the first leg by five-hundredths of a second over Australia. The lead switched hands three times, with no team leading by more than 31-hundredths of a second until the finish.
The final standings: France in 3:11.18, the United States in 3:11.42 and Russia in 3:11.44.
“We got second,” Lochte said. “We can’t complain about that. We all went out there and did our best, but every time the USA gets on the blocks, we want to win. Hopefully this race drives us for the rest of the meet.”
Like Romano, Jimmy Feigen is competing in his first long course World Championships, and Sunday was the first time he’s anchored the Americans’ relay in a major international competition.
“That kind of got sprung on me,” Feigen said. “But it wasn’t that bad. I had a lot of great teammates who helped me with that pressure. We didn’t get first, but we did the best we could, and I can be happy with that at the end of the day.”
MEN'S 400M FREESTYLE
Connor Jaeger scored the first medal for the U.S. in the pool Sunday with his third-place finish in the men’s 400m freestyle. Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang of China led the field from the 100-meter mark, but Jaeger maintained contact from lane 1, flipping in second or third place at each turn through 350 meters.
From there, he sprinted down the homestretch. He couldn’t catch Sun, who finished first in 3:41.59. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino was second in 3:44.82, while Jaeger touched three-hundredths of a second behind in 3:44.85.
Jaeger’s performance marked the first time in the last nine World Championships that an American has medaled in this event.
“It was the first international medal for me,” Jaeger said. “You might think that I only got third, but I feel like I won. Seeing a number three next to my name, I was really ecstatic. Knowing I was the only American in the final, I wanted to do something really good for Team USA. It was the first final of the meet. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more tonight. I think it’s going to be a good night for us.”
OPEN WATER SWIMMING
Haley Anderson earned world championship gold in the open water 5k on Saturday, July 20, while Eva Fabian earned bronze in the open water 25k Saturday, July 27.