Rio Olympians made their impact felt Tuesday evening, earning five medals for the United States on the first night of the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships for short-course distances, at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.
2016 Olympian Tom Shields contributed to two medals and led a medal haul that included contributions from fellow Olympians Blake Pieroni, Amanda Weir and Kelsi Worrell, plus Ella Eastin and Madisyn Cox.
Weir and Worrell, along with Madison Kennedy and Mallory Comerford, won the first U.S. gold medal of the meet with their victory in the women’s 4x100-meter freestyle. Their time of 3:28.82 was 1.46 seconds ahead of Italy, which claimed silver in 3:30.28, while the Netherlands took bronze in 3:31.10.
Shields scored the first Team USA medal of the meet with his silver in the men’s 200-meter butterfly. His 1:49.50 was 0.74 seconds behind the 1:48.76 posted by 2012 Olympic champion Chad le Clos of South Africa, who won the event for the third time after taking golds in 2010 and 2014. The bronze was earned by Japan’s Daiya Seto in 1:49.97. Pace Clark finished seventh, 4.39 seconds off the winning time.
Shields and Pieroni, a member of the gold-medal 4x100-meter free team in Rio, were joined by Michael Hunt and Paul Powers in that relay in Windsor, where they showed they were just as fast as the Australians – down to the fraction of a second – to tie for the bronze medal in a time of 3:07.76. Russia won the event in 3:05.90, while France earned silver in 3:07.35.
Hungary’s three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu swamped the field in the women’s 400-meter IM, clocking in at 4:21.67. Her victory margin of 6.07 seconds turned the race into a battle for silver, and Eastin and Cox made it thrilling. Eastin, a sophomore at Stanford University, took silver in 4:27.74, 0.04 seconds ahead of Cox, a senior at the University of Texas who is competing in her second short course world championship.
The world championships continue through Sunday.