Caeleb Dressel celebrates after winning the gold in the men's 100-meter butterfly at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships on Aug. 11, 2018 in Tokyo.
Two of Team USA’s fastest swimmers ever in the women’s 200-meter backstroke topped the podium at the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships (25 m) in Hangzhou, China, on Thursday.
Lisa Bratton and Olympic gold medalist Kathleen Baker took gold and silver, respectively, as U.S. athletes also collected medals in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, the men’s 100-meter butterfly, the women’s 800-meter freestyle and the 4x50 mixed medley on day three of the six-day meet.
It was a close race between Bratton and Baker, who own the third- and second-fastest times in the event by U.S. swimmers. Bratton’s gold-medal winning time of 2:00.71 is the third-fastest time while Baker, who swam the second-fastest time earlier this fall (2.00.69), took silver in 2.00.79. Australia’s Emily Seebohm won bronze in 2:01.37.
Mallory Comerford continued her strong performance at the meet, winning bronze in the women’s 100-meter freestyle. Her time of 52.36 set a new American record and was third behind a pair of swimmers from the Netherlands, 2012 gold medalist Ranomi Kromowidjojo (51.95) and Femke Heemskerk (51.84). Comerford also set a new U.S. record in the women’s 200 freestyle on the first day of the meet and has been part of three gold medal-winning relay squads.
Two-time Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel won his first individual medal of the meet, taking silver in the men’s 100 butterfly with a time of 48.71. He was just barely behind Russia’s Chad le Clos, the world record holder, who won gold in 48.50. China’s Li Zhuhao finished third in 49.25.
Olympic medalist Leah Smith won the bronze medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:08.75. China’s Wang Jianjiahe took the gold medal in 8:04.35 and Italy’s Simona Quadraella claimed silver in 8:08.03.
Capping off the day, the U.S. remained perfect in relays as Dressel, Olivia Smoliga, Michael Andrew and Kelsi Dahlia won gold in the 4x50 mixed medley with a time of 1:36.40. Netherlands was second and Russia third as Team USA is now 5-for-5 in relay events thanks in part to Dressel’s new American record of 20.51 in the 50-meter freestyle.