Swimming, Day 3: Kazan 2015 already with more WR than BCN 2013

Kazan 2015 - SW

At the end of the third day of competition, the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS) already register more new World Records (seven) than in the eight sessions of this discipline in Barcelona 2013. In the Catalonian capital, the number of new best global marks had not exceeded six, but thanks to the courtesy of Cameron van der Burgh, Adam Peaty and Katie Ledecky, the Russian rendezvous had another exciting day at the Kazan Arena.

The men’s WR were set in the 50m breaststroke: in the morning prelims, Van der Burgh (RSA) clocked 56.62, but Peaty (GBR), already winner of the 100m here in Kazan, qualified first for the final in 56.42. The fight between the best two swimmers of the moment in this event should provide a supersonic final.

In the first decisive race of the day, Ryan Lochte (USA) departed with the fastest time of the semis and was hoping to get his first medal in Kazan, but things didn’t happen as he expected. In fact, the North American star, the swimmer present at these World Championships with the best roll of honour in the event (23 medals) , could not even reach the podium, finishing fourth in 1:45.83. The gold went to a surprising James Guy, from Great Britain, in 1:45.14, while Sun Yang (CHN) earned silver in 1:45.20 and Paul Biedermann (GER) was third in 1:45.38.

James Guy (GBR) - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

It was Guy’s second success in Kazan, after getting the silver in the 400m free, while Sun, precisely the winner in the longer distance became the second swimmer in the history of the championships to have collected medals in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m free – Grant Hackett (AUS) had been the first to achieve this feat, in his case in a single edition of the Championships, in Montreal 2005. Moreover, it was also the 10th podium presence for the Chinese star at the Worlds.

Paul Biedermann, the World Record holder in this event, with his 1:42.00 effort from Rome 2009, got his seventh medal at FINA’s major event.

In the women’s 100m backstroke, reigning Olympic and world champion Missy Franklin (USA) was naturally the athlete to beat, but for the second consecutive final of the day, the US hopes didn’t become reality. With a very slow first half of the race (29.20, eighth), Franklin could not recover the pace and ended up out of the podium, concluding in a modest fifth place. The initiative of the race belonged to the two Australians of the group, Emily Seebohm and Madison Wilson, who eventually took gold (58.26) and silver (58.75), respectively. Seebohm, 23 years old and 2012 silver medallist in London, was part of the winning relay team that earned the world title in Kazan of the 4x100m free and became the first Australian female swimmer to win this event at the Worlds.

For her compatriot Madison Wilson, her best individual result was a bronze medal in this distance at the 2013 University Games, and a seventh place in the final of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Mie Nielsen, from Denmark, is also a newcomer at world championships’ podium and succeeded to her compatriot Louise Ornstedt, who was the sole medal winner in this event for Denmark, after a silver in 2003.

The US bonanza finally came in the women’s 1500m free, where Katie Ledecky swam alone to beat her preliminaries’ World Record in the event. After clocking 15:27.71 in the previous day, the 18-year-old North American got the gold in 15:25.48. Ledecky has now six gold medals at the FINA World Championships, after winning the 400m, 800m, 1500m and 4x200m free in Barcelona 2013, and the 400m free already in Kazan. She was also the Olympic champion in the 800m at the 2012 Games in London.

Katie Ledecky (USA) - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

In a final without much suspense regarding the winner, Lauren Boyle (NZL) led the race for the silver medal, concluding in second in a time of 15:40.14. The almost 15-second difference to Ledecky was the biggest gap ever at the Worlds for this event. However, the silver medal was an important upgrade for the New Zealander, who had grabbed only bronze in Barcelona 2013, in the 400m, 800m and 1500m free events. She has also become the most successful swimmer of her country in the history of the competition. Boglarka Kapas, from Hungary, earned bronze, in 15:47.09, signing her first major achievement at this level.

In the fourth final of the day, defending champion Matt Grevers, from USA, could not repeat his successful Barcelona 2013 performance and had to content with the bronze this time in Kazan. In a very tight race, Grevers touched in 52.66, while Mitchell Larkin got the second Australian gold of the day, clocking 52.40, slightly ahead of France’s Camille Lacourt, second in 52.48. Larkin’s major achievements before his arrival in Kazan had been three medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – gold in the 200m back, and silver in the 50m and 100m. Lacourt was the 2011 world champion, but was only fifth two years ago in Spain.

In one of the most expected finals of the day, the women’s 100m breaststroke, Yulia Efimova gave the first gold medal to Russia in the swimming events, by touching home in 1:05.66, after a fantastic recover in the second half of the race. Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), the Olympic and world champion, and WR holder, departed in lane 5 and made a very fast 50m, but Efimova decisively accelerated for the victory, leaving the Lithuanian with the silver in 1:06.36. Alia Atkinson, from Jamaica, and one of the best in this event in the last couple of years, was also in fight for the medals, and managed to get the bronze in 1:06.42. As it happened at the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), when she also climbed to the podium, the Jamaican got the first medal for her country in the history of FINA’s major showcase.

The medallists of the women's 100m breaststroke - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

For Efimova, this was her ninth medal at this level since 2009. In Barcelona 2013, for example, she had visited the podium on three occasions, all in breaststroke events. With her latest success in Kazan, she is the only swimmer in the Worlds’ history to have won gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke.


James Guy (GBR, gold, men’s 200m free):
“I’ve never thought I could reach that beyond making the final. With so many great swimmers around, Chad, Peter, Ryan, Sun who are my idols… My tactics were just swim my own race, concentrate on myself and that worked”.

Paul Biedermann (GER, bronze, men’s 200m free):
“I’m satisfied overall. My last turn wasn’t the best, on the other hand I enjoyed the advantage of swimming next to Chad Le Clos who went out fast and I was able to follow him. This bronze medal means that I’ve returned to the freestylers’s elite which gives me huge motivation for Rio”.

Emily Seebohm (AUS, gold, women’s 100m backstroke):
“I'm a pretty happy girl right now, I can't wait to get home and show the medal to everyone. Taking a medal is never easy, it takes a lot of dedication, hard work and sacrifices. And I didn't have the best preparation, change of coach, knee dislocation so I'm just pleased to be here, and winning the gold medal just makes me so excited".

Adam Peaty (GBR, new WR, men’s semis 50m breaststroke):
“The morning swim was easy, and I knew this was just the 50m race, not my main event, so I didn’t have any pressure, this made this semi also really easy for me”.

Katie Ledecky (USA, gold, women's 1500m free): "Today was a really tough day but knew I was prepared for it. I always had that kind of mental toughness, but for this (1500m and 200m) I prepared and I think I did it right. It was a little bit tougher than I was hoping for but everything just played out well".

Lauren Boyle (NZL, silver, women’s 1500m free):
“I'm very-very happy, perhaps it would be great for me to have the 1500 in the Olympic programme. The performance of Katie is inspiring, she owns everything what is possible in swimming”.

Boglarka Kapas (HUN, bronze, women’s 1500m free): “Still hardly believe it... I just swam I could, the last 50-100m were hurting badly but I saw Lotte (Friis) tired and I gave everything I had. She also saw me and in this situation the chaser had a definite mental advantage over the chased”.

Mitchell Larkin (AUS, gold, men’s 100m backstroke):
“It’s amazing, just walking out and hearing your name called. The crowd roars. Then it goes silent. Deep breath. Then it is over before you know it. To touch the wall and see number one is fantastic. It is 100m – there is not so much you can do”.

Camille Lacourt (FRA, silver, men’s 100m backstroke):
“Last year was difficult, so silver is good for me. It was a great race but my last turn was awful”.

Yulia Efimova (RUS, gold, 100m breaststroke): “My winning time is not the best, but gold is a gold and I'm happy to bring the first title home and hope this gives more boost for our Russian team. We were nervous at the start, I felt the pressure at home, that's why I slowed down a bit for the second 50m just as Ruta, so this effort was enough to win this time”.