FINA World Championships

Swimming, Day 8: USA wins “Team Trophy” in Kazan

Kazan 2015 - SW

Katie Ledecky (USA) and Sun Yang (CHN) were the best swimmers of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), after the completion of the eight days of competition. The US star collected five golds and three World Records, while the Chinese champion goes home with two world titles and a silver medal. The team of the United States also won the overall “Team Trophy” of the competition, after being at the top of the medals’ table, with 8 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals, for a total of 23 podium presences. However, since 1998, this is the second worse result for US, after the 22 medals in Rome 2009 (but with 10 golds on the counter).

To this US relatively modest result contributed the excellent performances of Australia, China and Great Britain, the next ranked countries in the medal’s table, with 16, 13 and 9 awards respectively. In terms of comparison, Australia had only 13 medals in Barcelona (but three golds in 2013 against 7 now), China was at 9, and Great Britain had only placed one athlete in the podium! In a medal chart with 23 countries, new entries included Jamaica, Singapore and Argentina.

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Swimming, Day 7: Katie Ledecky gets fifth gold and third WR

Kazan 2015 - SW

Two new World Records, raising the total so far to 12, highlighted the seventh and penultimate day of the swimming competition at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS). Katie Ledecky was once more the athlete to watch, this time in the 800m free, getting her fifth gold in Russia and becoming the first women under 8:10, while the victorious US free mixed relay also improved the North Americans’ relatively modest statistics at these Worlds. Otherwise, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) continued to shine, Chad Le Clos (RSA) impressed in the 100m butterfly (where Singapore got its first medal ever at the FINA World Championships, thanks to the bronze of Joseph Schooling), Florent Manaudou (FRA) won the men’s 50m free, and Emily Seebohm (AUS) beat Missy Franklin (USA) and Katinka Hosszu (HUN) in the women’s 200m backstroke.   

Katie Ledecky continues saving the honour of the USA at these FINA World Championships and after winning the 200m, 400m, 1500m (bettering the WR twice) and 4x200m free relay, the 18-year-old shone once more in the women’s 800m free, doing a solitary race for a gold medal and new World Record of 8:07.39. The North American had clocked 8:11.00 in June 2014 and now becomes the first woman to ever swim this distance under 8:10. She also accumulates her ninth gold medal at Worlds, after four major successes two years ago in Barcelona. Her race record is perfect, with nine finals swum and nine gold medals won!

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Swimming, Day 6: The tale of two sisters and five medals

Kazan 2015 - SW

Two sisters in the same podium, three bronze medals in one event, one thrilling swim-off, some surprises and a new Championships record were the highlights of the sixth day of the swimming competition at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS). In this juicy session, Australia got two gold medals, Marco Koch gave the first swimming title here in Russia for Germany (defeating three-time world champion Daniel Gyurta), while Great Britain continued its golden saga and Japan got a second success in women’s events.   

Australia started the day very strong, with the Campbell sisters (Bronte and Cate) dominating the women’s 100m free and placing first and third respectively. Cate, 23 years old, was the defending world champion from Barcelona 2013 and had swum faster than her sibling in the semis (52.84 against 53.00 for Bronte), but things were slightly different in the final, with Bronte touching home in 52.52. Cate was third in 52.82, while Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), as two years ago in the Catalonian capital, got the silver in 52.70. The Swedish champion was already the winner of the 100m butterfly in Kazan and assured her fifth podium position at the Worlds.

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Swimming, Day 5: Successful China gets six medals

Kazan 2015 - SW

In the first day without World Records, the fifth finals’ swimming session at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS) consecrated the strength of China (six medals, with at least one podium presence at each event), provided the first medal ever for Argentina and the first female award for Brazil. Katie Ledecky, closing the US quartet in the 4x200m free relay, collected her fourth gold medal, while Ryan Lochte earned his 24th medal at Worlds and first in Russia, winning the men’s 200m individual medley. 

In one of the most awaited finals of the day, the men’s 100m free, Ning Zetao (CHN), 2014 Asian champion in the event, upgraded to a world level gold (his first success at this level), stopping the clock at 47.84. He is the first Chinese (and Asian) swimmer to ever win this event, with the record of triumphs (six) going to USA. However, since 2003, non-US swimmers have always prevailed in the 100m, with the last two editions (Shanghai 2011 and Barcelona 2013) being won by Australia’s James Magnussen. The record of three victories in this distance is held by Alex Popov (RUS).

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Swimming, Day 4: Peaty (GBR) and Ledecky (USA) continue to shine in Kazan

Kazan 2015 - SW

Three more World Records in the newest event of the programme (Mixed 4x100m medley relay) and two gold medals for the British talent Adam Peaty marked the fourth day of the swimming competition at the 16th FINA World Championships in the Kazan Arena. After winning the 100m breaststroke, Peaty is also the new world champion in the 50m and largely contributed to the victory of his team in the mixed event. He is decisively helping his country to have the most successful World Championships ever. The other finals of the day provided intense moments, with Laszlo Cseh (HUN) returning to winning mode 10 years after his first title, Katie Ledecky (USA) winning her third gold in Kazan, and Sun Yang (CHN) proving his supremacy in the freestyle events.

The women’s 200m free was a thrilling race, with a notable field on the starting blocks: Federica Pellegrini (ITA, completing her 27th birthday today), Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky, from USA, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) and Femke Heemskerk (NED). During the first 150m, the leader of the race was the Dutch star, swimming in Lane 1, but Ledecky, on the other side of the pool (on Lane 7) was perfectly controlling her effort and applied her “turbo” in the last 50m, to get the gold in 1:55.16.

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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.


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Swimming, Day 2: Ledecky, Sjostrom and Hosszu set three WR

Kazan 2015 - SW

Katie Ledecky (USA), Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) and Katinka Hosszu (HUN), by this order, marked the second day of the swimming competition at the 16th FINA World Championships Kazan 2015, by setting new World Records in the 1500m free, 100m butterfly, and 200m IM, respectively. It all started in the morning preliminaries, when the North American star improved her own global best mark in the longest event of the programme, stopping the watch at 15:27.71. In August last year, Ledecky had clocked 15:28.36 at the Pan Pacs, and on Day 1 here in Kazan she won the 400m free, but could not better the WR in an event in which she is also the fastest in the world.





In the afternoon, it was Sjostrom’s turn to improve her time of the semis in the 100m butterfly, winning the decisive race in a new WR of 55.64 (0.10 faster than in the previous day). Sjostrom was also the winner in 2013 and 2009, being now the only swimmer with three world titles in this event. Jeanette Ottesen, from Denmark, was her most direct challenger, but finished with the silver, in a “distant” 57.05. Lu Ying (CHN) completed the podium in 57.48.

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Swimming, Day 1: Sun (CHN) and Ledecky (USA) revalidate their 400m world crown

Kazan 2015 - SW

In a first day of four finals at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), the best performance appeared in a semi-final, when Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) qualified first for the decisive race in a World Record of 55.74 in the women’s 100m butterfly. The Swedish star improved the previous best global mark from Dana Vollmer (USA), who had raced for gold at the London 2012 Olympics in a time of 55.98. In terms of performances, this was the highlight of the inaugural day in the capital of Tatarstan, but many other intense moments marked the finals’ session.

In the men’s 400m free, Chinese star Sun Yang found no major difficulties in revalidating his world title, touching home in 3:42.58. He was challenged by silver medallist James Guy (GBR) until the 300m-mark, but Sun’s final lap was sufficient to secure gold.


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Men’s 4x100m free: France gets the gold; US out of the final

Kazan 2015 - SW

After a huge “tsunami” hit the preliminaries in the morning, with the non-qualification of the US team for the final, France revalidated the 2013 world title in a time of 3:10.74. The European team is always one of the quartets to watch in this event and was certainly one of the favourites to win, but things became easier with the unexpected and shocking 11th place of the US squad in the heats.

Since the creation of the FINA World Championships in 1973, USA had always qualified for the final. Moreover, from the previous 15 participations, it had been on the podium on 14 occasions, only losing a medal at the 2001 edition in Fukuoka (JPN), when the team was disqualified in the decisive race. In Kazan, the 11th spot in the heats assured US the Olympic qualification, but was of course a disaster for a team traditionally used to shine in this relay. Everyone remembers the epic fights in the last two editions of the Olympic Games – Beijing 2008 and London 2012 -, when, in the first case, Jason Lezak was precious to ensure the North American victory and the way for the unprecedented eight gold medals for Michael Phelps, and the sweet revenge of the French quartet in the British capital, three years ago.

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Women’s 4x100m free: Australia “recovers” title in a new CR

Kazan 2015 - SW

Dominators of this event in the last editions of the FINA World Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013, the teams of United States and The Netherlands could not sustain Australia’s power in Kazan and had to content with the minor medals at stake. The Aussies did a perfect race, and conducted by Emily Seebohm, Emma McKeon, Bronte Campbell and Cate Campbell, they got the gold in a new Championships Record of 3:31.48, improving the best mark (3:31.72) set by the Dutch in Rome six years ago.

Australia had won this event twice in the history of the FINA World Championships, precisely in Montreal 2005, and at home, in Melbourne 2007, and had since then been bronze medallist in 2009, and second in Barcelona 2013. The new world champions had in Emily Seebohm (53.92), their slowest swimmer, but from the second leg on, McKeon (53.57), and especially the Campbell sisters (51.77 for Bronte and 52.22 for Cate) were decisive for the final outcome.

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