On the first day of the World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Canada we have seen many-many superstars back in the pool, then back on the top.
In the initial final of the day, Taehwan Park (KOR) got his first gold in this competition, after two silver medals in 2006, also in the 400m, and in the 1500m free. The Korean star, first swimmer of his country to win an Olympic medal (victory in the 400m and silver in the 200m free) at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (CHN), clocked 3:34.59 in Windsor and compensated a difficult year. After being eligible by his Olympic Committee to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics a couple of weeks before the event, he finally did not qualify for the decisive races in the 100m, 200m and 400m free. Park is now back to the top of the world hierarchy!
Owner of an impressive longevity in the pool, Federica Pellegrini continues to be in great shape! In the first women’s final of the championships, the 200m free, the Italian diva earned an impressive gold in 1:51.73, beating the favourite to victory, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu. It was the first title for Pellegrini in the competition, after four medals (one silver and three bronze) between 2006 and 2014. At 28, Pellegrini has two Olympic medals and has an impressive roll of honour in the 200m free at the long course World Championships: from 2005 to 2015 she has always been consecutively on the podium in that event – with two gold, three silver and one bronze award.
After successes in 2010 (1:51.56) and 2014 (1:48.61), Chad Le Clos (RSA) got his third victory in this competition in the 200m fly, this time touching for gold in 1:48.76. The South African great holds the World Record in the distance with 1:48.56 and was one the stars of the 2014 edition in Doha, with four gold, in the 200m free, 50m, 100m and 200m fly. Also owner of four Olympic medals – including the memorable 200m fly title in London 2012 – Le Clos had to deploy all his energy to overcome the fierce opposition of Tom Shields (USA, 1:49.50) and Daiya Seto (JPN, 1:49.97).
An expected outcome in the women’s 400m individual medley, with Hosszu finally earning the first gold of the day (she was silver medallist behind Pellegrini in the 200m free), in 4:21.67. The Magyar champion and FINA Best Female Swimmer in 2016, totally dominated a race in which Anh Vien Nguyen, from Vietnam arrived second – it would be the first medal in the history for the Asian country – but an irregular turn after the backstroke leg dictated her disqualification. The minor medals then went to the American duet Ella Eastin (4:27.74) and Madisyn Cox (4:27.78). It was Hosszu’s 15th medal in the Championships, since 2012.
First gold for China in this event, with Wang Shun assuring the victory in 1:51.74. The 22-year-old winner was more than two seconds slower than the World Record in this distance, owned by the most notable absent of these Championships, US Ryan Lochte. The North American has accumulated four victories from 2006 to 2012. However, Wang is also a consistent swimmer in this event in 50m-pool, having won the bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics and Kazan 2015 World Championships. As with the 200m fly, Daiya Seto had to content with the bronze in 1:52.89, behind Germany’s Philip Heintz (1:52.07).
Big deception for the home crowd in the women’s 4x100m free relay, after the disqualification of Canada, arrived second. The swimmers performed in the wrong order and despite touching second in 3:29.62, they were disqualified after some minutes of an agonising wait. The victory went to the USA, somehow a normal outcome given the recent history of this race in these championships – since 204, triumphs have gone either to USA or the Netherlands. This time, the Dutch took maximum advantage of Canada’s disqualification, earning bronze, while Italy, anchored by Federica Pellegrini, won silver in 3:30.28.
In the last final of the day, Russia took a sweet revenge from the defeats in 2010 and 2014, when they got silver behind France, respectively in Dubai and Doha. In Windsor, the Russian quartet was better, earning gold in 3:05.90, and leaving the French side in second in a time of 3:07.35. The bronze was shared by Australia and USA, in 3:07.76. The North Americans were the winners of this event in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Source - Pedro Adrega, Head of FINA Communications Department