After winning the women’s 400m free in a new WR time, 18-year-old Ariarne Titmus (AUS) definitively became one of the revelations of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), being held in Hangzhou (CHN). In the fourth day of competition, the young Australian was the sole individual swimmer establishing a new global mark, but two more WR were set in relay events (by USA and Brazil). Other highlights included the third gold for Hosszu, the second individual win for Kromowidjojo, and the brilliant Russian performances by Kolesnikov, Morozov and Rylov. Finally, thanks to Shane Ryan (men’s 50m back, bronze), Ireland managed to have its first swimming medallist in the 25-year history of this competition.
In the first individual final of the day, Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) proved her excellent shape in Hangzhou, clearly dominating operations in the women’s 50m butterfly. The Dutch star touched home in 24.47, a new Championships Record (improving the mark of Sarah Sjostrom, 24.58, from Doha 2014). The minor medals went to Holly Barratt (AUS, 24.80, silver) and to Kelsi Dahlia (USA, 24.97, bronze). It was the second win for Kromowidjojo in China, after being also the fastest in the 100m free.
Hosszu earned her third gold (after the 200m fly and 400m IM) in Hangzhou, by convincingly winning the women’s 100m IM in 57.26, thus getting her fourth consecutive crown in this event. Her main challengers were far behind, with Runa Imai, from Japan, getting silver in 57.85 and Alia Atkinson (JAM) finishing third (the same result than in 2016) in 58.11. The two US representatives in the final, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker could not reach the podium, touching in fourth and fifth respectively. Emily Seebohm (AUS), third in 2014 and second in 2016, also finished in a disappointing sixth place.
In the most interesting race of the day, the women’s 400m free, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (already winner of the 200m free) was brilliant and did the perfect race against the recent World Record holder (3:53.97, since last October) in the distance, China’s Wang Jianjiahe. Taking an early lead in the race, Titmus (18 years old) never lost control of operations, touching home in a new global mark of 3:53.92. Wang, winner of the 800m free in Hangzhou and strongly “pushed” by the home crowd, could never seriously threaten the Australian prodigy, earning silver in 3:54.56. Her teammate Li Bingjie completed the podium in 3:57.99. Leah Smith, winner in 2016, had to content this time with the fourth position, in 3:58.58. It was the first female individual WR at these Championships, after successful efforts from Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda in the men’s field. Before Hangzhou, Titmus had been third in 4x200m free relay at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships and fourth in the 400m free of the same competition. At the 2016 edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) she swam three finals: 400m free (sixth), 800m free (fourth) and 4x200m free relay (fourth).
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