Swimming Day 1 ends with Australia out ahead
But Australia wasn’t first to make it to the podium — Sun Yang of China took the first swimming gold, winning the men’s 400 meter freestyle.
Racing in the fourth lane, Sun reached the first 100-meter mark in third, clocking 54.34 seconds. He made his way through the pack to take the lead by the 200-meter point, clocking 1 minute and 51.29 seconds. Sun successfully maintained his lead to take gold, finishing at 3 minutes and 42.44 seconds.
“I’m very happy to win this event for the fourth time in a row,” Sun said. “Also, I’m very proud of myself, and I think this was the greatest achievement in history for the Chinese team and also personally, this is a great start for myself and also for the Chinese team, as well. So I’m very satisfied with today’s result.”
With another gold, Sun extended his dominance in the event as this is his fourth time winning the men’s 400 meter freestyle.
Mack Horton of Australia won silver by clocking 3 minutes and 43.17 seconds, followed by Gabriele Detti of Italy winning bronze with 3 minutes and 43.23 seconds.
Following the men’s race, Ariarne Titmus of Australia won a thrilling victory in the women’s 400 meter freestyle.
Titmus got off to a strong start by holding her lead until the first 200-meter mark at 1 minute and 57.72 seconds. However, Katie Ledecky of the United States, the three-time gold medalist in the 400 meter freestyle, didn’t make it too easy as she took the lead by the 250-meter point. Reaching the 350-meter point just 0.62 seconds behind Ledecky, Titmus sprinted through the last 50 meters for a thrilling come-from-behind victory, finishing her race at 3 minutes and 58.76 seconds.
Titmus’s victory is a big upset as Ledecky is a giant in the 400 meters. Not only has she won the race at the last three world championships, but Ledecky also holds the world, championships and world junior records in the event.
By winning gold, Titmus picked up her first world championships gold in the 400 meters.
Ledecky won silver by finishing her race 1.21 seconds behind Titmus, at 3 minutes and 59.97 seconds followed by Leah Smith of the United States winning bronze with 4 minutes and 01.29 seconds.
In the third medal race of the day, the United States picked up their first gold in swimming in Gwangju by winning the men’s 4X100 meter freestyle.
Racing in the fourth lane, the United States got off to a strong start as Caeleb Dressel started the team off with a lead, finishing his 100 meter freestyle at 47.63 seconds. Then, Blake Pieroni, Zach Apple and Nathan Adrian continued to hold the lead to take gold, finishing the race in 3 minutes and 09.06 seconds, setting a new championships record.
By winning gold, the United States successfully defended their title in the men’s 4X100 meter freestyle.
Russia won silver by finishing its race at 3 minutes and 09.97 seconds followed by Australia picking up bronze with 3 minutes and 11.22 seconds.
Following the men’s relay, Team Australia finished the day strong by winning gold in the women’s 4X100 meter freestyle.
Racing in the fourth lane, Australia started second as their first swimmer, Bronte Campbell, finished her 100 meters at 52.85 seconds. Although they dropped to fourth after the second swimmer, Brianna Throssell finished her stretch, Emma McKeon slowly brought Australia’s back up to second. Swimming fourth, Cate Campbell sprinted her 100 meters to finish the race in first place, clocking 3 minutes and 30.21 seconds, a new championships record.
With a win, Australia won the event for the first time since the 2015 World Championships. In 2017, the United States won gold.
The United States picked up silver by finishing their race at 3 minutes and 31.02 seconds followed by Canada winning bronze with 3 minutes and 31.78 seconds.
Championship records weren’t the only things falling on the first day of the swimming competition. During the men’s 100 meter breaststroke semifinals, Adam Peaty of Great Britain set a new world record by finishing his race in 56.88 seconds.
By Kang Yoo-rim [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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