FINA Communications Department

The fifth day of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), concluding this Sunday in Hangzhou (CHN), was the only one without World Records, but registered the best possible variety of winners, as the seven gold medals at stake were distributed among seven different countries. Russia and China got the gold in thrilling relays, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) earned her fourth gold in the competition, Nicholas Santos (BRA) beat Chad Le Clos in the men’s 50m fly, and Daiya Seto (JPN) got the fourth consecutive title in the 400m IM. There was still time for Alia Atkinson (JAM) and Olivia Smoliga (USA) to shine once more in the Hangzhou pool. 

The individual action started with the women’s 200m IM, where favourite Katinka Hosszu (HUN) did not disappoint. The Magyar great perfectly controlled operations, touching home for the gold in 2:03.25. It was the third consecutive title for Hosszu (WR holder in 2:01.86) in this event, after the world crown in 2014 and 2016, and a silver in 2012. In Hangzhou, it was her fourth victory, after previous successes in the 200m fly, 100m IM and 400m IM. Melanie Margalis (USA, bronze in 2014), was second in Hangzhou, arriving in 2:04.62, while her teammate Kathleen Baker took the bronze in 2:05.54. Ye Shiwen, from China, silver medallist in 2010 and world champion in 2012, could not make the podium, concluding in fourth (2:05.79).  

In a thrilling men’s 50m fly, Nicholas Santos (BRA) left like a bullet and managed to keep the pace until the end, touching for gold in 21.81, a new Championships Record. The Brazilian star is the WR holder in the distance, with a 21.75 effort from October in the Swimming World Cup, and improved the meet’s best mark, established by Chad Le Clos in Doha 2014 (21.95). The South African did slightly worse (21.97) in Hangzhou, earning the silver, while Dylan Carter, from Trinidad & Tobago, earned bronze in 22.38. It was the second-ever medal for the Caribbean nation, after the bronze of George Bovell in the 100m IM in 2012. For Santos, he was certainly happy to “recover” the gold after his victory in 2012, and subsequent triumphs of Le Clos in 2014 and 2016.  

The sole US win of the day came in the women’s 50m back, with Olivia Smoliga ensuring the gold in 25.88 – she had been second in 2012, in Istanbul (TUR) and already first in the 100m back in Hangzhou. The silver went to Caroline Pilhatsch, from Austria, who clocked 25.99, while the bronze went to Australia’s Holly Barratt in 26.04. It was the first medal at this level for the 19-year-old European swimmer – in Windsor 2016, in the same event, she was only 28th!  

In the men’s 400m IM, Daiya Seto (JPN) did a solitary race and looked in good position to improve the WR belonging to Ryan Lochte (USA) since 2010 in 3:55.50. Before the freestyle leg, he was well below the best global mark, but he then lost some energy and touched home in 3:56.43 for his fourth consecutive title in this event. The Japanese great had won the 200m fly in Hangzhou in a new WR time. The minor medals went to Thomas Fraser-Holmes (AUS, 4:02.74) and to Brandonn Almeida (BRA, 4:03.71).

Alia Atkinson (JAM) earned her third medal in the Championships, winning the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:03.51. She had been also first in the 50m breaststroke and third in the 100m IM. Moreover, it was the third consecutive title for the Jamaican great in this event, after the gold in 2014 and 2016. Despite a strong finish, Katie Meili (USA) had to content with silver in 1:03.63, while Jessica Hansen (AUS) completed the podium in 1:04.61. 

In the two relay finals of the session, Russia was the winner (and revalidated the title) in the men’s 4x50m medley, in a time of 1:30.54, very close to the World and Championships records, held respectively by Russia (1:30.44, 2017) and Brazil (1:30.51, Doha 2014). The European quartet was formed by Kliment Kolesnikov (back), Oleg Kostin (breast), Mikhail Vekovishchev (fly) and Evgeny Rylov (free). USA earned silver in 1:30.90, while Brazil was third in 1:31.49.

In the women’s 4x200m free, the arena almost came down, with the thrilling victory of the home team in 7:34.08. The turning point of the race was the third leg, when the locals (Zhang Yuhan) managed to get the Australians, who dominated until half the race. With Wang Jianjiahe swimming the last leg for China, the lead could be maintained until the end. The Australians finished third in 7:36.40, still behind the US quartet, silver medallist in 7:35.30.

QUOTES 

Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – Gold, women’s 200m IM

“It’s always nice to race in China. I’ve got many fans throughout the year. I’ve been racing a lot in Beijing and now in Hangzhou. Obviously I’m very happy with my results over the past couple of days. I’m happiest with this, the women’s medley gold because of the time (2:03.25)”.

“My training hasn’t changed that much by changing my coach. I’ve had a long swimming career, so I’m pretty aware what I need to do to perform well. Obviously it’s really good to have a coach who can provide additional value to my training. There are little things I have changed and try to focus on. I do pay attention to recovery and try to do a lot more quality instead of quantity”.

Daiya Seto (JPN) – Gold, men’s 400m IM

"Yes, I am happy, but I wanted to set a world record. Next time, next time".

Olivia Smoliga (USA) -  Gold, women’s 50m back

"It feels like a blur to me, it goes by so quickly. I saw both girls off the side of me at the turn and I knew I had to have a good finish, so I tried my best to get my hands on the wall first. I think the time (25.88) is important. It shows how your training has been going, if you have improved your times from previous years. It shows what you are doing is the right thing".

Nicholas Santos (BRA) – Gold, men’s 50m fly

"Now I'm two-times world champion and for me, it's amazing. It's pretty cool that my WR is 21.75 and tonight I've swum 21.81. I swam the relay (men's 4x50m medley relay) just before the 50 butterfly. I was anxious to swim to know what I was going to do and I got the gold, it's nice".

"It would be good to swim 21.75 again, but it's not happening. Maybe if I didn't swim the relay, probably I could have broken the world record, but it's a game".

Cesar Cielo Filho (BRA) – Bronze, men’s 4x50m medley relay

"This might be my last race here. I have a meet in February and I just do not know if this is my last one with the national team. I am not going to quit swimming, but I will keep swimming in smaller meets. After Christmas, I will spend some time with my family, gather my thoughts and see. If this is my last race I am very proud to be on the podium. I am very happy, satisfied and relieved. I could not ask for a better ending of this meet".