By Sharon Robb
HANGZHOU, China, December 16, 2018—On the sixth and final night of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships, Caeleb Dressel saved his best for last.
The Clay High School and Bolles Swim Club alum won the 100-meter freestyle in an exciting finish against Russian Vlad Morozov, 45.62-45.64. Dressel used his closing speed to out-touch Morozov. South African Chad le Clos took the bronze in 45.89.
It was Dressel’s first individual gold medal and short course world title. He also broke his own American record of 45.66 he set earlier in the meet as leadoff leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
“I actually feel alright right now,” Dressel said. “It was a long meet, but I’ve had meets where I was a lot more tired. This went smoothly. I’m happy to be done, don’t get me wrong, but it was a great performance all around from everyone on the team and it was really exciting to be a part of that.”
Dressel was also a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay with a split of 48.28. The U.S. men won in a championship record 3:19.98 breaking the old U.S. record of 3:20.99 set in 2010. Russia was second in 3:20.61 and Japan was third in 3:21.07. Dressel was joined by teammates Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, Andrew Wilson and Ryan Held.
“I feel like I’m in really good shape,” Dressel said. “They (his swims) were pretty sloppy to be honest, a lot of them. I feel like I got better as the meet went on because that was faster than the first day of the meet tonight, so I think I was getting better every day. The speed was not quite there, but like I said I think I’m in really good shape. My last 50 was really good in the fly and the free, so I’m not worried about anything and it will be fun year next year at Worlds.”
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu and South Africa’s Chad le Clos were named 2018 FINA Swimmers of the Year. Hosszu’s new coach, Arpad Petrov, was named the top women’s coach and former Coral Springs Swim Club coach Andrea di Nino and coach of Le Clos, was named men’s coach of the year. They were honored at the FINA World Aquatics Gala on Sunday night.
In the other Sunday finals:
The U.S. women’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay team of Madison Kennedy, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Erika Brown won in a championship record 1:34.03 ahead of world record holder Netherlands (1:34.55) and Australia (1:36.34).
Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine overtook early leader and world record holder Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy in the final 25 meters of the 1,500-yard freestyle to win in a championship record 14:09.14. Paltrinieri finished in 14:09.87 and Norway’s Henrik Christiansen was third in 14:19.39.
American Annie Lazor won a three-woman race in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.32 ahead of teammate Bethany Gelat in 2:18.62 and Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse in 2:18.85.
Russia’s Evgeny Rylov surged in the final 50 meters to knock off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 1:47.02-1:47.34. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki and Aussie Mitch Larkin tied for the bronze in 1:48.25.
American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia won the 100-meter butterfly in 55.01, just a half second off her world record. U.S. teammate Kendyl Stewart was second in 56.22 and Brazil’s Daiene Dias was third in 56.31.
South African Cameron van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in a championship record 25.41 to sweep the breaststroke events. The Olympic gold medalist and world record holder announced his retirement following the meet. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus took silver in 25.77 and former championship record holder Felipe Lima of Brazil was third in 25.80.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter freestyle in a championship record of 23.19. Teammate Femke Heemskerk was second in 23.67. Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros was third in 23.76.
The U.S. women’s relay team of Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Mallory Comerford won the 4×100-meter medley relay in a championship record 3:45.58. China was second in 3:48.80 and Italy was third in a national record 3:51.38.
The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.
A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries competed for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org