Aussies Break World Record; McKeon Makes History; Peaty Upset In Breaststroke At XXII Commonwealth Games

By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, July 31, 2022—Australia crushed the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay world record Sunday at the XXII Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

The foursome of Madi Wilson (1:56.27), Kiah Melverton (1:55.40), Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.80) and Ariarne Titmus (1:52.82) shattered China’s 2021 world record time of 7:40.33 (set at the Olympic Games) in 7:39.29. Canada took the silver in 7:51.98 and England won bronze in 7:57.11.

Titmus’ anchor leg was the fastest 200 freestyle split in history.

Aussie Olympic champion Emma McKeon made history with a record-breaking 11th Commonwealth Games gold medal by winning the 50-meter freestyle in 23.99, second fastest time in the world this year. Aussies swept the top three spots with Meg Harris (24.32) and Shayna Jack (24.36).

Dylan Carter, 25, of Trinidad and Tobago failed to qualify for Monday’s final in the 50-meter backstroke. He was fourth in his heat in 25.81 failing to advance into the semifinals. He will compete in the 50-meter freestyle heats on Tuesday.

In Sunday finals:
James Wilby of England pulled off the shocker winning the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.25 followed by Aussies Zac Stubblety-Cook (59.52) and Sam Williamson (59.82). World record holder, Olympic champion and pre-meet favorite Adam Peaty lost a 100 breaststroke race for the first time at a major international meet since 2013 and was shut out of a medal. He led at 50 meters but died on the back half to finish fourth in 59.86.

In an exciting men’s race, New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.60 just ahead of South African reigning champion Chad le Clos, 30, in 1:55.89. Brit James Guy was third in 1:56.77.

World record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:21.96. Aussie Jenna Strauch was second in 2:23.65 and South African teammate Kaylene Corbett was third in 2:23.67.

World record holder Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.60 ahead of Canadian Kylie Masse (58.73) and Wales’ Medi Harris (59.62).

The meet continues Monday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aussie Ariarne Titmus Knocks Off Katie Ledecky; Peaty, MacNeil, Dressel Win Gold

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 25, 2021–In a thrilling showdown, Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off defending champion and world record holder Katie Ledecky Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Swimming side-by-side in the 400-meter freestyle, the Tasmanian-born Titmus, 20, closed the gap to 2/10ths of a second at the 300-meter mark and pulled ahead in the final 50 meters to win in 3:56.69, an Oceanic women’s record and second fastest time in history.

Titmus, ranked No. 1 in the world, handed Ledecky, 24, her first individual Olympic loss. The American finished in 3:57.36, her second fastest career time. China’s Bingjie Li was third in an Asian record 4:01.88.

“I can’t believe it, I’m trying to contain my emotions,” Titmus said. “This past year I don’t know whether it’s gone fast or slow, but to get here was a relief. To come here and do the job, I’m over the moon.

“I thanked her, I wouldn’t be here without her. She set this incredible standard. I’ve been trying to chase her, it’s really exciting now we have this battle going. It’s really fun to race.

“I tried to stay as composed as I could. Then just tried to stick to my race plan. I can’t believe I pulled it off.”

The Ledecky-Titmus matchup was one of the most anticipated and talked-about Olympic races. Titmus had defeated Ledecky at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea in the 400 freestyle but Ledecky had a severe stomach virus. In June, Titmus had flirted with Ledecky’s world record of 3:56.46 when she went 3:56.90 at her country’s Olympic trials.

Titmus won the first individual gold medal for Australia since Stephanie Rice in 2008.

“I looked at the 300 and saw she was right there,” Ledecky said. “I knew it would be a fight to the finish. I can’t be disappointed. I did my best, I fought tooth and nail. She said she couldn’t have done it without me and I think she pushed me.”

Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall was emotional and animated after watching his swimmer touch first, running and gyrating in the stands.

It ended Ledecky’s quest to win the first of five possible gold medals. The two will meet again in the 200 and 800 freestyles and 4×200 freestyle relay.

In the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay final, anchor leg Zach Apple pulled away with a 46.6 split for a 9/10ths of a second lead to clinch the win for the U.S. in 3:08.97. Italy was second in 3:10.11 and Australia third in 3:10.22.

Floridian Caeleb Dressel led off in 47.2 followed by Blake Pieroni in 47.5 and Bowen Becker in 47.4 who led by 2/10ths after the third leg.

“We knew there was a huge target on our back,” said Dressel, a Clay High School, Bolles Club and Florida alum. “I’d say we dominated that pretty well. We’re never going to doubt ourselves, that’s not how the U.S. team works. We had a couple people rule us out in that event. We’re never going to take that so it feels nice to dominate and have it back on home soil.”

The U.S. men have won two of the last three Olympic 400 relays.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador, fifth in her heat of the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.75.

Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders, an NSU University School/Pine Crest Club alum, second in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.43.

Azura’s Joaquin Vargas of Peru, third in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.93.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly:
Canadian Maggie MacNeil, in the outside lane, swam the second fastest time in history to win the gold medal in 55.59 ahead of China’s Yufei Zhang in 55.64 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 55.72. American 18-year-old Stanford-commit Torri Huske o f Arlington, Va. missed the podium by 1/100ths in 55.73. MacNeil, World and Pan Pac champion who swims at University of Michigan, is the first Canadian to win the gold medal in the event. Swimming without her contact lenses, it took her a while to focus on the scoreboard and realize she was listed first. World and Olympic record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden, who bounced back from a shattered elbow sustained slipping on ice, was seventh in 56.91.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Defending champion, world record holder and heavy favorite Adam Peaty of Great Britain won back-to-back Olympic gold in 57.37 ahead of Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands in 58.00, the first medal in the event for his country and Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy in 58.33. American medal favorite Michael Andrew finished out of the medals placing fourth in 58.84.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Maggie MacNeil, CAN 55.59, 2. Yufei Zhang, CHINA 55.64, 3. Emma McKeon, AUS 55.72.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 3:56.69, 2. Katie Ledecky, US 3:57.36, 3. Bingjie Li, CHINA 4:01.08.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Adam Peaty, GBR 57.37, 2. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands 58.00, 3. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA 58.33.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. United States 3:08.97, 2. Italy 3:10.11, 3. Australia 3:10.22.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aussie Teenager Breaks World Record On Day Four Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Settles For 100 IM Bronze

By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 14, 2018—Teenager Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off reigning world record holder Wang Jianjiahe of China in the 400-meter freestyle with a world record of her own Friday on Day Four of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Titmus, 18, winner of the 200-meter freestyle, won the distance event in 3:53.92. Titmus, who was fourth in the event at the 2017 world championships in Hungary, led from start-to-finish. Jianjiahe was second in 3:54.56. China’s Lu Bingjie was third in 3:57.99.

It was the first woman individual world record at the meet after Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda broke men’s world records.

“I am a little bit in shock,” Titmus said. “I knew the Chinese girl would go out fast. I was worried she would have a little left in the tank at the end, but I held her off. I put in a lot of hard work since our trials five weeks ago and the turnaround I have had in that time is unbelievable. I dropped six seconds off my 400 and that shows what training hard can do. I can’t believe it, and for it to be a short course world record is something. I am someone who does not pride themselves on speed, but I will take it.”

It has been a breakthrough year for the young Tasmanian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018. She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname “Terminator.” Her father calls her “Arnie” and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second medal of the meet finishing third in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.11.

Atkinson also earned the top-seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in 1:04.07. She was second fastest in the prelims in 1:04.34.

Another local, Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Plantation American Heritage was the sixth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter butterfly semifinals in 22.62 after going 22.53 in prelims.

In other Friday finals:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu won the 100 IM, her third gold medal, in 57.26 and her fourth consecutive title in the event. Japan’s Runa Imai was second in 57.85. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg was fourth.

“I do feel a bit sore, and I am glad I did not swim the 50 backstroke in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I felt a lot readier this afternoon after having slept in this morning. For me the medley is a fun event. It is all the four strokes together and a sprint, so for me it is just a lot of fun”.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record in 24.47, her second gold medal of the meet. She also won the 100-meter freestyle. The previous record was 24.58. Aussie Holly Barratt took silver in 24.80 and American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia was third in 24.97.

Russian Kliment Kolesnikov won his showdown with Italian Marco Orsi in the 100-meter individual medley in a championship and junior world record 50.63. Orsi finished in 51.03 and Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori took the bronze in 51.53. American Michael Andrew was fourth in 51.58.

In an upset, Russian Vladimir Morozov won his first gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.33. It was his third medal in the event in three worlds. Fastest qualifier Caeleb Dressel, a Clay and Bolles alum, was second in 20.54. South African Bradley Tandy took the bronze in 20.94 after initial third place finisher Ben Proud of Britain was disqualified for a false start for the second time this year at an international meet.

Russian teammate Evgeny Rylov knocked off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy to win the 50-meter backstroke in 22.58. Murphy finished in 22.63.

Ireland’s Shane Ryan won his country’s first medal in the 25-year meet history with a third place in the 50-meter backstroke.

Two other world records were broken in the relay competition.

In the relay competition, the U.S. men’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay of Dressel, Ryan Held, Jack Conger and Michael Chadwick won in a world record 1:21.80.

Brazil broke the third world record in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 6:46.81 with Luiz Melo, Fernando Scheffer, Nicholas Santos and Breno Correia.

The U.S. team has 21 total medals (10 gold, 8 silver, 3 bronze). China has 10 (2 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Russia has 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze).

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 are competing 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.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at