By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 16, 2022—Three world records fell and Aussie Lani Pallister and Americans Ryan Murphy and Kate Douglass won gold medals Friday at the 16th FINA Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.
France won its first gold medal at worlds when it dominated its mixed freestyle relay broke the world record in 1:27.33, breaking the previous mark of 1:27.89 set by the U.S. in 2018.
The foursome of Maxime Grousset (20.92), Florent Manaudou (20.26), Beryl Gastaldello (23.00), and Melanie Henique (23.15) won by 7/10ths of a second over the Aussies.
“I haven’t been at the top of the podium since 2015,” said Manaudou. “I had 19 major medals and now I have 20. I like the number 20 more. I appreciate all those earlier medals even more today than I did before.
“At the end of the race, I understood that we were going to win, but I was not yet thinking about the world record. When I saw that we were breaking the world record, I exploded with joy.”
Douglass won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:15.77 ahead of U.S. teammate Lilly King in 2:17.13.
Japan’s Daiya Seto won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in an Asian record 2:00.35. Defending champion Nic Fink took silver in 2:01.60.
Canadian Maggie MacNeil broke her own world record in the 50-meter backstroke with strong underwater kicks in 25.25, lowering her previous record of 25.27.
“I’m ecstatic, I knew it would be hard to swim a best time,” MacNeil said. “I just really wanted to see the improvement, even just a couple of hundredths. Swimming Canada has definitely risen over the past few years and to see this tonight is amazing. It’s great to bring this medal back to Canada.”
Bolles alum Ryan Murphy won the 50-meter backstroke in 22.64 in a bizarre situation. Initially, it was Australia’s Isaac Cooper who touched the wall first, but due to the sound error, the race had to be re-swum an hour later in the session. Cooper finished second to Murphy in 22.73.
“It was definitely an interesting last hour,” Murphy said. “On the first start, we all heard the double beep and you know you just have to go if you are swimming in a world championship final…you just have to finish that race. But after the turn, I hit the wall and I felt that the wedge was still in. I thought “Oh shoot, we have to do that one again.”
Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands won the 100-meter individual medley in 57.53 to carry on the rich tradition of the Dutch in the event. Italy’s Thomas Ceccon won the 100 IM in 50.97.
Aussie Lani Pallister won her third gold medal in the 1500 freestyle in 15:21.43. Legendary Dawn Fraser, a three-time Olympic champion in the 100 freestyle, presented Pallister with her gold medal.
The U.S. men’s 4×200-meter freestyle finished the day’s schedule with a world record in 6:44.12. The foursome of Kieran Smith (1:41.04), Carson Foster (1:40.48), Trenton Julian (1:41.44) and Drew Kibler (1:41.16) took nearly three seconds off the world record that Brazil set in 2018 at 6:46.81.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s 2020 Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego swims his second and final event Saturday in the 50-meter breaststroke. He competed in the 100 breaststroke earlier in the week.
Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago made it through the semifinal round of the 50-meter freestyle and missed out on a medal in the 50-meter backstroke. The Plantation American Heritage alum finished seventh in the sprint backstroke in 23.12. He was fifth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.94 for Saturday’s final. Jordan Crooks of the Cayman Islands was top qualifier in 20.31.
Azura Florida Aquatics had three swimmers set national records. Steven Aimable of Senegal swam 22.42 in the 50 freestyle. Leon Seaton of Guyana swam 26.65 in the 50 freestyle. Nicole Frank of Uruguay swam 2:26.44 in the 200 breaststroke.
The meet, which ends Sunday, is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel. Meet prelims are 7 p.m. EST. Finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com