By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 17, 2021–Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter broke the national 100-meter butterfly record twice on Friday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.
The Plantation American Heritage alum’s national record of 49.87 in semifinals fell short of advancing into the final. He was sixth in his semifinal race and finished ninth overall, missing finals by 8/100ths of a second.
Carter broke his own national butterfly record first in prelims in 50.22. His previous record was 50.70. His semifinal time was the first time any swimmer from Trinidad and Tobago cracked the 50-second mark.
Carter, 25, won a bronze medal at the World Swimming Championships in the 50-meter butterfly in Hangzhou, China, in December 2018. The two-time Olympian recently finished his International Swimming League season with the London Roar that finished third in the Final Four playoffs.
In championship final action:
Sweden’s 4×50-yard women’s medley relay tied the world record and meet record of 1:42.38 set by the U.S. in 2018. Louise Hansson broke the national 50-yard backstroke on the opening leg in 25.91. Other relay members were Sophie Hansson (29.07 breast split), world record holder Sarah Sjostrum (23.96 butterfly) and Michelle Coleman (23.44 freestyle).
“We were thinking of a medal, gold was also in the cards but never thought we could set a world record, this is fantastic,” said Sophie Hansson, who added a bronze in the 50-meter breaststroke an hour later.
American Shaine Casas, 21, who missed making the 2020 Olympic team by one spot, won his first world title in the 100-meter backstroke in 49.23, just 2/10ths ahead of Russian and former world record holder Kliment Kolesnikov.
“The only thing that was going through my mind before this race was I needed to redeem myself,” Casas said. “I kind of proved that I’m still around and I’m somebody to mess with in the future.
“Once the race started, I kind of blanked out, spinning my arms as fast as I could and by the time I realized what was going on, we were at the end of the third leg,” Casas said. “I did the dolphin-kicks, after that my legs almost stopped working and I was just going for the wall to hit it first before these guys ran me down. It’s a huge jump after the college scene. These guys are on another level, but it takes practice, some confidence and you figure it out very quickly what to do.”
Casas was third in the 100m back at June’s Olympic Trials, where the top two made the team. He was a pre-meet favorite, ranked second in the nation since the start of 2019.
China’s Yufei Zhang won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.01 ahead of American Charlotte Hook in 2:04.35. Hook moved from eighth to second in the back half of the race.
Ilya Symanovich of Belarus won the 100-meter breaststroke in a meet record 55.70. The previous record was 56.01 set in 2018 by South African Cameron van der Burgh.
Anastasia Gorbenko became the first woman from Israel to win a world title, winning the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.34. Top seed and world record holder Alia Atkinson of SOFLO was the gold medal favorite before she was disqualified in the semifinals.
South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.60. American Kieran Smith of University of Florida was a distant fifth in 1:42.29.
Sweden’s Louise Hansson won her second gold medal of the day when she won the 100-meter backstroke in a national record 55.20.
“Oh Gosh, I’m overwhelmed,” Hansson said. “Beforehand, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to swim the 100-meter back. Then I saw some progress in the ISL, so I kept it but never thought I could win it. Oh, what an evening, world record in the relay, then another gold, in backstroke… I can’t believe it.”
With an opening split from 19-year-old Josh Liendo, Canada won the mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay in 1:28.55. He was joined by teammates Yuri Kisil 20.99, Kayla Sanchez (23.51) and Maggie MacNeil (23.11).
The five-day meet continues Saturday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.
FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.
The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.
There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.
Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org