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Chinese Capture 2 Golds in Fukuoka
17:56 JST, July 25, 2023
FUKUOKA (AP) — China won just a single gold medal at last year’s swimming world championships in Hungary. But on the second day of this year’s competition in Japan, the Chinese claimed two golds in about 10 minutes to open the session.
And they are sure to win more with six days to go in the pool.
The American pair of Kate Douglas and Alex Walsh, college teammates at the University of Virginia, later went 1-2 in the 200-meter individual medley with Yu Yiting of China taking bronze. It was the first gold for the Americans.
“That was a huge honor for me to do it tonight,” said Douglass, who overtook Walsh in the final 50-meter freestyle leg to finish in 2 minutes 07.17 seconds.
“I really just wanted to get the gold for Team USA tonight, and I’m so happy I did that.”
Walsh finished in 2:07.97 and Yu in 2:08.74.
The Chinese sweep saw Zhang Yufei win the women’s 100 butterfly and Qin Haiyang go wire-to-wire in the men’s 100 breaststroke. Zhang rallied over the final 15 meters, touching in 56.12 seconds.
Maggie MacNeil of Canada finished second in 56.45, and Torri Huske of the U.S. clocked 56.61 for third just two years after placing fourth in the event at the Tokyo Games.
The women’s race was a rematch of the final two years ago at the Tokyo Games. The top four finishers in Tokyo were separated by only 14 hundredths of a second.
That race went to MacNeil, followed by Zhang and Australian swimmer Emma McKeon. Huske was .01 behind McKeon and missed out on a medal.
“This is my first gold medal in the world championships,” Zhang said, calling her competitors MacNeil, McKeon and Huske “my old friends.”
Zhang said she changed her style, holding back on the first leg “and then going as fast as I can on the last 50.”
Qin was never challenged in the 100 breaststroke and finished in 57.69. Three tied for second in 58.72: Nic Fink of the U.S., Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy and the Netherlands’ Arno Kamming.
“Everything just went the way I was thinking,” Qin said. “And also this is just a start for me. I’m hoping for three gold.”
He’ll go in the 50 and 200. In the 200, he’ll be up against rising French star Leon Marchand, who obliterated Michael Phelps’ 400 IM record on Sunday, and Zac Stubblety-Cook — the world champion, Olympic champ and world-record holder from Australia.
His world record is 2:05.95.
The men’s 100 breaststroke was partly defined by who was not on hand to compete.
Adam Peaty, a two-time Olympic champion and world-record holder from Britain, is taking a break and is not swimming in Japan.
He has said in interviews that he’s taking time away for “mental health issues.”
Peaty is one of the most dominant swimmers in his discipline and holds 19 of the top 20 times in the 100 breaststroke.
His record is 56.88 seconds.
Thomas Ceccon of Italy won the men’s 50 butterfly, which is not an Olympic event, in 22.68. He finished ahead of Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal in 22.80 and Maxime Grousset of France in 22.82.
Ceccon won the race 20 minutes after winning a 100 backstroke semifinal.
“There is no preparation for this,” he said. “Just go all out.”
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