Showdown Between Caeleb Dressel and Kyle Chalmers Set for 100 Freestyle

World Swimming Championships (Caeleb Dressel)

Gwangju, Day 4


Men’s 100 Freestyle

The long-awaited showdown between American Caeleb Dressel and Australian Kyle Chalmers is on, as the reigning world champion and reigning Olympic titlist went one-two in the semifinals of the sport’s blue-ribbon event. Dressel shot off the blocks – as usual – and notched the top seed for the final in 47.35 with a win in the second semifinal, just after Chalmers produced a mark of 47.58 in the prior heat.

While Dressel and Chalmers are on a collision course, Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini is lurking as the third seed, following a semifinal swim of 47.76. Chierighini was joined in the sub-48 realm by Russia’s Vladislav Grinev (47.82) and the United States’ Blake Pieroni (47.87). When Dressel and Chalmers engage in their duel, the world record of 46.91, held since 2009 by Cesar Cielo, could be under attack.

France’s Clement Mignon (48.25) earned the sixth slot in the final, followed by Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth (48.29) and Brazilian Breno Correia (48.33).


1. Caeleb Dressel, United States 47.35
2. Kyle Chalmers, Australia 47.58
3. Marcelo Chierighini, Brazil 47.76
4. Vladislav Grinev, Russia 47.82
5. Blake Pieroni, United States 47.87
6. Clement Mignon, France 48.25
7. Nandor Nemeth, Hungary 48.29
8. Breno Correia, Brazil 48.33

Women’s 50 Backstroke

Illness and injury have plagued Kathleen Baker for a good portion of this season, but the American has a shot at the podium in the 50 back. Surging late over the one-lap sprint, Baker topped the semifinals in 27.62, finishing ahead of Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros (27.69) and Great Britain’s Georgia Davies (27.72). Baker has dealt with the flu and pneumonia this year, her bout with pneumonia leading to a broken rib following a coughing attack.

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown (27.73) and the United States’ Olivia Smoliga (27.76) qualified fourth and fifth. Smoliga is the reigning world champion in the short-course version of the event and should be in the medal mix coming off a bronze in the 100 back from earlier in the meet.

In a surprise, China’s Fu Yuanhui finished ninth and missed out on the final. Fu was the world champion in the 50 back in 2015 and claimed the silver medal in 2017.


1. Kathleen Baker, United States 27.62
2. Etiene Medeiros, Brazil 27.69
3. Georgia Davies, Great Britain 27.72
4. Kaylee McKeown, Australia 27.73
5. Olivia Smoliga, United States 27.76
6. Caroline Pilhatsch, Austria 27.77
7. Kira Toussaint, Netherland 27.78
8. Daria Vaskina, Russia 27.79

Women’s 200 Butterfly

Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot provided the United States with a boost by securing the top-two positions for the final, Flickinger leading the way in 2:06.25 and Drabot following in 2:06.59. In what has been a relatively slow events through two rounds, Flickinger and Drabot have looked sharp, especially Flickinger, who was sub-2:06 in the prelims. They should find a challenge with the medals on the line from the Hungarian pair of Boglarka Kapas(2:07.33) and Liliana Szilagyi (2:07.83).

Great Britain’s Alys Thomas was the fastest performer in the world last year and moved into the final as the sixth seed, going 2:08.26. She was just behind Germany’s Franziska Hentke, who touched in 2:08.14. Hentke was the bronze medalist in the 200 fly in 2017.


1. Hali Flickinger, United States 2:06.25
2. Katie Drabot, United States 2:06.59
3. Boglarka Kapas, Hungary 2:07.33
4. Liliana Szilagyi, Hungary 2:07.83
5. Franziska Hentke, Germany 2:08.14
6. Alys Thomas, Great Britain 2:08.26
7. Svetlana Chimrova, Russia 2:08.30
8. Laura Stephens, Great Britain 2:09.06

Men’s 200 Individual Medley

A ninth straight world title for the United States is well within reach as Chase Kalisz cruised through his semifinal of the short medley, clocking 1:57.34 for the fourth seed. En route to winning the second semifinal, the defending world champion did only what was needed to advance. The United States, thanks to a streak put together by Michael PhelpsRyan Lochte and Kalisz, has not lost the 200 IM at the World Champs since 2001.

Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches (1:56.73) and Germany’s Philip Heintz (1:56.95) moved into the final as the top seeds, with Japan’s Daiya Seto qualifying third ahead of Kalisz in 1:57.10. Earlier in the night, Seto picked up a silver medal in the 200 butterfly. Aussie Mitch Larkin (1:57.45) fell in behind Kalisz while sixth went to Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (1:57.83).


1. Jeremy Desplanches, Switzerland 1:56.73
2. Philip Heintz, Germany 1:56.95
3. Daiya Seto, Japan 1:57.10
4. Chase Kalisz, United States 1:57.34
5. Mitch Larkin, Australia 1:58.45
6. Duncan Scott, Great Britain 1:57.83
7. Abrahm Devine, United States 1:57.91
8. Wang Shun, China 1:57.98

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