Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ledecky wins 400 titles in world swimming, eyeing more

BUDAPEST, Hungary ( Associated Press) – Katie Ledecky started the United States’ medal collection at the World Swimming Championships on Saturday by reclaiming her title in the women’s 400 meters.

The Americans finished the first day of the race with two gold, one silver and three bronze.

Ledecky took 3 minutes, 58.15 seconds – nearly two seconds away from the world record – for her fourth world title in the 400 freestyle, after 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Ariane Titmus defeated Ledecky to lift the title in 2019 and set his own world record last month, but the Australian left the world in Budapest to focus on next month’s Commonwealth Games in England.

“It’s great to get the first gold medal for the US team,” said Ledecky, who said she is also working on reclaiming her record. “I’m on the right track.”

By winning the 400, Ledecky got his 16th gold medal in the world and 18th overall. She is just one behind Natalie Coughlin for the most medals by a female swimmer in World Championships history.

Ledecky focused on a fifth consecutive world title in the 1500 with the Heat on Sunday before the final next Monday.

Canada’s 15-year-old Summer McIntosh took less than 4 minutes for silver behind Ledecky.

“I just wanted to have fun and race and chuckle with others,” McIntosh said.

Both were well ahead of the competition, with American Leah Smith finishing third by 3.93 Ledecky and Australia’s Lani Pallister in fourth.

The US relay team of Caleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Justin Reuss and Brooks Curry won the men’s 4×100 freestyle final with a time of 3:09.34 to finish second and the Italians third.

The Australian women responded by winning their 4×100 freestyle final, 1.20 ahead of the Canadians and 1.63 ahead of the Americans.

Molly O’Callaghan, Madison Wilson, Meg Harris and Shayna Jack were all quick and took 3:30.95.

“Everyone did their job,” Wilson said.

Australia’s Eliza Winnington won her first gold medal of the evening when she overcame Germany’s Lukas Martens in the men’s 400m final. Winnington clocked a time of 3 minutes, 41.22 seconds, a personal best and the third fastest in the world.

“I try to keep up with the Aussie guy but in the end he swam,” said Martens, who finished 1.63 seconds behind.

Brazil’s Guilherme Costa finished third.

None of the 2019 medalists competed in the men’s 400. China’s Sun Yang is banned for a doping violation, Australia’s Mack Horton – the 2016 Olympic champion – failed to qualify by 0.10 seconds, and Gabrielle Datey did not enter.

Leon Marchand won gold for France with an impressive performance in the men’s 400 medley. Marchand, 20, clocked 4:04.28 for the European record and is the second-fastest record behind Michael Phelps’s record of 4:03.84 at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Americans Carson Foster and Chase Kallis claimed silver and bronze.

“I really thought I was done and I couldn’t bother with this bronze,” said Kallis, who won gold in 2017 when they hosted Budapest.

In the semi-finals of the men’s 50 butterfly, Britain’s Benjamin Proud was 0.03 seconds faster than Dressel and Italy’s Thomas Secon. The final is on Sunday.

American Tory Huske was the fastest in the women’s 100 butterfly semi-final, and Alex Walsh led the American 1-2 with Leah Hayes ahead of Australia’s Kaylee McCain and Canada’s Marie-Sophie Harvey in the women’s 200 medley semi-final.

There was a lot of excitement from the audience at the Dua Arena for any Hungarian swimmer. The sport’s governing body FINA appealed to fans to clap instead of clap as a precaution against the coronavirus infection. There were no other requests or restrictions.

Budapest moved to host the event after being postponed twice from its original dates in Fukuoka, Japan due to conflict with the Tokyo Olympics last year, again this year due to the pandemic.


More Associated Press Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Nation World News Desk
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