Simone Manuel becomes first American woman to sweep 50 and 100 freestyle at worlds
Manuel came away from South Korea with an incredible four gold medals and six silver medals.
GWANGJU, South Korea —Simone Manuel completed a sweep of the 50 and 100-meter freestyles at the world swimming championships on Sunday night, the first American woman to achieve the feat. Her haul during the eight-day event included four golds and six silvers.
She came back later to anchor the U.S. to an easy victory in the 4x100 medley relay. Regan Smith, Lilly King, Kelsi Dahlia and Manuel won in 3:50.40, lowering the mark of 3:51.55 set two years ago in Hungary.
Manuel outdid Australia’s Cate Campbell on the final leg, with the Americans winning by 3.02 seconds.
Smith set a world record of 57.57 on her opening 100 backstroke leg. She won the 200 back in world-record time, too, but didn’t qualify in the individual 100 back.
“That really pumped us all up,” Manuel said.
In the 50 free, Manuel raced one length of the pool in 24.05 seconds to earn her third gold and fifth medal overall on the last night of the eight-day competition.
She held off Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, who took silver in 24.07, and Australian Cate Campbell, who earned bronze in 24.11.
In the 100 free, Manuel topped Campbell and Sjostrom finished third.
Manuel’s other medals came in relays: gold in the mixed 4x100 free and silvers in the 4x100 free and 4x200 free.
Lilly King won the 50 breaststroke, giving the American two victories over Russian rival Yuliya Efimova.
They were denied a third meeting when King was disqualified in the heats of the 200 breast for not putting both her hands on the wall at the same time in a turn.
King touched in 29.84, the only swimmer under 30 seconds in the final.
Benedetta Pilato, a 14-year-old Italian, earned a surprise silver in 30 seconds flat and reacted by crying.
“I didn’t know if it was happy tears or sad tears,” King said. “She’s 14, it doesn’t really matter what kind of tears they were, but I was like, ‘It’s OK, you did fine.’”
Efimova, who won the 200 and finished second to King in the 100, settled for bronze in 30.15.
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary extended her domination of the 400 individual medley, becoming the first woman to win five titles in one event. She swam the four-stroke race in 4 minutes, 30.39 seconds.