Haughey defends title, U.S. finishes top at short-course world swimming championships

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong, China on Sunday defended her women’s 200m freestyle title, as the United States topped the medal table at the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

The United States won 36 medals, including 17 gold medals, at the six-day short-course event held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center. Hosts Australia finished second with 26 medals.

On the final day of the event on Sunday, Haughey, the women’s 200m freestyle world record holder, had a comfortable victory in her pet event after touching the wall in 1:51.65.

She led throughout and finished well ahead of Canada’s Rebecca Smith and Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands.

“It’s so nice to defend your title and this is the first time that I managed to do this,” Haughey told Xinhua. “It means a lot to me. I wish the time was a little bit faster but overall I’m so happy with it.”

The 25-year-old had earlier claimed silver in the 100m freestyle.

“I’m pretty happy with my results. But I know I still have a lot of things to work on and next year we have so many competitions,” Haughey said.

American Nic Fink set a championship record time of 25.38 seconds in a thrilling men’s 50m breaststroke race. He edged out Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi by 0.04 seconds to take gold.

Simone Cerasuolo of Italy claimed bronze, while China’s Qin Haiyang missed a podium finish by 0.14 seconds. Yan Zibei from China finished seventh.

“I had a more relaxed state of mind, which is the main gain for me from participating in the Melbourne championships,” said Qin.

South Korea’s Hwang Sun-woo caused a boilover in the men’s 200m freestyle with a championship record time of 1:39.72. Swimming in lane eight, Hwang beat teen sensation David Popovici of Romania and Britain’s Olympic champion Tom Dean.

American Ryan Murphy capped his dominant campaign by winning the men’s 200m backstroke to add to his earlier gold in the 50m and 100m backstroke events. He overcame compatriot Shaine Casas, while Italy’s Lorenzo Mora finished with bronze, reports Xinhua.

Canada’s Margaret MacNeil stormed out of the blocks to smash a world record in the women’s 100m butterfly with a time of 54.05 seconds. Torri Huske from the U.S. won silver and Sweden’s Louise Hansson came third.

Olympic champion MacNeil had earlier won gold medals in the 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke.

South African veteran Chad le Clos continued his dominance in his favoured event after winning gold in the men’s 100m butterfly with a time of 48.59 seconds.

He added to his gold in the 200m butterfly earlier in the meet after edging 17-year-old Canadian Ilya Kharun, who set a world junior record time of 49.03 seconds. Marius Kusch from Germany claimed bronze.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte won the women’s 50m breaststroke gold, touching the wall in 28.50 seconds. She had broken the world record in the semifinals in 28.37.

In the women’s 200m backstroke, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown again thrilled the home fans after a dominant race where she claimed gold with a time of 1:59.26. She had earlier won gold in the 100m backstroke.

Claire Curzan of the U.S. and Canada’s Kylie Masse claimed silver and bronze respectively, while China’s Peng Xuwei finished sixth.

The U.S. won the women’s 4x100m medley relay in a world record time of 3:44.35.

In the final race of the championships, Australia and the U.S. had a dead heat of 3:18.98 to set a world record in a thrilling men’s 4x100m medley relay.




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