Retains 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly titles
American superstar Caeleb Dressel produced more fireworks on Saturday as he romped to a hat-trick of golds, taking his tally to six on a dark day when a fatal nightclub accident shook the swimming World championships.
Day seven also threw up further doping controversy with Australian officials announcing freestyle relay world-record holder Shayna Jack had tested positive for a banned substance, explaining her mysterious no-show in South Korea.
But Dressel, swimming’s squeaky-clean, tattooed glamour boy, helped refocus attention on the pool as he retained his 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly world titles in style, before leading the American mixed 4x100m freestyle team to a new world record.
Bouncing on his toes like a prizefighter before the 50m free, Dressel exploded from the blocks and never looked back, clocking a championship best 21.04 seconds, comfortably clear of Brazilian Bruno Fratus and Greek Kristian Gkolomeev, who tied for silver in 21.45.
Dressel, who scooped seven gold medals at the 2017 Worlds in Budapest, let out a roar of delight but had very little time to savour the moment. Te 22-year-old was back for the 100m butterfly final and after a long, hard stare down lane four, he got it done again.
Once again making his signature fast start, the American touched in 49.66 — the second-quickest swim ever, a night after shattering Michael Phelps’s 10-year-old world record. Just when his rivals thought it was safe to get back in the water, Dressel gave the USA relay quartet the lead it would keep, Simon Manuel bringing the Americans home in a world record of 3:19.40.
Dressel’s heroics came after the shock news that two locals died and eight athletes were injured after an indoor balcony at a Gwangju nightclub collapsed in the early hours on Saturday, sending party-goers plummeting over 5m onto people below.
A doping controversy followed when it was revealed Jack had failed a drug test.
American great Katie Ledecky displayed a champion’s heart to win her fourth successive 800m freestyle gold after being pushed to the limit by European champion Simona Quadarella.
The results: Men: 50m freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel (USA) 21.04s, 2. Bruno Fratus (Bra) 21.45, 3. Kristian Gkolomeev (Gre) 21.45. 100m butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel (USA) 49.66, 2. Andrei Minakov (Rus) 50.83, 3. Chad le Clos (RSA) 51.16.
Women: 50m butterfly: 1. Sarah Sjostrom (Swe) 25.02, 2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (Ned) 25.35, 3. Farida Osman (EGY) 25.47. 200m backstroke: 1. Regan Smith (USA) 2:03.69, 2. Kaylee McKeown (Aus) 2:06.26, 3. Kylie Masse (Can) 2:06.62. 800m freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky (USA) 8:13.58, 2. Simona Quadarella (Ita) 8:14.99, 3. Ariarne Titmus (Aus) 8:15.70
Mixed 4x100m freestyle: 1. USA 3:19.40, 2. Australia 3:19.97, 3. France 3:22.11.
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