American swimmers dominated proceedings in the Palau Sant Jordi pool on Sunday as they won two out of four medals on offer on the first day of the pool swimming competition at the 15th FINA World Championships.
The US women’s team won the 4x100 metre freestyle relay races, while teenager Katie Ledecky came close to breaking the world record as she took the 400m freestyle event. The only swimmers who managed to gatecrash the American party was Chinese Olympic champion Sun Yang and the French men’s 4x100m relay team.
Sun became the first gold medal winner by taking first place in the men’s 400m freestyle race in three minutes 41.59 seconds, beating Japan’s Hagino Kosuke by an astonishing 3.23 seconds. The biggest cheer of the evening belonged to local hero Melania Costa Schmid as she received the silver medal for the women’s 400m freestyle event. Schmid was beaten by 2.65 seconds by Ledecky, who was on world record course until the last turn, but still finished in 3:59.82.
In the final event of the session, the US team seemed on course to win a third gold, but France’s Jeremy Stravius seemed to come out of nowhere to deny the US.
In the women’s relay, defending champion Australia was leading at the last turn, but then could do little as Megan Romano powered past Alcia Coutts to give the US victory in 3:32.31 by 0.12 seconds.
Earlier, Chinese diver Qiu Bo made amends for the disappointment of missing out on Olympic gold last year to retain his title in the men’s 10m platform final.
The results: Swimming: Men: 400m freestyle: 1. Sun Yang (Chn) 3: 41.59s, 2. Kosuke Hagino (Jpn) 3:44.82, 3. Connor Jaeger (USA) 3:44.85. 4 x 100m freestyle relay: 1. France (Y. Agnel, F. Gilot, F. Manaudou, J. Stravius) 3:11.18s, 2. USA 3:11.42, 3. Russia 3:11.44.
Women: 400m: 1. Katie Ledecky (USA) 3:59.82, 2. Melanie Costa (Esp) 4:02.47, 3. Lauren Boyle (NZ) 4:03.89. 4 x 100m freestyle relay: 1. USA (M. Franklin, N. Coughlin, S. Vreeland, M. Romano) 3:32.31, 2. Australia 3:32.43, 3. The Netherlands 3:35.77.
Diving: Men: 10m platform: 1. Qiu Bo (Chn) 581 points, 2. David Boudia (USA) 517.40, 3. Sascha Klein (Ger) 508.55.
Synchronised swimming: Free combination: 1. Russia 97.060 points, 2. Spain 94.620, 3. Ukraine 93.350. — Agencies