Sean Ryan's Golden in 1,500m Freestyle at World University Games
Sean Ryan (Chattanooga, Tenn.) won the United States’ first swimming gold medal of the 2013 World University Games in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle on Friday night. Laura Sogar (Exeter, R.I.) and Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.) also medaled, claiming bronze and pushing the total U.S. swimming medal count to seven. The pool competition will continue through July 16 in the Aquatics Palace in Kazan, Russia.
Ryan paced himself at the beginning of the 1,500m before moving to the front at the 750m mark. He finished the race in 14:57.33.
“I just wanted to stay relaxed and swim my own race,” said Ryan. “Some of the racers got ahead of me at the beginning, but around the halfway mark I made my move and was able to separate from them for the rest of the race. This win was something special.”
The victory marked his first career international individual medal. Teammate Ryan Feeley (Rye, N.Y.) found the wall in 15:20.75 and finished sixth in the race.
Sogar won the Team USA’s second medal of the night in the women’s 100m breaststroke. The 22-year-old put her hand on the wall in 1:07.76 to finish third. Russia’s Iulia Efimova won the event with a time of 1:05.48.
The final medal of the night belonged to Romano in the 100m freestyle. Romano – who will be competing at the FINA World Championships later this month in Barcelona – clocked a 54.45 to finish third. Bulgaria’s Aliaksandra Herasimenia won with a time of 54.50.
“The U.S. is starting to find its rhythm,” said Romano. “Each day keeps getting better and better, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Kyle Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind.) and Michael Wynalda (Ann Arbor, Mich.) each had fourth-place finishers in their respective finals. Whitaker finished the men’s 200m individual medley in 2:00.42, while Wynalda clocked a 1:47.65 in the men’s 200m free. The winner of the 200m IM was Australia’s Jusi James in 1:58.35, and Russia’s Danila Izotov was the 200m free champion, touching in 1:45.48.
Kendyl Stewart (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Ellen Williamson (Ft. Mitchell, Ky.) both swam in the final of the women’s 200m backstroke. Stewart placed seventh with a time of 2:12.19 and Williamson was eighth in 2:13.28. Australia’s Madison Wilson won the event in 2:09.22.
Day three’s evening sessions featured five semifinal races. Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla.) and Sarah Henry (Garner, N.C.) had the second- and third-fastest times in the women’s 200m IM. Margalis finished in 2:13.32, with Henry touching in 2:14.01.
In the men’s 200m breaststroke, Cody Miller (2:12.11) clocked a 2:12.11 and advanced with the third-overall seed. Michael Alexandrov (Champaign, Ill.) also secured a spot in the finals with his 2:12.89 performance.
Also advancing out of semis and into the finals was Michael Flach (Annandale, Va.) and Whitaker in the men’s 200m butterfly. Flach swam a 1:58.77, while Whitaker came in at 1:59.15.
Romano and Cindy Tran (Westminster, Calif.) both finished in the top eight in the women’s 100m backstroke. Romano finished in 1:01.22 and Tran in 1:01.85.
James Wells (Baltimore, Md.) and Jacob Pebley (Minneapolis, Minn.) swam the men’s 50m backstroke in 25.80 and 25.85, respectively, but did not advance to the final.
Taking place every two years, the World University Games are an international, multi-sport event organized for university athletes by the International Sports Federation. Swimmers were selected to the 2013 World University Games Team roster based on their performance at the 2012 U.S. Open Championships and the 2013 Open Water National Championships.
The pool competition in Kazan, Russia, is set for July 10-16 followed by the open water competition scheduled for July 17. For more information on this year’s Games, visit http://kazan2013.ru/en