BARCELONA -- The United States is off to a great start in the pool at these 15th FINA World Championships.
On the first night of competition, Americans medaled in each of the four finals contested, taking home two golds, a silver and a bronze. They also set two American records. (Read more about it here).
Some interesting facts about day 1 finals:
- The anchors of both the American men’s and women’s relays – Jimmy Feigen and Megan Romano – were competing in their first World Championships. Romano handled it like a seasoned pro, diving in with a seven-tenths deficit and pulling ahead down the homestretch for gold.
- Medalists Connor Jaeger and Katie Ledecky were also competing in their first World Championships, though their experience at last year’s Olympics undoubtedly played a role in their success Sunday. Jaeger won his first medal on the international stage, and Ledecky is now two-for-two in international competition, winning gold and setting an American record in the 800 free at last year’s Olympic Games and in the 400m free last night.
- It might have gone overlooked in the excitement of last night’s finals of the men’s 400m free relay, but Anthony Ervin, who, at 32, is the old man of the U.S. team, turned in the fastest split of the night for the Americans at 47.44. He tied Australian Cameron McEvoy for the fourth-fastest split of the entire field of 32 swimmers.
The Americans will be looking to build on the momentum from last night’s finals into tonight’s. Medals will be awarded in four events – the men’s 100m breaststroke, the women’s 100m butterfly, the men’s 50m butterfly and the women’s 200m IM. Here’s a look at tonight’s final events at Palau Sant Jordi:
Men’s 100m Breaststroke
Americans Kevin Cordes and Nic Fink both made it to the finals of tonight’s 100m breaststroke. Cordes tied for the second seed in 59.78, while Fink tied for the fifth seed in 59.84. Tonight’s race promises to be a tight one, with the top eight seeds separated by just 69-hundredths of a second.
Both Cordes and Fink are competing for the first time at a long course World Championship. Some background on both swimmers: Cordes won bronze in the 100m breaststroke at last year’s 2012 Short Course World Championships, and then went on to have an outstanding college season, winning the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststrokes at the 2013 NCAA Championships, setting American records in both.
Fink finished second behind Cordes last month at the World Championship Trials in Indianapolis, and finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke at this year’s NCAAs.
The last time the U.S. medaled in this event at Worlds was in 2007, when Brendan Hansen struck gold in Melbourne.
Women’s 100m Butterfly
Both Americans qualified for tonight’s finals of the 100m butterfly, as well. Dana Vollmer, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder, qualified as the fourth seed in 57.84. Claire Donahue, also an Olympic finalist in this event in 2012, snuck in as the eight seed in 58.44.
Vollmer is also the defending world champion, her win in Shanghai in 2011 marking the first time an American had won this event since 2003. She is competing in her fourth World Championships, and if she medals tonight, she will have seven career medals in World Championship finals.
Men’s 50m Butterfly
Eugene Godsoe is the United States’ lone representative in the men’s 50m butterfly. He qualified eighth in 23.16. Godsoe is not entirely new to the international scene. He won silver medals in the 100m back and the 100m butterfly at the 2011 Pan American Games, but this is the first time he’s competed at a long course world championships.
American Ian Crocker won silver in this event three times – in 2003, 2005 and 2007 – but no American has ever won gold in the 50m fly at a long course World Championships.
Women’s 200m IM
Caitlin Leverenz is the Americans’ only swimmer in the 200m IM. Leverenz finished fifth in this event at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, then won bronze a year later in the Olympic Games in London. American women have won the 200 IM in four of the last six World Championships. Ariana Kukors won the U.S.’s last two gold medals in this event, in 2009 and 2011.
Prelims were also contested in five events Monday morning at Palau Sant Jordi. The top 16 finishers in the women’s 100m backstroke, men’s 100m backstroke, women’s 100m breaststroke and men’s 200m freestyle will compete in Monday night’s semifinals. The top eight swimmers in the women’s 1500m freestyle will compete in Tuesday night’s finals.
Here’s how the American swimmers fared in this morning’s prelims. For complete results, go to www.omegatiming.com:
Women’s 100m Back – Missy Franklin, 1st, 59.13; Elizabeth Pelton 3rd, 59.94.
Men’s 100m Back – David Plummer, 2nd, 53.62; Matt Grevers 6th, 53.92.
Women’s 100m Breast – Jessica Hardy, 2nd, 1:05.18; Breeja Larson, 6th, 1:06.83.
Men’s 200m Free – Ryan Lochte and Connor Dwyer, 9th (tied), 1:47.90
Women's 1500m Free -- Katie Ledecky, 2nd, 15:49.26; Chloe Sutton, 7th, 16:04.72.