FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 8

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as the World Championships continued with the 25 km open water races and finals in diving and artistic swimming.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

Olympic Channel are on site at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

There were finals in 25 km Open Water Swimming on Friday 19 July, while the U.S. artistic swimming team also showed off their robot routine in the Team Free final.

You can re-live all of Friday's action with our blog below (newest updates first). Come back for daily live blogs throughout the Championships.

Alternatively, you can catch up with what happened on Thursday 18 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

All times below are Korean Standard Time (UTC+9 hours). Please refresh the blog for latest updates.

10:47 pm - Pick of the day

We're nearly there, diving and artistic swimming fans!

Just one day of competition in those sports are left at these FINA World Championships, with two finals in each tomorrow.

Come back then when we'll have more live blog coverage. Until then, here's the pick of today's best shots.

See you tomorrow!

FINA World Championships Day 8 - the best photos

10:25 pm - Jennifer Abel reacts to missing out on medal

10:22 pm - Two more chances for a clean sweep

China will go for the clean sweep in diving tomorrow, with the last day of competitions.

The Mixed 3m springboard synchro final is at 3:30 pm. It's a straight final, with 20 teams diving in an order randomly drawn.

Jennifer Abel will compete for Canada in that event, while Tom Daley will be part of the British pair before he goes again in the Men's 10m platform final at 8:45 pm.

9:51 pm - China make diving history

There it is. History made in the diving pool as China win a record 11th gold medal, breaking their own record of 10 at a single Championships (set in 2011 and 2015).

They are still on for the clean sweep, which they last achieved in 2011 when there were only 10 diving events, compared to the 13 here in Gwangju.

A stunning dive from Shi Tingmao to end, a total of 391 points.

Gold to Shi and silver to her colleague Wang Han. There ended up being a gap of nearly 18 points between the two.

Final results of the women's 3m springboard

9:49 pm - Abel misses out on medal

A 3.4-difficulty dive, the forward 2.5 somersaults 2 twists pike, for Abel as she attempts to claw back the points on Keeney.

She's not quite got that right. That's not a good entry to the water, and she'll be disappointed with that. 333.35 points total, which barring a monumental error from Keeney will not be enough for a medal.

It's the same dive for Keeney – and that's definitely going to do it, a big grin from the Australian as she exits the water!

That was clean. A big cheer from her teammates in the stands. A high-five between her coaches. That score, a total of 367.05, guarantees her bronze.

9:36 pm - China on for 11th gold

Back 2.5 somersaults in the pike position for Abel in this fourth round. A difficulty degree of 3.0.

A bit of a splash on entry to the water. 69 points for a total of 272.15. I'm not sure that'll be enough to see her past Keeney.

Here comes Kenney. A 3.1-difficulty forward 3.5 somersaults pike.

That's superb. Clean entry into the water. 8.5 from five judges and eight from the other two. 79.05 points and now 18 points clear of Abel.

Shi follows with the same dive and doesn't quite get it as cleanly as Keeney, but that still leaves her top with one dive left.

9:23 pm - Battle for bronze

This is increasingly looking like a fight for bronze between Keeney and Abel. 203.15 for Abel, 221.50 for Keeney after three rounds.

Shi scores 76.50 for her third-round dive to put her on 223.50

And that's very clean from Shi, nines from the judges for the Olympic champion for a total of 234.00, 9.5 points ahead of her teammate.

9:10 pm - Shi and Wang push ahead

Reverse 2.5 somersaults pike for Abel on her second dive. 69.00 for that to add to her first-round 67.50.

Here comes Wang. Scores of eights and nines for her, a total of 75.00 points to go into the lead.

Australian Maddison Keeney, who qualified in second in the semi-final, now overtakes Abel.

Here comes Shi. Back 2.5 somersaults pike. That's not bad, 78 points, and she stays ahead of Wang.

They've got a gap on Keeney.

8:58 pm - China lead after first round of Women's 3m final

The first round of five dives in the Women's 3m Springboard final is done.

Shi Tingmao's dive was well-received by her coaches with nods and applause, and unsurprisingly she's in the lead with 76.50.

Her teammate, Wang Han, is second; Canada's Jennifer Abel third.

China are going for a record 11th gold in diving in a single World Championships.

8:26 pm - Russia, China, Ukraine on podium

Japan are up and it's 93.9667 for them, which puts them behind China. But no concerns for them, because as hosts of Tokyo 2020, they have qualified as the Asian representatives.

That means China will qualify for Tokyo 2020 if they finish in the top two here, with Russia, Ukraine and Italy left to come.

Russia are, without doubt, heavy favourites, even without the two Svetlanas, Romashina and Kolesnichenko, in their team today. And so it proves, 98.00 points to go into the lead!

Big jumps for joy up on stage from the swimmers.

What can Ukraine produce? It's 94.37! That'll be good for third for now - but there's one team left!

Fifth place for Italy! So it's gold to Russia, silver to China, and bronze to Ukraine.

Russia celebrate their artistic swimming Team Free world title

8:00 pm - What does USA's score mean?

So, Team USA's Tokyo 2020 qualification journey continues.

What does their score today mean for them?

Well, the first-tier Olympic qualifier is the upcoming Pan-American Games, where the team are headed from Gwangju. The top team there will gain a continental qualifying spot.

These World Championships are the second-tier Olympic qualifier, meaning the top two teams here (or, if they are already qualified through continental events, the next two) will qualify. It's unlikely that the Americans' score will get them through from here.

So they must hope to win the Pan-American Games tournament, or make it through the Olympic Qualifying Event to be held next year.

Back in the pool, China have just scored a mammoth 96.10 points to go into the lead.

7:50 pm - Team USA's robot rocks the house

Metallic, shimmering and unique, USA's robot was well received by a packed arena.

The team finished on 84.40, nearly three points behind Mexico in fourth.

Spain are the first of the big hitters on now. 91.40, and I don't know if that'll be enough for the Spaniards to claim a medal. They're into the lead for now.

7:28 pm - Canada ahead in Team Free final

Four routines into this Team Free final, it's Canada in the lead with 90.10 points.

They lead Greece, Mexico and Israel.

France and USA are up next before the top six. The teams placed 7th to 12th in the preliminary rounds compete first here in random order, before the top six.

7:07 pm - Serbia top the group, Flossing returns

Olympic champions Serbia finished top of Group A after beating a strong Greece side 9-3 in men's water polo.

Afterwards hosts Korea, roared on by their usual partisan fans, battled to a 24-6 reverse against Montenegro.

Also, remember the Flossing dance? The water polo crowd were encouraged to give their best rendition of it between matches, and dutifully obliged. For those not in the know, there's an Olympic Channel version of the dance below.

Floss Cam was in action at the water polo

7:01 pm - Team Free final begins

Here come Israel to lead off the final of the women's Team Free event in artistic swimming.

Remember, we're expecting a show from the Americans, who will once more display their robot choreography.

Team Free artistic swimmers perfect their routines ahead of the final

6:16 pm - There's a storm coming

It's all grey overhead at the Yeomju Gymnasium, where the artistic swimming Team Free final will be taking place at 7:00 pm. There was a rumor in the media room earlier that a typhoon was on its way. Eek.

Happily, in this indoor arena you wouldn't know any different and the teams are busy perfecting their routines in warm up.

Get ready for the return of Team USA's popular robot!

Storm clouds gather over the Yeomju Gymnasium
Tropical Storm Danas is headed for Korea

5:25 pm - The two Yangs qualify one-two

Unsurprisingly, it's a China one-two with Yang Jian and Yang Hao in this semifinal. Yang Hao, incredibly, scored a third-straight 100-plus score dive in that final round. Yang Jian, meanwhile, scored 104.55 points on a high 4.1-difficulty dive

The final margin between the two was 1.05 points.

South Korea's Woo Ha-ram, unfortunately, didn't quite make his final dive count. He'll still qualify fourth for tomorrow night's final, and claim that vital Tokyo 2020 qualifying spot for his country.

Tom Daley is third. His teammate Noah Williams has also made the final.

Final spots (and Tokyo 2020 quotas), too, for Ukraine, France, USA (two), Russia, Canada, and Australia.

5:05 pm - Chinese divers split by just 0.1 points

Quite a few 10s there for Yang Hao who scores his second straight 100-plus dive.

Daley's not having a great day, and he'll be down in fourth after this round. His main aim now will just be to focus on tomorrow's final.

What can Yang Jian produce? Will he go past Yang Hao? Nines. Yes! But only by 0.1 points with one dive left! This is an incredible level.

4:45 pm - China lead with two dives left

Home diver Woo Ha-ram is doing himself no harm with these dives.

He's competed in the 1m springboard, 3m springboard, 3m synchro, 10m synchro and now in the 10m platform, and he's in fourth going into the fifth of six rounds.

Yang Hao of China is the first to score over 100 points for a dive in this semi-final! Here comes Tom Daley, looking to make up for a poor third dive.

Not sure he'll be too happy with that entry but that'll do, that should put him in third behind the two Chinese.

Here comes Yang Jian for his fifth dive. That's "right on the money", to quote the commentator. 98 for that dive, 366.20 total, and he has a 5.5-point lead over Yang Hao.

4:30 pm - It's crunch-time in water polo

Serbia – the Olympic champions – are about to take on Greece in men's water polo.

Both teams beat hosts South Korea and, incredibly, both also produced a 10–10 tie against Montenegro.

So this head-to-head could decide who goes through to the quarter-finals directly, and who plays in the cross-pool playoffs.

Fans excited for the crunch water polo match between Serbia and Greece

4:22 pm - Daley's husband watching on

4:15 pm - No medals, but recognition nonetheless for beach water polo players

Beach water polo, a demonstration event in Gwangju, came to an end today.

It was a purely round-robin competition. No medals were awarded, but the top three teams still received recognition.

4:08 pm - Daley and Yang Jian in tight battle

Daley, the defending world champion in this event, just received more nines and 9.5s for his second dive. It was a lower 3.2-difficulty dive, though, so only worth 88 points.

Here comes Yang Jian, with a 3.5-difficulty dive. It's eights and 8.5s for him. 87.5, meaning Daley's closed the gap to just under three points.

Big cheers from the home fans as South Korea's Woo Ha-ram is third!

4:02 pm - Garcia Navarro misses dive!

Mexico's Ivan Garcia Navarro attempts an armstand dive but pulls out of it twice!

That's an automatic zero.

3:49 pm - Big from Daley and Yang

Scores of nine and 9.5s for Tom Daley! That's big, 91.80 for his first dive.

Here comes Yang Jian. He's already won gold in the mixed team event here. That's even better than Daley's dive! 95.20 sees him into the lead.

3:42 pm - 13-year-old Sereda serves up a storm

The European junior champion, Ukraine's Oleksii Sereda, is also going in this semi-final.

He's already had a great week so far here and is hoping to reach the last 12 and gain that quota spot for Ukraine.

A lower-difficulty dive compared to some others but he's got a nine there from one of the judges!

One to watch in the years to come.

3:30 pm - Daley back on platform

Tom Daley is back out there for the Men's 10m Platform semi-final.

The Chinese contingent here is represented by Yang Jian and Yang Hao, meaning there's no spot for Olympic champion Chen Aisen.

Twelve athletes qualify for tomorrow's final and gain a quota spot for Tokyo 2020.

3:12 pm - Ready for swimming

The swimming competitions here in Gwangju begin on Sunday, and most of the teams are already here.

We've just been at the Nambu International Aquatics Centre, where the team leaders are being briefed about how the event will work and they have the chance to raise any concerns or issues.

Swimming team managers meet at Gwangju 2019 ahead of competition

2:15 pm - History made for Cunha!

Ana Marcela Cunha has won her second gold of Gwangju 2019 in the Women's 25km open water swimming. She came home in a time of 5:08:03:00.

The Brazilian also won the Women's 5km event, and becomes the first athlete to win the Women's 25km event in three successive world championships. Amazing!

Finnia Wunram from Germany finished eight seconds back for silver, while France's Lara Grangeon took bronze.

2:00 pm - Reymond edges men's 25km title

Félicitations to Axel Reymond of France who has won the Men's 25km open water swim in a time of 4:51:06:20.

Russia's Kirill Belyaev took silver by an agonising 0.3 of a second, while Italy's Alessio Occhipinti took bronze.

1:19 pm - Daley through to diving semis

Tom Daley finished an impressive second in the Men's 10m Platform Individual preliminary round.

Love, meditation, and fatherhood have helped the 25-year-old mature into one of the top divers on the planet, and you can read more about that here.

The Brit was sandwiched between China's Jian Yang in top spot, with his countryman Hao Yang in third.

The semi-final is up next at 3.30 pm.

Tom Daley at age 14

British diver Tom Daley was causing a media frenzy just before his Olympic ...

12:30 pm - Russia in pole position again

Recently-crowned Mixed Duet Technical world champion Mayya Gurbanberdieva partnered Aleksandr Maltsev to comfortably win the artistic swimming Mixed Duet Free preliminary round.

They will be joined by fellow qualifiers Italy, Japan, USA, Spain, China, Brazil, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Australia in tomorrow's 5:00 pm final.

11:42 am - Caeleb Dressel: "I’m not here to count medals"

Caeleb Dressel was one of the stars of the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships, winning seven gold medals.

The first question he was asked in the press conference was, "Are you going for eight in Gwangju?". This was his reply:

"It’s not going to be easy and I’m not here to count medals. I’m here to get my hand on wall first. Just because I got seven last time doesn't mean I have to go for eight this time.

"The relays are the most important thing. I’m relatively new on the relays. So for me it’s a big spot to fill as I remember watching all the big wigs in the Beijing (2008 Olympics) relay and the medleys in London (2012 Olympics), and now it's a privilege for me to be part of that.

"We take a lot of pride in our relays in the USA. I’m 25% of the relay and want to do my part.

The moving story behind Caeleb Dressel’s bandana

Ahead of his 100m butterfly win at the Pan Pacs seven-time world champ Cael...

11:07 am - Katie Ledecky: "Everyone's a threat"

Team USA have just finished their swimming team press conference and understandably, the focus was on Katie Ledecky.

In Gwangju the five-time Olympic champion champion will attempt the freestyle quadruple of 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m for the first time at a world championships.

The most competitive of these races will likely be the 200m, with the likes of Sarah Sjostrom and Federica Pellegrini likely to provide a stern test.

"Everyone’s a threat in 200 free, there are Olympic champions and world champions competing, it’s a stacked field and I'm excited.

Canadian Taylor Ruck shocked the world when she beat Ledecky at the 2019 Pan Pacific Championships, and they have since formed a friendship at Stanford University, where they train in the same pool.

"I didn’t know Taylor when we raced at Pan Pacs, but since then I've got to know her and we get on really well. She tends to swim with the sprinting group while I train with the distance swimmers, but I can’t wait for the 200m, it’s going to be a phenomenal race."

Katie Ledecky - The distance queen

Watch Katie Ledecky's flawless highlihgts from Rio 2016

10:20 am - Hungary's men continue fast start

At the water polo arena, Hungary recorded a dominant 23-5 win over South Africa, including a whopping 8-0 third quarter.

The Europeans maintain their 3-0 perfect record, and sit at the top of Group C.

Spain, who were narrowly beaten by Hungary on Wednesday, beat New Zealand 23-3. They go second in the final group standings.

9:37 am - Shi Tingmao hoping to make history

At 27 years and 322 days, China's Shi Tingmao could become the oldest world champion in the Women's 3m Sringboard Individual final this evening.

The Olympic champion's compatriot Guo Jingjing currently holds the record, as she was 27 years and 279 days old when she won her fifth and final world title in this event in 2009.

China's Shi wins Diving gold

Tingmao Shi wins gold for China in emphatic style, taking victory in the wo...

8:50 am - Abel going for second medal

Canadian diving queen Jennifer Abel has experienced something of a resurgence in 2019 with a victory in the FINA World Diving Series and a Synchro silver medal in Gwangju.

She will have her sights firmly set on another medal in this evening's 3m Springboard Individual final.

We spoke to her in Montreal (below), to find out what put the spring back in her step...

8:12 am - Day 8 highlights

08:30 - 15:00 Open water swimming: Men's and Women's 25km final
08:30 - 13:35 Water Polo: Men's preliminary round
10:00 - 12:30 Diving: Men's 10m Platform Individual preliminary round
11:00 - 12:00 Artistic swimming: Duet Mixed Free preliminary round
14:15 - 16:00 Beach Water Polo: Men's matches
15:30 - 17:00 Diving: Men's 10m Platform Individual semi-final
16:30 - 21:35 Water Polo: Men's preliminary round
19:00 - 20:30 Artistic swimming: Team Free final
20:45 - 22:15 Diving: Women's 3m Springboard Individual final

8:00 am - Four more medals

Hello and welcome to Day 8 of the Olympic Channel FINA Worlds live blog.

Will there be a repeat of last night's late Men's 3m Springboard Individual final drama in today's Women's diving final? Shi Tingmao is the hot favourite, but it's another strong field with Wang Han, Jenny Abel and Maddison Keeney expected to challenge.

Team USA's robot routine returns in the artistic swimming Team Free final, and we will be there to bring you more exclusive interviews.

Firstly though, we have the final open water swimming races of Gwangju 2019 in the men's and women's 25km. They begin in 10 minutes!