FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 12

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as the women's high diving final took place and Katie Ledecky withdrew from the 1500m freestyle final.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

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

The big news of Tuesday 23 July was Katie Ledecky's withdrawal from the women's 1500m freestyle final due to illness.

Six gold medals were awarded – one in high diving and five in swimming.

Re-live all of Monday'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 Monday 22 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

All times below are Korean Standard Time (UTC+9 hours).

12:30 am - One year to Tokyo 2020

These finals are going by quickly, aren't day?

Another day is done here in Gwangju.

The clock has now ticked past midnight here in Korea, and also over in Japan, meaning today is exactly one year to go to Tokyo 2020.

The Olympic Channel will have special programming in both English and Japanese marking the occasion, so keep an eye out for that.

Meanwhile, here's the best of Tuesday's action in photos.

FINA World Championships Day 12 - the best photos

12:00 am - Cultural activity

As well as the sporting action that's been going on, there are cultural performances happening every evening.

This drumming performance, for example, takes place in the athletes' village – and is open to athletes and the public alike.

11:50 pm - Seto not fazed by home Olympics

Daiya Seto, who finished second in the other 200m fly semi, says today wasn't his best day.

"I had water in my goggles, and it was also quite hot," he explained. "Tomorrow, I'll do my best."

Asked by Olympic Channel if he was fazed by having a home Olympics next year, the Japanese was resounding in his answer.

"No pressure! I'll just do it."

11:45 pm - Milak talks about Le Clos

The Hungarian, Milak, says Le Clos was an idol of his growing up.

"Of course I looked up to Chad, he's a great guy," he said.

"I'm sure he would love to win tomorrow but maybe he hasn't counted on me in the last few years doing this in the 200 fly, only in the 100 fly."

One of the fastest upcoming swimmers in the 200m fly, the USA's Gianluca Orlando, was not selected by USA Swimming for this meet, but Milak says he is looking forward to a clash in Tokyo at the Olympic Games. "Next year, we will meet, so we will test each other then so see who is better."

And a prediction for tomorrow's final: "Of course, I want to be faster, this semi-final was just a preparation for tomorrow and I definitely want to be faster."

11:38 pm - Le Clos on Sun Yang: "I want my gold medal back"

Asked about the Sun Yang situation, Le Clos, who finished second in the 200m freestyle at Rio behind the Chinese swimmer, said: "I want my gold medal back from Rio, that's what I'm saying.

"I want that gold medal. James Guy should get his bronze medal, too, because it shouldn't be allowed to have people cheating in the sport."

But the South African said he would shake Sun's hand if they were to share a podium.

"I mean, look, you can't put me in that situation because I'm always politically correct. If someone wants to shake my hand, I have to shake their hand, do you know what I mean?

"But it's good that people are taking a stand, is all I can say. It is what it is, you know. I have nothing personal against him or anybody else. I'm just here to race."

Asked about his fitness – Le Clos is struggling with a groin issue – he said: "It's okay, even if it is hurting I wouldn't tell you guys. I came here to race.

"Looking forward to next year, that's for sure. Next year I'll be 100 per cent – not saying I'm not 100 per cent this time, just, this thing happened the last couple of weeks. We'll deal with it tomorrow."

11:18 pm - Chad le Clos says rival Milak 'should win easily'

South Africa's Chad le Clos qualified for the men's 200m fly final but was nearly three seconds behind semi-final leader Kristof Milak.

Reacting to the Olympic Channel after the race, Le Clos said: "That's the time I did in London when I won! We were chatting about it a couple of weeks ago in Doha."

And the 27-year-old added that his Hungarian rival will probably triumph in tomorrow's final.

"Of course he's the huge favourite, he should win easily. But the race is not won on paper. I'll give my best shot. If I lose tomorrow, God bless him!"

If you want to hear more from that chat 'a couple of weeks ago in Doha', you can listen to it on the Olympic Channel Podcast below:

11:10 pm - Pellegrini expects fast final

Federica Pellegrini, who won her 200m freestyle semi-final earlier (see 9:27 pm), thinks the final field will go out quickly tomorrow.

Speaking in Italian after her race, she said: "For sure my rivals have something more to give, in my opinion the race will be finished in 1:54.5, more or less."

The Italian will start from lane 4 tomorrow. "Starting from Lane 4 is a great emotion, even in Budapest (two years ago) I couldn't do it. It will be strange but I'm happy to be in the middle."

10:50 pm - Peaty shows support for teammate Scott

Adam Peaty, who comfortably won his 50m breaststroke semi-final today, has also thrown his weight behind teammate Duncan Scott.

"I saw that, and he's completely right.

"If people are booing (Sun Yang), there's fair reason, and he should be asking himself now should he really be in the sport when people are booing him.

"But I know how they are and how he is, so, yeah, if I was swimming, I wouldn't even get on the podium like Mack (Horton).

"I think as a sportsperson the most important thing is you have a right to a voice, and Duncan showed his voice tonight and so did the crowd. It's completely fair; whatever's going on behind the scenes isn't right, because if the fans aren't wanting it, then why is he even here?"

Asked about how he fired himself up before today's semifinal, he admitted: "It was a bit explicit, actually! I think tomorrow I've just got to cool my head a little bit and execute it a bit better."

10:35 pm - Lilly King backs Scott and Horton

The women's 100m breaststroke champion, Lilly King, has added her support for Duncan Scott and Mack Horton's protests against Sun Yang.

"It's awesome, I said it the other day, athletes are starting to stand up for themselves and stand up for what they believe in," she said.

"I commend them, it's incredibly brave to do something like that, and I'm glad they're making a change in the sport."

Asked if she would have done something similar had Yuliya Efimova – who served a 16-month ban from 2013 to 2015 – won their race, King was unsure.

"Possibly, but again, that's been far in the past. This situation is so much more recent, but I think personally I would have accepted a silver for my country, because it's an honour to get a silver medal, but I do truly appreciate what those guys are doing."

King shook hands with Efimova after the race. "I wouldn't say that we have completely moved on," King said, "but we are definitely more cordial than we have been. (Rio 2016) was three years ago, and it was kind of blown out of proportion a little bit. We've both grown up since then and both moved on. We take this rivalry in stride."

10:25 pm - Xu on winning 100m back: "It's a breakthrough"

China's Xu Jiayu, speaking in Chinese in the mixed zone after his win, reflected on the increased pressure he finds himself under.

"This feels different to last time," he said. "I'm extremely excited as I have carried more pressure this time. The expectation on me is higher than ever, and this expectation will be higher next year.

"I dealt with the pressure this time, it's a breakthrough for myself."

He added: "I think today's performance wasn't as good as yesterday, but tonight was about standing on the podium."

10:13 pm - No second swim-off

So, the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Breaststroke done and dusted, and we were expecting a second swim-off in the Men's 200m Butterfly but it appears it won't now be happening tonight.

10:05 pm - Swim-off time

Kirill Prigoda and Tobias Bjerg are about to swim off for the right to swim in tomorrow's 50m breaststroke final.

Both pretty close through 25m. Still neck-and-neck...

That might be another tie!

Well, they've given it to Prigoda by 0.07 seconds. Bjerg had been called the winner at first.

9:55 pm - Olympic champ King wins gold

It's a slow start for Efimova off the blocks.

King is ahead at halfway by four tenths from the Russian, who is pushing hard in the second half.

Efimova ahead. Neck-and-neck, stroke for stroke...

King pulls away in the last 20! Gold to USA! 1:04.93; Efimova touches home second. King is ecstatic.

Bronze to Martina Carraro of Italy.

9:50 pm - Last final of night

The swimmers are being introduced for our last final tonight, the Women's 100m breaststroke.

All eyes are on Olympic champion and world record holder Lilly King, whose main rival is Russia's Yuliya Efimova.

Two swim-offs will follow this final.

9:47 pm - Milak impresses in 200m fly semis

Zach Harting of the U.S. just beats Daiya Seto of Japan to the line in the first semi-final of the Men's 200m butterfly.

Here come Chad le Clos and Kristof Milak in the second semi.

It's the South African who leads through the first 100 but Milak has overtaken him on this third lap of the pool.

The Hungarian is pulling away down the home straight. This isn't close. Milak wins the second semi, in 1:52.96; le Clos touches second but nearly three seconds behind.

Le Clos really faded at the end there. Is he fully fit? He's carrying a groin knock into these Championships. He does qualify for the final, though.

9:27 pm - Pellegrini wins stacked semi-final

This is quite the semi-final in the women's 200m free.

The second heat features Federica Pellegrini, Sarah Sjostrom, and yesterday's 100m champion Ariarne Titmus.

And the Italian takes it in 1:55.14! Titmus in second, Sjostrom third, and we'll wait to see how that shakes out for qualification.

All three make it, Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey who won the first heat slots in between Titmus and Sjostrom. Other qualifiers are Yang Junxuan (who set a new world junior record), Charlotte Bonnet, Penny Oleksiak, and Rio Shirai.

This meet is going from bad to worse for the Americans, as that will be another final without U.S. representation after Katie Ledecky withdrew from the event through illness.

9:12 pm - Xu Jiayu wins 100m backstroke!

It's tight! Murphy leads at halfway under the WR split.

Not a fast back half, but this is getting close! Murphy is falling back and here comes Xu!

It's gold for China! 52.43. Evgeny Rylov in second and bronze to Mitch Larkin.

Murphy fourth just 0.01 second behind the Australian.

9:10 pm - Men's 100m back final

After the problem with the backstroke start wedges yesterday, wedges are fixed in one position tonight.

The women earlier also had to contend with this, with bronze medallist Olivia Smoliga mentioning it in her mixed zone interview.

"To train all year and to get the news of the wedge not put in use, you know it kind of plays tricks with your mind.

"It definitely freaked me out. We haven't done a start without a wedge in seven years."

Cleanly away in the men's final.

9:01 pm - Sun Yang reacts to Rapsys DQ: "This gold medal was the luckiest of my career"

We were in the mixed zone as Sun spoke to Chinese journalists after the race, but before that medal ceremony.

"I think this gold medal is the luckiest one in my career," he said. "I did what I had to do, then the opportunity came, and maybe a higher power saw my great efforts everyday.

"I’m the only one from the last eight of tonight who participated 800m free this morning, my physical condition was heavily affected.

"Maybe people think that I’m a tough guy to get along with, but I really think they can come to see my training and my life.

"If they need I can share everything with them, I want them to see Sun Yang from different angles."

8:56 pm - Masse wins 100m backstroke final

World record holder Kathleen Baker goes in this final.

It's tight at the turn. Taylor Ruck leads at 50m.

It's her teammate Kylie Masse who does it! 58.60 the winning time.

Silver to Australia's Minna Atherton and bronze to Olivia Smoliga of the USA. Ruck finished fourth; Baker sixth.

8:52 pm - Peaty tops field in 50m breaststroke semis

The 100m breaststroke champ here, Adam Peaty, comfortably leads the field in the 50m semis.

His time of 26.11 is more than half a second ahead of Felipe Lima, who qualifies in second.

8:42 pm - Scott ignores Sun, acknowledges other medallists

Here we come with the medal ceremony for the men's 200m free. There's no Rapsys.

Handshakes all around from Sun for the other medallists. Oh, Duncan Scott's refused his hand. Sun yells at him, angrily.

Scott is refusing to pose for photos with Sun.

Scott did stand on the third step of the podium during the anthems. Mack Horton was warned by FINA for refusing to do so the other day.

Sun, meanwhile, was jeered in the stadium as he received his medal.

Scott is now shaking hands with Malyutin and Matsumoto.

As they walk off, Sun talks to Scott about something. "You lost that, I win." Wow.

The Briton politely smiles back but does not appear to say anything.

8:38 pm - Quadarella in tears

I don't think the 20-year-old could quite believe her achievement there.

She looked to be overwhelmed with emotion after that race, in happy tears.

IOC President Thomas Bach will award the medals.

Simona Quadarella is overcome with joy after winning the 1500m

8:30 pm - Italy clinch first gold in pool

So Simona Quadarella takes the women's 1500m in Ledecky's absence.

She's had this in the bag for about the last 1000m or so. The crowd finally start cheering on the last lap.

The 20-year-old wins Italy's first gold of this meet in 15:40.89.

Silver to Sarah Kohler of Germany; Wang Jianjiahe of China takes bronze.

8:22 pm - Quadarella ahead at 800m

Quadarella is comfortably in the lead at 800m here. Barring a stunning collapse, the Italian should win this.

8:13 pm - Women's 1500m final

So, time for the next final after that drama.

There's no Katie Ledecky in this final after the American withdrew.

Italy's Simona Quadarella is probably the favourite here, she goes in Lane 4.

8:08 pm - Danas Rapsys disqualified after winning!

Clyde Lewis leads through 100. Here comes Sun Yang at 150... and Rapsys from Lithuania!

He's coming from nowhere! The new world champion is Lithuania's Danas Rapsys in 1:44.69, he can't believe it!

Oh, hang on, Rapsys has been disqualified! Sun Yang is the champion! Katsuhiro Matsumoto wins silver, Martin Malyutin bronze. In fact, Duncan Scott tied Malyutin! So two bronze medallists!

Keep an eye on this, I wonder if Lithuania will appeal?

We're hearing that it was a false start.

7:58 pm - Men's 200m free up first

The swimmers are in the last call room.

The Men's 200m freestyle final, featuring Sun Yang, Clyde Lewis, and Duncan Scott, is up first.

7:48 pm - Ikee reacts to support

Japan's Rikako Ikee, who is missing the World Championships to fight leukaemia, has tweeted her appreciation for yesterday's Women's 100m Butterfly medallists showing their support for her.

7:30 pm - Italy reach last four

It's Italy who win!

They hold on to possession at the end of the game and the sole goal in the final quarter, scored by the Italians, has decided this game 7-6.

Four incredibly tight quarter-finals.

A reminder that the two winners of the semi-finals will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

7:15 pm - Still deadlocked

Italy and Greece have played three periods.

The scores are level, 6-6.

Are we headed for a penalty shootout? Eight minutes of clock time left in this match.

7:00 pm - Italy and Greece continue trend

It's 4-3 at half-time between Italy and Greece in the fourth and final men's water polo quarter-final.

The teams have kept up the trend we've seen in this round of close games, with the first three matches decided by three, two, and one goals respectively.

The winner of this game will face Hungary.

6:20 pm - How would you introduce yourself?

Picture the scene.

You're about to compete in the World Championships final.

You'll need to dive from 20 metres.

Would you be afraid? Would you be up for it?

This was what Spain's Celia Fernandez chose to do when she was introduced before the Women's High Diving final this afternoon...

6:03 pm - HUNGARY WIN IT!

Just four seconds left! Hungary have won it, surely! 10-9! A big roar from the Hungarians!

Australia had missed a clear-cut chance just seconds earlier at the other end.

5:52 pm - Hungary ahead in close affair

This is pretty to-and-fro at the moment, but it's now the Hungarians who are ahead, 9-8, with 5:30 left in the fourth. Very tight.

5:25 pm - Australia heading for semis?

With about four minutes to go in the first half in their men's water polo quarter-final, Australia lead Hungary 6-4.

Can the Hungarians turn this around or are the Aussies set for the last four?

4:50 pm - One last floral design

To conclude our unofficial topiary watch series, here is our fifth and final entrant.

Arguably we have saved the best for last, with this effort at the entrance to the high diving arena featuring the most intricate wave design.

The hedge designs have been a highlight in more ways than one and really pop when the sun is out!

Topiary at the Chosun University high diving arena

3:32 pm - Olympic champions eliminated in quarter-finals

Spain have caused a huge upset in the Men's water polo by beating Rio 2016 gold medallists Serbia 12-9.

It's worth noting that Serbia have rested several of their key players for this tournament, having already qualified for Tokyo 2020.

But Spain will take huge confidence from this heading into the final four.

2:40 pm - Iffland makes high diving history

Rhiannan Iffland wins the Women's 20m high diving gold with a final score of 298.05.

With it, the Australian has become the first woman to win multiple gold medals in high diving at the FINA World Championships.

Mexico's Adriana Jimenez finishes second and Brit Jessica MacAulay third.

2:12 pm - USA water polo powers into classification final

The United States' mens team had too much class for South Africa, overpowering the men in green 20-3.

The Americans will meet Montenegro in their next match, who defeated Japan 14-7.

USA score a goal in a dominant display over South Africa

1:05 pm - From Caribbean to Korea

Meet Jennifer Harding-Marlin, the sole representative at the 2019 FINA World Championships from Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The Canadian-born freestyle swimmer is so much more than an international athlete however.

She manages a law firm in the island, and is also a qualified pilot! We spoke to her below.

12:00 pm - Paltrinieri finishes first in Men's 800m Free heats

In the last swimming heat of the morning, Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri seals top spot overall in 7:45.70.

It was a nervous wait for China's Sun Yang, who qualified for tomorrow's final in the eighth and final position.

Australia's Mack Horton finished 14th and his 800m Free participation will finish there.

11:40 am - Ledecky pulls out of 1500m Free final

Following on from her decision to pull out of this morning's 200m Freestyle heats due to illness, Katie Ledecky will also withdraw from the 1500m Free.

She was the top seed after yesterday's qualifiers for the event.

11:15 am - Le Clos, Milak and Seto into 200m butterfly semis

Hungary's Kristof Milak lights up the final Men's 200m fly heat in 1:54.19, the fastest time overall.

Japan's Daiya Seto will be pleased to qualify in second.

He may have a herniated groin, but South Africa's Chad le Clos also wins his heat to book a place in this evening's semi-finals.

10:45 am - What a rebound from Sjostrom!

After her shock second-place in the 100m butterfly yesterday, Sarah Sjostrom has stormed to top spot in qualifying in the women's the 200m Freestyle in 1:55:14.

Olympic gold medallists Federica Pellegrini and Penny Oleksiak came second and third behind Australian Ariarne Titmus in their heat to qualify for this evening's semis

But it was a change in fortunes for yesterday's 200m IM winner Katinka Hosszu crashed out in 5th place.

There were three notable absentees in Katie Ledecky, Emma McKeon (both illness) and Canada's Taylor Ruck (scheduling), who all pulled out shortly before the heats.

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom en route to the fastest time in the 200m Freestyle heats in Gwangju

10:17 am - Adam Peaty powers into pole position

You wouldn't have won much money for this bet!

The Men's 50m Breaststroke world champion powers home in 26.28 to qualify as the number one seed for this evening's semis.

Brazilians Joao Gomes and Felipe Lima are second and third overall respectively.

9:42 am - Ledecky pulls out of 200m Freestyle

We have just heard that five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky has withdrawn from this morning's 200m Freestyle heats due to illness.

She will also not participate in this evening's 1500m Final, for which she is top seed.

A statement from Team USA Managing National Team Director Lindsey Mintenko said:

“Katie has not been feeling well since arriving to Gwangju on July 17th and these precautionary measures are being taken to ensure her well being and proper recovery and to allow her to focus her energy on an abbreviated schedule.”

That has thrown the event wide open!

9:35 am - Adam Peaty breaks stereotypes

The Brit is unparalleled when it comes to dispelling myths.

In Gwangju he smashed the 57 second barrier to set a new 100m Breaststroke world record, and Peaty will be hoping for another world record in the 50m Breaststroke heats today.

We caught up with him to find out what swimmers are like away from the water.

9:22 am - Day 12 highlights

08:00 - 18:30 Water polo: Men's quarter-finals

10:00 - 12:45 Swimming preliminary rounds
Men's 50m Breaststroke
Women's 200m Freestyle
Men's 200m Butterfly
Men's 800m Freestyle

12:15-13:45 High diving: Women Rounds 2 & 3

20:00 - 22:20 Swimming
Men's 200m Freestyle final - Sun Yang (CHN) will be going for his 11th world title. Only Michael Phelps (26) and Ryan Lochte (18) have won more in men's swimming.
Women's 1500m Freestyle final - Katie Ledecky (USA) is going for a fourth-consecutive title in this event
Men's 50m Breaststroke semi-final
Women's 100m Backstroke final - Kylie Masse (CAN) can become the second Canadian swimmer to win multiple world titles
Men's 100m Backstroke final - Three former world champions are in contention, including Xu Jiayu (CHN) Mitchell Larkin (AUS) and Matt Grevers (USA)
Women's 200m Freestyle semi-final
Men's 200m Butterfly semi-final
Women's 100m Breaststroke final – World record holder Lilly King (USA) and Yuliya Efimova (RUS) are both going for their second world title in this event

Click here to read our day-by-day schedule of the swimming events at Gwangju 2019.

9:00 am - Are you ready for Day 12?

It's 33°C (91°F) on the ground this morning and the sun is out, which compliments the intense action coming up in Gwangju nicely.

There will be five swimming medal events this evening, with Adam Peaty, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King and Yulia Emimova all in action.

Elsewhere, a medal will be won in women's high diving and it's crunch time in the men's water polo with four quarter-final matches.