FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 14

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as Caeleb Dressel won 100m freestyle gold and Katie Ledecky returned from illness.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

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

The final of men's swimming blue riband event, the 100m freestyle, took place on 25 July as Caeleb Dressel continued his gold medal haul. And Katie Ledecky returned from illness to help Team USA win silver in the 4×200m freestyle relay. Meanwhile, Spain and Italy booked their spots in the men's water polo final.

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

In addition to today's live updates, you can catch up with what happened on Wednesday 24 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

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

11:35 pm - Daily gallery

Just three days to go in Gwangju and the medal chase is really heating up.

The women have their turn at the 100m freestyle final tomorrow in what is sure to be an incredible race with lots of big names.

Plus we'll have the women's water polo medal matches.

Join us then!

FINA World Championships Day 14 - the best photos

11:20 pm - Matt Wilson talks about new world record

Australia's Matt Wilson equalled Ippei Watanabe's 200m breaststroke world record during the semi-finals this evening, and will attempt to break it tomorrow night.

"I didn't really expect that coming into that race. I knew I could put down a fast time, but that was just beyond my wildest beliefs, doing a world record in a World Championships.

"I was just focused on executing my race plan, really - getting my hand on that wall and a spot in the final. Anything that came after that was a bonus. I feel like I executed my race plan really well, I feel like I can get a little bit better but we'll focus on that for tomorrow."

On Tokyo 2020, Wilson said with a laugh: "That's a whole year away, I don't really want to focus on that yet. We've got the final tomorrow night and hopefully go fast again."

11:15 pm - Ledecky discusses illness

Katie Ledecky, who goes in the 800m freestyle heats tomorrow, had her first race since Monday when she went in the relay today.

"That felt good, it was just really good to be back with the team today, just to be around people, get in and race and put together my best swim for the team," she said.

"We don't know exactly what caused this all, but just feeling the effects of dehydration, loss of appetite, light-headedness, different things, to be honest.

"They just kind of created a perfect storm that pulled me out. It's just one of those things where you have to put your health first at the time and put my trust in our great medical staff."

Ledecky also said the light-headedness started during Monday morning's 1500m heats.

"I got to the 1100m point of the 1500m and I almost stopped and got out. You can look at the splits. I split 1:06. And 1:05s the rest of the way, it's pretty hard for me to split 1:06.

"So I just kind of blanked out the rest of the race and tried to finish it, which I did, got over to the coaches and medical staff and told them, and just spent the next two days sleeping and getting as much rest and hydration as I could.

"I didn't get back in the water until last night. We kept it really easy, checked my heart rate almost every 50, and the doctors and coaches felt I was good to go if I felt that way. I slept on it, and woke up and was feeling good enough to put together that race today."

11:05 pm - Americans react to relay silver

Team USA swam under the old world record but still ended up with silver in the women's 4×200m freestyle relay final.

Speaking after the race, Simone Manuel reflected on the defeat by Australia: "We always want to win every time we dive into the water. But that's the best swim a set of four Americans have done.

"It took them and us breaking the world record for that result. I think we're really happy because we all swam our best."

Katie Ledecky added: "It's cool when we break the world record. We know that we swam one of the fastest times ever, so that's pretty cool."

10:51 pm - Chalmers enjoying rivalry with Dressel

Men's 100m free silver medallist Kyle Chalmers of Australia has been speaking about coming second to his rival and friend Dressel.

"We both swum very well tonight. We've had three very good races, Olympics, Pan-Pacs, then tonight. I enjoy racing against him, he's a great guy and I love being able to compete against the best guys in the world. At the moment, he's that guy.

"I gave it my absolute all tonight. 47.0 is a very quick time, I couldn't really believe it when I saw that then to see Caeleb go 46.9 was absolutely mind-blowing. It's very positive for me going into Tokyo next year.

"It's great motivation seeing Caeleb go that fast and having him beat me, it really spurs me on to put that little bit extra into training."

10:42 pm - Dressel 'can still improve'

Scarily for his rivals, Dressel says he has already found areas from that swim where he was not happy with his performance.

"Certainly, that's the beauty of the sport," he said when asked if he was capable of more.

"There’s always something you can improve on, it’s not just swimming, it’s day to day stuff and just getting better every day, in and out of the pool.

"Certainly there are some things I can clean up in that race. Coming off the second wall I was really sloppy on the break-out. There's things I've already thought about where I can get better."

10:40 pm - Dressel on being first man under 47 in textile: "It's very exciting"

Dressel's 46.96 was just 0.05 seconds off the world record, and the American became the first man to swim the event under 47 seconds wearing a textile suit.

"I mean, it’s very exciting. I know I was just off the world record. Really the goal was just to swim the best race that I could.

"I am extremely happy with it and it took 100% effort and I had someone right there on my tail for me to race, and kind of shut off thinking about the race and just think about racing.

"It helped a lot having Kyle right there. To see it pop up on the scoreboard was pretty special."

10:36 pm - Dressel says 100m free win was 'fun'

Perhaps not the adjective of choice for most people who've just given their all to win a world title, but Caeleb Dressel clearly enjoyed the 100m freestyle final.

"It was a fun race," he said.

"I just wanted to zone out and let that instinct try to take over. That last 15, just get my head down, sacrifice my body and just get that hand on the wall.

"It started hurting well before that (last 15), I had a race plan going into it and I knew no matter how bad it hurt I was just gonna stick to my race plan."

Caeleb Dressel is a popular man in the interview mixed zone after his win

10:30 pm - 'A lot of nerves' for Smoliga

The new 50m backstroke champion, Olivia Smoliga, says she tried hard to block out external factors before her winning race.

"I was just trying to keep myself calm, honestly. I had a lot of nerves before this; I was just trying to hone in on staying in my zen moment. Although it's a quick 50, you just have to be on."

She added that she had changed some habits with an eye on next year's Olympics.

"I'm just glad it's all coming together going into 2020," she said. "I'm just eating a little bit healthier, little things like that. Not eating fast food or staying up late."

10:21 pm - 200m IM champ Seto wants to focus on 400m

He may just have become world champion in the 200m individual medley, but Japan's Daiya Seto has his sights set on another event at next year's home Olympic Games.

"This is so big for me," he said in the mixed zone through an interpreter. "I prefer the 400 IM! But this is a great step up to the 400m IM, and now I want to concentrate on that later this week, and going to Tokyo 2020."

9:59 pm - NEW WORLD RECORD: Australia

This could be a relay for the ages. The Americans are just pulling ahead again now at 600m. 0.09 seconds the difference!

Well under the world record split too. It's Emma McKeon anchoring the Australians, who've pulled ahead.

Katie McLaughlin turns 0.31 seconds behind McKeon at 700m. What does the last 100m have in store?

They're matching each other, nearly, stroke-for-stroke. At 750m McKeon's lead is only 0.09 seconds!

But McKeon has a strong last 50, and she's trying to open a gap! Still inside the world record split!

Australia win gold! 7:41.50. That breaks a 10-year-old record. USA silver, Canada bronze.

The USA clocked in at 7:41.87, a new Americas continental record.

9:57 pm - Australia lead early

It's a strong start from the Aussies, who lead through the first two laps. It's fast, 55.84 through the first 100m and under the world record split.

That split's gone out to 1.51 seconds under at 150m, and Australia make the first change in first place.

Here comes Ledecky swimming the second leg for the U.S.!

Taylor Ruck of Canada has also really eaten into the Australians' lead.

They turn at 350m but Ledecky has nearly overtaken the Aussies! She's going to go into the second change having put the Americans ahead! What a great swim from someone who's been ill for three days.

China now sit in third ahead of Canada. Australia back ahead through 450m but the U.S. are 0.01s ahead at 500m.

9:50 pm - Katie Ledecky's return

It's time for the evening's last final, the Women's 4×200m freestyle relay.

And look who we have racing for the USA.

After being laid low for two days with illness, here comes Katie Ledecky.

9:48 pm - Rylov and Murphy win men's 200m back semis

It's Evgeny Rylov of Russia and Ryan Murphy of the USA who win the two semi-final heats in the men's 200m backstroke.

They top the timesheets for the final, with the other qualifiers being Luke Greenbank, Jacob Pebley, Markus Thormeyer, Adam Telegdy, Radoslaw Kawecki, and Ryosuke Irie.

9:34 pm - Efimova leads 200m breaststroke finalists

Russia's Yuliya Efimova takes out the first semi in 2:21.20.

It's Canada's Sydney Pickrem who wins the second in 2:23.11, which is a time still good enough for third overall.

Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa split the two, while Molly Renshaw, Ye Shiwen, Fanny Lecluyse, Kelsey Wog, and Kaylene Corbett also make the final. Two South Africans and two Canadians in tomorrow's last eight.

9:22 pm - No King in 200m breaststroke semis

Time for the women's 200m breaststroke semifinals.

A reminder that USA's Lilly King was disqualified from the heats this morning (see 11:12 am).

9:10 pm - Daiya Seto wins gold for Japan!

Desplanches is ahead after the butterfly but it's Daiya Seto ahead after the backstroke.

Into the breaststroke third leg and it's Seto who's got a small lead.

Defending champ Chase Kalisz isn't close in third.

Into the freestyle. Can Desplanches of Kalisz come back? Seto is being caught. It's neck and neck...

Seto pulls clear slightly and wins gold from Desplanches! 1:56.14. Kalisz wins bronze.

9:07 pm - Men's 200m IM

The men's 200m individual medley final is up. The fastest qualifier is European champ Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland.

Wang Shun in Lane 8 is the Rio 2016 bronze medallist - he finished behind Michael Phelps and Kosuke Hagino, neither of whom are here.

The world record is 1:54.00.

8:57 pm - NEW WORLD RECORD: Matthew Wilson ties Watanabe's time!

Ippei Watanabe is in lane 2 in this second semi-final and they're under the world record pace here again!

Australia's Matt Wilson half a second ahead of the WR split at 100m.

And still under at 150m! This could be about to fall! Can Watanabe catch him? Wilson is clear by about half a body from the Japanese!

This is it... YES! EQUAL World record! 2:06.67 - he ties Watanabe's mark!

So Chupkov's Championship record lasted for all of about five minutes.

8:50 pm - New Championship Record for Anton Chupkov

The field is under the world record split at 150m!

Can they keep this pace up in the last 50?

It's a new Championship record for Anton Chupkov! The Rio bronze medallist stopped the clock in 2:06.83, just outside Watanabe's world record.

8:46 pm - Men's 200m breaststroke semis

Time for another set of semi-finals, this time in the Men's 200m Breaststroke.

The world record holder in the event, Japan's Ippei Watanabe, is in the second semi-final.

But we caught up with him recently to find out: Is It Possible to swim the event under 2 minutes?

Is It Possible to Swim 200m Breaststroke in under 2 Minutes?

The series that examines the next step in a sport’s evolution asks if swimm...

8:41 pm - Smoliga takes surprise gold

This will be fast. It's the women's 50m backstroke final.

They're away cleanly. Etiene Medeiros, the defending champion, is in the lead through 25.

I think she's going to... no! It's Olivia Smoliga of the USA in 27.33!

8:25 pm - Dressel wins!

Away cleanly - it's Dressel who leads after the first lap and turns in the lead, Chalmers will need a strong push here.

Dressel has a clear lead of about two-thirds of a body length but here comes the Australian! Wow, it's so, so, so close!

I think Dressel's got that! 46.96 from Chalmers and Russia's Vladislav Grinev third.

Personal bests for both Dressel and Chalmers, and just 0.05 seconds off the world record! That's the fastest time ever set in textile.

What motivates Caeleb Dressel in his race to become swimming’s best

The two-time Olympic gold medallist was born to swim, but see how the Ameri...

8:23 pm - Men's 100m free final

Time for the blue riband event, the men's 100m free.

USA's Caeleb Dressel is in lane 4 and Australia's Kyle Chalmers in 5.

Dressel's teammate Blake Pieroni, who won gold in the 4×100m alongside Dressel, is also in this race.

8:20 pm - Australia's McKeon wins second semifinal heat

Off in the second semi but it was a slightly slow start for Manuel in 4. She'll have to come from behind if she's to win this.

McKeon turns first. Here they come for the back 50 and McKeon still leads, Manuel still not in the top three.

It's McKeon in lane 6 in 52.77, Manuel touches home third and now it's a wait to see if that time was fast enough.

It was, just - tied for the seventh fastest time. Ranomi Kromowidjojo misses out.

8:17 pm - Eyes on Rio champion

Olympic champion Simone Manuel is the favourite in this second semi-final, but her co-champion from Rio, Penny Oleksiak, did not start in the heats.

Australia's Emma McKeon is also in this second heat.

8:15 pm - Sjostrom wins fast first semi

Kromowidjojo and Campbell with good starts! They turn at 50 with Sjostrom in the lead and Ruck and Campbell right behind her.

Three in the lead together into the last 25. Sjostrom still holding the lead and she will get to the wall first. Campbell touches second and Ruck third.

The Swede touched home in 52.43.

8:13 pm - Women's 100m free semis

Well this is going to be quite the stacked field in these two 100m free semis.

In this first heat, we will see the world record holder Sarah Sjostrom in lane 4, as well as Cate Campbell, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, and Taylor Ruck.

8:07 pm - Kapas wins for Hungary!

It's Katie Drabot from the U.S. ahead at halfway in the night's first final.

The American still leads at 150, but only by a tiny margin as here comes here teammate Hali Flickinger! Just 0.06 seconds in it.

The last 50 now... It's a three-way fight! Who's going to do it? It's Hungary's Boglarka Kapas! That last 50 was crazy, I think six swimmers might have touched within a second of each other.

2:06.78 the winning time.

Just to confirm, 0.9 seconds separated first from sixth.

7:54 pm - On tap tonight...

Here's what we have to look forward to in the pool this evening as the first finalists warm up in the call room:

Women's 200m Butterfly final

Men's 100m Freestyle final

Women's 50m Backstroke final

Men's 200m Individual Medley final

Women's 4×200m Freestyle Relay final

And semi-finals in four other events.

7:37 pm - Italy win!

That's it! Celebrations from the Italians in the pool and on the sidelines as they hold on for a 12-10 win!

A spot in both the final and at Tokyo 2020 awaits.

7:34 pm - Still just one goal in it

These two teams keep trading goals!

Still just separated by one goal, Italy lead 11-10 with 2:08 left.

7:21 pm - Final quarter

Eight minutes of clock time left for Hungary to keep their World Championship hopes alive.

Italy lead 9-7 as we begin the last quarter.

7:07 pm - Close game

Just as the case was in the quarter-finals two days ago, and in the first semi earlier today, this is a fight between two very evenly-matched teams.

Italy lead 7-5 with 5:22 left in the third quarter.

6:32 pm - Italy v Hungary for second final spot

Which team will join Spain in the final and book their ticket to Tokyo 2020?

Italy and Hungary are facing off.

6:00 pm - Spain win!

They've done it! They've knocked out the Olympic champions Serbia and world champions Croatia to qualify for the final!

They're also through to Tokyo 2020! 6-5 the final score.

5:43 pm - Phelps reacts to Milak's world record swim

In case you missed it (how?), Kristof Milak smashed Michael Phelps' 10-year-old world record in the men's 200m butterfly yesterday.

The greatest of all time himself has reacted...

5:35 pm - Croatia under the cosh

We're in the third quarter and Spain are 6-2 up! Could they be about to see off the Olympic (Serbia) and world (Croatia) champions in consecutive rounds?

5:02 pm - Defending world champs Croatia seek Olympics berth

Defending men's water polo world champions Croatia are underway in their semi-final against Spain.

Both teams have the chance to qualify for the Olympics today – the winner of this semi-final will secure a berth in the Japanese capital.

The Spanish women's team qualified for Tokyo 2020 yesterday by virtue of reaching their final.

3:25 pm - What's at stake this evening...

  • In the 100m Freestyle, Caeleb Dressel (USA) could become the seventh man to win at least 10 world titles in swimming.
  • Kyle Chalmers (AUS) won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 and he could become the fifth man to win Olympic gold and the world title in the men's 100m freestyle.
  • Etiene Medeiros (BRA) could become the first athlete to successfully defend her world title in the women's 50m backstroke.
  • Chase Kalisz (USA) is defending his men's 200m individual medley.
  • Four-time defending world champions United States has won seven of the last eight world titles in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay.

2:18 pm - Gwangu: the Cuisine City

The city of Gwangju forms part of Jeolla province, which is Korea's unofficial food captial.

There are an abundance of independent cafes and restaurants serving both traditional and modern Korean cuisine.

Prices are great, but beware, spices are hot!

Korea is famous for its barbeque restaurants

1:25 pm - Campbell on Sjostrom rivalry

The Women's 100m Freestyle was one of the most talked-about races going into Gwangju, and the heats did not disappoint.

Olympic gold medallists Cate Campbell, Simone Manuel, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Sarah Sjostrom all qualified for this evening's semi-finals.

Refreshingly, there is a positive and respectful relationship between these rivals, and we caught up with Campbell to find out more about her long-standing relationship with Sjostrom.

12:00 pm - Australia's take relay advantage

Australia and USA won the two Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay qualifying heats, but it was the Aussies that swam the faster time.

Leah Neale, Maddie Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Kiah Melverton came home in 7:50.64 to take the top seed heading into tonight's finals.

That's a wrap for the morning's swimming preliminary heats!

11.25 am - Wilson tops Men's 100m Breaststroke

Australia's Matthew Wilson will be top seed going into this evening's semi-finals with a time of 2:07:29.

Russia's Anton Chupkov qualifies in second, while Japanese world record holder Ippei Watanabe is through in ninth.

With one year to go until Tokyo 2020, all eyes will be on the world record holder, who is arguably Japan's top gold medal hope in swimming.

11:12 am - Lilly King disqualified

Drama in Gwangju as recently-crowned 100m Breaststroke world champion Lilly King gets disqualified in the 200m Breaststroke preliminary round.

The American won her heat, but reacted with shock upon seeing the DQ. She walked to the officials to protest, but was turned away.

The reason for her disqualification was eventually given for a non-simultaneous touch on the first turn. We hear that the USA has formally protested the decision.

Canada's Sydney Pickrem progresses in first place, while Yuliya Efimova also qualifies for tonight's semi-finals.

10:46 am - Murphy makes it two for USA

Following on from Manuel's example, Team USA's Ryan Murphy seals top seed in the Men's 200m Backstroke heats in 1:56:61.

Russia's Evgeny Rylov wins his heat to qualify in second, while Chinese 100m backstroke world champ Jiayu Xu is also safely through.

The biggest cheer goes up for home hero Juho Lee, who will also progress to this evening's semi-finals.

10:25 am - Manuel fires in stacked 100m Free

Olympic champion Simone Manuel has bounced back in the best possible way, after being overtaken by Cate Campbell in the final leg of last night's medley relay.

The American has recorded the fastest 100m Freestyle qualifying time in 52.10 seconds, ahead of tonight's semi-finals.

Campbell also qualifies, after finishing second to Sarah Sjostrom in the final heat.

Elsewhere, Dutch Olympic gold medallist Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Taylor Ruck progress.

Olympic gold medallist Penny Oleksiak did not start due to conserve energy for tonight's 4x200m relay, while 200m Freestyle world champion Federica Pellegrini's time is not good enough to go further.

9:34 am - Dressel to bounce back?

When Australia dramatically pipped USA to Medley Relay gold last night, so too ended Caeleb Dressel's chances of securing eight gold medals in Gwangju.

However, the American star has a chance for some redemption today when he competes for the coveted 100m Freestyle title, in which he is the top seed.

We caught up with Summer Sanders, a double Olympic gold medallist from Barcelona 1992, to talk about Dressel's chances and you can watch that below.

Which Caeleb Dressel will turn up in Gwangju? Summer Sanders has her say

Double Olympic gold medallist Summer Sanders thinks the American will have ...

9:12 am - Day 14 highlights

09:30 - 18:30 Water polo: Men's semi-finals

10:00 - 12:45 Swimming preliminary rounds
Women's 100m Freestyle
Men's 200m Backstroke
Women's 200m Breaststroke
Men's 200m Breaststroke
Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay

20:00 - 22:30 Swimming
Women's 200m Butterfly final - Hali Flickinger could become the first USA swimmer to win the women's 200m butterfly since Summer Sanders in 1991.
Women's 100m Freestyle semi-final
Men's 100m Freestyle final - Caeleb Dressel (USA) will be aiming to become the seventh man to win at least 10 world titles in swimming.
Women's 50m Backstroke final - Etiene Medeiros (BRA) could become the first athlete to successfully defend her world title in this event.
Men's 200m Breaststroke semi-final
Men's 200m Individual Medley final - Chase Kalisz (USA) is hoping to retain this world title.
Women's 200m Breaststroke semi-final
Men's 200m Backstroke semi-final
Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay final - Four-time defending world champions United States has won seven of the last eight world titles in this event.

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

9:00 am - We're here, but is Ledecky?

Good morning (and good evening to our American audience) - nice to see you back on the Olympic Channel daily blog from Gwangju.

We're approaching the business end of water polo, with the men's semi-finals this afternoon.

In swimming, there are five more medal events, and we will be talking you through them all, alongside the usual behind the scenes snippets and some brand new features.

The big question this morning is: Has Katie Ledecky has recovered sufficiently enough to compete in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay?