FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 15 including three world records

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as three new world records were set in the pool today by Caeleb Dressel, Regan Smith, and Anton Chupkov.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

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

It was a blistering night in the pool on Friday (26 July), where three world records were smashed.

Caeleb Dressel, Regan Smith, and Anton Chupkov all wrote their names into the record books.

And USA women's water polo continued their dominance, beating Spain in the world championship final.

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

You can also catch up with what happened on Thursday 25 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

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

12:00 am - What awaits us?

Wow, what a day.

Three world records fell today in the pool, and USA women won their third straight water polo world championship.

This is proving to be a fast pool, and more records might well fall tomorrow.

We'll leave you with today's photo gallery, but while you're here, why not check out our live blog from the Pan-American Games?

See you tomorrow!

FINA World Championships Day 15 - the best photos

11:28 pm - Aussies talk up relay teamwork

Kyle Chalmers and Alex Graham of the Australian world champion 4×200m free relay team have been talking up their teamwork.

"It was a very solid race, we've done relay camps this year and it's showed it's really paid off," Chalmers said.

Graham added: "We've been doing a lot of work, the freestyle and medley people have got together and we've been doing changeovers. It's also down to that team environment, we've got such a close team. It's showed that we're super strong at the moment, everyone has got each other's back, even tonight that's what it came down to in the end."

Mack Horton, who anchored the Aussies, said: "That anchor leg is always tough, that's a lot of pressure on it but it's always a privilege to anchor your team and put your body on the line for the boys. That's how I usually do a 200, I think a lot of people in relays always over-swim the front end, so I double down and back my back end."

11:10 pm - Chupkov drained after WR swim

Anton Chupkov, the Rio bronze medallist in the 200m breaststroke and defending world champion, retained his title with a come-from-behind world record swim today.

And it took a lot out of him - he couldn't even react to his new record.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "It was very hard, so hard that I can't express. I left all my power, all my emotions out there. I'm not able to feel any more emotions now. All I know is I won gold.

"All I wanted to do was to show my best time, and I did it."

So what next for the Russian? Although he was quick to clarify he hasn't yet spoken to his coach, he says he would like two weeks to a month off.

"I want to spend time at home with my family, it's this family space I miss most of all."

10:59 pm - 200m Backstroke champ Rylov looking at freestyle

Evgeny Rylov told a press conference after his win in the men's 200m backstroke that he's looking at an expanded schedule next year in Tokyo.

Speaking in English, he said: "Tokyo, the plan is to swim the 100 freestyle relay and all the backstrokes. Maybe 100m freestyle, maybe."

Asked for a reaction to his title defence today, he added: "I feel good, but very tired. The last 50m, my muscles had no power. I tried to keep my speed, and that's it."

10:47 pm - Efimova to focus on Tokyo after 'tough year'

The women's 200m breaststroke champion, Yuliya Efimova, was emotional on the podium during the medal ceremony.

At the press conference after, she explained: "It was such a tough year. I am happy that it worked out.

"This World Championship is full of people who swim really fast and set the world records a lot.

"I will have to decline all the short-course competitions. This year I feel very tired, I had injuries.

"Emotionally and physically I just can’t do it anymore. This year I have to decline all the other races, I just have to prepare (for Olympics)."

10:42 pm - Regan Smith 'in shock' at breaking Missy Franklin's record

The women's 200m backstroke has a new world record holder in the form of 17-year-old Regan Smith, who took over 0.7 seconds off Missy Franklin's time from London 2012.

"I'm in shock, I really don't believe it. I didn't think I'd ever do that, it's crazy, but I'm really happy with what I was able to do."

"I really just wanted to get myself in a good lane for tomorrow night's final.

"I was hoping to slip under 2:06, that was my goal. I was like, 'if I go 2:05-mid, or something like that, that would be amazing'. Clearly I exceeded my expectations and I'm super, super happy."

Caeleb Dressel also passed on his congratulations, saying: "With Regan, that was phenomenal. I thought that was one of the top three world records on the women's side and she just crushed it."

10:35 pm - Dressel on world record: "I woke up today and I wanted to do it"

Caeleb Dressel took down Michael Phelps' 10-year-old 100m fly world record today, and it was on his mind going into the semi-final.

"Coming that close (to the WR) in the prelims, I didn't expect to go that fast," he said. "Then consciously having it on your mind just wanting to go there... I woke up today and I wanted to do it. I thought I was ready to do it.

"That's all there is to it, I didn't want any other thought other than going under that 49.82."

The Floridian also paid tribute to Phelps.

"The standard that Michael set for people to go after it... records are meant to be broken. I hope he was happy watching me do that, you know, being on a team with him, the way he carries himself... It's funny how everything comes full circle.

"Just to have my stamp on the history of swimming, it's really special for me. Just to have that one moment where I can claim I was the best in the history of swimming, that's very special for a young kid from a small town."

And was it easy?

"No, not at all. That hurt pretty bad. It doesn't matter, you just have to go with your strategy and stick with it.

"There's still a lot I have to clean up going into tomorrow; these times mean nothing."

10:20 pm - Simone Manuel reflects on third straight major 100m free title

USA's Simone Manuel has now won the 100m free at Rio 2016, the 2017 worlds, and the 2019 worlds.

"I train hard every day, that's probably how I do it," she said. "I'm also very competitive and just want to get out there every day and race as fast as possible.

"I did feel a lot of pressure coming into the meet. A lot of it was from myself wanting to repeat, but I'm really happy with a best time and the win."

After being caught by Australia's Cate Campbell in last Sunday's 4×100m free relay, Manuel had to refocus.

"This meet has been a little bit of a roller-coaster for me," she admitted.

"Not all my swims have been what I would've liked them to be, I did take that relay (defeat) really hard because I felt I did the best I possibly could. But it's always about regrouping, not everybody has a perfect swim every time, and I have to be able to show a little bit of poise in these hard moments."

9:54 pm - Australia win relay in five-way fight

Australia are ahead at 50 and 100 under the WR split.

Here come Russia, and Duncan Scott for Great Britain.

Russia really pushing forward in this third 50. Scott touches first. China in second from Russia at the first change.

It's the Russians now ahead. Gabriele Detti for Italy trying to make up ground. It's still Russia from Great Britain, USA third at 300m.

China have fallen back for now but have Sun Yang on their anchor.

Blake Pieroni has really made a move there and USA turn in the lead at 350. Great Britain ahead at halfway but it's so tight.

The Aussies had a good change there but it's still Great Britain ahead at 450m, leading by 0.73 seconds.

Britain have James Guy on anchor coming after this.

Australia still in second from Russia as they turn at 500m.

They've really closed the gap to GB! Just 0.12 seconds between them at 550m! AUSTRALIA AHEAD at the final change from Russia and Italy!

You couldn't call this!

Russia from GB and USA at 650 as Guy makes a push for the Brits! 

Guy has put GB back in the lead at 700 but this is incredible! Five teams battling for the win!

Australia turn in the lead at 750! Last 50 - what's it going to be? Mack Horton is digging hard on anchor!

The Aussies have a lead! It's GOLD for Australia! 7:00.85 in an Oceania record. Russia take silver, USA bronze.

9:45 pm - Relay time

Here we go with the men's 4×200m freestyle relay.

The top five teams in this event were separated by only about a second this morning in heats.

9:31 pm - NEW WORLD RECORD: Anton Chupkov

So, Matthew Wilson of Australia tied the world record in the men's 200m breaststroke yesterday, 2:06.67.

Both he and the other WR holder, Ippei Watanabe, are in this final.

And Anton Chupkov of Russia isn't to be discounted from this race either.

Wilson and Watanabe are away well. The Aussie starting to pull away in the first 50 and he's under the WR split.

Chupkov is well behind.

Andrew Wilson is just behind Matt Wilson at 100m and the WR is probably going to go here.

Here comes the back 100m. Matt Wilson still leads but Watanabe is up to second. Still under the split! It's going to be close.

Wilson isn't hanging on! Here comes Watanabe! Or Chupkov in 5? A new world record for Anton Chupkov! He came from nowhere!

2:06.12, over half a second off the old mark.

Wilson held on for silver and Watanabe will go home with bronze.

9:17 pm - Sjostrom takes 50m fly semis in fast time

24.79 for Sarah Sjostrom in the second heat to top the overall rankings and qualify in lane 4 for tomorrow's final.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo at 25.54 was second in that semi, and second overall. That's how much of a gap Sjostrom had.

Oleksiak does make tomorrow's final in sixth.

9:08 pm - Women's 50m butterfly

We go straight on to the next races, with the women's 50m fly semis.

Going in this first heat is Canada's Penny Oleksiak, who we caught up with ahead of the meet:

9:05 pm - Rylov wins Budapest re-match

Time for the men's 200m backstroke final. The three world medallists from Budapest, defending world champion Evgeny Rylov, Ryan Murphy, and Jacob Pebley, are all here.

They're all away cleanly after the recent issues with start wedges.

Murphy is off well as is Rylov. Murphy in lane 5 leads at 50m and there's a superb turn from Rylov to push himself into the lead, nearly half a length ahead.

The Russian will turn at halfway in the lead. Murphy is sticking with him. And the American is actually closing in pretty well in this third lap.

Less than half a second apart going into the home stretch. Neck-and-neck now... Rylov still ahead and he might hang on.

Gold to Russia and Evgeny Rylov! Murphy takes silver and Great Britain's Luke Greenbank touches home for bronze.

The winning time was 1:53.40. It's the fastest time set in textile.

8:56 pm - Efimova defends 200m breaststroke title

Off in the women's 200m breaststroke final.

Yuliya Efimova in lane 4 is slow off the blocks, and the Russian has some making up to do.

It's Sydney Pickrem of Canada who leads through 50m from Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa.

Efimova is pushing through now and she's leading after the second 50, quite comfortably.

She won't be easy to catch from here. Her biggest rival, Lilly King, was disqualified in heats for an illegal turn.

Nearly a two-second lead at 150m. The defending champion Efimova will take gold but who will complete the podium?

2:20.17, it's gold to Efimova. Schoenmaker clinches silver for South Africa and Pickrem takes bronze.

8:49 pm - Dressel tops timesheets

21.18, so no second record for Dressel, but that looked effortless.

He tops the timesheets going into tomorrow night's final.

8:47 pm - Dressel back in the pool

Fresh off that world record swim, Caeleb Dressel is back for the 50m free semis.

The world record in this is 20.91...

8:33 pm - NEW WORLD RECORD: Regan Smith

Missy Franklin's 200m backstroke world record from London 2012 has fallen in this second semi-final!

Her compatriot Regan Smith touches home in 2:03.35 to absolutely smash Franklin's mark by nearly 0.7 seconds!

She's over 3.2 seconds ahead of second qualifier Kylie Masse! Margherita Panziera, Minna Atherton, Katinka Hosszu, Kaylee McKeown, Taylor Ruck, and Katalin Burian join them in tomorrow's final.

That's also a new world junior record, destroying her mark from this morning's heats by nearly three full seconds.

8:26 pm - Hosszu beaten in semi!

Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu is just touched out at the wall by Minna Atherton in the women's 200m backstroke first semi-final! 2:07.38 for the Aussie, 0.1 ahead of Hosszu.

8:19 pm - NEW WORLD RECORD: Caeleb Dressel

Here comes a big second semi featuring Caeleb Dressel, Andrei Minakov, and Laszlo Cseh.

Dressel's time in the heats this morning would have won gold at Rio 2016.

Rio champion Joseph Schooling failed to make it out of the heats.

It's a strong start for Dressel who's already got half a body length! He's well clear. Half a second under the WR split!

Minakov second at the turn. Dressel keeps coming, he has that world record in his sights.

Well under the World Record split! Phelps' record is about to go! It's gone! 49.50! A new world record!

Your finalists tomorrow will be: Caeleb Dressel, Andrei Minakov, Kristof Milak, Chad le Clos, Marius Kusch, Mehdy Metella, James Guy, and Matthew Temple. There's no space for Laszlo Cseh.

8:17 pm - Milak wins first heat

Off they go.

Milak leads through 50. Le Clos is starting to push on the back 50.

It's close. The new 200m WR holder is still ahead and he wins the heat in 50.95. Le Clos touched home second in 51.40.

8:10 pm - Le Clos and Milak renew rivalry

The first semi-final in the men's 100m butterfly is on tap and Chad le Clos and Kristof Milak, fourth and second in this morning's heats, will renew their rivalry.

8:06 pm - Manuel wins!

The swimmers have been introduced. Ready to go.

51.71 is the world record, held by Sjostrom.

Take your marks... they're off!

Good start by Manuel in lane 1. Campbell is going well as well. Manuel turns in front at halfway.

Sjostrom is trying to come back. Under WR pace. Manuel in 1 still holding on. Here comes Cate Campbell. Manuel still leads with 10 to go.

It's gold to Simone Manuel! 52.04 in a new Americas record. Campbell wins silver, bronze to Sjostrom.

7:55 pm - Women's 100m free leads off

We're just minutes away from the introductions for tonight's first final, the Women's 100m freestyle.

There's lots of big names in this final and we're expecting an incredible race.

Your eight finalists are, in lane order: the Rio joint-Olympic champ Simone Manuel, her USA teammate Mallory Comerford, Australia's Emma McKeon, the current world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, Australia's Cate Campbell, Canadian Taylor Ruck, Femke Heemskerk of Netherlands, and Great Britain's Freya Anderson.

7:35 pm - More USA gold?

So, congratulations to USA on successfully defending the world title.

Later in the swimming pool, their compatriots will be hoping to add to Team USA's gold medal haul.

The big prize of the night for the Americans there may well be the men's 4×200m freestyle relay, which promises to be very, very tight based on this morning's heats.

7:27 pm - USA are world champions again

It's all over. 11-6 the final.

It's a third straight world title for the USA; their sixth overall - all coming since 2000.

The coaches jump into the pool to celebrate!

Team USA - players and coaches - celebrate together in the water

7:10 pm - One-sided

This has become very one-sided now.

End of the third period and USA lead 9-3.

What do Spain have left?

7:05 pm - Five unanswered goals

The Americans are pulling away now.

That's five unanswered goals to lead 8-3.

3:25 left in the third.

US women's water polo team: Addicted to winning

They hail from the United States and are dominating their sport. But even t...

6:56 pm - Half-time: USA 5 Spain 3

Just 16 minutes of clock time are left in this match.

USA have managed to pull away again slightly with two quick goals towards the end of that quarter.

They lead Spain 5-3.

6:51 pm - Spain have tied it!

With 3:46 left in the first half, Spain have tied it at 3-3!

It's still pouring out there, is that affecting the Americans' game?

6:43 pm - End of first quarter

Team USA have managed to restrict Spain well in that first period.

The Americans hold a 3-1 lead after the first eight minutes.

Can Spain fight back?

Remember, both teams have already qualified for Tokyo 2020, so world championship gold is the only thing on the line today.

6:34 pm - Level early!

Spain have a chance just over the goal and USA go down the other end to score through Margaret Steffens!

USA 1-0 with 5:45 in the first quarter left.

Spain with possession of the ball then equalise on the very next play. We're in for an interesting final.

6:18 pm - Friday night lights...

... And rain.

Spain and USA, who start their championship match in about 12 minutes, will have to duke it out in stormy conditions.

Stormy skies at the water polo finals

6:00 pm - Australia win bronze

A minute left - and Australia have had a chance saved! Hungary get possession back and are up to the other end.

Great pass! A shot - it's tipped onto the post! And back out to a Hungarian who can't get to it! Wow!

Now Australia just have to hang on to the ball and they will win bronze!

They've run the shot clock down and Hungary call their second time-out with just seconds left to play.

Four seconds - a last-second attempt... and it's over! That's the game!

5:55 pm - Now then...

A hat-trick for Hungary's number 8 and the lead is now 10-9.

And the ball is back with Hungary! A long pass from the goalie... and it's stopped right under the crossbar!

Still 10-9. The referee has stopped the game - are we going to VAR? No, Australia have taken a time-out.

The Hungarian coach could not believe that miss.

5:52 pm - Aussies pulling away

I think Australia can sense the medal in their grasp now. 10-7 up... but Hungary have hit back! 10-8.

4:06 left in this 4th.

5:37 pm - Hammering down

It's 7-7 in the third period.

It's absolutely bucketing down with rain.

3:30 to play in this quarter.

5:28 pm - 13 goals

It's half-time and the teams have shared 13 goals between them! Australia lead 7-6.

5:03 pm - Bronze up for grabs

Before Spain and USA go head-to-head for the world women's water polo title, Australia are playing Hungary for third place and a world championships bronze medal.

The Aussies have an early lead in the first quarter.

4:46 pm - Efimova chasing records...

Yuliya Efimova could win a record third world title in the women's 200m breaststroke tonight, to go with her 2013 and 2017 titles.

The Russian is also going for her 14th individual world championship title. Currently only Hungary's Katinka Hosszú can claim to have achieved that feat, while Sarah Sjöström of Sweden could win her 14th individual medal in the women's 100m freestyle.

3.26 pm - Netherlands snatch water polo thriller

The Dutch water polo team came from behind to beat Greece in the Women's classification rounds 9-11.

Elsewhere there was another classic as Russia beat Italy 10-9. Bronze and gold medal matches up next!

2:30 pm - Can Spain cause a seismic water polo upset?

There is no doubt that world and Olympic champions the United Sates are favourites to win the Women's water polo title at 6:30 pm.

However, in what is a repeat of the 2017 final, Spain will feel confident they can right some wrongs after a comfortable 16-10 semi-final win over Hungary.

Only United States (5), Italy (2) and Hungary (2) have won multiple Women's water polo world titles.

US women's water polo team: Addicted to winning

They hail from the United States and are dominating their sport. But even t...

1:45 pm - Le Clos wants another Olympic gold

Chat le Clos is back in action in the Men's 100m Butterfly semi-finals this evening.

While much of the hype in 2019 is focused on Caeleb Dressel and Kristof Milak in this event, South African Le Clos still feels that he is the one to watch at Tokyo 2020.

To find out why, watch our interview here.

Chad le Clos won bronze in the 200m Butterfly in Gwangju

1:00 pm - Smith pips Ledecky in 800m heats

Team USA's Leah Smith has just edged her compatriot and Olympic champion Katie Ledecky in the final Women's 800m race of the preliminary round.

The Two Americans were joined by Australia's Ariarne Titmus in a three-way battle for the duration of the race, but it was Smith who took it on the wall in 8:17:23.

What a rematch that will be, alongside Heat 1 winner Simona Quadarella, in this evening's final.

On that breathless note, that is the end of this morning's swimming.

12:00 pm - Italy shock relay field

Italy have just recorded the fastest in the final heat of the Men's 200m Freestyle Relay with 7:04:97.

That swim sees Heat 1 winners Russia knocked into second, while USA are third.

Reigning world champions Great Britain squeeze into tonight's final after a third-place heat finish.

11:24 am - Sjostrom supreme in 50m Butterfly heats

Blink and you'll miss her!

Sarah Sjostrom once again proved she is Queen of the Heats, recording the fastest overall time in the Women's 50m Butterfly with 25.39.

Olympic gold medallists Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Penny Oleksiak both finish second in their heats to progress to this evening's semi-finals.


See More

Number of medals

3 Olympic medals


Olympic Games

3 Olympic Games

11:12 am - Another heat, another Dressel win!

With barely a chance to sit down after winning the 100m Butterfly heats, Caeleb Dressel records the best overall time in the frantic Men's 50m Freestyle heats with 21.49.

Brazilian rival Bruno Fratus finishes second in the heat and fourth overall to book his spot in this evening's semis.

British sprinter Ben Proud pips Michael Andrew in the next heat to second in qualifying. Both qualify.

10:38 am - Hosszu safely through

Olympic 100m Backstroke champion Katinka Hosszu wins her 200m Backstroke heat, beating Canadian 100m Back world champion Kylie Masse.

The top billing going in this evening's semi-final however goes to American Regan Smith, who records a new World Junior Record of 2:06:01.

Kathleen Baker finishes way behind Smith in second to also qualify.

Hosszu on longevity: "I'd rather swim to places than walk"

The 30-year-old Hungarian superstar has three Olympic golds and five world ...

10:25 am - Dressel and Milak on top

Kristof Milak scores another win over Chad le Clos, the rivals finishing first and second respectively in their 100m Butterfly heat.

But his overall lead hasn't lasted long.

But the recently-crowned 200m Butterfly world champion and world record holder Milak is beaten to top spot overall in the next heat by that man Caeleb Dressel.

The American secures the top seed for this evening's semi-finals in 50.28 seconds.

Rio 2016 Refugee Olympic Team member Rami Anis from Syria finished second in his heat but did not qualify for the semis.

9:55 am - Le Clos on the Olympic Channel Podcast!

Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos lines up in today's first event, the Men's 100m Butterfly.

The South African is best remembered for beating Michael Phelps to 200m Butterfly Olympic gold at London 2012, but believes he has the mentality to win another Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

We caught up with him in Doha and you can listen to that chat below!

9:12 am - Day 15 highlights

10:00 - 12:45 Swimming preliminary rounds
Men's 100m Butterfly
Women's 200m Breaststroke
Men's 50m Freestyle
Women's 50m Butterfly
Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay
Women's 800m Freestyle

18:30 Water polo: Women's final

20:00 - 22:20 Swimming
Women's 100m Freestyle final - World record holder Sarah Sjöström (SWE) could claim her 14th total medal in individual swimming events, equaling Hosszú's (HUN) all-time mark.
Men's 100m Butterfly semi-final
Women's 200m Backstroke semi-final
Men's 50m Freestyle semi-final
Women's 200m Breaststroke final - Yuliya Efimova (RUS) could win a record third world title in this event.
Men's 200m Backstroke final - Ryan Murphy (USA) could become the fourth man to win this event at the world championships as reigning Olympic champion.
Women's 50m Butterfly semi-final
Men's 200m Breaststroke final - Reigning champion Anton Chupkov (RUS) can become the third swimmer to successfully defend his title.
Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay final - Reigning champions Great Britain are going for a third-consecutive title.

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

9:00 am - It's Freestyle Friday day!

Hello and welcome back to the day 15 FINA World Championships daily blog.

There's plenty of excitement in the air as today will see the Women's 100m Freestyle world champion crowned from a stacked field of gold and world medallists.

There will be five medals adjudicated today including the Women's water polo final - so let's get to it!