Star is born as young Amer­i­can matches Phelps’ gold-medal mark

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BU­DA­PEST — Michael Phelps, you’ve got com­pany.

Caeleb Dres­sel won his sev­enth gold medal of the World Aquat­ics Cham­pi­onships on Sun­day, putting the US team ahead to stay with an­other dom­i­nat­ing swim in the 4x100m med­ley re­lay.

Twenty-four hours af­ter be­com­ing the first swim­mer to win three golds in one night at a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional meet, Dres­sel joined Phelps in an­other elite club: seven golds at the sec­ond-big­gest meet af­ter the Olympics.

Phelps was the first to do it at the 2007 worlds in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia — a pre­lude to his un­prece­dented eight golds the fol­low­ing year at the Beijing Olympics.

Dres­sel matched the feat along the banks of the Danube, emerg­ing as Amer­ica’s next swim­ming sen­sa­tion.

“We’re see­ing a star be­ing born,” team­mate Matt Gre­vers said.

The 20-year-old Univer­sity of Florida stu­dent won three in­di­vid­ual golds and was part of four win­ning re­lay teams.

“I’m pretty tired, but, you know, it’s been a good sea­son, a good year, and to put to­gether a seven-day meet, it’s a re­ally nice feel­ing,” Dres­sel said. “There’s a lot more that goes into this than just the seven days that peo­ple see, so I’m very happy to be done.”

It was a big night all around for the Amer­i­cans.

Lilly King set her sec­ond in­di­vid­ual world record of the meet in the 50m breast­stroke, again best­ing Rus­sian ri­val Yu­lia Efi­mova, and re­turned as part of the women’s 4x100m med­ley re­lay that also broke the world record.

“I couldn’t imag­ine a bet­ter fin­ish to this meet,” King said.

This meet will be re­mem­bered as Dres­sel’s com­ing-out party.

He won the 50 and 100 freestyle, and nearly took down Phelps’ world record in the 100 but­ter­fly. Dres­sel was a beast on the re­lays, swim­ming both the free and fly.

Phelps’ feat at world cham­pi­onships still stands supreme since five of his seven golds were in in­di­vid­ual events, and he didn’t have the ben­e­fit of the mixed re­lays. Dres­sel won a pair of golds in that rel­a­tively new race, which he was quick to point out af­ter his three wins on Sat­ur­day.

But the com­par­isons to the most dec­o­rated ath­lete in Olympic his­tory are sure to pick up steam head­ing into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Dres­sel swam the fly in the

There’s a lot more that goes into this than just the seven days that peo­ple see.”

fi­nal event of the meet, tak­ing over for the third leg with the Amer­i­cans fac­ing a slight deficit af­ter world-record holder Adam Peaty pushed Bri­tain ahead on the breast­stroke. No wor­ries. Dres­sel surged to the front with a down-and-back time of 49.76sec — the only but­ter­fly swim­mer to break 50 sec­onds. Nathan Adrian took over for the freestyle an­chor with a com­fort­able lead, pulling away to win in 3min, 27.91 sec. Bri­tain set­tled for the sil­ver, more than a sec­ond be­hind.

When Adrian touched, Dres­sel hugged his other team­mates, Gre­vers and Kevin Cordes. As ev­ery­one else walked off deck, Dres­sel lin­gered a bit, watch­ing a re­play of the race on the video board.

It must have seemed more than a lit­tle sur­real.

“I’ve never had had it hap­pen,” Dres­sel said, “so I don’t re­ally know what to say.

To the sur­prise of no one, he was named the top male swim­mer of the meet. The fe­male award when to Swe­den’s Sarah Sjostrom, who capped off a stel­lar per­for­mance of her own with a bit of re­demp­tion in the 50m free.

Af­ter set­ting a world record in the semi­fi­nals, Sjostrom com­pleted the fu­ri­ous dash from one end of the pool to the other in 23.69sec — just two-hun­dredths off her mark the pre­vi­ous evening. Ranomi Kro­mowid­jojo of the Nether­lands claimed the sil­ver, while Si­mone Manuel of the US set­tled for bronze.

It was Manuel who knocked off Sjostrom in the 100m free af­ter the Swede went out far too fast on the open­ing lap and had noth­ing left for the re­turn. This time, she didn’t have to come back.

Lilly King broke the women’s 50m breast­stroke world record in see­ing off ri­val Yuliya Efi­mova on Sun­day, with the Rus­sian in­sist­ing the war of words be­tween the pair is now over.

King clocked 29.40sec in Sun­day’s 50m fi­nal at the world cham­pi­onships, break­ing the four-year-old record, with Efi­mova tak­ing sil­ver at 0.17sec back.

It was 20-year-old King’s

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