IS BORN

Dres­sel emerges from Phelps’ shadow with seven-gold show

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BUDAPEST

WITH Michael Phelps back in re­tire­ment, Caeleb Dres­sel stepped out of his idol’s shadow to match the US leg­end’s tally of seven golds at the world cham­pi­onships in Budapest.

Dres­sel be­came the first swim­mer to win three world gold medals in one ses­sion on Satur­day, then claimed his sev­enth of the week in the men’s 4x100m med­ley re­lay on Sun­day to match Phelps’ record tally from the 2007 world cham­pi­onships.

Dres­sel’s tally in­cludes three in­di­vid­ual ti­tles in the 50m, 100m freestyle and 100m but­ter­fly, plus four re­lays golds in the 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m mixed freestyle, 4x100m mixed med­ley and Sun­day’s 4x100m med­ley.

It put him level with US leg­ends like Phelps, Ryan Lochte, who won five worlds golds in 2011, and Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Olympics in Mu­nich.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the top-five best swim meets ever by an Amer­i­can male — the other four go­ing to Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte,” said the USA’s Olympic back­stroke cham­pion Ryan Mur­phy.

Dres­sel’s feat – es­pe­cially his jaw-drop­ping tre­ble of golds over 98 min­utes on Satur­day night – is all the more re­mark­able given that he was vir­tu­ally un­heard of, even in the swim­ming com­mu­nity, be­fore these Budapest cham­pi­onships.

Dres­sel’s per­for­mances have been the ic­ing on the cake for the USA, who fin­ished with 38 swim­ming medals in Budapest — over five times more than near­est ri­vals Bri­tain, who have seven.

Katie Ledecky also made his­tory in Budapest as she fin­ished with 14 world golds in her ca­reer to eclipse Missy Franklin, who has 11, as the most dec­o­rated fe­male in cham­pi­onships his­tory.

The 20-year-old freestyle queen won five golds, but by her own ad­mis­sion the medal which stood out was her sil­ver in the 200m freestyle — her first de­feat in 15 fi­nals at a worlds, span­ning three cham­pi­onships.

“That will light some fire un­der me for the next cou­ple of years,” said Ledecky af­ter los­ing to Italy’s Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini over 200m.

Swe­den’s sprint queen Sarah Sjostrom un­der­lined her sta­tus as the world’s best sprinter with freestyle world records over 50m and 100m.

Sarah also set a new world record in the semi-fi­nals of the 50m freestyle with a time of 23.67sec bet­ter­ing the old mark of 23.73sec set by Ger­many’s Britta St­ef­fen in 2009.

Sjostrom claimed two of the seven in­di­vid­ual world records which fell at these world cham­pi­onships.

Bri­tish li­on­heart Adam Peaty claimed two in one day when he smashed his own 50m breast­stroke in Tues­day’s heats and then again in the evening’s semi-fi­nals when he be­came the first swim­mer to go un­der 26 sec­onds.

The 22-year-old was peer­less as he de­fended his 50m and 100m ti­tles, but by his own ad­mis­sion, his thirst for world records is re­lent­less.

He is de­ter­mined to be­come the first per­son to swim the 100m breast­stroke un­der 57 sec­onds – ‘Project 56’ as he calls it.

Olympic cham­pion Lilly King took both the 50m and 100m breast­stroke world records set by Ruta Meilu­tyte in 2013.

Canada’s Kylie Masse, who set a new world record in the women’s 100m back­stroke, of 58.10m was one of four records which fell on Tues­day alone. AFP

EPA PIC

US swim­mers (front row, L-R) Kelsi Wor­rell, Lilly King, Katie Meili, Mal­lory Comer­ford, Si­mone Manuel, and Kath­leen Baker; (back row, L-R) Kevin Cordes, Matt Gre­vers, Nathan Adrian, and Caeleb Remel Dres­sel pose with their tro­phy for the best team dur­ing the World Cham­pi­onships on Sun­day.

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