Manuel backs up Olympic victory at worlds
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Simone Manuel backed up her historic victory in Rio de Janeiro by rallying to beat Sweden’s world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom in the 100-meter freestyle Friday.
Another U.S. Olympic champion came up short in his bid for an individual gold in Budapest.
Ryan Murphy settled for silver in the 200 backstroke behind Russia’s Evgeny Rylov, while another American, Jacob Pebley, took the bronze.
Murphy swept the backstroke events last summer in Rio, but he hasn’t been quite as sharp in Budapest. He took bronze in the 100 and simply couldn’t catch Rylov in the longer event, the Russian finishing in 1 minute, 53.61 second to beat Murphy by a comfortable 0.60 seconds.
It was a huge night for the Russians, who captured two other individual golds and grabbed a silver in the men’s 800 free relay behind Britain.
Yulia Efimova bested American rival Lilly King in the women’s 200 breaststroke, easing a bit of the sting from two silvers in Rio and another loss to King in the 100 breast at Budapest.
In the men’s 200 breast, Anton Chupkov held off a pair of Japanese swimmers to claim the world title. Yasuhiro Koseki and Ippei Watanabe snagged the silver and bronze.
Efimova pulled away on the final lap to win by more than 2 seconds over another American, Bethany Galat. China’s Shi Jinglin grabbed the bronze over a fading King, who slipped to fourth after setting a blistering pace early in the race as she always does. Efimova’s winning time was 2:19.64.
Sjostrom, who set a world record in the 100 free earlier in the meet while swimming the leadoff leg of the 400 relay, jumped out to a quick lead and was under her own record pace when she made the flip.
Manuel was lagging in third but her wind-milling stroke got stronger and stronger on the return lap. Hugging the lane rope to gain some drafting help, she steadily closed the gap and lunged for the wall just ahead of Sjostrom.
Manuel touched in 52.27 — edging the Swedish star by just four- hundredths of a second. Pernille Blume of Denmark picked up the bronze.