Olympic champ Manuel defeats world-record holder
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY» Simone Manuel felt the pressure of being an Olympic champion. It sure didn’t bother her at the world championships.
The 20-year-old Texan backed up her historic victory in Rio de Janeiro by rallying to beat Swedish world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom in the 100-meter freestyle Friday.
Hey, when you have two older brothers, you’re accustomed to playing catch-up.
“It’s kind of been ingrained in me,” said Manuel, who edged Sjostrom on the final stroke. “I want to win, and I’ve been training to do that this whole time.”
Last summer, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual swimming gold medal at the Olympics when she tied Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for the top spot on the podium.
“It was a lot of pressure knowing that I was the Olympic gold medalist in that event,” Manuel said. “I had a lot of nerves.”
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 0.60 of a second.
“There’s definitely disappointment,” Murphy said. “I want to be the guy that’s finishing first, and I want to be the guy that has the top time in the world. So it definitely stings a little bit, coming out of this meet and not having done that in either race. But it’s a long way to 2020.”
It was a huge night for the Russians, who captured two other individual golds and grabbed a silver in the men’s 4x200 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.