Americans Huske, Dressel power to butterfly golds at world championships
American Torri Huske narrowly missed out on a world record in the women's 100m butterfly at the swimming world championships in Budapest on Sunday while her compatriot and seven-times Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel won the 50m butterfly.
Huske was ahead of the world record time in the final 50m but eventually finished with a time of 55.64 seconds — just 0.16 seconds shy.
The 19-year-old finished half a second ahead of France's Marie Wattel who took silver while China's Zhang Yufei took the bronze.
“I'm so happy, this is an amazing field of women and I'm just very lucky to be here. I don't know how to put this into words, but I just want to thank my coaches and family back home,” Huske said.
“It's helped (my confidence) a little bit but I still have a lot of races to focus on.”
The medal was her second at the championships after helping the US team win the women's 4x100m freestyle relay on Saturday.
Dressel, who led the US to the 4x100m freestyle gold on Saturday, powered to victory in the 50m butterfly on the back of a brilliant start, carrying that momentum all the way to the finish with a time of 22.57 seconds.
“It wasn't a perfect race but certainly a fun one, really happy to get that first individual race over and done with,” he said.
“I definitely had the jitters today, especially in my hotel room, that's when it's the worst. But once I'm on the blocks that's as safe as I feel.”
He pipped his rivals in a tight race where Brazil's Nicholas Santos took the silver while American Michael Andrew came third after finishing 0.01 seconds behind Santos.
Santos, 42, also became the first swimmer to claim a medal at the world championships after his 40th birthday.
In the final race of the day, Alex Walsh gave Americans more reason to cheer when she took gold in the women's 200m individual medley.
The 20-year-old — a silver medallist in the same event in Tokyo last year — finished with a time of 2:07.13. She was 1.44 seconds ahead of Australia's Kaylee McKeown while Walsh's team mate Leah Hayes won the bronze.
Home favourite and defending champion Katinka Hosszu, who has won 15 medals at the world championships, was well off the pace as the 33-year-old finished a disappointing seventh.
Earlier, Nicolo Martinenghi became the first Italian to win the men's 100 metre breaststroke gold.
Martinenghi had won the bronze at the Olympic Games last year but this time the 22-year-old raced into the lead and was unassailable on the final stretch, winning by 0.36 seconds.
“It's amazing, it's my first world final and first gold medal at the worlds,” Martinenghi said.
Tokyo silver medallist Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands finished second while American Nic Fink was third, with only 0.03 seconds separating the two.
The field was open after Britain's eight-time world champion Adam Peaty, holder of the 50m and 100m breaststroke titles, pulled out of the world championships after fracturing a bone in his foot last month. — Reuters
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