2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Throughout the 2022 World Championships, we’ll be providing a bounty of posts about all the goings-on in Budapest. That includes a daily recap for each continent. The American women were arguably the strongest contingent of any country on day 1 of the meet, having gotten 2 swimmers into the top 3 of all individual events, along with a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith, Claire Curzan, Torri Huske, Alex Walsh, and Leah Hayes all pulled off top 3 finishes in their events, either collecting medals on day 1 or advancing to finals in a dominating position. Additionally, of the 6 medals that were available in women’s events, North Americans won 5.
The 3 medals that the American women won on the first day of racing came from Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith in the 400 freestyle. Those women went 1-3 respectively, while fellow North American Summer McIntosh of Canada got onto the podium, snagging silver. This swim from Ledecky was the first 400 freestyle world title since 2019 when Ariarne Titmus took gold in 2019.
This was also the first time we saw Ledecky race the 400 since Titmus broke her world record with a 3:56.40 at the 2022 Australian Championships. Ledecky’s time was the fastest time ever swum at a World Championships and made her the 10th swimmer in history to reclaim a World title.
Summer McIntosh had a record-breaking swim for herself when she became the fourth woman in history to swim under 4 minutes in the 400 freestyle. She swam a 3:59.39 Canadian record joining Ledecky, Titmus, and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini (3:59.15, 2009) in elite company.
Leah Smith had a return to form in the event, hitting a 4:02.08 to get bronze, which means that she’s won a medal in this event at three straight World Championships. The Ledecky-McIntosh-Smith podium made this an all-North American podium.
The continent of North America also had a strong showing in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, claiming 2/3 medals. Australia notched a 3:30.95 to claim gold but Canada followed with a 3:32.15, followed closely by the USA (3:32.58). The Canadians used the quartet of Taylor Ruck, Maggie MacNeil, Penny Oleksiakand Kayla Sanchezwhile the Americans had Torri HuskeErika Brown, Kate Douglass, and Clair Curzan swimming.
In addition to snagging 5/6 medals possible, North American women also got several swimmers into the finals that will take place on day 2. The USA is well suited for the next session of finals as Torri Huske and Claire Curzan will advance in the #1 and #3 spots for the 100 fly. And in the 200 IM, Alex Walsh and Leah Hayes went 1-2 in the 200 IM semis.
The North American men’s performance on day 1 was highlighted by 400 IM medalists Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz who took silver and bronze, respectively to Leon Merchant. The American also won their first gold medal with a 3:09.34 in the 4×100 freestyle courtesy of Caeleb Dressel, Brooks Curry, Ryan Heldand justin ress. They also placed 3 men into finals for day 2 – Michael-Andrew and Caeleb Dressel in the 50 fly and Nic Fink in the 100 breast.
In the 400 freestyle, however, Kieran Smith and Trey Freeman slightly were off pace as Smith finished 7th in a 3:46.43 while Freeman was a 3:46.53 for 8th. Additionally, Michael-Andrew didn’t perfectly pull off the double on the first night, missing out on qualifying for finals in the 100 breaststroke.
Other Notable Storylines:
- Leon Merchant‘s 400 IM shattered the ground in the swimming community, but behind him, a pair of Americans, Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz, took silver and bronze. That is the first time that the US has had two medalists in that event at the World Championships since 2011 when Ryah Lochte and Tyler Clary took gold and silver. The US did so at last year’s Olympic as well, with Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland finishing 1-2.
North American Medal Table – As of Day 1 Finals
North American National Records – Day 1
- Summer McIntosh400 Freestyle – Canadian Record: 3:59.39 (breaking her own record of 3:59.39 from April 2022).
- Dylan Carter50 Fly – Trinidad & Tobago Record: 22.87 (breaking his own record of 23.11 from 2018)