2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The United States won three gold medals and three bronze medals on night two of the 2022 FINA World Championships.
Caeleb Dressel earned back-to-back world titles in the 50 butterfly, becoming the first American to do so. Dressel spoke to USA Swimming on his win saying it, “Feels good to get the first individual [gold] out of the way. It’s always the most nerve wracking. Feel like I executed well. Of course – you hear me say it a million times – it could have been better but that’s okay. It worked good tonight so I’m just happy for Michael. I didn’t know it was his first medal so it will be good to share the podium with him tonight.”
Tonight’s gold was Dressel’s first individual medal of the meet after being a part of the US gold medal-winning men’s 4×100 freestyle relay last night. Dressel also spoke on his mentality for the meet saying, “Looking forward to the rest of the meet but looking forward to the day off tomorrow. I’m as good as I can be. Cards are different every single day so I’m trying to deal with them the best I can. Can’t change how my body feels. Felt good enough today – wouldn’t really change anything and I’m sure I’ll be fine the rest of the meet.” Dressel has the day off tomorrow and is expected to be back in the heats of the 100 freestyle Tuesday morning.
In addition to Dressel’s gold, the US also had a bronze medal won by Michael-Andrew which is the first time two Americans medaled in the event together at a FINA World Championship. Andrew set a new best time and won his first long course individual championship medal. Andrew spoke to USA Swimming on his race and Dressel saying, “As much as he’s a teammate, I always want to beat him. It’s nice having a guy like him in a lot of the events I race because it pushes me to work that much harder so I’m excited for the next couple years to race him. I see the way he pursues excellence so as an athlete, I look up to that. So, every day I hope to be on top of the podium with Caeleb.”
Also highlighting the night was an American Record set by Torri Huske. Huske swam to a gold medal in a time of 55.64 breaking her own American Record time of 55.66 which she swam at Wave II Olympic Trials last summer. Huske also became the first American to win the event since 2011. Huske spoke to USA Swimming on her record saying, “It’s really amazing. I really don’t know how to put it into words because it’s kind of surreal. I feel like I haven’t really processed it yet. I’m just happy I went a best time more than the place. At the end of the day, I just want to see that I’m improving myself.” US teammate Claire Curzan finished fifth overall.
Also winning gold tonight for the US was Alex Walsh after swimming at a time of 2:07.13 in the 200 IM. Walsh won silver in the event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Walsh spoke to USA Swimming on the experience saying, “I forgot what it’s like to have so many people in the crowd and I was shocked, honestly, looking up from my race and seeing the stadium was full of people. I think that just brought me a lot of adrenaline and it’s just such an honor to race Katinka [Hosszu]. I’ve really looked up to her all of these years and it was fun. I know her home crowd was rooting for her, but it made me really excited to race and I’m just grateful to be here in Budapest.”
The Tokyo Olympics did not have any spectators. Katinka Hosszu of host country Hungary was in tonight’s final placing seventh. Hosszu is the world record holder in the event. Walsh became the first American to win gold in the event since 2009 setting a personal best time in the process.
Walsh also spoke on US bronze medalist Leah Hayes saying, “I knew she was super nervous in the ready room. I was just super happy she was next to me and I didn’t even see that she got third I was so shocked by my time and then when I saw she got third and beat the 2:09 barrier at such a young age – she’s we have really great path.” Walsh and Hayes held the top two seeds coming into the final so they were in lanes four (Walsh) and five (Hayes) respectfully.
In addition to winning bronze, Hayes also set a World Junior Record in the process. Hayes spoke on her record saying, “I’ve had my eyes on that record for a while now and I’m so happy to finally get it.” Hayes also spoke on winning her first medal at an international meet saying, “It’s surreal – to be on the podium with my teammate and to get a world record when I wasn’t even expecting myself to win a medal at this world championships? I gave it my all!” Both Walsh and Hayes combined to have the fastest splits on all four 50s in the field.
American Nic Fink also earned a medal tonight after touching first at the 50 mark. Fink won bronze in the men’s 100 breaststroke swimming a time of 58.65, just 0.03 off of tying silver. After swimming a four long course World Championships, Fink earned his first medal. He spoke on how he feels to win his first medal saying, “It feels good. First one, can’t complain about the result. Looking forward to hopefully getting more this week.” Fink is also entered in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes later in the meet.