Dressel snatches gold to burnish US superiority

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, December 17, 2018
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Caeleb Dressel of Team USA competes during Men's 4X100m Medley Relay Final at 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, on Dec. 16, 2018.Team USA claimed the title with 3:19.98. (Xinhua/Weng Xinyang)

American swimming's new golden boy Caeleb Dressel emerged at the death to pip Russia's Vladimir Morozov by just 0.02 seconds and win the 100-meter freestyle at the short-course FINA World Championships on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Dressel has drawn lofty comparisons with US swim legend Michael Phelps but he left it to the last few strokes to pinch a thrilling victory in 45.62 seconds in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province.

South Africa's Chad le Clos, a 200 butterfly Olympic champion, took bronze, 0.27 seconds behind the tattooed Dressel.

Dressel does not like the Phelps comparisons, which came about last year after he became only the second swimmer after his decorated compatriot to win seven golds at a single long-course world championships.

Dressel did not have it all his own way in Hangzhou, however, having to settle for silver in the 50 freestyle — behind Morozov — and in the 100 butterfly.

He got his revenge on Sunday, the last day of competition, recovering from third place at the 50 mark to bring the United States its 13th gold medal and confirm its dominance in the 25-meter pool.

Annie Lazor made it a golden 14 by winning the women's 200 breaststroke and it was soon 15 thanks to Kelsi Dahlia in the women's 100 butterfly.

Dressel then produced a lightning third leg in the 4x100 medley relay to haul the US men to another — America's 16th of the meeting — with Russia in silver.

The Russians got their own back on their old foes in the men's 200 backstroke as Evgeny Rylov grabbed the lead late on to stun Ryan Murphy.

Rylov clocked a winning time of 1:47.02, 0.32 ahead of Murphy, the reigning double Olympic champion.

Cameron van der Burgh, the 30-year-old South African, signed off in style with victory in the men's 50 breaststroke.

It was a second gold to go with the one he won in the 100 breaststroke, after which he had announced that he would be retiring from swimming following the Hangzhou showpiece.

The Americans got Sunday's session off to a bang by triumphing in the women's 4x50 freestyle in a championship-record 1:34.03.

And they ended it in much the same way, their women's 4x100 medley relay team forcing another championship-record time for a 17th and final gold medal.

Russia was the nearest challengers to the US, winning six golds overall.

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