Ledecky claims silver on return as Dressel wins third gold at swimming world champs

The Americans got ailing Katie Ledecky back. They just couldnt overcome a world record by the Australians at the swimming world championships

The Americans got ailing Katie Ledecky back. They just couldnt overcome a world record by the Australians. Ledecky returned in the 4x200m freestyle relay after two days out of the pool due to illness. She rallied the US to the lead on her second leg, but it wasnt enough to defend the title from 2017.


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Australia won in 7 minutes, 41.50 seconds at the world championships on Thursday. Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon took down the old mark of 7:42.08 set by China at the 2009 worlds in Rome during the height of the rubber suit era. The United States took silver in 7:41.87, also going under Chinas old mark. Canada earned bronze.

It was still a big night at the pool for the US team though. The Americans medaled in all five finals, with Caeleb Dressel and Olivia Smoliga winning golds.

Ledecky hadnt competed since preliminaries on Monday. The following day she withdrew from the 200 free heats and the 1500m free final because of symptoms that included dehydration and vomiting.

We dont know exactly what caused this all, she said. I wouldnt have pulled out if it wasnt serious or if I wasnt concerned and scared and worried about my health.

In the middle of a sleepless night, Ledeckys phone pinged with a text from Michael Phelps. The retired 23-time Olympic gold medalist heard about her illness half a world away and was checking in. That meant a lot, Ledecky said. That gave me a little bit [extra].

Meanwhile Lilly King was disqualified from the morning heats of the 200m breaststroke and lost an appeal to be reinstated. The American was penalized for not touching the wall with both hands in a simultaneous motion in the first turn of the four-lap race.

It was a big blow for King, the outspoken doping critic aiming for a sweep of the breaststroke titles in Gwangju. She already won the 100m over Russian rival Yulia Efimova, who advanced to the 200m final as the fastest qualifier.

Caeleb Dressel celebrates victory in the 100m freestyle. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images


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Dressel won swimmings glamour event, the 100m free, for his third gold and fourth medal overall. It hurt really bad to be honest, he said. You dont always get that magical feeling every night but youve just got to shut the brain off and go.

Dressel touched in 46.96 seconds, the only man to dip under 47 seconds in the final. He was only 0.05 seconds off the 10-year-old world record of 46.91 set by Brazils Cesar Cielo. It took 100% effort and I had someone right there on my tail for me to race, Dressel said. I kind of shut off thinking about the race so that helped a lot and having Kyle right there.

Dressels other golds came in the 50m butterfly, a non-Olympic event, and the 4x100m free relay. He took silver in the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

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