Greetings, swimming enthusiasts!
This summer has been full of exciting swimming competitions. A few weeks ago, at the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, the United States women’s team broke the 4×100 medley relay world record to win the gold.
The relay team consisted of Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel. They broke the previous record of three minutes 52.05 seconds that was set at the London Olympics by Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt, clocking in at three minutes 51.55 seconds.
All four of the swimmers that were a part of the record-breaking relay this summer were medalists in their respective 100’s at the meet, so there was talk before the race that perhaps this world record could be shattered. Although going into the freestyle leg they were about half of a second off pace, 100 meter freestyle world champion Simone Manuel powered the team to a record-breaking finish.
Russia came in second with a time of 3:53.38, and Australia grabbed the bronze at 3:54.29.
Kathleen Baker, who swam the backstroke leg, headed off the relay well with a personal best of 58.54, making her the fifth fastest American to ever swim that event. Baker swam for SwimMAC Carolina as a child, and now attends the University of California, Berkeley. She won the silver medal in the 100 back at both the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Next up was breaststroker Lilly King, who swam a time of 1:04.43. Although King kept close to Russia’s Yuliya Efimova, the United States was in second place at the halfway mark of the race. King attends Indiana University, and won the gold medal for the 100 breast in the 2016 Olympic Games, and the 100 and 50 breast at the 2017 FINA World Championships. She broke the world record to win the gold in the 100 breast at the World Championships.
Kelsi Worrell swam the butterfly leg in 56.30 seconds to get the United States in the lead. Worrell specializes in sprint freestyle and butterfly, and attended the University of Louisville. She won a bronze medal in the 100 meter butterfly at the FINA World Championships with a time of 56.37.
Simone Manuel finished off the power quartet with a 100 meter freestyle in 52.23 seconds. Manuel attends Stanford University, and is widely known for her sprint freestyle. At the 2016 Olympic Games, she won the gold in the 100 free and the silver in the 50 free, and at the FINA World Championships, she won the gold in the 100 free and the bronze in the 50 free.
I congratulate these four women on their outstanding performances at the 2017 FINA World Championships, and I look forward to seeing what this next generation of elite swimmers can do!