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BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. AUSTRALIA’s Cate Campbell put on a show in the women’s 100-meter freestyle as she smashed the field to win the world title at the FINA World Championships to give the Aussies a 100-meter free sweep along with James Magnussen’s win.
Out in 24.85, Campbell brought it home with a winning time of 52.34. That’s the fourth-fastest time ever, trailing Campbell’s textile best of 52.33 to start off the Australian 400-meter freestyle relay earlier this week. The win returned the title to Australia for the first time since Jodie Henry (2005) and Libby Lenton (2007) went back-to-back.
That’s Campbell’s first big meet individual gold medal. She was a part of the 400-meter freestyle relay Olympic gold medal last summer, but had previously only earned bronze in the 50 free at the 2008 Beijing Games and bronze in the 50 free at the 2009 World Championships.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom also broke 53 seconds with a silver-winning time of 52.89. That just missed her previous best of 52.87 set earlier in the week, but is good enough to stand in the top 15 swims of all time in the event. That’s Sjostrom’s second title of the meet after winning the 100-meter fly earlier this week.
The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo earned her second consecutive bronze medal in the event with a third-place time of 53.42 this evening. In 2011, she placed third behind Jeanette Ottesen Gray and Aliaksandra Herasimenia’s gold-medal tie.
Both reigning world champs, however, elected not to compete this year after tying for the title in 2011. Ottesen Gray is changing up her freestyle technique, and will not compete in the event again until she and her coach feel comfortable with the change. However, she kept her cut time to keep her options open. Meanwhile, Herasimenia decided to use the World University Games as her taper meet, and did not see the point of potentially having slower times here in Barcelona just a few weeks later.
USA’s Missy Franklin wound up fourth overall in 53.47, which now gives her the chance to tie Kristin Otto’s record for most medals in a single meet at six.
The Netherlands’ Femke Heemskerk (53.67), Germany’s Britta Steffen (53.75), China’s Tang Yi (54.27) and USA’s Shannon Vreeland (54.49) rounded out the championship heat.