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BARCELONA, Spain, August 4. FOR the first time since 2005, someone other than an American heard their national anthem during the medal ceremony of the men’s 400-meter IM as Japan’s Daiya Seto ripped the world title away from the Americans at the FINA World Championships.
Seto surged past the pack to win the distance medley this evening in 4:08.69, smashing his lifetime best of 4:10.10 set at the Japanese National Sports Festival last September. With the swim, he became the sixth fastest swimmer ever in the event’s history, and just the seventh swimmer to clear 4:09. That’s Seto’s first long course world medal, and is Japan’s first world title in the event’s history.
Seto first burst onto the international scene last year with a gold in this event at the world short course championships in Istanbul. He also took silver in the 200-meter IM that week as well. However, the world was waiting to see if he could pull it off at the pinnacle long course meet of the year.
USA’s Chase Kalisz closed out a strong few months, where he dropped significant time on his lifetime best to become a world championship medalist for the first time. He clocked a 4:09.22 to take silver this evening, becoming the eighth-fastest performer all time in the distance medley. With Seto in the game heading into the 2016 Rio Olympics, the two could stage some Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte duels during the course of the next three years.
Brazil’s Thiago Pereira, who has bloggers writing as if he were going to scratch the 400 IM this week, sandbagged his way to bronze with a 4:09.48. He’s been faster with a 4:08.86 lifetime best from the 2009 FINA World Championships, but tonight is his best in textile. That’s his second bronze of the week, having taking third in the 200-meter IM as well just a year after taking silver in the 400-meter IM at the 2012 London Olympics.
USA’s Tyler Clary (4:10.39), Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (4:10.77), Hungary’s David Verraszto (4:13.68), Great Britain’s Daniel Wallace (4:13.72) and Australia’s Thomas Fraser-Holmes (4:17.46) also vied for the world title in the finale.