Sarah Sjostrom Returns for 50 Free Semis to Edge Cate Campbell for Top Seed (Full Semifinals Wrap)

Sarah Sjostrom -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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World Swimming Championships Sarah Sjostrom

Gwangju 2019

Day Seven Semifinals

Women’s 50 Free

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom had just minutes to recover after winning gold in the women’s 50 fly before she had to return to the pool for the 50 free semifinals, and Sjostrom did what was necessary to earn lane four for the final. She ended up posting a time of 24.05 to edge out Australia’s Cate Campbell (24.09) and Denmark’s Pernille Blume (24.14). Those three should be the favorites for the final.

Sjostrom won the world title two years ago in Budapest after setting the world record at 23.67 in the semifinals. Blume, the Olympic gold medalist from Rio, ranks third all-time at 23.75, while Campbell ranks fourth at 23.78.

The USA’s Simone Manuel, known for her big performances in big races, has won medals in the 50 free at both the 2016 Olympics (silver) and 2017 Worlds (bronze), qualified fourth in 24.21, while her fellow American, Abbey Weitzeil, missed out with a 10th-place time of 24.58.

China’s Liu Xiang and Australia’s Bronte Campbell, younger sister of Cate, tied for eighth in 24.46, setting up a swim-off for the last spot in the final. Campbell ended up winning the swim-off, 24.38 to 24.53 to secure lane eight in the final. Campbell actually had three swims in the evening session, with her anchor leg on Australia’s mixed 4×100 free relay coming in between her 50 free semifinal and swim-off.


  1. Sarah Sjostrom (USA), 24.05
  2. Cate Campbell (AUS), 24.09
  3. Pernille Blume (DEN), 24.14
  4. Simone Manuel (USA), 24.21
  5. Mariia Kameneva (RUS), 24.33
  6. Anna Hopkin (GBR), 24.34
  7. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 24.34
  8. Bronte Campbell (AUS), 24.46

Women’s 50 Breast

American Lilly King will aim for a second straight 50-100 breast World Championships sweep after she was the only swimmer to break 30 seconds in the semifinals. King put up a time of 29.84, leaving her in position to take aim at her world record of 29.40 set two years ago at Budapest in the final.

King will have familiar company next to her in the final after Russia’s Yuliya Efimova qualified second in 30.12. Efimova already won silver behind King in the 100 breast and defended her world title in the 200 breast after King was disqualified in prelims. Qualifying third was Italy’s Benedetta Pilato, a previously-unknown 14-year-old who blistered the field in prelims with a 29.98. Pilato went just a bit slower in the semifinals, touching in 30.17.

Another Italian swimmer, Martina Carraro, finished just off the pace of the top three with her fourth-place time of 30.23, while fifth-place Alia Atkinson was well back in 30.61.


  1. Lilly King (USA), 29.84
  2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 30.12
  3. Benedetta Pilato (ITA), 30.17
  4. Martina Carraro (ITA), 30.23
  5. Alia Atkinson (JAM), 30.61
  6. Ida Hulkko (FIN), 30.91
  7. Jessica Hansen (AUS), 30.92
  8. Anna Elendt (GER), 31.10

Men’s 50 Back

Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov, the world record-holder in the 50 back, put up a 24.35 in semifinals to earn the top seed by 0.18. Kolesnikov will aim to become the first man ever under 24 in the final, as he holds the world record at 24.00. He will also aim for his first individual World Championships gold after missing the final in the 100 back and earning silver in the 4×100 free relay earlier this week. Previously, Kolesnikov won seven medals, including gold in the 100 IM and 4×50 medley relay, at last year’s Short Course World Championships.

Romania’s Robert Glinta qualified second in 24.53, followed by Kolesnikov’s Russian teammate and 200 back World Champion Evgeny Rylov (24.56). American Ryan Murphy took fourth in 24.64. China’s Xu Jiayu, now the two-time World Champion in the 100 back, qualified sixth in 24.73.

The other American swimmer, Michael Andrew, qualified seventh in 24.76. That makes Andrew the first swimmer to ever qualify for World Championships finals in all four 50-meter events. Andrew has not won any medals yet this week, but he ranks second in the world in the 50 back, with his 24.39 trailing only Kolesnikov, and he is likely to swim the breaststroke leg of the U.S. men’s 4×100 medley relay in prelims, which will give him a shot at a medal.


  1. Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 24.35
  2. Robert Glinta (ROU), 24.53
  3. Evgeny Rylov (RUS), 24.56
  4. Ryan Murphy (USA), 24.64
  5. Zane Waddell (RSA), 24.72
  6. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 24.73
  7. Michael Andrew (USA), 24.76
  8. Apostolos Christou (GRE), 24.86

Read more about the FINA World Swimming Championships.