Short Course World Championships: Louise Hansson Leads Sweden to Relay WR, Then Wins Individual Gold (Day Two Women’s Recap)

HANSSON Louise SWE Women's 100m Backstroke Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 16/12/21 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Louise Hansson won double gold on night two in Abu Dhabi -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Short Course World Championships: Louise Hansson Leads Sweden to Relay WR, Then Wins Individual Gold (Day Two Women’s Recap)

The second evening of racing at the Short Course World Championships began with a bang as Sweden’s group of Louise HanssonSophie HanssonSarah Sjostrom and Michelle Coleman blasted a world-record-tying swim in the women’s 200 medley relay. Later in the session, Louise Hansson added a gold medal of her own when she beat Kylie Masse by two hundredths for the top step on the podium in the women’s 100 backstroke final. Younger sister Sophie also secured an individual medal later in the session, bronze in the 50 breaststroke.

Additionally, Olympic gold medalist Zhang Yufei added a world title in the 200 butterfly, while Anastasia Gorbenko became Israel’s first world champion in swimming in the 50 breaststroke.

Women’s 200 Medley Relay FINAL

Sweden qualified only fifth for the final of the women’s 200 medley relay at the Short Course World Championships, but the Swedes revamped their squad before the final, rolling out a group of Louise Hansson, Sophie HanssonSarah Sjostrom and Michelle Coleman. That combination proved to be golden.

Louise Hansson gave her team the lead with a 25.91 split, Sophie Hansson built the lead with a 29.07, and then Sjostrom exploded with a 23.96 that was more than a half-second ahead of the field. That gave Coleman plenty of room to come home in 23.44. Coleman touched in a final time of 1:42.38, equaling the world record set by the United States (Olivia SmoligaKatie MeiliKelsi Dahlia and Mallory Comerford) at the previous Short Course Worlds in 2018.

The medal was Sjostrom’s second of the meet after Sweden claimed bronze in the 400 free relay Thursday, and she could certainly add to that total with three individual events and many more relays to come. Despite fracturing her hand last February, she came back to earn silver in the 50 free at the Olympics, and she has had a remarkable short course season between the ISL and now the World Championships.

The United States claimed silver here with Rhyan WhiteLydia JacobyClaire Curzan and Abbey Weitzeil in 1:43.61. Curzan blasted a 24.56 split, the third-best in the field, to bring the Americans up from fifth place after a sluggish start, and Weitzeil came home in 23.10.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands grabbed bronze in 1:44.03 with Kira ToussaintKim BuschMaaike de Waard and Ranomi Kromowidjojo. The Dutch were in seventh place after 150 meters, but Kromowidjojo had the fastest anchor split with a 22.85 to help the Dutch sneak by Canada (1:44.16) by 0.13.


Women’s 200 Butterfly FINAL

China’s Zhang Yufei was one of the breakout stars of the Tokyo Olympics as she claimed silver in a close 100 fly final and then stormed to gold in the 200 fly. In that race, she swam a 2:03.86 that was a textile-best time, and she won by more than a second-and-a-half. So it was no surprise to see Zhang dominating the field in the event at Short Course Worlds. She was already up by six tenths at the 50-meter mark, and with just two lengths to go, the lead was more than 2.2 seconds. She cruised home to win gold in 2:03.01.

The real race was for silver, and Switzerland’s Maria Ugolkova held that spot for the first 150 meters before fading badly on the way home. On the flip side was American teenager Charlotte Hook, a 17-year-old from North Carolina who is teammates with Claire Curzan on the TAC Titans) and will be heading to Stanford next fall. Hook was in eighth place after 50 meters and sixth at the 100, but her back half was brilliant. Hook’s final 50 was 31.69, faster than anyone else in the field (including Zhang), and she ended up claiming the silver medal in 2:04.35. She finished less than a second off Cammile Adams’ American record of 2:03.93.

Also closing with a brilliant split was Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Lana Pudar. She was fifth with 50 meters to go before closing in 31.98. That pulled her into the third spot, and she finished in 2:04.88. Russia’s Svetlana Chimrova, the top qualifier out of prelims, just missed the podium as she took fourth in 2:05.65.


Women’s 50 Breaststroke FINAL

After Jamaican favorite Alia Atkinson was disqualified in the 50 breast semifinals, the field was wide open heading into the final. In the end, the gold went to Anastasia Gorbenko of Israel, an 18-year-old who had emerged as a contender in the IMs and backstroke events but was never considered a medal contender in breaststroke. Gorbenko was the European Champion this year in both long course and short course, and she took 10th in the event at the Olympic Games after finishing eighth in the 100 back.

Here, Gorbenko touched in 29.34, beating out long course world-record holder Benedetta Pilato of Italy by 0.16. Pilato took silver in 29.50, and Sweden’s Sophie Hansson took bronze in 29.55, just edging Ireland’s Mona Mc Sharry (29.59) off the podium. Hansson earned her second medal of the night after earlier helping Sweden tie a world record in the 200 medley relay. Top qualifier Nika Godun of Russia, who swam a 29.42 in the semifinals, ended up fifth in 29.79.


Women’s 100 Freestyle Semifinals

In a fast semifinal round of the women’s 100 free, it took a 52.59 to make it back for the medal race Saturday, and just three tenths separated the third through eighth qualifiers. But there is no doubt about the two favorites here. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom finished first in semis in 51.53, while 200 free world champion and new world-record holder Siobhan Haughey qualified second in 51.53. It’s hard to imagine anyone beating those two for the gold and silver medals, in whatever order they finish.

The battle for bronze, however, will be wide open. Poland’s Kasia Wasick and Canada’s Kayla Sanchez tied for third in 52.28, while the USA’s Abbey Weitzeil and the Netherlands’ Marrit Steenbergen also tied, just one hundredth back in 52.29. The USA’s Torri Huske (52.48) and France’s Marie Wattel (52.59) also made the final, barely locking out Michelle Coleman, a Swedish relay gold medalist earlier in the night, and Freya Anderson of Great Britain.


Women’s 100 Backstroke FINAL

Sweden’s Louise Hansson has been primarily a butterflyer throughout her college and international career, but in short course, she can use her phenomenal underwater dolphin kicks to make a real impact in the backstroke events. And on this occasion, those short course backstroke skills translated to a gold medal. Hansson was out in 26.45, more than two tenths ahead of the field and under world-record pace, and she held on at the end as Canada’s Kylie Masse closed in.

Hansson ended up touching out Masse for gold by two hundredths, 55.20 to 55.22. Previously in her career, Hansson had won two total medals at World Championships (one long course and one short course) and none since 2015, but she has earned three in two days in Abu Dhabi, with Sweden’s 400 free relay bronze Thursday and then two gold medals Friday. This win came less than two hours after Hansson led off the gold-medal-winning, world-record-tying 200 medley relay for Sweden. This medal was Hansson’s first individual honor of any color on the global level.

Meanwhile, bronze went to the United States’ Katharine Berkoff in 55.40, just ahead of the Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint. The USA’s Rhyan White finished fifth in 55.87.


DeepBlue Media is Swimming World’s official supplier of photos from the Short Course World Championships.

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