Short Course World Championships: Ranomi Kromowidjojo Tops Field in 50 Fly (Women’s Recap)

KROMOWIDJOJO Ranomi NED Gold Medal 50m Butterfly Women Final Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 19/12/2021 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Ranomi Kromowidjojo -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Short Course World Championships: Ranomi Kromowidjojo Tops Loaded Field in 50 Butterfly; Claire Curzan Sets WJR(Live Women’s Updates)

It didn’t take long for fireworks to explode on the fourth day of women’s action at the Short Course World Championships, as the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and American Claire Curzan produced a spectacular show in the 50-meter butterfly in Abu Dhabi. It was Kromowidjojo who secured the gold medal, via the second-fastest time in historyy. Meanwhile, Curzan established a World Junior record en route to the bronze medal.

In the two other finals on the women’s program, Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko captured gold in the 100 individual medley to complement an earlier title in the 50 breaststroke. In the 400 freestyle, China’s Li Bingjie added to her crown in the 800 freestyle with another dominant performance.

Here is what unfolded during the fourth night of finals.

Women’s 50 Butterfly Final

Dutchwoman Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the top seed following a dominant semifinal, had her hands full with the medals on the line, but the veteran delivered under pressure and prevailed in a championship record of 24.44. That time is the second-fastest in history, just off the 24.38 global standard of Therese Alshammar from the super suit era of 2009. Kromowidjojo has now won gold medals at six editions of the Short Course World Championships.

Sarah Sjostrom and Claire Curzan made Kromowidjojo work for the title, as they posted respective times of 24.51 and 24.55. Curzan’s performance set an American record and was good for a World Junior standard, the former standard belonging to Japan’s Rikako Ikee at 25.14. Curzan is one of the brightest young stars in the American arsenal and has committed to Stanford University for next year.

Finishing just off the podium was another American teen, Torri Huske. The Stanford freshman was timed in 24.88 to place fourth, with fifth place going to Zhang Yufei in 24.91.


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Women’s 100 Medley Final

Anastasia Gorbenko of Israel collected her second gold medal of the week when she rallied over the back half of the race and won the 100 individual medley in a tight battle with Frenchwoman Beryl Gastaldello. Already the champion in the 50 breaststroke, Gorbenko made a move on the breaststroke leg of her medley and powered through the closing freestyle leg to touch the wall in 57.80, ahead of the 57.96 of Gastaldello. They were the only women to break the 58-second barrier.

Gorbenko enjoyed another strong season in the International Swimming League for the L.A. Current and her excellence at these World Champs is not suprising. Russia’s Mariia Kameneva had the lead at the midway point and held on to reach the podium with a mark of 58.15. She was followed in fourth by Maria Ugolkova of Switzerland, who checked in at 58.27.


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Women’s 400 Freestyle Final

Make it a distance-freestyle double for China’s Li Bingjie, who unfurled a dominant performance to claim a runaway triumph in the 400 freestyle. Li had the lead by the 100-meter mark and never looked back, consistently expanding her advantage en route to a winning time of 3:55.83. The gold medal was Li’s second in as many days, as she won the 800 freestyle on Saturday night, also in convincing fashion.

Canadian 15-year-old Summer McIntosh, who just missed a medal in the 400 freestyle at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, picked up the silver in Abu Dhabi, as she touched in 3:57.87. McIntosh had to fend off one of the stars of the meet in Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, who entered the final of the 400 freestyle already crowned the world champion in the 100 freestyle and 200 free. Haughey placed herself on another podium, this time in the bronze position behind a time of 3:58.12. Fourth place went to Russia’s Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (3:58.56).


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Women’s 50 Backstroke Semifinals

A wide-open battle will take place in the final of the 50 backstroke, but it will unfold without the world-record holder. The Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint was only 10th in the semifinals and shut out of the top-eight positions after a swim of 26.43. Toussaint owns the world record at 25.60.

A quartet of women dipped under the 26-second barrier, paced by Sweden’s Louise Hansson in 25.83. The mark by Hansson was just .01 quicker than the 25.84 of Canada’s Kylie Masse, Joining them in sub-26 territory were Canadian Maggie MacNeil (25.92) and the Netherlands’ Maaike de Waard (25.97). Any of those four women appear capable of capturing the gold medal.


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Women’s 100 Breaststroke

On the strength of an Asian record of 1:03.99, China’s Tang Qianting claimed the top seed for the final of the 100 breaststroke, but will have a deep field chasing. After her sister, Louise, qualified first for the final of the 50 backstroke, Sophie Hansson is the No. 2 seed in the breaststroke, following a swim of 1:04.17. She is followed as the third-quickest qualifier by Ireland’s Mona McSharry, who stopped the clock in 1:04.22.

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson will be in the mix for a medal after a 1:04.26 showing in the semifinals. Atkinson was among the favorites for gold in the 50 breaststroke prior to the World Champs, but a disqualification ended her hopes of a medal in that event. Now, she will look to atone over 100 meters.


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