Short Course World Championships: Shaine Casas, Ilya Shymanovich, Hwang Sunwoo Capture Gold Medals (Day Two Men’s Recap)

SHYMANOVICH Ilya BLR celebrating Gold Medal 100m Breaststroke Men Final Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 17/12/2021 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Ilya Shymanovich celebrates his gold medal in the men's 100 breaststroke -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Short Course World Championships: Shaine Casas, Ilya Shymanovich, Hwang Sunwoo Capture Gold Medals (Day Two Men’s Recap)

Men’s action on second evening of the Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi saw three swimmers each capture their first individual world title. First, American Shaine Casas rebounded from narrowly missing the U.S. Olympic team by taking down Kliment Kolesnikov for gold in the 100 backstroke. Next, Belarus’ Ilya Shymanovich backed up his status as favorite and world-record holder by beating a strong field in the 100 breaststroke. Finally, South Korean teenager Hwang Sunwoo came from behind to win gold in a tight 200 freestyle final.

Additionally, Canada used a balanced effort from men and women to touch out the Netherlands for gold in the mixed 200 freestyle relay.

Men’s 100 Backstroke FINAL

Shaine Casas was one of the favorites to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team this year after a brilliant two-year stretch which culminated in winning three NCAA titles last March, but he narrowly missed out, finishing third in the 100 back. But a few months later, he received his first chance to represent the U.S. internationally at the Short Course World Championships, and he took full advantage. Casas tied for first in the semifinals with Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov, the Olympic silver medalist in the final, and then in the final, he went out like a rocket in hopes of winning gold.

Casas was out in 23.29, which was 0.16 under world-record pace, and he used tremendous underwater dolphin kicks to propel himself ahead of the field. However, he had a short kickout off his final turn as he began to fade, but he had enough to get into the wall first. Casas touched in 49.23, 0.23 ahead of Kolesnikov in 49.46. That gave Casas his first-ever international gold medal and his second-ever medal after previously taking bronze on the U.S. men’s 400 free relay Thursday.

Romania’s Robert Glinta took bronze in 49.60, just ahead of Russia’s Pavel Samusenko (49.65). The entire field was under 50 seconds.


Men’s 100 Breaststroke FINAL

It was a heavyweight showdown in the men’s 100 breast final with world-record holder Ilya Shymanovich, Tokyo Olympic medalists Arno Kamminga and Nicolo Martinenghi and ISL-final winner Nic Fink. It was no surprise to see Shymanovich out like a rocket in 25.79, under his own world-record pace, but then the field started closing the gap. Fink appeared to have a slight lead at the 75-meter turn, but Shymanovich and Martinenghi were both right there. In the end, Shymanovich had enough to claim gold for his first world title.

The 27-year-old Shymanovich, representing Belarus, touched in 55.70, off his global-best time of 55.28 from the ISL playoffs last month but enough for the gold medal. Shymanovich broke the championship record of 56.01 set by South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh at the previous Short Course Worlds in 2018.

Italy’s Martinenghi earned silver in 55.80, and the USA’s Fink got bronze in 55.87. Fink, too, was off his best as he could not replicate the 55.56 he swam in the ISL final. The Netherlands’ Kamminga ended up fourth in 56.06, while Germany’s Fabien Schwingenschlogl was fourth in 56.29.


Men’s 200 Freestyle FINAL

In the men’s 200 free Olympic final, South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo went out and was dominating the field through 150 meters, but he faded badly on the last 50 and ended up seventh. Here, in the Short Course World Championships final, Hwang saw in third place for much of the race, letting Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer and Russia’s Aleksandr Shchegolev set the pace. In fact, Shchegolev had the lead by a half-second with 50 meters to go, but Hwang finished in a blistering 25.76 to claim gold.

Hwang finished in 1:41.60, just three hundredths ahead of Shchegolev in 1:41.63. Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, the short course world champion in the 400 free in 2018 and the silver medalist in that event Thursday, also closed fast and took bronze, just a tenth behin Shchegolev in 1:41.73.

Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (1:42.27) and the USA’s Kieran Smith (1:42.29) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, about a half-second away from the medals, while Scheffer faded to seventh (1:42.69).


Men’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals

During his lengthy career, 30-year-old Italian Matteo Rivolta has never won a medal at an Olympics or World Championships (long course or short course), but he will go into the men’s 100 fly final as the favorite. He topped all qualifiers in the semifinals by a half-second, finishing in 49.07 to lead South Africa’s Chad le Clos by almost a half-second. While representing the Aqua Centurions during the ISL season, he swam a 48.64 in his final playoff match for the second-fastest time of the entire season behind Caeleb Dressel’s best.

Le Clos took second in 49.56, and the next six qualifiers for the final were all within 0.23 of the South African veteran. Egypt’s Youssef Ramadan was third in 49.60, and Olympic bronze medalist Noe Ponti of Switzerland took fourth in 49.62. Poland’s Jakub Majerski and Austria’s Simon Bucher were fifth and sixth, respectively, while the USA’s Tom Shields and Russia’s Andrei Minakov claimed the last two spots in the final.


Mixed 200 Freestyle Relay FINAL

While Canada has emerged as one of the world’s premier women’s swimming nations over the past six years, the men have lagged somewhat in terms of success. But for the mixed 200 freestyle relay at Short Course Worlds, Canada had enough pieces to put together a gold-medal winning bunch. The team of Joshua Liendo (20.94), Yuri Kisil (20.99), Kayla Sanchez (23.51) and Maggie MacNeil (23.11) finished in 1:28.55, with MacNeil’s brilliant split helping her team cme from behind to track down the Netherlands for gold.

The Dutch had the lead at the halfway point after Jesse Puts led off and then Thom de Boer split 20.35 for the top men’s split of the day. Ranomi Kromowidjojo then had the fastest women’s split at 22.97. But Kira Toussaint could not hang on after swimming in the 100 back final just 10 minutes previously. Canada’s MacNeil touched out Toussaint, 1:28.55 to 1:28.61.

Russia finished with a bronze medal behind the team of Vladimir MorozovAndrei MinakovMariia Kameneva and Arina Surkova. The Russians clocked 1:28.97, seven hundredths ahead of the American group of Ryan HeldZach AppleKate Douglass and Abbey Weitzeil. Just like in the men’s 400 free relay Thursday, Held blazed his leadoff leg and took the lead, only for the Americans to fall back. His group won bronze in the 400 free relay but finished off the podium entirely here.


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