Torri Huske’s World Championships Put Her In Elite Company

Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Torri Huske’s World Championships Put Her In Elite Company

By the end of the eight days in Budapest, Torri Huske admitted she was feeling the effort.

Four individual events and four relays will do that. Carrying around all those medals really starts to strain the back after a while. Not to mention all those extra steps up the podium and then the on-deck, post-medal processional.

It seemed like Huske, still just 19, was in the water just about every session. With the way she’s swimming, that meant she was never far from a medal stand.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tired,” Huske said Saturday. “I definitely felt it on the first half of the race also and I was like that’s not supposed to be happening, but like I had so much faith in the team. I knew that I wasn’t just swimming for myself so I tried my best and it made it a lot easier knowing who I was swimming for, so I think that got me through the race.”

Almost under the radar, what Huske achieved at the 2022 FINA World Championships earned a place in the pantheon of American swimming achievements. What she assembled was a performance the likes of which American swimming has rarely seen.

Huske joins a select club of American women to claim six or more medals at one Worlds. That group:

  • Missy Franklin, 2013 Barcelona: Gold (200 free, 100 back, 200 back, 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay)
  • Katie Ledecky, 2017 Budapest: Gold (400 free, 800 free, 1,500 free, 400 free relay, 800 free relay); silver (200 free)
  • Simone Manuel, 2017 Budapest: Gold (100 free, 400 free relay, 400 medley relay, 400 mixed medley relay), bronze (50 freestyle)
  • Simone Manuel, 2019 Gwangju: Gold (50 free, 100 free, 400 medley relay, 400 mixed free relay); silver (400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 mixed medley relay)
  • Torri Huske, 2022 Budapest: Gold (100 fly, 400 medley relay, 400 mixed medley relay); bronze (100 free, 400 free relay, 400 mixed free relay)

It’s not bad company. It obviously skews recent – you’d bet the likes of Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin would be there had the array of mixed relays been available.

A couple of things stand out about Huske. She didn’t collect as much gold as the others in the club. But Manuel and Ledecky got their medals with nothing but freestyle. Huske’s achievement is more akin to Franklin in 2013, which itself is in a group with Michael Phelps, being the preeminent practitioner of a stroke (back for Franklin, fly for Phelps) while also possessing the all-around ability to challenge in freestyle. Thompson’s fly/free hybrid might be the best comparison for Huske’s path forward; she is the first American woman to medal in the 100 fly and 100 free at the same Worlds since Thompson in 2003.


Torri Huske; Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Huske is unquestionably America’s top butterflier. She set American records in the 50 fly and 100 fly. The former, a 25.38, broke a three-way tie with Kelsi Dahlia in the record spot by a tenth of a second, though Huske finished sixth. The 100 fly AR was 55.64. Per FINA’s ranking points, it was the second-best women’s swim of the meet, behind only the American 800 free relay. She also set a best time in the 100 free, just the fourth American to break 53 seconds.

“It’s really amazing,” Huske said after the 100 fly. “I really don’t know how to put it into words because it’s kind of surreal. I feel like I haven’t really processed it yet. I’m just happy I went a best time more than the place. At the end of the day, I just want to see that I’m improving myself.”

What makes Huske’s week in Budapest so alluring is that it wasn’t perfect. She won all those medals but also finished sixth in the 50 fly and 50 free. There’s improvement out there, and the rising sophomore at Stanford knows that.

It all comes with caveats – as does the American performance writ large. The 100 fly gold, for instance, came without reigning Olympic champion Maggie MacNeil. You can bet Sarah Sjostrom will have her say in Paris in two years. The 100 free, in which Huske won bronze, was without the Olympic gold (Emma McKeon) and silver (Siobhan Haughey) medalists. (It’s not all headwinds, though: At some point, the 28-year-old Sjostrom might loosen her grip on the sprint events, and Huske seems positioned to fill that void.)

When the Paris Games arrive, the field will be more crowded. The competition to escape U.S. trials will be more pitched. But for now, let’s allow this accomplishment to stand for what it is: One of the best meets ever assembled by an American. That it’s a 19-year-old just cresting the wave of her immense talent is cause for even more celebration.

“It means a lot,” Huske said after winning gold in the women’s medley relay. “I think what it boils down to is what Regan (Smith) said. It’s the team. I couldn’t have done it without them and this is such an amazing group of women and men. I’m very lucky to be part of this team.”

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1 year ago

She has worked hard all of her younger career.
She will be top for Paris

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