World Championships: Ben Proud Blasts 21.42 in 50 Free Semifinals; Fratus, Grousset Tie for Eighth

PROUD Benjamin GBR 50m Butterfly Men Semifinal Swimming FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 18/06/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Ben Proud -- Photo Courtesy: Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Ben Proud Blasts 21.42 in 50 Free Semifinals; Fratus, Grousset Tie for Eighth

The men’s splash-and-dash is up for grabs following Caeleb Dressel’s withdrawal from the second half of the World Championships, and Great Britain’s Ben Proud is well-positioned to seek gold. The 27-year-old from Great Britain was the top qualifier in the semifinals with a time of 21.42. Proud has been as quick as 21.11 in his career, and he ranks fourth all-time behind Cesar CieloFred Bousquet and Dressel. Proud’s effort here made him the second-fastest swimmer in the world this year behind Dressel’s 21.29 from the U.S. International Team Trials in April. He snuck ahead of the United States’ Michael Andrew’s season-best of 21.45.

Proud finished almost three tenths ahead of the rest of the field, but the remaining athletes were tightly-bunched. Italy’s Lorenzo Zazzeri put up a time of 21.70, while Canada’s Josh Liendo qualified third in 21.73. Liendo, already the bronze medalist in Budapest in the 100 free, picked up his second finals spot of the night after he previously qualified for the 100 fly final.

Great Britain’s Lewis Burras took fourth in 21.78, while Andrew and Greece’s Kristian Gkolomeev tied for fifth in 21.80. Like Liendo, Andrew will also race the 100 fly final Friday in addition to the 50 free. Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo was seventh in 21.81.

There was a tie for eighth between Brazil’s Bruno Fratus and France’s Maxime Grousset, with both recording times of 21.83. The two will swim off for the final slot in the championship heat. Fratus was the Olympic bronze medalist in the 50 free in 2021, while Grousset took silver Wednesday in the 100 free. Grousset ended up winning the swim-off by a slim three hundredths, touching out Fratus 21.59 to 21.62. Those times would have ranked second and third, respectively, during the semifinals.

Notably, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016/2021 silver medalist Florent Manaudou missed the final. Manaudou ended up 11th in 21.95.

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