World Cup Athens, Day 3 Finals: Kaylee McKeown Lowers 200m Meet Record For Back Clean Sweep; Zhang Yufei Posts 56.06 100 Fly Mark

Kaylee McKeown: Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

World Cup Athens, Day 3 Finals: Kaylee McKeown Lowers 200m Meet Record For Backstroke Clean Sweep

Kaylee McKeown completed the backstroke clean sweep with a meet mark over 200m at the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup in Athens.

The Australian went 2:06.02 to take a hefty 0.45 from the World Cup record she set last weekend in Berlin before finishing third in the 200IM in the final race of the Athens leg.

Zhang Yufei took down the 100 fly World Cup standard in 56.06, slicing 0.40secs from Sarah Sjostrom‘s previous mark that had stood since the Doha stop of the 2018 tour.

It was 0.06 swifter than the 56.12 in which she won the world title in Fukuoka albeit slower than the 55.86 in which she secured Asian Games gold in Hangzhou, China.

McKeown and Zhang now head to the final leg of the tour in Budapest filling the top two slots in the women’s World Cup rankings with Qin Haiyang atop the men’s.

Qin continued his superb form in international waters with victory over 200m seeing him complete the breaststroke clean sweep once again.

Lani Pallister went 15:55.73 for the first World Cup 1500 free record.

Women’s World Cup Top-Five Rankings

117.7: Kaylee McKeown

110.5: Zhang Yufei

109.9: Siobhan Haughey

109.7: Sarah Sjostrom

102.6: Katie Grimes

Men’s World Cup Top-Five Rankings

116.7: Qin Haiyang

112.8: Thomas Ceccon

110.5: Matt Sates

108.4: Michael Andrew

107.1: Danys Rapsys

Here’s how day three finals unfolded:

Men’s 400m Individual Medley Fastest Heat

Kaito Tabuchi came from 0.33 behind at the final turn to overhaul Matt Sates and stop the clock at 4:13.30.

The Japanese was fourth, 1.63secs adrift of the South African, after the fly before a 66.49 backstroke propelled him into second at halfway, albeit 1.46 adrift of Brendon Smith.

Come the 300m mark and Tabuchi had moved into first place, 0.18 ahead of Sates who turned on the turbos to take a clear lead at the final turn.

The Japanese came back though with a 27.90 final 50 to claim victory by 0.08 with Sates clocking 4:13.38.

Smith was third in 4:18.18.

2023-10-15 (14)


Women’s 1500m Freestyle Fastest Heat

Out with the only sub-29sec opening 50 in 28.95, Pallister led throughout and was never threatened in any way.

Katie Grimes was second, 13.08secs adrift in 16:08.81.

2023-10-15 (15)

Women’s 100m Butterfly

Zhang split 25.98/30.05 as she soared to the title, giving her the two fastest times in the world this year.

Sjostrom – winner of the 50 fly on Saturday – came from fourth at halfway to deliver the only sub-30sec second 50 of 29.99 to take second in 56.92 as she returns to the two-length events after focusing on the 50s.

Torri Huske was third in 57.12.

2023-10-15 (16)Men’s 50m Butterfly

Abdelrahman Sameh took the victory in 23.04, 0.09 outside his Egyptian record of 22.95 from the semifinals at the World Championships in Fukuoka where he would go on to finish eighth in the final.

Isaac Cooper (23.19) and Michael Andrew (23.32) took silver and bronze respectively.

2023-10-15 (17)

Women’s 200m Backstroke

McKeown has been unstoppable in the backstroke events: the Australian claimed a hat-trick in Fukuoka before enjoying a clean sweep in Berlin and now Athens.

Splits: 29.29 (1:01.26 (31.97)/1:33.58 (32.32)/2:06.02 (32.44)

Grimes returned to the pool after the 1500 free, repeating her silver in 2:08.01 with Olympic silver medallist Kylie Masse third in 2:10.77.

“That definitely hurt,” McKeown said on deck to World Aquatics.

“I didn’t have a 1500 freestyle before this race like Katie Grimes did tonight so a lot of credit goes out to Katie for doing that double. I know I certainly couldn’t do it. It’s great to be racing in international events for  Australia in these World Cup events.”

2023-10-15 (18)

Men’s 100m Backstroke

Thomas Ceccon split 25.57/27.16 to claim a clear victory ahead of 200 winner Pieter Coetze (53.49) and Apostolos Christou, roared to the podium by a passionate home crowd in 53.61.

2023-10-15 (19)Women’s 50m Breaststroke

Ruta Meilutyte added the 50 to her title in 30.23 with Siobhan Haughey matching the Hong Kong record of 30.36 at last month’s Asian Games.

Sophie Hansson took third in 30.68, the trio the only women inside 31.

2023-10-15 (20)

Men’s 200m Breaststroke

Qin Haiyang is becoming synonymous with the term ‘clean sweep’.

The Chinese athlete has been completely dominant in international waters with hat-tricks at the World Championships, World University Games and Asian Games.

Qin then moved on to the World Cup tour where he swept up in Berlin and now Athens after leading throughout to win in 2:08.05.

Teammate Dong Zhihao was second in 2:09.18 with Caspar Corbeau taking third in 2:09.35, one place ahead of Netherlands teammate and Olympic silver medallist Arno Kamminga.

2023-10-15 (21)Women’s 100m Freestyle

Haughey returned after 50 breaststroke silver to take another trip inside 53 for a clear victory in 52.55.

Splitting 25.24/27.31, the Olympic silver medallist was 0.53secs outside the World Cup record of 52.02 she set last week in Berlin.

Sjostrom came from fourth at halfway to take her second silver of the evening in 53.32 with Bronte Campbell taking third in 53.60, 0.28 ahead of sister Cate.


Men’s 200m Freestyle

Danas Rapsys dominated to take the win, coming home with a 25.95 last 50 for victory in 1:45.72, 003 swifter than his winning time in Berlin.

Maximillian Giuliani of Australia was second in 1:47.18, overhauling Kieran Smith on the last 50 with the USA athlete clocking 1:48.03 as the trio repeated their finish of last week.

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Women’s 200m Individual Medley

McKeown had won the title in Berlin last week to make it four from four following her backstroke clean sweep.

The Australian had claimed the backstroke hat-trick in Athens but the IM was beyond her with Sydney Pickrem taking a clear victory in 2:09.67.

Torri Huske overhauled McKeown on the last 50 to take silver in 2:11.15 to 2:11.23.

2023-10-15 (25)


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