Australia ends world swimming titles with 17 medals, Mollie O’Callgahan wins sixth medal in women’s medley relay

Mollie O’Callaghan has taken her week’s individual haul of world swimming championship medals to six but the Dolphins star couldn’t quite deliver Australia one final golden flourish in Budapest. 

Triple champion O’Callaghan produced one last searing freestyle leg to conclude the program on Saturday but the Australian women’s 4x100m medley team just missed out on victory, less than half a second behind a quartet from the all-conquering US team.

Earlier at the Duna Arena, Meg Harris had produced a brilliant finish in the 50m freestyle, clocking 24.38 seconds to snatch a tie for third and grab Australia’s last individual medal of the week.

Then after a podium near-miss from the men’s fourth-placed 4x100m medley outfit, the equivalent women’s quartet of Kaylee McKeown, Jenna Strauch, Brianna Throssell and O’Callaghan took silver in 3 minutes 54.25 seconds.

It was the team’s 17th medal of the week as a new-look Dolphins, without some of Australia’s biggest Olympic names, finished with six gold, nine silver and two bronze.

They finished third in the medal table behind Italy, who struck double gold on the final day to take their tally to seven, and the Americans, who were in a league of their own, collecting 17 gold among a record-breaking collection of 45 medals in all.

O’Callaghan was the undoubted star of Australia’s week in Hungary, the Queensland teen ending up with three golds — in the 100m free, women’s 4x100m free and the mixed 4x100m free — and three silvers in the 200m free, women’s 4x200m free and now the women’s medley relay.

But there will be disappointment that they couldn’t quite end up with a seventh gold after qualifying as fastest from the heats.

World 100m record holder McKeown, who’d taken the individual 200m title in Budapest, had been expected to give the Olympic champions a flying start on the opening backstroke leg but finished only third in 58.77, way off her world mark of 57.45.

Strauch, silver medallist in the 200m breaststroke, and butterfly swimmer Throssell, with three relay medals to her name already in Budapest, fought to get the Dolphins back in it.

But O’Callaghan was still left a second down as she tackled the Americans’ freestyle anchor Claire Curzan.

As in her individual 100m final, the 18-year-old again produced a turbo-charged finish over the last 25 metres but was left 0.47 behind as the American foursome of Regan Smith, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Curzan enjoyed toppling the Tokyo winners.

“Outside smoke as we like to say in the USA,” King grinned.

“We really wanted to put in a good time and get that gold back from last summer.”

In the 50m free, Albury’s Harris, a member of the Aussies’ Olympic-winning 4x100m free quartet, earned her first individual global medal in dramatic fashion.

In a hectic last-ditch splash for the wall, the 20-year-old couldn’t be split from fellow bronze medallist American Erika Brown.

They finished level behind Poland’s silver medallist Katarzyna Wasick (24.18) and the great Swede Sarah Sjostrom, who took an astonishing 19th individual world medal — just one behind the all-time record holder, Michael Phelps.


Read More

Leave a Comment