Fukuoka Championship 2023: Highlights

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On the second day of swimming competition at the World Aquatics Championships, China claimed back-to-back gold medals as Zhang Yufei won the women’s 100m butterfly championship on Monday and Qin Haiyang surged to victory in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke.

Nicolo Martinenghi, Arno Kamminga, and Nic Fink tied for second place with times of 58.72 seconds, while Qin finished in 57.69 seconds, the second-fastest time in history after Adam Peaty of Britain.

The new champion cut 0.13 seconds off his previous Asian record of 57.82 seconds, which he had established in the semifinals, taking the lead at the first turn and never looking back.

The men’s 50m butterfly event saw Thomas Ceccon win Italy’s first gold of the meet in 22.68 seconds to the raucous applause of a crowded Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall due to the absence of reigning champion Caeleb Dressel.

Dressel, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist who also won gold at the 2019 Gwangju world championships, was unable to qualify for Fukuoka due to his subpar performances at the American national championships.

Diogo Matos Ribeiro of Portugal finished 0.12 seconds behind Ceccon to win silver, while Frenchman Maxime Grousset had a dismal race as he finished 0.14 seconds back and had to settle for bronze.

Grousset set the tone in the semi-finals with a new national record and then saw fellow countryman Leon Marchand open France’s account on Sunday by breaking American great Michael Phelps’ 15-year 400m individual medley record on route to gold.

The Americans claimed their first gold with a one-two finish in the women’s 200-meter individual medley as Kate Douglass defeated fellow countryman Alex Walsh, who finished in two minutes, 07.17 seconds.

Yu Yiting of China, who had been in the lead throughout the butterfly leg before losing momentum, made it a great day for Asia by crossing the finish line in 2:08.74 to win bronze.

Three swimmers were eliminated from the semi-finals, including three-time Olympic gold medalist Kaylee McKeown of Australia. The 22-year-old was found to have broken the rules when she switched from backstroke to breaststroke.

The final was also missed by Sara Franceschi of Italy and Katie Shanahan of the United Kingdom.

Featured Image: The Shield of Sports

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