Caeleb Dressel matched the great Michael Phelps’ record of seven gold medals at a single world swimming championships after the United States won the closing 4×100-metre medley relay in Budapest on Sunday
BUDAPEST – Dressel had already taken gold in the 50m and 100m freestyles, the 100m butterfly, the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay, the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay and the mixed 4x100m medley relay.
He swam the butterfly third leg and along with Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes and Nathan Adrian triumphed in 3 minutes 27.91 seconds.
Britain took silver in 3:28.95 minutes with bronze going to Russia.
Local hero Katinka Hosszu was the strong favourite in the women’s individual medley having already won the 200m version of the discipline. She did not disappoint a roaring crowd in the Danu Arena.
The Hungarian had established clear water before the halfway point of the backstroke second leg and powered clear to win in a championship record 4:29.33 minutes.
Swede Sarah Sjostrom finally took a long-awaited major freestyle title over 50m and American Lilly King set a world record in winning the women’s 50m breaststroke.
Chase Kalisz of the US won the men’s 400m individual medley, French veteran Camille Lacourt retired as a champion in the men’s 50m backstroke and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri retained the men’s 1,500m free.
The United States also set a new world record in winning the women’s 4×100-metres medley relay.
That set up the men’s equivalent with the team knowing victory would put Dressel on the same mark as Phelps from Melbourne in 2007.
He was later named male swimmer of the competition after being the first to win three golds in the same session on Saturday.
“I don’t want to be compared with Michael,” Dressel said that day, adding Phelps had already texted congratulations.
“It’s crazy. But the mixed relays have helped me with it, therefore it’s a somewhat different situation.”
But however it’s done, claiming seven medals cannot help but bring comparisons to the likes of Phelps and Mark Spitz.
“I wouldn’t count myself among that group yet,” Dressel said. “I am only just finding my feet in international swimming. I’m just having fun. I’m not counting medals yet.”
Grevers led after the opening backstroke but Cordes was thrashed by Brit Adam Peaty in the breaststroke. Dressel, however, raced like he was possessed to regain the advantage from James Guy and from then the result was not in doubt.
Anything less than a win for Hosszu would have been a major upset and she rarely looked troubled in her signature event.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte took a distant silver in 4:32.17 minutes while Canada’s Sydney Pickrem earned bronze a further 0.71 seconds adrift.
“This world championships couldn’t have been better for me,” Hosszu said. “I expected that swimming in front of a home crowd would be wonderful, but not that much! I tried to benefit from this all week long.”
Butterfly specialist Sjostrom had gone close on a number of occasions in the freestyle before finally taking gold over 50m in 23.69 seconds, just two-hundredths off the world record she set in the semi-finals.
After a surprise defeat in the 100m on Friday, she had six minor medals from Olympics and worlds in freestyle but made no mistake with this chance.
Sjostrom leaves Budapest with three golds after winning both fly sprints along with a silver from the 100m free and was named female swimmer of the championships.