FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 17

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as Regan Smith broke the women's 100m backstroke world record and the World Championships came to an end.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner

Olympic Channel were on site at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

After 16 days of competition, the Championships came to a rousing end in Korea, with eight swimming finals.

Regan Smith broke the women's 100m backstroke world record leading off the USA's women's 4×100m medley relay team, which also set a new world record in the event.

And Katinka Hosszu won her fifth world title in the women's 400m individual medley.

Re-live all of today's action below, or you can catch up with what happened on Saturday 27 July here.

All times below are Korean Standard Time (UTC+9 hours). Please refresh the blog for latest updates.

12:00 am - That's it!

Thank you for joining us over these past 17 days.

What a way to finish the World Championships off in style, with two world records being set in that final session thanks to Regan Smith and the U.S. women's medley relay team.

We hope you've enjoyed our coverage from Gwangju, and if you want more sport, don't forget to keep an eye on our Pan-American Games coverage.

Good night!

11:45 pm - Nathan Adrian: "We want to be back on top"

Speaking about British rival Duncan Scott's incredible late push, Adrian said: "I knew he was going to be there. He didn't swim the 100 free, I saw he had a great 200 free, great 200 IM, scratched out of the 100 free so no one really knew what he could do. That last 15m, it's tough. I was trying to be strong, I was trying to hold on, but this time I couldn't do it.

"There's a time to get silver in relays, that's at a World Championships - I don't think that there's going to be a day that goes by that Murph (Ryan Murphy), or Andrew, or Caeleb, or I don't think about this just a little bit, at least in training. We want to be back on the top of that podium, no doubt."

11:40 pm - Nathan Adrian: "I'm very grateful... they could have cancelled all this"

Nathan Adrian, who picked up two relay silvers from Gwangju, says he didn't feel at top health for the race this evening.

The American recently spent time away from the sport to fight cancer.

"I mean, I don't need to go into that too much - I don't want to come off like a sore loser.

"Truthfully I'm very grateful just to be here. I'm in touch with other people that reach out me on Instagram who went through the same thing I went through at the same time, who are going through chemo right now.

"I had a scan the week before I came here and they could have cancelled all of this. I'm clean for now, that's where it's going with that."

11:20 pm - No complaints for Dressel

"I'm very happy," Caeleb Dressel says after the presentation for his best male swimmer award. "I don't think there ought to be an instance where I get six golds and two silvers and be upset.

"Part of me is very happy; part of me wants to cry that I'm done with it. This is a lot of stress. I mean you can see I got pimples on my face from just the stress of the meet. I'm probably losing some hair. It's just kind of what comes with it."

And the American is all set for a big Olympic year.

"If this is where we're at headed into Tokyo, I think we'll be very dangerous next year, and I think we're in a very good spot.

"I'm certain we could have done better. From just an individual standpoint, I'm happy with my performances."

Asked about the relays, where the Floridian picked up two silvers, he said: "We should have been better on the relays, so we missed out on two of those where we got silver.

"We're not happy with that as a team. We have to better and we will be better next year. Simple as that.

"I did better than all my times in '17 so I'm going to carry that momentum forward."

11:10 pm - Ryan Murphy and Andrew Wilson 'embarrassed' and 'frustrated'

Team USA's lead-off swimmers in the men's medley relay, Ryan Murphy and Andrew Wilson, cast a downbeat note in the mixed zone after being pipped to gold by Great Britain.

"I was the first guy in the water. I would say I had a pretty embarrassing performance that put us in a hole from the beginning," Murphy said. "I need to be better to get us out in the lead so that doesn't happen at the Olympics."

Wilson added: "I think all of us are finding places in our swims where we could have been better.

"It was like three-tenths difference between us and GB and I was l like three-tenths slower than I was on the mixed medley. So I think all of us are just finding places where it's you know it's on us. We all just need to be better. And will be next year."

11:05 pm - Duncan Scott reacts after 46.14 relay split

Great Britain's Duncan Scott has been asked about his incredible last-leg 46.14 100m free to beat USA in the men's medley relay.

"No, I can't say I knew I had that split in me," he said. "I'm sorta speechless to be able to put that race together.

"The boys put me in an incredible position. I just had to try and execute the race plan. We're quite a young team. We've got quite a few years more together. It's been a great swim for us, and we're starting to look forward to next year."

Adam Peaty, who swam the breaststroke leg, added: "It's incredible. I saw Jimmy (James Guy) hold his ground; we knew Dressel was going to be the top guy. But I knew if it was close, we would have a chance. We took it out fairly aggressive. 

"At the Olympics I think it will be a different race."

11:02 pm - Closing ceremony

We do actually have a formal Closing Ceremony taking place in the pool at the moment.

The FINA flag has just been lowered after a performance of the South Korean national anthem by a young local girl. It will be handed over now to the Japanese city of Fukuoka.

10:55 pm - Simone Manuel and Regan Smith react after relay record

Team USA's Simone Manuel won two gold medals tonight and broke a world record as part of the USA women's medley relay team.

"Honestly when I touched the wall I didn't know we broke the world record. I really didn't hear anything. I turned around, I had to squint," she said.

"To start it off with a world record from Regan, I think that pumped us all up, we really wanted to finish off the meet on a good note."

Smith, just 17 years old, leaves the Championships with three world records from her two events, having broken the 100m backstroke record on the opening leg of that relay.

"After what I was able to do in the 200 back, I sure hoped (to break the 100)," she said. "I was feeling really confident and really excited and I had a really good feeling going in. I was super, super happy when I finished."

10:38 pm - Swimmers of the meet

Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom and USA's Caeleb Dressel have been named the best female and male swimmer of the meet respectively.

And here come the USA's four team captains to collect the Team Trophy for best team of the meet.

10:20 pm - Sjostrom to cut back in Tokyo

The defeated defending champion in the 50m freestyle, Sarah Sjostrom, says she will cut back on her race programme next year for the Olympics.

"It was a very, very close race, but I'm happy because I had such a tough program," she said.

"I wanted to challenge myself. I didn't know if it was the right decision to do that, but I'm very, very pleased that I decided to do such a tough, tough program.

"It's going to feel a lot easier in Tokyo when I don't have so many races. Hopefully I do prelims and semifinals and finals and everything next year and even faster."

10:15 pm - Hosszu on 'painful' race

The 'Iron Lady', five-time 400m IM world champion Katinka Hosszu, says she was out of gas at the end of her race.

"It was painful. Having the 400 IM on the last day ... makes it a lot more challenging. It prepares me for Tokyo, definitely, because it's definitely much easier having it on the first day. 

"The lactic was so high I couldn't really move. I wanted to celebrate, but I just couldn't move. It was actually really funny, because I looked around and no one was getting out of the water.

"It's a tough end of the meet for sure."


Time for the women to do the same race.

The USA have a very strong line-up, led off by Regan Smith the new 200m backstroke world record holder.

Off they go, the final race of these Championships. On paper this should be a straight USA-Australia head-to-head.

The Americans are under the world record time at 50m and Smith has a huge lead already coming into the first change. NEW WORLD RECORD! 57.57 in the 100m backstroke for Regan Smith!

Here comes Lilly King to build on that lead. She's extending the gap comfortably. The U.S. lead by 2.76 seconds at the second change.

This world record is under threat. It's a fight for silver between Australia and Canada.

USA still well under the world record split as Simone Manuel takes over on anchor. The U.S. are yet to win a women's relay gold in Korea, this should change here.

It's a new world record for USA! 3:50.40, taking over a second off the world record!

9:45 pm - Team GB with a huge relay win!

Time for what will be another superb final.

It's the men's 4×100m medley relay.

The backstrokers will start us off, of course. USA, Australia, Great Britain, and Russia have all sent out strong teams - USA are anchored by Nathan Adrian on the freestyle and have Caeleb Dressel swimming the fly.

All away cleanly, albeit a bit slowly for Great Britain and Luke Greenbank.

Brazil turn in the lead at 50 on the back, with Ryan Murphy for USA right behind.

Evgeny Rylov touches first as Russia change in the lead.

Kirill Prigoda has opened up quite the lead here. Can Adam Peaty bring GB back into this? Russia lead from China and GB at 150.

Here comes Peaty, he's really closed the gap. What a swim from the world record holder. Great Britain change in the lead!

Into the butterfly. Dressel will push hard here against Andrei Minakov for Russia. Minakov has put the Russians back ahead!

But this is brilliant from Dressel. A big turn and he's got a half-length lead! Nathan Adrian to anchor the US home.

Adrian turns for home with the USA in the lead from Russia and GB. Can he hold on? Here comes Duncan Scott for Britain! Wow! Great Britain are going to do this! 3:28.10 in a new European record!

USA silver, Russia bronze.

Duncan Scott split 46.14 on his 100m freestyle. If that had been a normal start in a 100m free race, that would have broken the world record.

9:38 pm - Seto: "I want to be Olympic champion"

He said this the other day after winning the 200m individual medley, but the new 400m individual medley world champion, Daiya Seto, has his sights firmly set on his home Olympics at Tokyo 2020.

"I was very scared (I would be caught)," he said after the race. "But I want to win - I want to be Olympic champion next year.

"The 400 is my main event. I enjoy it, but very hard."

Seto also won silver in the 200 fly, and says he will do all three events next year.

"I have to have strong training, hard training."

9:27 pm - Hosszu wins fifth 400m IM world title!

Time for the women's 400m individual medley.

Katinka Hosszu, the favourite and top seed, goes in lane 4. Can she make it five world titles in this event after 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017?

Not the quickest start from the Hungarian, but she's really got into her rhythm fast. She turns at 50m in the lead.

Next to her in lane 3 is the former WR holder in this event, China's Ye Shiwen.

Hosszu turns after the fly in second - just behind Yui Ohashi - and Ohashi leads through 150m.

The Hungarian has closed back up to her Japanese rival as they turn at halfway with the 'Iron Lady' back ahead, going into the breaststroke.

Here she comes - Hosszu has got a half-length lead as Ohashi falls back over a second. Hosszu is out to a full body length now and it's hard to see her getting caught on the freestyle.

Hosszu kicked hard on the first 50 of the freestyle and now the question is whether Ye will catch Ohashi for silver. The Japanese is hanging on from the Chinese swimmer.

It won't be close for gold - Katinka Hosszu wins in 4:30.39. Ye pipped Ohashi to silver.

Hosszu is now a five-time champ in this event.

9:21 pm - Wellbrock proved doubters wrong

Florian Wellbrock says his triumph in the 1500m proved his doubters wrong.

Speaking in German in the mixed zone, he said: "It gives me a lot of gratification to win these two titles as I read some comments on social media where people were saying why does he have to swim both events.

"To win two gold medals is unbelievable but I think I need a night or so for it to fully sink in.

"I felt great in the pool the last two days, I knew I was in great shape which is why I went into the race with a lot of confidence.

"I was surprised that the race was over so quickly. I was under the impression we had to swim some more but when I realised there were only 250 m to go I knew I had plenty left in the tank and I could do it."

9:18 pm - King says 200m DQ affected her plans

Lilly King, the world champ in the 50m breaststroke, says her unexpected disqualification from the 200m event during the heats affected her this week.

"I was planning to be racing every day this week so it kinda changed up training plans and things like that. But other than that I was just trying to move on and refocus my energy on the 50."

But the American says she didn't feel at her best during that final.

"Felt a little flat honestly, but I had a great race from the girls in the heat. They swam really well. Just glad I got my hands on the wall first."

9:09 pm - Seto doubles up for Japan in individual medley

Daiya Seto, the man to beat in this 400m IM, is away well in the butterfly leg of the medley relay. The Japanese star turns at 100m into the back and has a huge lead!

0.94 seconds ahead at 150m and over a second up as he turns into the breaststroke.

Seto also won silver in the 200m butterfly earlier this week, so he should pull even further ahead on this leg.

It's a really big lead - 3.34 seconds - as he turns at 300m into the freestyle and I'm not sure anyone is catching him on this last 100!

Jay Litherland has closed in a bit on the last turn and here comes the American! Will Seto hang on? Half a length ahead and it's really close! 4:08.95. Barely!

Another double champion in the pool! Seto adds 400m IM gold to his 200m IM triumph earlier this week.

Bronze went to Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand.

8:50 pm - Manuel adds 50m free to 100 triumph!

Time for the women's 50m free.

This will be a fast one.

Sjostrom away very well in lane 4, but Simone Manuel is with her in lane 6.

The Swede still leads but here comes Cate Campbell in lane 5! It's tight! Simone Manuel does the 50-100 double!

24.05 the winning time. Sjostrom takes silver, Campbell bronze.

8:43 pm - Waddell talks up 'South African spirit'

The new world champ in the men's 50m backstroke, Zane Waddell, steps up to receive his gold medal and listen to the South African national anthem.

Speaking in the mix zone earlier, he said: "All the emotion at the end of that race; it's nothing like you can describe. This was always been a dream of mine to be a world champion.

"And it's amazing to finally realise that dream and go out and achieve it. I knew it was going to be the closest race of my life.

"Huge respect to all the other seven competitors out there. It was just an amazing experience there. I got my hand first on the wall; it just so happened to be me. So, it's amazing."

Asked about the funding and infrastructure in his home country and how he was able to overcome challenges of poor funding, he said: "I think it's just the South African spirit; it's something I've always believed in.

"I've got protea (South Africa's national flower) and ubuntu (a philosophy of 'I am because of who we are') tattooed right here. It just shows the spirit of the South Africans, and I'm just very proud to be a South African right now."

Chad le Clos is singing along to Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika up in the stands, along with the whole South African team.

8:35 pm - Florian Wellbrock does the open water/pool double!

Well, this has changed. Paltrinieri is still hanging on at 1150 but both Romanchuk and Wellbrock are within 0.4 seconds of the Italian.

What can our Olympic champion do? He's behind at 1200m now.

A good turn from the Italian to push back in front, just, at 1250. Just 250 left and this is a ding-dong fight - just 0.11 seconds between the top three!

Two years ago in Budapest, Paltrinieri dropped Romanchuk at around this point. The German Wellbrock back ahead at 1300m but just 0.05 seconds in it!

We have seen some great races this meet and this is yet another one.

Paltrinieri back ahead at 1350m. A good turn from the German and he's eked back ahead. Romanchuk is just dropping back a bit. Not by much though.

They take the bell, 100m to go and Wellbrock is ahead. This could be an open water - pool double!

Wellbrock is pulling away, is he sprinting from afar? He turns in the lead from Romanchuk!

The last 50. He's got a half body length lead now. GOLD FOR GERMANY! Wellbrock in 14:36.54; Romanchuk takes silver and Paltrinieri will have to settle for bronze.

8:30 pm - Paltrinieri makes move

At 900m, Paltrinieri has started to pull ahead of his rivals Wellbrock and Romanchuk of Ukraine.

Wellbrock had edged in front earlier but the Italian is now a good half second up.

8:28 pm - World record holder Kolesnikov emotional after missing gold

Kliment Kolesnikov, the 50m back world record holder who won bronze, was very upset in the mixed zone after the race.

Speaking in English, he said: "My first medal in my first 50m world championship but I'm very sad and a little angry because of my start. It was not so good. My leg slipped at the start.

"I understood at the time that I just need to rush. It's third place. It's not bad, but I could be first. And I understand that.

"I was not so good preparing for these competitions. I had some problems with [health]; now it's getting better. It was something like little injury.

That's why I didn't swim 200 breaststroke and didn't show a good result in 100.

"This was the last chance, and I lost it. Maybe next time. This is only what I can say - next time, next time. Everyone makes mistakes."

8:24 pm - Paltrinieri leads at 300m

It's pretty close at the front as Paltrinieri leads Wellbrock by less than 0.4 seconds at 300m.

8:18 pm - Longest men's race

Here come the finalists in the men's 1500m freestyle, the longest men's race in the pool.

Florian Wellbrock - the men's 10km open water champion from last week - goes in lane 5.

And the Olympic champion and two-time defending world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri will look to add to his 800m title in lane 4.

8:14 pm - King holds off 14-year-old to win 50m breaststroke

Yulia Efimova and Lilly King are both quick off the blocks but it's the American who leads in this final!

She's got a lead - the WR line is on screen, they're not going to break it but it's King who wins it in 29.84!

Italy's Benedetta Pilato - all of 14 years old - wins silver and Yuliya Efimova takes bronze!

8:06 pm - Waddell surprise!

Rylov is away well. Slow start from Kolesnikov!

Can he come back? He's clawed some time back but... it's the South African Zane Waddell in lane 2! His winning time was 24.43.

Rylov takes silver and Kolesnikov recovered to take bronze.

7:55 pm - Ready for the final session

It'll be action-packed tonight with eight finals on tap in the Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

We'll start with the men's 50m backstroke, with world record holder Kliment Kolesnikov - the Youth Olympic champ in the event - the favourite.

6:15 pm - A taste of the celebrations in Gwangju

5:42 pm - Japanese segment

The hosts of the next Fina World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan, are presenting a Japanese cultural segment in the ceremony.

5:40 pm - Closing ceremony

So, somewhat earlier than expected, the Closing Ceremony is underway.

We were expecting this to occur after the swimming finals tonight, but the formalities have begun.

4:30 pm - The Syrian refugee on the big stage

One of the lesser-known names of the 2019 FINA World Championships was Rami Anis, but his story is perhaps the most impressive of them all.

Forced to flee war-torn Syria in 2011, he almost lost his life on a boat before starting a new life in Europe and dedicating his life to swimming.

He competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics on the Olympic Refugee Team and has his sights set on Tokyo 2020.

Watch his amazing story below.

3:55 pm - Andrei Minakov's recipe to success

Two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners... last night's 100m Butterfly silver medallist Andrei Minakov lifts the lid on how to sustain an elite swimmer.

You can see our interview with him by clicking here.

Andrei Minakov improves his Russian 100m Butterfly record in Gwangju.

2:40 pm - Delivering when the pressure is on

Tonight, Sarah Sjöström (SWE) will defend her title in the women's 50m Freestyle final.

But can she perform when it matters most? Here is some analysis from double Olympic gold medallist Summer Sanders...

1:52 pm - History in the making tonight

· Youth Olympic Games 2018 star Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) could become the first men's 50m Backstroke world medallist born in this century.

· Lilly King (USA) can become the second woman to win the women's 50m Breaststroke at successive world championships.

· Simone Manuel (USA) can become the sixth woman to win gold in the women's 50m and 100m Freestyle.

· Daiya Seto (JPN) can be the first man to win three gold medals in the men's 400m Individual Medley.

· In the women's 400m IM, Katinka Hosszú (HUN) can become the first woman to win five gold medals in a specific event.

· United States can win the men's 4x100m medley relay for a record 14th time.

· If Caeleb Dressel participates in this event, he could win his seventh gold medal in 2019, equaling his tally from 2017.

12:45 pm - A floral round-up

It's often the smallest touches that leave the most lasting impressions.

Every venue at Gwangju 2019 had a bespoke, aquatics-themed topiary, and the immaculate hedges quickly became an Instagram favourite among fans and athletes alike.

Top Six: The best aquatics topiary from Gwangju

11:30 am - USA clinch women's relay top seed

The swimming rivalry between Australia and the United States has been one of the highlights of Gwangju 2019, but this one went to the USA.

Olivia Smoliga, Melanie Margalis, Katie McLaughlin and Mallory Comerford finished in 3:55:39, almost three seconds faster than Heat 2 winners Australia.

They meet again in tonight's final, and that concludes the swimming heats at this championships.

11:15 am - Russia pip USA to men's relay top spot

Russia win the second heat of the men's 4x100m Medley Relay with the fastest overall time.

Kliment Kolesnikov, Anton Chupkov, Mikhail Vekovishchev and Vladislav Grinev made it home in 3:30:72.

Joining them in tonight's final will be Heat 3 winners USA, Japan, Great Britain, Australia, Brazil, China and Germany.

10:55 am - Hosszu safely through

As expected, the Iron Lady delivers.

Katinka Hosszu comfortably wins her heat to qualify in top spot for this evening's 400m Individual Medley final.

The Hungarian saw off an early challenge from Canada's Emily Overholt to finish in 4:35:40.

Japan's Yui Ohashi wins her heat to qualify in second overall, with Ye Shiwen from China in third.

10:30 am - Kalisz crashes out, Seto top seed

Defending world champion Chase Kalisz finished a disappointing tenth overall in the men's 400m Individual Medley and won't progress to this evening's final.

The American lead for much of his heat but seemed to lose all energy on the final straight, as Dutchman Arjan Knipping took the race.

Japanese 200 IM world champion Daiya Seto will go into tonight's final as top seed, winning his heat in 4:12:27.

10:00 am - Hosszu LOVES the haters

When it comes to the Individual Medley, Katinka Hosszu is the undisputed champ.

In today's women's 400m individual medley, the Hungarian can become the first woman to win five gold medals in a specific event.

We interviewed her below.

9:25 am - Day 17 highlights

10:00 - 12:30 Swimming preliminary rounds
Women's 400m Individual Medley
Men's 400m Individual Medley
Women's 50m 4x100m Medley Relay
Men's 50m 4x100m Medley Relay

20:00 - 22:40 Swimming
Men's 1500m Freestyle final
Women's 50m Breaststroke final
Women's 50m Freestyle final
Men's 50m Backstroke final
Women's 400m Individual Medley final
Men's 400m Individual Medley final
Women's 400m Individual Medley final
Men's 400m Individual Medley final


Click here to read our day-by-day schedule of the swimming events at Gwangju 2019.

9:00 am - The final day of FINA World Championships 2019

One last dance!

Today marks the end of Gwangju 2019, but don't be too upset as there are plenty more medals to be won.

This evening eight gold medals will be awarded, before the closing ceremony at 22:45.

Ready? Let's go!


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