Bulldog swimmers Chase Kalisz, Melanie Margalis, and Hali Flickinger won gold medals to highlight Georgia’s showing on Thursday at the 17th FINA World Championships at Danube Arena.
Kalisz won the men’s 200-meter individual medley with a personal-best time of 1:55.56. He is the first man other than Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte to win the gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley at the World Championships since 2001.
“The U.S. has always been dominant in IMs, and that’s been one of our proudest traditions,” Kalisz said. “Michael and Ryan have been the centerpiece of that for almost 15 years now. Those two are irreplaceable, but it’s been an honor to step into the 200 IM. … If you had told me that this would be my first world title, I would have definitely laughed at you. Four months ago, I was over three seconds slower. I knew that I was going to be able to go faster than that time, but to get to the level where I am right now, like I said, I probably would have laughed.”
On Thursday, Kalisz held off Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (1:56.01) and China’s Wang Shun (1:56.28).
“It was all about staying patient for me,” Kalisz said. “I knew those guys would be out faster than I would, so I had to stay in my own race and not let what they did affect me.”
Margalis and Flickinger were members of the victorious United States’ women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Margalis swam the third leg in the finals, posting a 200-meter split of 1:56.48, as the Americans won in 7:43.39. China was second in 7:44.96 and Australia took third in 7:48.51. In the prelims, Margalis led off in 1:56.58 and Flickinger went 1:58.46 on the third leg.
Nicolas Fink qualified for Friday’s final in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke as he came in eighth in 2:08.80 during the semifinals. The American went 2:09.90 during prelims earlier Thursday.
Kalisz capped his Georgia career in March, while Margalis swam from 2011-14, Fink from 2012-15 and Flickinger from 2013-16.
The swimming portion of the 17th FINA World Championships will continue on Friday and will conclude on Sunday.