Gold medalist United States' Caeleb Dressel poses with his gold medal following the men's 50m freestyle final at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju. Photo: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo
Gold medalist United States' Caeleb Dressel poses with his gold medal following the men's 50m freestyle final at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju. Photo: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo

Dressel dominates in pool but doping casts shadow on Gwangju world champs

Time of article published Jul 29, 2019

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GWANGJU – Caeleb Dressel confirmed his star status

with a record medal haul at the swimming world championships which

concluded Sunday in Gwangju while there was a hint that

compatriot Katie Ledecky is not super human after all.

But with the eyes of the sport now turning to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

a year from now, doping remains a shadow which cannot be escaped

completely.

America's Dressel not only erased the great name of Michael Phelps

from the world record books in the 100-metre butterfly but became the

first athlete to return home from a championships with eight medals

(six golds and two silver), one more than two years ago in Budapest.

"It was not easy in '17, and it was not easy this year," Dressel

said. "I don't want it to be easy, I really don't."

The swimming worlds offers more medal chances than in Phelps' time

with the introduction of medley relays but the Games next year has a

tighter programme due to the total number of swimmers that can be

invited.

"As a team, this is kind of a weird year because we don't have a

trials leading up to this meet," Dressel said. "We are light-years

ahead of where we were in 2015, and we had a great meet in Rio

(2016), so if this is where we're at heading into Tokyo, I think

we'll be very dangerous next year."

With multiple individual winners the US were the top nation in the

pool but Ledecky, virtually unbeatable in the distance freestyles,

had to settle for just one gold in the 800m.

She did add minor medals along with two scratches as illness ravaged

her hopes of a distance sweep.

"I took it out like I usually do, and just kind of relied on my

training to bring me home," Ledecky said of pipping Italy's Simona

Quadarella in the final sprint.

"I just tried to stay calm and relaxed from the 500 to the 750, and

decided in the last 100 when I was going to make a move. (From there)

I just put my legs into it and got my hand on the wall."

Outside of the US, teenagers Maggie MacNeil of Canada, Kristof Milak

of Hungary and Ariarne Titmus of Australia, who beat Ledecky in the

400m free, also established themselves on the global stage with gold.

Doping remains an issue, however, with China's Sun Yang subject to

podium protests by other athletes. Sun served a secret three-month

doping ban in 2014 and is currently competing despite a case at the

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over doping test samples being

smashed in a confrontation with officials last year.

Australia also made the headlines for the wrong reasons as it emerged

Shayna Jack tested positive for doping shortly before the

championships.

The 20-year-old protested her innocence after a sample revealed

traces of Ligandrol, which can help repair muscle, was found in her

sample.

But Swimming Australia and the country's Anti-doping body bickering

over who could reveal the ban and when did not give an impression of

transparency.

That delighted some Chinese media who pointed out the apparent

hypocrisy of Mack Horton, an Australian swimmer, being one of the

leaders of the protests against Sun.

dpa

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