Quadarella, Tang & Hwang Produce Paris-Podium Prospect Victories at Doha Championships As Haughey Tops Versatility Stakes

2024-02-13 No comments Reading Time: 4 minutes
Simona Quadarella of Italy on her way out after finishing second in the Women’s 1500m Freestyle Final during the swimming events of the 20th World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.
Simona Quadarella of Italy - 1500m gold - (Photo by Patrick B. Kraemer / MAGICPBK)

Simona Quadarella, of Italy, Tang Qiantiang, of China, and Hwang Sunwoo of Korea produced World-title victories this evening in Doha on day 3 at the oddest World Championships in history in times that speak of their Paris podium contention come the Olympic Games this summer.

Quadarella claimed the 1500m crown, Tang the 100m breaststroke title and Hwang the 200m freestyle gold, while there were also titles for Americans Claire Curzan and Hunter Armstrong in the 100m backstroke showdowns.

In the mix of the best of the action was a bronze medal for Siobhan Haughey, of Hong Kong, in the 100m breaststroke behind Tang, in 1:05.92. Not bad for a 1:53 200m freestyler who headed to the breaststroke final still panting from her efforts in the semis of the 200m freestyle, in which she qualified second-fastest for the championships final in 1:56.04, 0.29sec adrift lane-4 qualifier and 400m free champion of day 1, Erika Fairweather of New Zealand.

Doha results in full at Omega

Championship Finals – Day 3

Women’s 100m breaststroke final

Tang Qiantiang finished 20th in heats of the 100m breaststroke at the Fukuoka 2023 World Championships last July in 1:07.15. What a difference several months make to the next global showcase on the way to an Olympic Games: 1:05.27, a world title in a time that places her on the cusp of strongest shots for the Olympic podium in Paris this summer.

Tes Schouten, of The Netherlands, turned 6th 1.21sec down on Tang’ in first’s lead pace of 30.25 – and then the Dutch 200m ace mowed all but the Chinese bolted down on the way home to silver in 1:05.82 off a 34.36 split, the swiftest second 50 in the final and one of only two sub-35sec efforts, the other only 0.02sec inside the mark.

And in bronze, soon after a 1:56 for lane-five qualification to the 200m free final: Siobhan Haughey in 1:05.92. Somewhere in deep swim history, there might be another swimmer in history with Olympic silver medals in the 100 and 200m freestyle (atop a ton of other international freestyle honours for Hong Kong) and also capable of muscling in on the medals in a World-final 100m breaststroke. If there is, I can’t think of one at the time of writing. Amazing versatility.

Men’s 200m freestyle final

Sunwoo Hwang, of Korea, claimed a maiden World senior title with a 1:44.75 win by 0.3 over Lithuanian Danas Rapsys, with American Luke Hobson taking bronze 0.21sec. further adrift.

Sunwoo Hwang, of Korea – 200m free gold – photo courtesy of World Aquatics

Germany’s Lukas Martens and Rafael Miroslaw and Britain’s Duncan Scott also clocked 1:45s. Like many others in Doha at the first World long-courses titles every held in Olympic year as contracts took precedence over swimmer and swimming best interests, Scott is in the midst of a busy in-season racing week on his way to more heavy work before final preparation for his biggest 200m free race on the way to Paris 2024, the Great Britain Olympic trials in a nation that boasts the swiftest 200m free line-up ever witnessed in textile at an Olympic trials anywhere in the world.

The first week in April will see Scott take on Tom Dean, who claimed Olympic gold in Tokyo just 0.04sec ahead of Scott’s silver in a Britain 1-2 punch, World champions of 2015 and 2023 respectively, James Guy and Matt Richards, all four the Olympic 4x200m champions and World champions of 2023, and the next wave hungry for a place in the solo and the relay battles in Paris.

Scott’s take delivered the most contextual quotes of the day:

“It’s good, tough racing. I just wanted to get some head-to-head stuff, get in there and have a good fight, and I managed to do that. It’s another one in there, and I’ll learn from that as well. It’s a strange one, being in the call room. It’s obviously a Worlds final, but I know the preparation I’ve put in, and I also know what’s at stake for the rest of the year. It’s a little bit of a strange one, but these experiences, there is not many of them, even though we’ve had Worlds every five months, it seems.

“It’s valuable, and I’ll learn a lot from that going forwards, for sure. [Lots of quick turnarounds is good Paris preparation] I’ll probably accumulate quite a lot of swims this week, but that’s really valuable come the summer, hopefully. I’ve got the 200m IM tomorrow morning, we’ll see how that goes.”

Duncan Scott – Photo courtesy of British Swimming

Women’s 1500m freestyle final

In 15:46.99, Simona Quadarella recaptured the 1500m freestyle World title in the absence of Katie Ledecky, the American Olympic champion who missed the 2019 race due to illness and the 2024 race due to the unfortunate scheduling of the World Championships in Olympic year.

Almost 10sec back from the champion, China’s Li Bingjie took silver in 15:56.62, the bronze completing the sub-16-min club courtesy of a 15:57.55 from German’s Isabel Gose, who claimed bronze in the 400m freestyle on day 1 in Doha.

The top two today finished on the podium at the Fukuoka 2023 championships, when Ledecky wrote yet another line in history.

New Zealand’s Eve Thomas, who made the 400m final and clocked a best of 4:05, finished fourth in 16.09 and will continued a fine week of racing in what has shaped up to be her best event, the 800m freestyle, carrying on a great family tradition: her mum, Sarah Hardcastle was Olympic medallist, Commonwealth champion a hand shy of the world-record in the 1980s and World champion in the 1990s when Rio de Janeiro staged the short-course championships on Copacabana Beach.

Women’s 100m backstroke final

In the absence of the biggest 100m backstroke guns, American Claire Curzan produced a dominant, class-apart victory in 58.29, the sole sub-59sec efforts in an event in which we can expect 57s and nothing beyond to make the Paris Olympic podium come the summer. Curzan is a contender for berths in a few events at USA Olympic trials in June.

Australian Iona Anderson took silver in 59.12, Canadian Ingrid Wilm the bronze just 0.06sec further away.

Men’s 100m backstroke final

The crown passed to American Hunter Armstrong in 52.68 in a final that went without several of the biggest guns in the event but produced two speedy men inside 53sec. Just 0.02sec away was Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez, while bronze went to Apostolos Christou, of Greece, in 53.36, just 0.02sec ahead of his teammate Evangelos Makrygiannis.

Semi-finals

Men’s 50m breaststroke semi-final

Women’s 200m freestyle semi-final

Men’s 200m butterfly semi-final

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