Knoxville: World Champions Face Off Against Teenage Threat

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The first American gold medal at last year’s World Championships came in the women’s 200 IM, when Kate Douglass ran down defending world champion and University of Virginia teammate Alex Walsh with a brilliant freestyle leg. Douglass, returning to the 200 IM after a year away, swam a time of 2:07.17, with Walsh eight tenths behind at 2:07.97 for an American 1-2 finish, with China’s Yu Yiting a further eight tenths back.

However, repeating that 1-2 finish at the Olympic level is going be much more difficult, largely because of the esteemed medley swimmers missing from that Fukuoka final. Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, the silver medalist in the event one year earlier and eighth-fastest performer in history, had been disqualified in the semifinals for an illegal backstroke-to-breaststroke turn, and even if she did swim in the final, she would have had a quick turnaround from the 100 back semis into the medley race.


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