T&T’s Dylan Carter lowered his personal best and national record for the second time on the day, but it was still not enough to book a spot in his second final, the men’s 100m freestyle on the fourth day of the FINA World Long Course Championships at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday.
Coming off a near-miss in the men’s 50m butterfly final on Sunday, in which he placed fourth in a star-studded field in a national record swim, Carter, 26, swimming from lane seven was eighth in the second of two semifinals in 48.30 seconds for 14th spot overall of the 16 semifinalists.
Winning Carter’s semifinal heat was 17-year-old Romanian David Popovici, who dropped a personal best time and new World Junior Record in clocking 47.13 to become the ninth-fastest swimmer in history.
Popovici set his previous best time of 47.30 at the 2021 European Junior Championships in Rome and was seventh in this event at the Olympics last year, but won a decisive gold medal on Monday night in the men’s 200 free.
Touching behind Popovici in the second semifinal was 19-year-old Canadian Josh Liendo, who broke 48 seconds for the first time, in 47.55 to qualify third into the final, crushing his previous best of 48.13 while Great Britain’s Lewis Burras set a new National Record of 47.63 for the third spot, obliterating Duncan Scott’s British mark of 47.87, and China’s Pan Zhanle matched the Chinese Record in 47.65 for fourth spot with Italian Alessandro Miressi (47.89) and USA’s Curry Brooks (47.90) also advancing to the gold medal swim from the second heat with another Italian Lorenzo Zazzeri and Hungary’s Nandor Nemeth, the second-placed finisher from semifinal heat one both clocking 47.96 setting up a swim-off to determine the last qualifier to the final.
Frenchman Maxime Grousset neared his lifetime best in the first semi, touching first in 47.54 to ultimately advance second overall. Grousset set a PB of 47.52 at the Olympics in 2021.
The other finishers in heat one were Serbian Andrej Barna (47.97), Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo (48.08), Great Britain’s Jacob Whittle (48.19), Hungary’s Szebasztian Szabo (48.19), Aruban Mikel Schreuders (48.73) and Canada’s Ruslan Gaziev.
Before the semifinals, reigning two-time world champion, USA’s Caeleb Dressel opted out of defending his title in the men’s 100 freestyle as a late scratch, appearing on the initial version of the heat sheet but then missing minutes later once it was revised due to medical reasons.
Dressel, 25, has won the event at the last two World Championships along with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and is the only swimmer in history to break 47 seconds in a textile suit.
Hwang tied with Australia’s Zac Incerti, though it appears Incerti scratched to avoid a swim-off for the first alternate. Incerti was dealing with an illness earlier that kept him off the Aussie 400 free relay.
In the morning preliminary heats, Carter competed from lane one of ten in heat ten of 11 against and clocked a then-new personal best and national record of 48.40 for sixth in the heat and joint 11th-fastest overall with Schreuders who was the winner of heat eight in a national record mark as well.
Carter also broke his own record from the 2019 World Championships (48.52), where he placed 12th by .12 seconds, after he placed 16th in the heats in 48.77 to qualify for the semifinals, while Schreuders beat his own record from the 2019 Pan American Games by .68, putting the record below 49.00 for the first time.
Finishing ahead of Carter in heat ten were Popovici (47.60), the top time overall, Barna (48.15), Liendo (48.16), Zazzeri (48.29), and Nemeth (48.33) while Gaziev (48.49) was joint-14th and also made the semis.
On Sunday, Carter, placed fourth in the men’s 50m butterfly final in a new national record time of 22.85 seconds from lane seven, his third straight swim under the 23 seconds mark in two days which bettered his previous record swim of 22.87 which he established in topping the list of qualifiers in the heats on Saturday.
Carter will have one more shot at joining Olympic medallist George Bovell III as World Long Course medal winner when he competes on Thursday in the 50 metres freestyle.
Also on Friday from 3.14 am (T&T time), T&T’s Cherelle Thompson, who left here yesterday, will line up in the women’s 50m freestyle heat seven of ten from lane 6.