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Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh go one-two at swimming worlds, Douglass’ first gold

Douglass, Walsh go 1-2 in women's 200m IM
Kate Douglass makes a furious comeback in the final 50m to edge USA teammate Alex Walsh and win the women's 200m IM at the World Swimming Championships.

Kate Douglass has been the most versatile American swimmer. On Monday, she became the world’s best.

Douglass, a 21-year-old who owns five silver or bronze medals from the Olympics and world championships, earned her first gold, charging home in the 200m individual medley at worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

Douglass overtook University of Virginia teammate and defending world champion Alex Walsh in the last 50 meters, clocking 2 minutes, 7.17 seconds. She won by eight tenths after trailing by 1.15 seconds at the 150-meter mark going into the freestyle leg.

“We’ve been swimming it against each other for a while,” Douglass said on Peacock. “I’m really proud of that outcome.”

SWIMMING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Douglass earned Olympic bronze in this event in Tokyo, then three more bronze medals at last year’s worlds. At this past March’s NCAA Championships, she won titles in the breaststroke, butterfly and IM. Then at nationals last month, she made the team in the 100m freestyle, 200m breast and 200m IM.

Walsh, in taking silver, made it the first U.S. one-two in the event at worlds since 1978. She became the first American swimmer to win gold or silver in their first three individual races at global championships (Olympics and worlds) since Katie Ledecky in 2012 and 2013.

The 200m IM could be different come the 2024 Olympics.

Summer McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian, has the world’s best time this year (2:06.89) but did not swim it this week as it overlapped with the 400m freestyle. The Olympic schedule does not have that conflict.

Australian Kaylee McKeown was the world’s fastest in 2021, but didn’t swim it at the Olympics as she focused on sweeping the backstrokes. McKeown took silver behind Walsh last year, then was disqualified in Sunday’s semifinals for an illegal backstroke-to-breaststroke turn.

Also Monday, China’s Zhang Yufei, the Olympic 200m fly gold medalist, won the 100m fly over Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil of Canada. American Torri Huske, last year’s world champion, took bronze.

China’s Qin Haiyang won the 100m breast in 57.69 to become the second-fastest man in history behind Brit Adam Peaty, who owns the top 14 times. Peaty is not at worlds after missing a trials meet citing mental health.

Qin, 24, swam the 200m breast in his Olympic debut in Tokyo, tying for the best time in his heat but getting disqualified.

His best 100m breast going into this year was 59.57, a time that would not have qualified for Monday’s final. But Qin also had not swum the 100m breast internationally (in a 50-meter pool) since 2018. At two domestic meets this year, he broke 59 for the first time, then broke 58 for the first time to enter worlds as the top seed. He lowered the Asian record in every round at worlds.

“I can do better,” said Qin, who is 81 hundredths shy of Peaty’s world record. “I will catch up to the world record.”

Nic Fink, at 30 the oldest on the U.S. team, was part of a three-way tie for 100m breast silver with Dutchman Arno Kamminga and Italian Nicolo Martinenghi. That conjured the last individual race of Michael Phelps’ career, where he was part of a three-way silver tie in the 100m fly at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Italian Thomas Ceccon won the men’s 50m fly (not an Olympic event), less than a half-hour after winning his 100m backstroke semifinal. Ceccon is the reigning world champion and world record holder in the 100m back.

Swimming worlds finals continue Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET, live on Peacock. Headliners include Olympic champions Katie Ledecky in the 1500m freestyle, Lilly King and Lydia Jacoby in the 100m breaststroke and Ryan Murphy in the 100m backstroke.