Cameron McEvoy continues to show that age is just a number after claiming a surprise bronze medal in the 50m butterfly at the swimming world championships. The 29-year-old continued a stunning career resurgence at the meet in Doha on Monday night (Tuesday Aussie time), claiming a medal in the event that he has barely trained in.
The Aussie finished third behind Portuguese teenager Diogo Ribeiro - the surprise winner in 22.97 - and American Michael Andrew. Ribiero became the first Portuguese athlete to win a gold medal at a swimming world championships.
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McEvoy was also a surprise medallist and even shocked himself to walk away with bronze. The 29-year-old became the oldest Australian in history to win an individual world title when he won gold in the 50m freestyle at last year's world championships in Japan.
His main focus in Doha is defending his freestyle title, so the butterfly medal came as a major surprise. "A couple of days before this competition were effectively the first few strokes I did of butterfly this whole preparation since Fukuoka," McEvoy said. "I was 18th in Fukuoka and third today, so this is quite a big step in six months. So it is a big surprise and it is very nice."
McEvoy will have a few days to rest before he starts defence of his 50m freestyle title in the heats on Friday. He's eyeing off an individual gold medal at the Paris Olympics in July, having only won minor medals in relay events at previous Games throughout his career.
With some of the world's top swimmers skipping the world championships to focus on training for the Olympics instead, McEvoy says the February meet is actually a blessing for a sprinter. "I'm very excited for it - the field's stacked, a lot of depth there," he said. "So having it as a real race, you couldn't ask for a better set-up in my personal perspective."
Isaac Cooper, Sam Williamson and Brianna Throssell finish fourth
Fellow Aussie Isaac Cooper put in a strong swim of his own in the 50m butterfly, but the 20-year-old finished just outside the medals in 23.12. Cooper made a blinding start but had to settle for fourth place.
And it was the same story for fellow Australians Sam Williamson and Brianna Throssell, who were also forced to settle for fourth in their respective events. Williamson was just outside the medals in the 100m breaststroke - finishing behind gold medallist Nic Fink of the US, who led from start to finish.
Fink beat Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy into second, with three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty finishing third. Peaty, who has won the event on three occasions, had missed the past two editions. "It's definitely crazy getting the first worlds gold in the 100 at the age of 30," Fink said afterwards.
Throssell, who was part of the silver medal-winning 4x100m relay team on Sunday night, finished fourth in the women's 100m butterfly as Germany's Angelina Kohler won gold. Fellow Australian Alex Perkins was sixth. The 23-year-old Kohler burst into tears in the pool after winning in 56.28, finishing ahead of American Claire Curzan and Louise Hansson of Sweden.
Kate Douglass - the only American individual gold medallist from last year's worlds in Japan who came to Doha - comfortably defended her 200m individual medley title in 2:07.05. Doughless finished ahead of Sydney Pickrem of Canada (2:08.56) and Yu Yiting of China (2:09.01).
I‘m very thankful for the existence of Cam McEvoy.
— Sandra (@sandra4747_) February 12, 2024
What an achievement
— Bruno Fernandes enjoyer (@Nadal_istheGOAT) February 12, 2024
Portuguese National Anthem making the podium of the world swimming championships for the first time ever.
Diogo Ribeiro is 19 years old.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 12, 2024
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