After starting his harvest of titles at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest (Hungary) over the past weekend, the American Caeleb Dressel once again distinguished himself by retaining his title in the 50m butterfly, the fifteenth medal of world gold in the career of the seven-time Olympic champion. In the final, Dressel (25) edged out Brazilian veteran Nicholas Santos (42), who broke his own record for the oldest medalist at the world championships. Dressel, who lived badly after the Tokyo Olympics despite five Olympic titles in Japan, felt that this victory was good “for confidence”. “I can’t wait to do the 100m free, then a few relays and continue again,” he continued. The American had started strong from the first day of competition by winning the title with his teammates in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Favored to retain his other titles in the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well as the 100m butterfly, Dressel does not, however, set himself a medal objective. “I never come to count the medals, it’s just about swimming fast. That’s all I think about,” he said.
In the other races, the Italian Nicolo Martinenghi (22) became world champion in the 100m breaststroke in the absence of the absolute master of this distance, the world champion and Olympic champion Adam Peaty – with a foot injury. Martinenghi, bronze medalist at the Olympic Games last year, finished his race in 58 sec 26/100ths, just ahead of Dutchman Arno Kamminga, already silver in Tokyo. American Nic Fink took bronze.
Walsh’s first coronation
In women’s competition, Alex Walsh collected her first gold medal in a major championship by winning the 200m medley. The American, in silver in Tokyo, beat the Australian Kaylee McKeown, double Olympic champion in Japan on the back (100 m and 200 m), by 1 sec 44/100es. The defending champion, the Hungarian Katinka Hosszu (33), took seventh place, despite the loud encouragement of the Budapest public. In the 100m butterfly, another American, Torri Huske (19), won with a personal best (55 sec 64/100es).
In addition, swimming intends to become “the first sport” to set up an “open category” to allow transgender athletes to compete separately, announced the president of the International Federation (FINA) Husain al-Musallam. “I don’t want an athlete to be told he can’t compete at the highest level,” Musallam told an extraordinary congress of the body held during the world championships. of swimming. “I will set up a working group to create an open category during our competitions. We will be the first federation to do so,” he added.
FINA’s decision comes as swimming has been rocked by a controversy over American transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. The 22-year-old student, who was born male, had become the first transgender swimmer to win a university title in the spring. His victory in mid-March in the final of the 500 yards had opened a wide debate, his detractors believing that having competed as a man in the past, Lia Thomas benefited from an unfair physiological advantage.
Fresh off her title as world champion in the 200m medley, her compatriot Alex Walsh cautiously hailed FINA’s initiative. “I am happy that FINA and the various federations are not launching investigations, but are reassessing the rules. I don’t really know what the right solution is to keep things fair, but obviously I want everyone to be able to compete, and as long as they find a way to do that, I’m happy. I believe FINA’s goal and what they’re going to do is what’s best for everyone,” she said in Budapest.
At its congress, FINA adopted a new “inclusivity” policy, which will effectively exclude many transgender swimmers from elite women’s swimming. The federation, explained its chief executive Brent Nowicki, is determined to maintain separate competitions for men and women. Under these rules, the men’s competition would be open to all. On the other hand, athletes who were born male and became female will not be able to compete in FINA women’s categories, or set women’s world records, unless they became female before puberty – “if they can establish that they are not have experienced no manifestation of male puberty,” in Mr. Nowicki’s words.
Last year, the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines on the issue, while asking federations to develop their own “sport-specific” rules. FINA then appointed three committees – one made up of medical experts, the other of lawyers and the last of athletes – to examine the question. The medical committee found that men who became women retained advantages.
After starting his harvest of titles at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest (Hungary) over the past weekend, the American Caeleb Dressel once again distinguished himself by retaining his title in the 50m butterfly, the fifteenth medal of world gold in the career of the seven-time Olympic champion. In the final, Dressel (25) edged out Brazilian veteran Nicholas…