At the end of the evening, Grousset, forced to play a jump-off after finishing tied for eighth in the semis, won his face-to-face against the Brazilian Bruno Fratus by beating his personal best (21 sec 59).
“I had a heart attack at the last minute when I got on the plot“, he described.
“I was very excited to do this jump-off. I knew I could take it“, admitted the New Caledonian, who likes nothing more than a fight.”I need a duel like that every time, I like it. In training, we often have small duels, I love it.”
“I looked at him, he lowered his head a little. Strangely I said to myself + it’s good, I’m going to win +“, he added.
Silver medalist in the 100m freestyle on Wednesday, he will be back in the pool on Friday for the final where, on the other hand, Florent Manaudou, Olympic champion in the distance in 2012, who only achieved the eleventh time in the half, will be missing.
– “talent is not enough“-
“This is my current level. At some point, when you work less, you go slower, talent is not enough all the time“said the 31-year-old swimmer, who says she is in a year of transition since the Tokyo Olympics.
After an evening with three medals on Wednesday, a first for France at the Worlds, the evening was less prolific for the Blues. The two Frenchmen engaged in the individual final on Thursday, Mewen Tomac and Marie Wattel, respectively took fifth place in the 200m backstroke and seventh place in the 100m freestyle, while the 4x200m relay, with Léon Marchand in its ranks, finished seventh in the final.
Mélanie Henique and Marie Wattel secured their place in the 50m butterfly final.
The evening was also marked by the title of Canadian O’Callaghan, 18, in the 100m freestyle.
“It’s so weird to think that I’m world champion“, reacted O’Callaghan, who beat the world record holder, Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, despite having a panic attack before the race.
“It was terrible“, she recounted. “I panicked in my bed, I had a little cramp in my leg, my head was spinning. But I knew my teammates were there. It gave me a little courage for the race.”
“Last year I was swimming in the relay and now I’m winning in the individual, it’s a big change for me. I don’t realize yet“, she continued.
– New talents –
At 18 years and 82 days, she became the youngest swimmer to win the 100m freestyle since 1991, when American Nicole Haislett won the title at 18 years and 22 days.
Since the beginning of the Hungarian week, O’Callaghan is far from being the first teenager to climb to the top of the podium. The Duna Arena, located on the green banks of the Danube, has seen the emergence of a new generation of talent, headlined by Romanian David Popovici.
At only 17 years old, Popovici sounded the Romanian anthem twice, achieving the double in the 100 and 200 m freestyle. Italian Benedetta Pilato, 17 like him, was crowned world champion in the 100m breaststroke and Canada’s Summer McIntosh, who turns 16 in August, took gold in the 200m butterfly final.
Ten years older than McIntosh, American Lilly King was crowned world champion in the 200m breaststroke. The double Olympic champion in Rio in 2016, who had dominated the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the last two Worlds, now prefers the longer distance. “I’m enjoying this new chapter in my life“, she said.