Gwangju, South Korea: This time, Caeleb Dressel stands alone in World Swimming Championships history.
The American won his eighth medal on Sunday, helping the United States to silver in the 4x100-metre medley relay after anchor Nathan Adrian got overtaken for gold in the closing metres.
A day after becoming the first swimmer to win three golds in one night at a World Championships for the second time, Dressel set a record with eight medals, including six golds, at the biggest meet after the Olympics.
Two years ago in Hungary, Dressel tied Michael Phelps’ record of seven golds at a single worlds, including three in one night.
Dressel hauled the US from fourth to first on his butterfly leg with a split of 49.28 seconds. Adrian found himself in a three-way fight with Britain and Russia coming down the stretch.
Brit Duncan Scott surged ahead approaching the wall and got there first with a split of 46.14 to Adrian’s 47.60.
Luke Greenbank, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Scott took gold in 3 minutes, 28.10 seconds.
Ryan Murphy, Andrew Wilson, Dressel and Adrian finished in 3:28.45. Russia earned bronze.
Dressel’s golds came in the 50 and 100 free, 50 and 100 butterfly, mixed 4x100 free relay and 4x100 free relay. His other silver was in the mixed 4x100 medley relay.
“He’s a phenomenal talent,” South Africa’s Chad le Clos said. “He seems to get better throughout the days.”
The US team finished atop the medals table with 27, including a leading 14 golds. Australia was second with 19 and five golds.
Simone Manuel completed a sweep of the 50 and 100 freestyles, the first American woman to achieve the feat. She won four golds and six medals overall in the eight-day competition.
She came back later to anchor the US to an easy victory in the 4x100 medley relay. Leah Smith, Lilly King, Kelsi Dahlia and Manuel won in 3:50.40, lowering the mark of 3:51.55 set two years ago in Hungary.
Manuel outdid Australia’s Cate Campbell on the final leg, with the Americans winning by 3.02 seconds.
The Aussies settled for silver and Canada took bronze.
In the 50 free, Manuel raced one length of the pool in 24.05. She held off Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, who took silver in 24.07, and Campbell, who earned bronze in 24.11.
In the 100 free, Manuel topped Campbell and Sjostrom finished third. Manuel’s other medals came in relays: gold in the 4x100 medley and mixed 4x100 free, and silvers in the 4x100 free and 4x200 free.
Lilly King won the 50 breaststroke, giving the American two victories over Russian rival Yuliya Efimova.
They were denied a third meeting when King was disqualified in the heats of the 200 breast for not putting both her hands on the wall at the same time in a turn.
King touched in 29.84, the only swimmer under 30 seconds in the final.
Benedetta Pilato, a 14-year-old Italian, earned a surprise silver in 30 seconds flat and reacted by crying.
“I didn’t know if it was happy tears or sad tears,” King said. “She’s 14, it doesn’t really matter what kind of tears they were, but I was like, ‘It’s OK, you did fine’.”
Efimova, who won the 200 and finished second to King in the 100, settled for bronze in 30.15.
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary extended her domination of the 400 individual medley, becoming the first woman to win five titles in one event. She swam the four-stroke race in 4:30.39 seconds.
Florian Wellbrock of Germany made history with his victory in the 1,500 freestyle. With his earlier win in the 10-kilometer open water race, Wellbrock became the first swimmer to win golds in two sports at a single world championships.
He pulled away going into the final turn to win in 14:36.54.
Mykhailo Romanchuck of Ukraine took silver. Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, a two-time champion, earned bronze.
Zane Waddell of South Africa won the 50 backstroke, a non-Olympic event.