Australia's Cameron McEvoy competes in a men's 100m freestyle heat at the world championships in Budapest.
Australia's Cameron McEvoy competes in a men's 100m freestyle heat at the world championships in Budapest. Darko Bandic

World title heartache pushes McEvoy to improve

CAMERON McEvoy wants you to know that he's not broken.

Finishing out of the medals as the favourite for the 100m freestyle gold medal at the Rio Olympics last year did not break him, and finishing a fingernail short of a medal at the world championships in Budapest on Thursday did not break him.

Just minutes after that race unfolded, delivering the world title McEvoy had coveted to American Caeleb Dressel, the 23-year-old Australian was plotting his next step in his bid to conquer the 100m freestyle.

"It makes me pretty motivated to get back in the water after this meet and train my arse off again and get up to that No.1 spot," the Gold Coast physics student said.

"It's not going to make me afraid to come back next time on the world stage and challenge for that world 100m freestyle title."

McEvoy missed the medals by 0.03sec in Budapest, finishing fourth, as Dressel (47.17sec) swam the fastest time to win a major championship since the supersuit era finished in 2009.

It was more than half a second faster than Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers' winning time in Rio last year (47.58sec) and the American won by a huge margin in sprinting terms.

His fellow American Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic champion, took the silver medal (47.87sec), a fraction of a second ahead of third-placed Frenchman Meydy Metella (47.89sec).

McEvoy, 23, clocked 47.92sec, his third sub-48 second swim in two days and said his fitness was not quite back to the level required after his post-Olympic break.

However he was satisfied that he had put together the best race he could in the circumstances and that it was a much better effort than in the Olympic final last year, where he swam more than a second slower than his best time and finished seventh.


epa06110079 Cameron McEvoy of Australia competes in the men's 100m Freestyle Heats during the Swimming competition held at the Duna Arena during the 17th FINA World Championships 2017 in Budapest, Hungary, 26 July 2017.  EPA/PATRICK B. KRAEMER
Cameron McEvoy during the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest. PATRICK B. KRAEMER

"I definitely think that was a better swim and that's a big positive," he said.

"I'm not as fit as last year (after a long post-Olympic break) but mentally I'm a lot better. I feel like it's a huge shift.

"I think as a whole, looking back at the season, I'm pretty proud of the way I've bounced back from that and being able to get up and do what I did then.

"That swim alone probably wasn't the outcome I was looking for in terms of ranking and time but I think I can look at the whole process of the last year and be proud than I could come out of that and still be one of the best in the world."

Teenaged Australian Jack Cartwright finished seventh in his first world championship final, clocking 48.24sec, just a touch slower than his semi-final time of 47.97sec.

A country boy from Biloela in Queensland, Cartwright handled his first major championship final with impressive composure.

"To be in my first world championships final and do my second fastest time, I'm stoked," he said.

"It felt the same as the semi-final and I just tried to keep myself cool, calm and collected and that seemed to work."

Australia now has four sprinters who are capable of breaking 48 seconds and who will be vying for three places in the national team for next year's home Commonwealth Games.

If McEvoy, Chalmers, dual world champion James Magnussen and Cartwright all arrive at the Games trials in February in top form, they could stage the best 100m freestyle race in Australia's history.