GWANGJU, South Korea — Adam Peaty became the first man to win a third 100-meter breaststroke title at the world swimming championships Monday night. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary also added more gold to her collection.
But there was bad news for the U.S. team when Katie Ledecky pulled out of the 200-meter freestyle for medical reasons.
Peaty, the current Olympic champion, claimed the title in 57.14 seconds, a night after he became the first man to break 57 seconds in the semifinals (56.88). The British swimmer was under his own world-record pace at the turn before coming home a full body-length in front and 1.32 seconds ahead of teammate James Wilby.
“That’ll fuel me for next year because I know how bad I want to clear 56 even faster now,” Peaty said. “I know exactly how to do it but I’ve obviously run out of opportunities here.”
Hosszu extended her dominance in the women’s 200 individual medley, claiming her record fourth title. That’s the same number of times she has won the 400 IM.
“It might seem just another gold medal but for me, it’s really special to be here and be able to win,” Hosszu said.
Photo: Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press
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Nicknamed “The Iron Lady” for her relentless workload, Hosszu won in 2 minutes, 7.53 seconds. Ye Shiwen of China finished 1.07 seconds back in second. Sydney Pickrem of Canada took bronze.
Ledecky, who was upset in the 400 freestyle Sunday, breezed through the grueling 1,500 freestyle preliminaries Monday morning in 15 minutes, 48.90 seconds, tops in qualifying.
But on Tuesday morning, she withdrew from the 200 free just before the preliminaries.
“She woke up this morning and she’s not feeling well at all,” said her coach, Greg Meehan.
U.S. national-team managing director Lindsay Mintenko said Ledecky hasn’t been feeling well since she arrived in Gwangju. Meehan said doctors were assessing Ledecky, but had no official diagnosis.
It hadn’t been determined if Ledecky will swim in Tuesday’s final.
The U.S. won its first-ever gold in the men’s 50 fly, a non-Olympic event. Caeleb Dressel’s time of 22.35 set a championship record and earned him a ninth career world title.
Two years ago, Dressel won seven golds to equal Michael Phelps’ record at a single worlds. The 50 fly was the only event Dressel failed to win in Budapest.
Canada’s Margaret MacNeil, a 19-year-old competing in her biggest international meet, upset Sarah Sjostrom in the women’s 100 butterfly, an event the Swede had won four times. MacNeil touched first in 55.83, with Sjostrom second at 56.22.
After receiving their medals, the three women gathered on the top podium spot and raised their palms to the crowd, displaying a message to ailing 19-year-old Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee.
“Rikako never give up” it read, with hearts decorating their palms.
Ikee announced in February that she has leukemia. She was the world junior champion in the 100 fly and had the fastest time in the world last year. She is aiming to return in time to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
China’s Sun Yang was back in the pool for the 200 freestyle semifinals a night after winning the 400 free. He qualified second-fastest behind Clyde Lewis of Australia. The final is Tuesday night.
Earlier Monday, FINA’s executive board sent a warning letter to Swimming Australia over Mack Horton’s podium protest against Sun.
Horton refused to take his spot on the medals stand or shake Sun’s hand after finishing second. Horton is angry that Sun, who served a three-month doping suspension in 2014, is being allowed to compete in Gwangju before he faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in September that could end his career.
Beth Harris is an Associated Press writer.
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