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Clearwater’s Bobby Finke wins silver in 1,500 freestyle at world swimming championships

The Florida Gators swimmer adds to his 800 freestyle gold medal on the meet’s final day.
Clearwater's Bobby Finke, left, shows off his silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the world swimming championships on the medal podium with gold medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, center, and bronze medalist Florian Wellbrrock of Germany on Saturday in Budapest, Hungary.
Clearwater's Bobby Finke, left, shows off his silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the world swimming championships on the medal podium with gold medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, center, and bronze medalist Florian Wellbrrock of Germany on Saturday in Budapest, Hungary. [ PETR DAVID JOSEK | AP ]
Published Jun. 26

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Clearwater’s Bobby Finke won the silver medal in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle on the final day of the world championships, and the United States shattered the record for most medals won at a worlds, getting eight more Saturday to finish with 45.

Veteran Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 1,500 freestyle final as Italy ended the event with five golds. He was well under world-record pace as he built a huge lead before finishing in a championship record 14 minutes, 32.80 seconds.

“I knew that they were coming, but I had quite a big lead. So that was enough for me,” Paltrinieri said. “That was my strategy, actually, to go out fast and try to open a gap with the others. So I’m really glad I did it.”

Finke — a Florida Gator who has made an art of finishing strongly to overtake rivals, as he did at last year’s Olympics to win two gold medals, one in the 1,500 — finished 3.90 behind in an American record 14:36.70.

“In the beginning, I was just trying to keep up with him, but he just kept getting farther and farther ahead,” said Finke, who won the 800 free at worlds. “Hats off to Greg. I wasn’t able to run him down. He had a great race, and I’m really proud of him.”

Germany’s Florian Wellbrock was third.

The Americans clinched their 45th medal by winning the women’s 400 medley relay. Regan Smith, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan beat Australia and Canada. The United States bettered the world championships record medal total of 38, which it set in 2017.

Canada totaled 11 medals for its most successful worlds.

Canadian Summer McIntosh, 15, won a second gold medal of the meet, clocking 4:32.04 in the 400 individual medley. American Katie Grimes, seven months older than McIntosh, pushed her all the way before finishing 0.63 seconds behind for silver. American Emma Weyant was third, 3.96 behind.

After some confusion, the United States’ Justin Ress was confirmed as the men’s 50 backstroke champion.

Ress’ elation at winning in 24.12 seconds ended quickly when he was disqualified for being submerged at the finish. Teammate Hunter Armstrong, who finished two-hundredths of a second behind, was awarded the win. Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk was bumped up to silver and Italy’s Thomas Ceccon bronze.

But after the award ceremony, world governing body FINA,, overturned the disqualification. So Ress got gold, Armstrong silver and Masiuk bronze. “That’s probably the worst possible way a race could go,” Ress said.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom won the women’s 50 free. Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte upset world-record holder Benedetta Pilato of Italy by one-tenth of a second to win the women’s 50 breaststroke in 29.70. Italy won the men’s 400 medley relay in 3:27.51, 0.28 seconds ahead of the Americans.

The Americans, who have topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds since the end of the East German reign in 1988, were expected to dominate the meet.

Russians were banned due to the war in Ukraine. Some of the best from Australia, Canada and South Africa sat out or limited their schedules ahead of their Commonwealth Games this summer. Others missed for injury or coronavirus issues.

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