T&T’s Dylan Carter set a new national record but just missed out on a medal when he placed fourth in the men's 50 metres butterfly final on the second day of the FINA World Long Course Championships at the Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.
In the eight-man gold medal swim, the 26-year-old Carter, a silver medallist for T&T in the men’s 50m butterfly at the FINA World Short Course Championship last December in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and bronze in the same event in China in 2018, touched the wall in 22.85 seconds from lane seven, his third straight swim under the 23 seconds mark in two days which bettered his record swim (22.87) in the heats as well.
USA's Caleb Dressel got to the wall first with a World Championship title-winning time of 22.57 and while that was enough to win this event, he was slightly slower than his lifetime best of 22.35, which he swam at the 2019 World Championships.
That 2019 swim is the second-fastest swim in history and trails the world record in the event of 22.27 that Andrii Govorov hit in 2018.
The battle for silver was heated with Brazilian Nicholas Santos (22.78) ultimately managing to touch ahead of USA’s Michael Andrew (22.79) as the two swimmers were separated by just 0.01 seconds.
Santos was slower than his lifetime best of 22.60 from 2019, while Andrew swam a new best time by just 0.01 seconds. This is the fourth straight World Championships where Santos has medalled in this event, having taken silver in both 2015 and 2019, along with a bronze in 2017.
For Andrew, this is his first individual medal at a major long course international meet after several years of finals swims and relay medals.
Just off the podium, Carter ended in fourth followed by Italian Thomas Ceccon who also went under 23 seconds in 22.86, his second swim of the night after placing second in the 100 backstroke semi-final.
The other finishers in the final were Hungary's Szebassztian Szabo in 23.01 followed by Great Britain's Ben Proud (23.08) and Singapore's Teong Tzen Wei in 23.29.
On Saturday, Carter, a former University of Southern California stand-out, qualified as the sixth fastest overall in the semifinals after he placed third in the second and final semifinal in 22.98 seconds, his second time under 23 seconds, behind Proud who won in 22.76, just .01 shy of his personal best and British Record of 22.75, set back at the 2017 World Championships when he won the gold medal, to be the top qualifier while Ceccon clocked 22.79 for the joint-second fastest in the heats, the same as heat one winner Dressel.
Ceccon, broke his Italian Record for the second time after he clocked 22.88 in the preliminary heats.
The quintet of Teong (23.03), 42-year-old Santos, the fourth-fastest swimmer in history narrowly squeaked into the final with the eighth-best time at 23.04 after he placed fifth, while Holland’s Nyls Korstanje (23.14), Switzerland’s Noe Ponti (23.29) and Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov (23.50), the world record holder at 22.27 completed the competitors in Carter’s semifinal.
In addition to Dressel, Andrew (22.87) and Szabo (22.91) qualified from semifinal one while the quintet of France’s Maxime Grousset (23.10), Austrian Simon Bucher (23.18), France’s Florent Manaudou (23.23), Estonia’s Daniel Zaitsev (23.38), and Poland’s Konrad Czerniak (23.50).
And in Saturday morning in the heat, Carter picked the right time to have a great swim, getting under 23 seconds for the first time in his career to establish the top time of the morning in a new personal best and national record of 22.87, the first time a T&T national had gone under the 23 seconds mark in the event on his way to winning heat five with the fastest time of all swimmers.
The winner of this country’s first-ever Commonwealth Games swimming medal Carter’s previous lifetime best in the 50m butterfly was 23.11 which he did at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in 2018 and over the past month, he also equalled the time at the Aquatics Sports Association of T&T (ASATT) Pan American Aquatics Age-Group Trials held in Balmain, Couva and also swam 23.18 and 23.15 in Monaco during the Mare Nostrum Series.
Two years ago at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Carter finished eighth in heats of the 50m butterfly in 23.33 before he clocked 23.37 for the sixth spot in one of two semifinals and 13th spot overall.
Carter returns to the pool on Tuesday morning to swim in heat 10 of 11 of the men's 100m freestyle from 3.34 am (TT time) on Tuesday morning against Australian Zac Incerti, Canada's Ruslan Gaziev, Serbia's Andrej Barna, Romanian David Popovici, Hungary's Nandor Nemeth, Canada's Joshua Liendo Edwards, Italian Lorenzo Zazzeri, China's Jintong Yang and Sweden's Robin Hanson with the semifinals set for 12.26 pm and the final on Wednesday from 12.22 pm
And on Thursday, in the 50m freestyle, he will face the starter in the sixth of ten heats from lane two from 3 am with Bahamian Lamar Taylor, Algerian Oussama Sanhoune, Aruba's Mikel Schreuders, Estonian Daniel Zaitsev, Argentina's Guido Buscaglia, Korea's Yuchan Ji, Luxembourg's Remi Fabiani, South African Clayton Jimmie and Souhail Hamouchane of Morocco with the semifinals carded for 12.42 pm, and the final a day later from 12.09 pm.
Also on Friday, June 24 from 3.14 am (TT time), T&T's other competitor in Hungary, Cherelle Thompson who left here on Sunday will line up in the women's 50m freestyle heat seven of ten from lane 6 against Israel's Daria Golovaty, Bermuda's Maddy Moore, Philipines Jasmine Alkhaldi, Tapei's Mei-Chien Huang, Bulgarian Diana Petkova, Switzerland's Sasha Touretski, Hong Kong's Camille Lily Mei Cheng, Bolivia's Karen Torrez Gusman and Latvian Gabriela Nikitina with the semifinals carded for 12.17 pm, and the final, Saturday from 12.47 pm.
Following the FINA Championships, Carter is expected to fly the national colours at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in July/August and then the FINA World Short Course Championships in December.