Spring Grove High School graduate Hali Flickinger came up just a fraction of a second short on Wednesday, July 26, in her bid to make the 200-meter butterfly final at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The former York YMCA standout finished fifth in her semifinal heat with a time of 2 minutes, 7.89 seconds. That gave her the ninth-best time from the two semifinals. Only the top eight times made the final. The eighth-best time was 2:07.82, which means Flickinger missed the final by less than a tenth of a second. Flickinger was third in her semifinal heat at the mid-point of the race, but couldn't hold that position.
In the preliminary heats earlier Wednesday, Flickinger advanced to the semifinal heats with a time of 2:08.84, which was the eighth-best preliminary time. It was Flickinger's first-ever appearance in the world championships.
Germany's Franziska Hentke had the top semfinal time of 2:06.29. She was followed by China's Yilin Zhou at 2:06.63 and Spain's Mireia Belmonte in 2:06.71.
Flickinger qualified for the world championships by winning the 200 butterfly at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in late June in 2:07.60. Her career-best time in the event is 2:06.67.
The former University of Georgia standout also competed in the 200 fly during the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she finished seventh. Belmonte took gold in the 200 fly at Rio in 2:04.85. Hentke has the fastest time in the world this year at 2:06.18.
Ledecky beaten: In other action from Budapest, American Katie Ledecky was beaten for the first time ever at the world championships.
Bidding to become only the second female swimmer to win six golds at a single worlds, Ledecky settled for silver in the 200-meter freestyle Wednesday evening when Italy’s Federica Pellegrini surged to a stunning victory on the final lap.
Pellegrini, the world-record holder, avenged a close defeat at the hands of Ledecky two years ago in Kazan, Russia. This time, it was the Italian touching first in 1 minute, 54.73 seconds. Ledecky and Australia’s Emma McKeon tied for the silver at 1:55.18.
Ledecky had been 12 of 12 over the last three world championships, including three golds in this stately European capital. Missy Franklin will remain the only female swimmer to win a half-dozen events at worlds.
Pellegrini wasn’t the only Italian on top of the medal podium. Gabriele Detti rallied to win the men’s 800 free, racing past both teammate Gregorio Paltrinieri and Poland’s Wojciech Wojdak.
South African star Chad le Clos took the gold in the men's 200 butterfly. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh settled for silver. The bronze went to Japan’s Daiya Seto.
Britain’s Adam Peaty cruised to victory in the 50 breaststroke, a non-Olympic event. Brazil’s Joao Gomes Junior claimed the silver and South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh took bronze.
The U.S. team collected its second world record of the day in the 4x100 mixed medley relay. Matt Grevers, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel won gold with a time of 3:38.56, easily beating the mark of 3:40.28 put up by an entirely different U.S. foursome — Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Kelsi Worrell and Mallory Comerford — in the morning preliminaries.
Australia took the silver, while Canada and China tied for bronze in an event that will part of the Olympics for the first time in Tokyo.