Bel Air native Chase Kalisz waited two weeks for Sunday's proceedings. He saw fellow Americans earn medal after medal at the FINA World Championships, yet he didn't have the chance to do so until the last day of competition.
But when the Fallston graduate finally had the chance, swimming in his first and only event in Barcelona, Spain, the 400-meter individual medley, he made the most of it.
Kalisz dropped more than 2.5 seconds from his personal-best time to earn a silver medal in his first World Championships, finishing in 4 minutes, 9.22 seconds, just behind Japan's Daiya Seto's winning time of 4:08.69.
"That's been my goal all along to get under 4:10," Kalisz said. "Obviously medaling was just a bonus on top of it. I kind of had that goal in the back of my head at the start of the season. Coming from the junior national team, I knew it was going to be tough trying to make the transition, but I'm glad with it. I'm very, very happy with the outcome."
Much like a typical Kalisz race, though, it seemed like he was out of contention after the first half. At the 200-meter split, he was sixth and 2.58 seconds off bronze-medal pace. But then, as he did at the Phillips 66 National Championships in June, Kalisz stormed back in the breaststroke and freestyle portions to overtake much of his competition.
He nearly came from behind to defeat Seto, too, but in the end, Kalisz was satisfied with a silver medal. His 4:09.22 topped his previous best of 4:11.83 set in the final of the National Championships on June 27.
"The front half is not really my strong part, so I keep myself mentally in check knowing these guys are better backstroke and butterfly swimmers than me," Kalisz said. "Breaststroke's my strong part, so I just had to stay in there until that and just come home as hard as I can on freestyle."
Sunday's swims also marked a historic occasion for American Missy Franklin, who won her sixth gold medal after leading off the 400 medley relay with Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano. Their 3:53.23 was almost two seconds ahead of the silver medalists, Australia, who touched in 3:55.22.
In the process, Franklin, who also took the top spot in the 100 and 200 back, 200 free and 400 and 800 free relays, became the first woman to ever win six events in a single World Championships.
"I don't even know what to say," Franklin said. "I still can't really believe that it happened. ... I had some really great races that I'm really proud of, and there's a bunch where I know there's a lot of room to improve on."
Loch Raven graduate Tanja Kylliainen, who also swam in Sunday's women's 400 IM, finished 29th th with a time of 4:55.54.
At the end of the championships, FINA announced that Bethesda native Katie Ledecky, who won four gold medals in the 400 free, 800 free, 1,500 free and 800 free relay, was named the Female Swimmer of the Meet. She will turn 17 in March.
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