Aussie star ready for ultimate test of speed
THE race that every Aussie swim fan really wants to see is now on for real after Kyle Chalmers let Caeleb Dressel know he wants his world title.
The two fastest swimmers in the world will go head to head in the 100m freestyle on Thursday night and it's game on with both men in sizzling form at the world championships.
Dressel goes into the final with the fastest time after winning his semi-final in 47.35 seconds with the South Australian a fingernail behind after winning his semi-final in 47.58.
If those numbers sound a little familiar it's because 47.58 is the time Chalmers clocked to win the Olympic gold medal in 2016 and 47.35 is the exact time he won the event in at the Australian trials last month.
But when it comes to racing in the biggest events, times don't matter as much as nerves and both men have plenty of experience doing that.
Dressel won the world title two years ago, when Chalmers was absent, and the Australian showed why he's a big race performer when he rebounded after missing the 200m final then producing a sluggish heat swim to lay down a marker for the final.
"Swimming is a huge mental challenge, it's always challenging getting yourself up every day for a swim," he said.
"I thought I prepared myself pretty well for this morning and didn't have the best swim. You probably start to doubt yourself a little bit.
"I got stressed out a little bit. Tonight, I came out and gave it my all and that gives me confidence going into tomorrow.
"I knew after the relay I was swimming well. My swim speed worked out to when I swam my PB. I know I can swim fast in this pool."
The mouthwatering showdown will finally put the swimmers back in the spotlight after all the attention has been on Chinese bad boy Sun Yang and the protests against him and the anti-doping scandals that have paralysed the sport.
Sun's only got a relay left on Thursday night after he bombed out in his final individual race and he's unlikely to add to his two gold medals from the 200m and 400m.
There were no protests this time and Sun didn't start taunting his opponents by calling them losers because he was the loser, finishing a distant sixth in the 800m, an event he used to dominate.
The gold went to Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri while Australia's Jack McLoughlin swam a brave race for fourth, missing the podium by half a second to put himself in the frame for a medal at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, swimming's next budding superstar has just announced his arrival with one of the biggest splashes imaginable.
Just 19, Kristif Milak did what nobody thought was possible when he smashed Michael Phelps' 200m butterfly world record.
Leaving his rivals dead in the water, the Hungarian reached the wall in 1:50.73, demolishing the previous world record of 1:51.51 that Phelps set a decade ago.
Milak finished more than three seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, an unheard of margin in the event, and had enough time to reach the end and turn around before the last finalist got home.