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Kennedy picks up 3rd world championship medal with silver in 4×50 free relay

The Netherlands celebrate after being awarded gold medals in the 4x50 women's freestyle relay at the world swimming championships Sunday. The United States, right, with Avon's Madison Kennedy were a close second.

The Netherlands celebrate after being awarded gold medals in the 4×50 women’s freestyle relay at the world swimming championships Sunday. The United States, right, with Avon’s Madison Kennedy were a close second. (Photo courtesy of FINA)

DOHA, Qatar, Dec. 7 – On the final day of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Sunday, Avon’s Madison Kennedy earned another world championship medal and narrowly missed grabbing an individual medal in her signature event – the 50 meter freestyle. 

Kennedy won her third world championship medal as a member of the United States women’s 4×50 freestyle relay team that took second behind the Netherlands. Earlier in the meet, Kennedy won silver with the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay and on Saturday, she was a member of the U.S. mixed 4×50 freestyle relay team that won a gold medal with a world record time. 

Kennedy swam the leadoff leg in Sunday’s 4×50 freestyle final in 24:06, which had the Americans in third place. Abbey Weitzeil, an outstanding high school swimmer from California, swam the next leg in 23.40 and handed off to veteran Natalie Coughlin, whose leg of 23.39 put the Americans in first place. 

But the anchor swimmer for the Netherlands, Ranomi Kromowidjojo has had an outstanding meet here at the world championships winning five medals in freestyle. Her time of 22.88 was the fastest time of any woman in the final and helped the Dutch beat the Americans by 0.37 of a second with a time of 1:34.24. 

The United States had a time of 1:34.61, which blew the old American record out of the water. The old mark was 1:37.27 set by the University of Georgia at the 2004 NCAA championship meet. Amy Bilquist finished it off for the United States with a strong time of 23.76 seconds.

The Netherlands, left, celebrate winning the gold medal in the women's 4x50 freestyle relay at the world championships Sunday while the United States, including Avon's Madison Kennedy, leaning on block in her black USA swim cap, celebrates a silver medal.

The Netherlands, left, celebrate winning the gold medal in the women’s 4×50 freestyle relay at the world championships Sunday while the United States, including Avon’s Madison Kennedy, leaning on the lane 3 block in her black USA swim cap, celebrates a silver medal. (Photo courtesy of FINA)

Kennedy also swam in the finals of the women’s 50 meter freestyle – the only American in the final. She posted her fastest time of the meet in the 50 free – 23.86 seconds but finished fourth, just 0.11 of a second from the podium. Kennedy’s time is just 0.04 seconds off the American record set by Dara Torres (23.82) in 2007. 

Kromowidjojo, the world record holder in the 50 free, won the race in 23.32 seconds. Australia’s Bronte Campbell was second in 23.62 with Germany’s Dorothea Brandt finishing third in 23.77 seconds. Kromowidjojo won five freestyle medals, a gold in the 50 free, a bronze in the 100 free and golds in the 4×50, 4×100 and 4×200 relays with the Netherlands. 

With her time of 23.86, Kennedy beat her SwimMAC Carolina teammate Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who swims for the Bahamas and took fifth with a time of 23.93 seconds. Kennedy swam a 24.07 in qualifying with the second fastest time in the field of 130 swimmers and a 23.96 in the semifinals when she won her heat. 

This was Kennedy’s first appearance at the world championships swimming meet. 

The 12th annual FINA World Championship meet is a short course world championship meet, which is held in a 25 meter pool. The short course world championship meets are held every two years. The Olympics are long course meets, which are held in 50 meter pools. Next year’s world championship meet will be a long course meet. 

Kennedy graduated from Avon High in 2005 and the University of California in Berkley in 2010. She has been training with SwimMAC Carolina since November 2011.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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