SwimmingApostolos Christou Beats Hunter Armstrong in 50 Back Swimoff

Apostolos Christou Beats Hunter Armstrong in 50 Back Swimoff

World Championships, Day Four: Apostolos Christou Beats Hunter Armstrong in 50 Back Swimoff

In a head-to-head race for the last spot in the men’s 50 backstroke finals at the Short Course World Championships, Greece’s Apostolos Christou faced off against long course world-record holder Hunter Armstrong of the United States after the duo plus Canada’s Javier Acevedo tied for eighth in Thursday evening’s semifinals. With Acevedo stepping aside, only Christou and Armstrong remained, and Christou got the better of his American rival in the swimoff, 23.15 to 23.30. That time was just short of the 23.05 both men swam in the semifinals.

Going into the final, Australia’s Alan Cooper is the favorite after swam a time of 22.52 in the semifinal round to qualify first for finals, setting Oceania, Australian, Commonwealth and world junior records while finishing only three tenths outside of Florent Manaudou’s 2014 world record of 22.22. 100 back winner Ryan Murphy of the U.S. and Kacper Stokowski of Poland tied for second in 22.74.

Earlier this year, Christou claimed gold in the 50 back at the long course European Championships plus silver in the 100 back. At the long course World Championships, Christou placed fifth in both the 50 back and 100 back. He set a World Championships record of 52.09 in the semifinals of the latter event. Earlier in the week in Melbourne, Christou again placed fifth in the 100 back final.

This swimoff was the second time at Short Course Worlds when a tie for eighth place in the semifinals has been resolved the next morning. Previously, Estonia’s Daniel Zaitsev edged out Canada’s Ilya Kharun in a swimoff for eighth place in the 50 butterfly.

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