Hunter Armstrong and Claire Curzan each won the 100m backstroke gold medals at the world swimming championships, marking the first time the U.S. has swept the golds in this event since 2013. Armstrong, who is 6-foot-8, earned his third world medal in the event after winning bronzes in the event the last two years. He overtook Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez by two hundredths of a second. Curzan, 19 years old, earned her first individual world title, clocking a personal best time of 58.29 seconds in Doha.
Notably missing from the championships were 100m back world record holders Thomas Ceccon of Italy and Kaylee McKeown of Australia, as well as the top U.S. backstrokers last year, world champion Ryan Murphy and world silver medalist Regan Smith. The U.S. swimmers are currently preparing for June’s Olympic Trials where the top two in each event (top six in 100m and 200m freestyles for relays) will qualify for Paris.
In the last Olympic cycle, Armstrong made significant progress in his swimming career, going from 19th in the nation in the 100m back in 2019 to taking second place to Murphy at the trials. Curzan was also a standout performer, placing 10th at the Olympics, and has had a strong showing at the 2022 Worlds