Cesar Cielo from Brazil became the first swimmer to win three titles in the 50m free (and consecutively) after getting the gold in Barcelona, in a time of 21.32 (best time of the year). Winner in Rome (ITA) four years ago in 21.08 (the current Championships record) and in Shanghai (CHN) in 2011 (21.52), the Brazilian star had a perfect race in lane 6 and earned his sixth gold medal at FINA World Championships – 2009: 50m free and 100m free; 2011: 50m free and 50m butterfly; 2013 – 50m butterfly. Cielo was also the bronze medallist in this event at the 2012 Games in London.
The minor medals went to Vladimir Morozov (RUS), silver in 21.47, while George Bovell gave Trinidad and Tobago the first medal ever at FINA World Championships, touching home for the bronze in 21.51. Bovell had already been a pioneer at Olympic level, when in Athens 2004 he got the bronze in the 200m IM. For Morozov, this was his first individual medal, after the bronze in the 4x100m free relay.
Outside of the podium, the 2012 Olympic champion Florent Manaudou (FRA) was fifth in 21.64, while Nathan Adrian (USA) did slightly better, concluding in fourth (21.60). Adrian has four Olympic medals and six podium presences at FINA World Championships. The three veterans of the final – Anthony Ervin (USA, 32), Roland Schoeman (RSA, 33) and Fred Bousquet (FRA, 32) – closed the ranking, finishing respectively in sixth, seventh and eighth.
World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA), 20.91 – December 18, 2009 in Sao Paulo (BRA)
Championships Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA), 21.08 – August 1, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Cesar Cielo (BRA), 21.32 – August 3, in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Alexander Popov (RUS, 22.05); 2005 – Roland Schoeman (RSA, 21.69); 2007 – Ben Wildman-Tobriner (USA, 21.88); 2009 – Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.08); 2011 – Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.52)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Cesar Cielo (BRA, 2009, 2011 & 2013)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Florent Manaudou (FRA, 21.34), 2. Cullen Jones (USA, 21.54), 3. Cesar Cielo (BRA, 21.59)