In a very open final, Missy Franklin (USA), already with four medals in Barcelona, was in lane 2; next to her, in lane 3, the 2012 Olympic champion from the Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo; in lane 4, the fastest of the semis, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, gold medallist in the 100m butterfly at these championships; swimming on lane 5, Australia’s Cate Campbell, the best performer of the season in 52.33 (in the heats of the event); and finally, in lane 7, the 2008 Olympic champion and world record holder Britta Steffen (GER).
In the end, the gold in Barcelona went to Campbell, who was under the World Record pace at the 50m-mark, but touched home in 52.34. It was the first title at World Championships for the Australian, who was decisive at the 2012 Games in London to give her country the only gold of the competition, in the 4x100m free relay.
Sjostrom got the silver in 52.89, while the bronze went to Kromowidjojo in 53.42. Franklin missed the podium and was fourth in 53.47, faster than Steffen, who clocked a modest 53.75 (sixth).
World Record: Britta Steffen (GER), 52.07 – July 31, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Championships Record: Britta Steffen (GER), 52.07 – July 31, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Cate Campbell (AUS), 52.33 – August 1, in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Hanna-Maria Seppala (FIN, 54.37); 2005 – Jodie Henry (AUS, 54.18); 2007 – Lisbeth Lenton (AUS, 53.40); 2009 – Britta Steffen (GER, 52.07); 2011 – Jeanette Ottesen (DEN) and Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR) 53.45
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Kornelia Ender (GDR, 1973 & 1975)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED, 53.00), 2. Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR, 53.38), 3. Tang Yi (CHN, 53.44)