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Ben Proud returns with World Cup gold in Budapest

Ben Proud got his season underway with Men’s 50m Freestyle gold and 50m Butterfly bronze at the final leg of the 2023 World Aquatics Swimming World Cup in Budapest.

It headlined a successful weekend for British swimmers with Adam Peaty also getting on the podium for the third time in three weeks, adding another Men’s 50m Breaststroke silver to his collection – matching his result from Athens last weekend.

But it was double world champion Proud who starred on his return to action, winning gold in the ‘splash and dash’ race on the opening night in the Hungarian capital.

He beat American Michael Andrew and Australia’s Issac Cooper to the wall with an impressive time of 21.77.

The 29-year-old was just 0.19 short of his effort at the World Championships in Japan last summer as the Bath University athlete looks strong ahead of a season where he hopes to win his maiden Olympic medal at next summer’s Games in Paris.

Cooper and Andrew – who won the first and second legs of the 50m freestyle respectively – both finished within two-tenths of Proud’s time but the Brit timed his finish to perfection to take the win.

And Proud was happy with the result after taking on a tough field in Budapest.

Speaking to World Aquatics he said: “I was watching the races the past two weeks and saw some really fast times thrown down in October and I wanted to come join in. Budapest being one of my favourite pools, I wanted to come here and execute a good race.

“21-anything I would be really happy with and 21.7 in October I think is great.

“To race head to head with these guys, and it’s a pretty good group is special. I was racing against some great competitors, every one of the seven is a strong swimmer.

“I wasn’t able to race in Berlin and Budapest as I had to get some training in, my focus is on the events at the end of the season. But I am here because I knew that I wanted to start the season with some long-course racing.

“I wish I could have joined the tour earlier but this year my priority was to train and I am glad that I did that. Budapest is a great pool to come to for fast racing.”

Proud came within four thousandths of a second of adding another gold with a strong swim from lane eight in the Men’s 50m Butterfly final.

He had to settle for bronze in a race where the competitive field of eight swimmers was split by just 0.38.

It was Andrew who took the win, finishing in 23.11 ahead of Egypt’s Abdelrahman Samed (23.13) and Proud with a 23.15.

Peaty wins his third World Cup medal

Adam Peaty completed the British medal haul with another silver in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke final.

Peaty put pressure on China’s Haiyang Qin but had to settle for second, finishing just under half a second behind the triple world champion.

Triple Olympic champion, Peaty, knocked a further tenth off his time from last weekend as he builds himself back into competitive action ahead a busy year of events.

The result added to his bronze at the opening leg in Berlin and a silver in Athens in the second leg last weekend.

He also improved his position in the 100m event, climbing two places to fourth after two six place finishes in Athens and Berlin.

American Nic Fink narrowly beat Peaty to the final podium spot in the 100m race setting a time of 59.21 that was just 0.04 ahead of the world record holders time.

Peaty’s results across the three weeks saw him finish 20th overall in the men’s individual World Cup rankings.

Also impressing on his first competition of the season was Oliver Morgan who made the finals in all three of the Men’s Backstroke events.

The 20-year-old was fourth in the 100m, fifth in the 50m and seventh in the 200m in a strong weekend for the University of Birmingham athlete.

Niamh Ward was just 0.09 off a finals place in the Women’s 200m Backstroke. She almost recorded a personal best time, setting a 2:14.90 to finish in ninth spot. She also lined up in the 100m and 50m Backstroke, taking home a respectable 13th and 14th place.

City of Manchester’s Jamie Ingram completed his World Cup campaign with a 14th place finish in the Men’s 100m Butterfly and two 23rd place finishes in the 50m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle. He was joined in the butterfly events by Josh Gammon who was 17th and 19th in the 50m and 100m respectively with a strong performance for 11th in the Men’s 200m Butterfly.

Finally, Jemima Hall was close to the final in the Women’s 200m Freestyle. She ended up in 12th before finishing 15th and 16th in Women’s 400m and 100m Freestyle competition.

You can find all the results from the final leg of the World Aquatics Swimming World cup in Budapest here.

Images: British Swimming