Taylor Ruck of Scottsdale and Matt Grevers of Tucson fell just short of the medals podium Tuesday at the World Swimming Championships.

Ruck, 19, was fourth in the 100-meter backstroke final in Gwangju, South Korea, in 58.96 seconds. Her Canadian teammate Kylie Masse was the winner in 58.60 followed by Australia’s Minna Atherton (58.85) and American Olivia Smoliga (58.91).

Ruck also withdrew from the 200 freestyle Tuesday to concentrate on her other events. American Katie Ledecky also dropped out of the 200 free heats and the 1,500 free final due to illness.

In the men’s 100 back, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Grevers, 34, was fifth in 52.82, his same time from the semifinals. China’s Xu Jiayu was the champion in 52.43 followed by Russia’s Evgeny Rylov (52.67), Australian Mitchell Larkin (52.77) and American Ryan Murphy (52.78), the 2016 Olympic gold medalist. 

Grevers, Ruck advance to 100 backstroke finals 

Matt Grevers and Taylor Ruck advanced to the men’s and women’s 100-meter backstroke final Monday at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Grevers, 34, of Tucson was fourth fastest in the men’s semifinals in 52.82 seconds. HIs competition in the final Tuesday includes China’s Xu Jiayu, American Ryan Murphy, Russia’s Evgeny Rylov and Australia’s Mitchell Larkin.

Murphy and Grevers won Olympic 100 back gold medals in 2016 and 2012. 

In the women’s 100 back semifinals, Canada’s Kylie Masse and 19-year-old Ruck of Scottsdale were first and third fastest in 58.50 and 58.83 (Ruck’s personal best). Australia’s Minna Atherton was in between in 58.60. Americans Kathleen Baker and Olivia Smoliga also made the Tuesday final.

Katie Ledecky upset, Leah Smith of Tucson third in 400 free

Leah Smith of Tucson finished third in the 400-meter freestyle Sunday on the opening day at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Australian Ariarne Titmus upset American Katie Ledecky to win the 400 followed by Smith. Titmus, 18, caught and passed five-time Olympic gold medalist Ledecky over the final 100 meters, finishing 1.21. seconds ahead in 3:58.76. 

Smith of Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics edged Hungary’s Ajna Kesley for the bronze medal in 4:01.29.

The U.S. women finished .81 seconds behind Australia (3:30.21) in the 400 free relay. Canada, with Taylor Ruck of Scottsdale swimming the second leg, was third in 3:31.78.

Ruck, 19, is taking an Olympic redshirt year off from Stanford and training again in Toronto ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Allison Schmitt of Pitchfork Aquatics and former Arizona sprinter Margo Geer earned silver by swimming for the U.S. in the relay preliminaries.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8053. Follow him on Twitter @jeffmetcalfe.

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