BARCELONA, Spain --- Texas A&M swimmer Breeja Larson closed out the 2013 FINA World Championships with a gold medal in the 400-meter medley relay and a fourth-place individual finish in the 50-meter breaststroke on Sunday.
Larson, a senior from Mesa, Arizona, swam the fastest breaststroke leg of the morning preliminary session with a 1:05.68 split which helped Team USA emerge as the top qualifier in 3:58.66. Larson didn’t swim in the evening as she yielded to former world record holder Jessica Hardy for the breaststroke. Larson earned a gold medal for her morning swim as Team USA crushed the field by nearly two seconds in the evening final.
Earlier in the evening session, Larson posted a fourth-place individual finish in the 50 breast with a time of 29.95. She finished just behind medalists Yuliya Efimova of Russia (29.52), Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania (29.59) and Hardy (29.80), and her time was fourth-fastest 50-meter breaststroke in history. The top four finishers are the only females under 30 seconds ever in the 50-meter breaststroke.
For the meet, Larson was fourth in the 50 breast, fifth in the 100 breast and reached the semifinals of the 200 breaststoke, in addition to Team USA’s gold medal effort in the 400 medley relay.
A trio of current and former A&M swimmers helped Mexico break its national record in the 400 medley relay. Mexico placed 13th in the prelims with a time of 4:08.82 with a relay foursome that featured senior Erica Dittmer (breaststroke), 2012 senior Rita Medrano (butterfly) and junior Liliana Ibanez (freestyle).