Carmel’s Drew Kibler, who had qualified to represent the United States in the 400-meter freestyle relay, was pulled from the team Saturday during the World Championships at Budapest, Hungary.
USA Swimming released a vague statement indicating Kibler was entered in his two other events: 200-meter freestyle, in which heats and semifinals are Sunday, and the 800 free relay on Thursday.
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The statement said:
“Due to COVID protocol travel delays, a decision was made to pull Drew Kibler from the relay to focus on his individual and future events. USA Swimming continues to prioritize the health and safety of our athletes and staff by following FINA guidelines and enforcing mask rules and social distancing.”
On Instagram, Kibler posted: “All systems GO!!!”
He missed out on a gold medal. The United States finished first in 3:09.34 from a foursome of Caeleb Dressel, 47.67; Ryan Held, 46.99; Justin Ress, 47.48; Brooks Curry, 47.20.
Australia took silver in 3:10.80 and Italy bronze in 3:10.95.
Since Dressel has been on the relay, beginning in 2016, the Americans have won all five Olympic and world titles.
Kibler has the second-fastest time in the world this year in the 200 freestyle.
Last year, he became the first Carmel swimmer ever to make a U.S. Olympic team. This year, he became the first to win an individual NCAA title (in the 200-yard freestyle) and first to make a senior world team. He was the first high school swimmer to break 1:33 in the 200-yard freestyle and was the 2018 National High School Association boys swimmer of the year.
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Before Budapest, Kibler signed an endorsement deal with Arena, an Italian swimwear company, and announced he would forgo a fifth year of collegiate eligibility at Texas. He was Big 12 swimmer of the year in 2021 and 2022.
“It feels amazing to become a sponsored swimmer like the people I looked up to when first started out swimming as a young kid,” Kibler said in a news release.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.