Bronze, silver … and, finally, gold.
That was Wyatt Davis’ pathway to the podium at the World Junior Championships.
Davis, a Carmel High School senior, came from fourth with a lap to go and scored an upset victory in the 200-meter backstroke Sunday at Budapest, Hungary.
He had won a bronze medal Wednesday in the 100 backstroke and silver Friday in the 50 backstroke.
The 18-year-old Davis leaves junior worlds with six medals, featuring three golds. He won a silver Sunday in the 400 medley relay, in which he swam backstroke leg in prelims. Swimmers in prelims earn the same medal as those in finals.
This is the seventh junior worlds — for girls 14-17 and boys 15-18 — since 2006. The previous edition was at Indianapolis in 2017.
The 200 backstroke was supposed to come down to Czech Republic’s Jan Cejka, the top seed at 1:57.51, and Cincinnati high schooler Carson Foster, No. 2 at 1:57.70. Davis was No. 6 seed at 1:58.89.
Cejka, gold medalist in the 50 backstroke, did not advance out of the heats in the 200.
Through 150 meters of the 200, Davis was in fourth place and 0.79 behind Foster.
Davis passed Foster in the closing 10 meters, swimming the final 50 in 29.54 for a time of 1:58.18. Foster took silver, as he did at the 2017 junior worlds, in 1:58.47. Mewen Tomac of France was bronze medalist in 1:58.71.
Davis’ time ranks No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list for boys 17-18. He was the first American gold medalist in the 200 backstroke at junior worlds since Jacob Pebley (1:58.78) at Lima, Peru, in 2011. And Davis is the first male Indiana swimmer to win an individual medal at junior worlds.
Russia prevented an American sweep of relay golds, setting a world junior record of 3:33.19 in the boys 400 medley relay. The United States was second.
Elsewhere, Carmel’s Jake Mitchell finished seventh in the 1,500 freestyle in 15:16.28. Franko Grgic, a 16-year-old Croatian, set a world junior record of 14:46.09 to win gold. Previous record was 14:51.55 by Australia’s Mack Horton in 2014.
Mitchell won a gold medal Friday in the 800 freestyle relay for a U.S. team that set a world junior record.