China’s Zhanle Pan competes in the final of the men’s 4X100m freestyle relay swimming event at Aspire Dome yesterday.
Doha, Qatar: The high-profile swimming events at the World Aquatics Championships Doha 2024 got underway with swimming sensation Pan Zhanle breaking the men’s 100m freestyle world record as he led off China to men’s 4x100m gold yesterday.
At the Aspire Dome, the 19-year-old shaved 0.06sec off the previous record of 46.86 achieved by Romanian David Popovici at the European championships in Rome two years ago.
After Zhanle’s stunning start, the Chinese team never looked back, staying ahead of a loaded field throughout. After Pan, Ji Xinjie, Zhang Zhanshuo, and Wang Haoyu saw out the race, with Wang’s 47.47 the fastest anchor split to seal victory in 3:11.08.
“Yeah, that was an incredible time. I trusted my friends and we did our best,” Pan said after the race.
Italy, represented by Alessandro Miressi, Lorenzo Zazzeri, Paolo Conte Bonin, and Manuel Frigo, took silver exactly a second behind China.
Bronze went to the USA quartet of Matt King, Shaine Casas, Luke Hobson, and Carson Foster, in 3:12.29.
After the race, Pan told media: “Actually, I wasn’t feeling in great form. I would’ve been happy with just getting on the podium. This morning (in heats), the US, Great Britain and Italy were all quicker than us, and I just wanted to focus on doing my job well.
“I told myself, just swim hard. I was shocked when I saw the time, I wasn’t expecting to break the record now – I wanted to leave it for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”
New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather competes in the final of the women’s 400m freestyle swimming event. AFP
Meanwhile, Kim Busch, Janna Van Kooten, Kira Toussaint and Marrit Steenbergen teamed up to give the Netherlands a women’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold with a combined time of 3:36.61.
Australia’s Brianna Throssell, Alexandria Perkins, Abbey Harkin and Shayna Jack clocked 3:36.93 to settle for a silver medal, while Canada’s Rebecca Smith, Sarah Fournier, Katerine Savard and Taylor Ruck combined to finish the relay in 3:37.95 to secure bronze medal.
Also yesterday, South Korea’s Kim Woo-min clinched victory in the 400m freestyle, clocking 3 minutes 42.71 seconds to beat Australia’s 2022 world champion Elijah Winnington. Germany’s Lukas Martens took third place in the event.
Olympic champion Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia was a surprise casualty in the heats, coming a lowly 17th overall and missing out on a place in the final.
In the women’s 400m freestyle, New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather emerged victorious cruising to victory after outpacing China’s Li Bingjie by two seconds.
Isabel Gose of Germany claimed the bronze in the event.
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