In Doha, Pan Zhanle made headlines by breaking the men’s 100m freestyle world record as he led off China’s gold medal-winning 4x100m free relay team. At just 19 years old, Pan split an impressive 46.80 seconds, taking six hundredths off the previous world record set by Romanian David Popovici in 2022. This performance helped China win the relay by a one-second margin over Italy while the U.S. claimed bronze without their top 100m freestylers.
With his remarkable record, Pan has established himself as a strong contender for the iconic 100m freestyle race at the Paris Olympics, which American Caeleb Dressel won in an Olympic record time of 47.02 at the previous Games in Tokyo in 2021. Although some top swimmers opted not to compete at the worlds, held in an Olympic year for the first time, Pan’s performance was noteworthy.
Meanwhile, in the women’s 4x100m free relay event, Netherlands outperformed Australia to win gold medal with anchor Marrit Steenbergen posting the fastest split of all 32 swimmers present. Erika Fairweather made history by becoming New Zealand’s first swimmer to win a world title in women’s 400m free category with her victory over China’s Li Bingjie and is set to challenge three fastest women of history including Olga Korostova (Russia), Katie Ledecky (USA) and Sarah Sjostrand (Sweden) in upcoming Olympic games.
In men’s 4x50m medley relay final South Korea’s Park Jihoon finished second behind Japan after leading early on but missing several turns during last lap leg changeover leaving Japan’s Yuji Horihata and Katsuyuki Yamada leading and finally winning gold medal with a new world record time of 3:35:38 seconds while America’s Michael Andrew had a great performance finishing third with a new American national record time of