In a phenomenal finish to the fifth night of the 2019 World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, Australia has broken the world record in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay to claim the coveted gold ahead of the USA.
In spectacular fashion, the quartet of Ariarne Titmus (1:54.27), Madison Wilson (1:56.73), Brianna Throssell (1:55.60) and Emma McKeon (1:54.90) posted 7:41.50 to smash the previous world record of 7:42.08 which was set by the People’s Republic of China a decade ago in 2009.
Titmus tackled the first leg of the race and set a new Commonwealth record in the process to give her teammates a lead, while Wilson and Throssell held strong in the middle and McKeon anchored the team to bring them home.
Of the four relay titles that have so far been on offer at the championships, Australia now boasts three, after victories in the Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay and the 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay.
An elated Wilson said the amazing result was still sinking in.
“It’s definitely hard to swallow at the moment…well, not hard, easy…I was in the team in 2015 and ended up getting silver in the 100m backstoke and so to then come back to get the gold with the girls, it’s indescribable, really,” she said.
“As Emma was coming to the wall, I was just screaming with all my energy that I had left saying “come on, you can do it” – nothing describes the moment when Em touched the wall.
“We have a huge squad of girls back home and in the stands tonight that push us to be world record holders. We wouldn’t be here without the other four girls that were in the finals at trials. Our coach is also very good at making sure everyone’s included, fired up and supported, so we owe this to Leah (Neale) and Kiah (Melverton).”
In another stunning performance, Matthew Wilson surged to the wall in 2:06.67 to equal the world record and set a new championship record in the semi-final of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke.
It’s the second time today Wilson ducked under world record pace, after a solid performance in the heats earlier this morning. Eclipsing his personal best and clearly claiming the fastest time by an Australian, the 20-year-old will now head into tomorrow night’s final as the fastest qualifier. Fellow Dolphin Zac Stubblety-Cook also progressed to the final with a time of 2:07.95.
Speaking after the race Wilson said his goal was to make the final, and now he’s achieved that result, he’ll aim to rest and take his mind off the pool.
“I was just trying to get my hand on the wall and get in the final, anything after that was a bonus – I mean a world record is a pretty big bonus,” he said.
“I’ll just go back (to the village) and I’ll probably watch the footy, the Sharks are playing, that’s my team.
“They weren’t going very well last time I checked but I’ll do that, and it’ll take my mind off the swimming. I don’t want to waste energy thinking about the final, so I’ll just find something to take my mind off it.”
In a race that rarely disappoints, Kyle Chalmers secured silver in the Men’s 100m Freestyle final in a personal best time of 47.08. Going head-to-head with America’s Caeleb Dressel, only 0.12 separated first and second place as they battled it out in the middle lanes. The silver medal marks Chalmers’ second of the meet after he collected bronze on night one in the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay.
“I gave it my absolute all tonight,” Chalmers said post-race.
“47.0 is a very quick time, I couldn't really believe it when I saw that, and to see Caeleb go 46.9 is absolutely mind blowing – it is really positive for me leading into Tokyo.
“I enjoy racing against him (Dressel), he is an unbelievable athlete, a great guy and I love being able to compete against the best guys in the world.
“It is about resetting and putting as much effort as I can into the next 12 months to challenge him for that gold medal and defending my title.”
Teenager Kaylee McKeown placed equal fourth with Great Britain’s Georgia Davies in a tight and fierce Women’s 50m Backstroke final. Clocking 27.65 in her second final of the meet, the rising star finished narrowly behind America’s Olivia Smoliga who won gold (27.33) and Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros who took silver (27.44).
In the Men’s 200m Individual Medley final, Mitch Larkin hit the wall in 1:57.32 to place seventh overall. Japan’s Daiya Seto won the gold (1:56.14), Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches (1:56.56) claimed silver and USA’s Chase Kalisz (1:56.78) received the bronze.
After claiming gold in the 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay on night four, Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon will both progress to tomorrow night’s final of the Women’s 100m Freestyle. Racing in her first individual semi-final of the competition, Cate Campbell qualified second fastest in 52.71, while McKeon took out her semi in 52.77 to head in as the third fastest competitor.
Swimming from lane eight, Jenna Strauch went out fast in her Women’s 200m breaststroke semi-final to lead at the halfway mark, however finishing with a time of 2:26.65 and placing 14th overall wasn’t quite quick enough to secure her a berth in Friday’s final.
At the conclusion of night five, Australia sits second on the medal tally with four gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
Tomorrow’s heats kick off at 11am (EST), with finals starting at 9pm (EST).
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