Siobhan Haughey started writing her name into the history books in Tokyo, with the first swimming medals for Hong Kong China. She went on adding another chapter in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) with a first world title — and a fantastic world record in the women’s 200m freestyle.
Beyond this brilliant effort, the first evening session offered further rarely or never-seen features: a world crown to Austria, compliments of Felix Aubock; a global medley title by Canada and Tessa Cieplucha; a double podium from the rising Italian star Alberto Razzetti; and a golden USA-Canada tie in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
And there was something which did not change: Daiya Seto claimed his fifth short-course world title in as many editions.
Posting the six best times this year and owning five of the 10 fastest ever swims set, Haughey finally claimed the ultimate time standard in the women’s 200m freestyle. Where Haughey got close twice just weeks ago in Eindhoven at the ISL finals, where she missed Sarah Sjostrom’s mark by 0.22 and 0.23sec, respectively, in Abu Dhabi she surpassed the Swede’s best time to take the world record.
Haughey won by a mile, finishing 1.93sec ahead of USA’s Rebecca Smith, a time generating a roar of approval from the stands in the Etihad Arena. She managed to shave 0.12sec off of Sjostrom’s previous world mark (1:50.31). Daiya Seto continued his golden streak by winning the 200m individual medley comfortably. Bouncing back from the utter disappointments in Tokyo (no medals, despite arriving as the reigning world champion in both medley events), Seto was in a commanding mood once again as he expanded his winning streak to five editions, claiming gold in each world championships since 2012.
The session-ending 4x100m freestyle relay offered the usual thrills. The women’s final turned into a Northern American affair as the US and Canada tied for gold.
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