Men’s 50m Backstroke - Isaac Cooper Sprints to First Ever World Title & 100th for Australia

Australia’s Isaac Cooper finally won his first World title on the final night of the World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024 as he sprinted to the wall to touch at 24.13. Cooper swam his lifetime best in the semis at 24.12 as he upgraded his ninth place finish from Fukuoka 2023 and his silver from Melbourne 2022 in short course meters.

“At the (short course) Worlds I wasn't quite able to get the gold at the end of the day,” Cooper said. “It came down to two races, but tonight it was only one. Thankfully, I'm not sure I'd be able to back up too well with two.”

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Cooper was able to take down the defending champion Hunter Armstrong (24.33) of the United States as he won his third straight medal in this event after silver in Budapest 2022 and gold last year in Fukuoka. Armstrong, who is coached by Dave Durden and David Marsh at the University of California, Berkeley, also won the 100m backstroke on Tuesday night but was unable to win the sprint double.

“I learned a ton,” Armstrong said, who won seven medals in Doha. “I picked up a much heavier schedule than I’m used to. This World Championships is all about training and getting ready for the next step which is ultimately Paris.”

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“There is no strategy for the 50m. You just kind of have to get in and pray you don’t hit the lane line. It was a great race for Isaac… he even smacked the lane line and still got me. It was really fun to be ‘one-two’ with him.”

Cooper, coached by former Olympian Ash Delaney, won Australia’s first 100th gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships, dating all the way back to the first edition in 1973.

Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk (24.44) tied his best time to win the bronze medal, matching his third place from Budapest 2022 as the 2022 World Juniors champion swam 24.44 for the third time in his career.

“Actually, it is my third time when I am swimming 24.44 in my life and it is my national record which I have already three times,” Masiuk said. “To win a medal here was my main goal in Doha. That 0.11 to the silver medal was very close – almost in my hands but the bronze medal is also cool.”

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South Africa’s Pieter Coetze, who won bronze in the 200m on Friday, finished fourth at 24.59 ahead of Germany’s Ole Braunschweig (24.74) and 200m champion Hugo Gonzalez (24.77) of Spain.

Italy’s Michele Lamberti (24.82) and United States’s Michael Andrew (24.86) also competed in the championship final.

Women’s 50m Breaststroke - Ruta Meilutyte Three-peats

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte became the first swimmer to win the 50m breaststroke three times at the World Aquatics Championships, winning on Sunday night in Doha on 29.40, which is the fifth fastest swim in history. Melitutye backed up her titles from Budapest 2022 and Fukuoka 2023, as she also won silver back in Barcelona 2013 and was fourth twice in Kazan 2015 and Budapest 2017.

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“It is a proud moment for me and I’m really happy,” Meilutyte said. “It’s really exciting and inspiring to be on the stage while representing Lithuania. I was not expecting anything specific but it was easier to get the same time swimming the 50m any season, as compared to swimming the longer swims.

“I think coming back with a lot of experience has always helped me. I’m proud of how far I have come and the journey I have been a part of. It’s always a matter of pride to represent my country at the World Championships. Lithuanian fans are the best, very bright country, it’s always a pleasure to be on the podium with such fans in support. My grandmother admired my medals and this medal is going to be a gift for her.”

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Meilutyte, age 26, won ahead of Tang Qianting of the People’s Republic of China, who broke the Asian record for the third time at these championships, swimming 29.51 to win silver to move up to fourth on the all-time list. Tang became the first Asian woman to break 30 seconds in the heats on 29.93 and then went even faster in the semis at 29.80. She backs up her gold from last year’s Asian Games as she also won the 100m breaststroke Tuesday night.

“I’m really excited with my race and with the silver medal,” Tang, age 19, said. “I came here to make a good performance and set a new PB. A new Asian Record, both in the semifinals and in the final, is very good. I will work harder and I hope that I can do even better than that.”

Italy’s Benedetta Pilato (30.01) won the bronze medal for her fourth straight trip to the podium at age 19, matching her third place finishes from Fukuoka 2023 and her two silvers from Gwangju 2019 and Budapest 2022.

“This is my fourth medal in this event and I am very glad for winning it,” Pilato said. “These championships were not in my focus very much as we have the Olympics and I am preparing myself for the 100m, but that is ok. I feel like this was good training and it is a very difficult period of time to prepare for this as it is just February.”

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South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk (30.47) finished fourth in her third straight 50m breast Worlds final.

Finland had two finalists with Ida Hulkko (30.60) finishing fifth and Veera Kivirinta (30.73) finishing seventh.

Piper Enge (30.69), who was the bronze medalist at last year’s World Juniors, placed sixth for the United States, while Ireland’s Mona McSharry (30.96) placed eighth after she made all three breaststroke finals this week in Doha.

Men’s 1500m Freestyle - Daniel Wiffen Does the Double

Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen let it loose in the 1500m freestyle final on the last night of the World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024 as he moved up to fifth on the all-time list, scoring a 14:34.07 in becoming the second fastest European ever in the event.

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Wiffen, who won Ireland’s first ever medal at the World Aquatics Championships with his gold in the 800m on Wednesday night, grabbed the lead at the 150m mark and never let go of it. Even with the 2019 World champion Florian Wellbrock and the eighth fastest performer in history Mykhailo Romanchuk in the field, Wiffen showed no sign of fear.

As Wiffen took the first 400m out in 3:51.27 and the first 800m in 7:45.79, the race became one for silver as the Irishman was pushing world record pace.

Wiffen, coached by Andi Manley in Loughborough, won his second World title of the week and was named swimmer of the championships by World Aquatics for his two gold medals during the week. Wiffen, age 22, is also the fourth man in history to win the 800m and 1500m at the same World Championships, joining the likes of Ahmed Hafnaoui (2023), Sun Yang (2011, 2013) and Grant Hackett (2003, 2005) as winners of the distance double.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Wiffen said. “I just wanted to give a good time and finish off like that. I’m content about my swim. I said in my interview after the race too that the crowd was really good and that pushed me towards getting the gold. I came to this competition thinking of just winning a medal but I had never won one.”

The 14:31.02 by Sun Yang will have to live another day, but it may not last much longer if Wiffen can keep his fitness until the Paris Olympics.

“It’s one of my goals to try and beat the world record at some point. It’s a bit funny to say that too as I’ve got at least another eight years and another proper Olympics swim. Doha has been going great for me and I’m looking forward to the Olympics as I have qualified.”
By Daniel Wiffen

The race for the silver medal went the way of Germany’s Wellbrock (14:44.61), who out-sprinted France’s David Aubry (14:44.85). Wellbrock won his tenth career medal at the World Aquatics Championships at age 26, as this is his first medal in the pool since winning bronze in Budapest 2022 in this event. Wellbrock took on the open water schedule last week in Qatar as well, finishing ninth in the 5km and 29th in the 10km after coming in as the defending champion in both.

Wellbrock, coached by Bernd Berkhahn, was able to finish his championships on a positive note by winning silver on Sunday evening in the pool 1500m.

“I’m double as happy, both for the silver medal, and the Olympic qualification,” Wellbrock said. “After the 10km open water and the disappointing 800m, I had a lot of pressure. I had to finish in the top four in this race so that I could get the Olympic qualification. I focused on the medal. I wanted to be on the podium. Daniel Wiffen was really, really fast. For February, a time like 14:34 is not bad, but in the end I’m very pleased with my 14:44 and the silver.”

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Aubry, age 27, won his second career medal at the World Aquatics Championships, matching his bronze from Gwangju 2019 in the 800m.

“I felt very well in the race and I did the race the way I wanted to,” Aubry said. “In the last 50m I missed a bit of speed and I was very close to the silver. I have to work on that but for today I am very glad for my performance. It was not my PB but I got very close – less than one second so it is very good for me. If you told me that I would be on the podium before the world championships, I would not believe it. So it is a kind of a surprise. I was training so hard and I managed to do this today. In a race like this, it is not easy to swim as fast as we can because there are also other good swimmers who swim very fast from the beginning so it is good.”

Hungary’s David Betlehem (14:46.44), who was in medal contention on the front half, faded to fourth ahead of Ukraine’s Romanchuk (14:47.54) and Germany’s Sven Schwarz (14:47.89).

China’s Fei Liwei (14:50.51) and Turkey's Kuzey Tuncelli (14:59.76), who was last year’s World Juniors champion, also swam in the championship final.

Women’s 50m Freestyle - Sarah Sjostrom Ties Fourth Fastest Time Ever for Fourth 50m Freestyle World Title

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Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom showed why she is perhaps the best female swimmer in history on Sunday night at the World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024. Sjostrom tied the fourth fastest time ever in winning her fourth ever World title in the 50m freestyle, swimming 23.69 over one length of the pool. Sjostrom is the first ever woman to win the event four times at the World Aquatics Championships as she now holds the five fastest times in history over one length of the pool.

Sjostrom, age 30, won her 24th career medal at the World Championships as she won medal #25 in the butterfly leg on the medley relay later in the session.

“I’m very, very proud to win this medal,” Sjostrom said. “It was a lot of pressure. It gives me the confidence coming up to Paris that I can handle all kinds of pressure. I’m super happy that I was able to swim such fast times in both butterfly and freestyle, especially in freestyle with that kind of pressure on me. The girls next to me were very fast but I was still able to be in my own lane, and focus on myself. It gives me a lot of confidence coming up to Paris.”

Kate Douglass of the United States won the silver medal in breaking 24 seconds for the first time, breaking the American record at 23.91, moving herself up to eighth on the all-time list.

“I’m really happy with the race,” Douglass said. “I was hoping to get under 24. I wasn’t sure if I could do it but going for the American Record is awesome, I didn’t expect that at all going into the meet.”

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Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick also broke 24 seconds for the first time ever, moving up to ninth all-time at 23.95 as she won Poland’s third bronze medal of the championships.

“It is huge,” Wasick said. “Just to be around these incredible athletes and to be able to swim and be back in the sport, it is great. I cherish every day and every moment when I can swim and do what I love. I really appreciate it and this is a big moment for me.

“It is definitely a special motivation for me when my family is there with me as they do not come very often to see me at the competitions. When I have them in the stands, they give me so much energy. They are the people who hold me when everything is going great but also in those tough moments which every athlete has.

“I will definitely try to contribute to the rise of Polish swimming. I am very happy for our team and especially the last few days – we did not start very well but we finished strong which is very important.”

Douglass and Wasick are the 13th and 14th swimmers ever to break the 24 second barrier that was broken for the first time in 2008.

Australia’s Shayna Jack (24.27), who was the silver medalist last year, finished fourth ahead of Canada’s Taylor Ruck (24.50) and Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin (24.51).

Poland’s Kornelia Fiedkiewicz (24.69) and Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (24.79) also swam in the championship final.

Men’s 400m IM - Lewis Clareburt Wins New Zealand’s Second Ever Gold

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New Zealand collected its second ever gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships on Sunday evening to close out the championships as 24-year-old took out the 400m IM final with a 4:09.72 to back up Erika Fairweather’s gold from last Sunday in the 400m freestyle. Clareburt won his second career medal, adding to his bronze from Gwangju 2019 as he stayed with the leaders for the first 200 meters, turning second at the 300m mark.

On freestyle, Clareburt found something to finish in 57.71 as he sprinted away from the field to win the gold medal. Clareburt is coached by Mitch Nairn in Auckland as New Zealand has won four total medals in Doha these two weeks.

“For a lot of that race, I was just going through my processes and trying to find that rhythm, and I guess that's what I did,” Clareburt said. “When I turned to the freestyle I saw the guys sort of next to me. I knew I had a little bit left in the tank to do the last 100m.

“The momentum is huge (for New Zealand). The standard this week with three medals, I really wanted to put myself on the podium today and I had to wait all the way until the last day to get it done. I’m just happy with what New Zealand has been able to achieve. We are a country with only four million of us, way down the food chain of sports in terms of funding.”
By Lewis Clareburt

The silver went to Great Britain’s Max Litchfield (4:10.40), who won his first medal at the World Aquatics Championships at age 28. Litchfield was fourth in Budapest 2017 and seventh in Gwangju 2019 and is competing in his first World Championships since then.

“I’m just really happy,” Litchfield said. “To be on the podium after all these years and everything I have been through in the last couple of years is amazing. It’s been so much hardwork and dedication and just knowing I’ll get back here eventually. From day one I had that in my mind, we’ve got here now and I am thankful to everyone.

“I didn’t put any pressure today which is maybe where I have gone wrong in the past. I said to my coach I’ll go in there and no pressure on time or medals – just enjoy it and swim to the process we have worked on all year. We executed that pretty well there, I’m just happy with the swimming and to get on that podium is amazing and I really can’t complain in February.”

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Japan’s Daiya Seto (4:12.51) collected his tenth career medal in his seventh total World Aquatics Championships as he ran down Carson Foster (4:12.62) on the final 100. Seto added to his three World titles in Barcelona 2013, Kazan 2015, and Gwangju 2019 as he also won bronze twice in Budapest 2017 and Fukuoka 2023. Seto, age 29, was the oldest swimmer in the field.

“I felt I was pushing in the first half, but it was slower than the prelim, and that reflected in the second half, where I wasn't able to handle it properly,” Seto said. “I couldn't see other swimmers and thought I was in fourth or fifth place. Nevertheless I managed to win a medal in this big meet, despite not tapering yet, so I want to take it in a positive way.”

Foster finished fourth after leading for the first 300 meters, coming home in 1:01.26 to finish off the podium at 4:12.62. He finished ahead of teammate David Johnston (4:13.05).

Italy’s Alberto Razzetti (4:13.05), Canada’s Lorne Wigginton (4:14.98), and Hungary’s Balazs Hollo (4:19.66) also swam in the championship final.

Women’s 400m IM - Freya Colbert Out-races Gorbenko to Grab First World Title

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It was perhaps the most wide open race of the entire championships as none of the eight swimmers had ever won a World Championships medal in a long course 400m IM coming into the day. It was Great Britain’s Freya Colbert, who broke through to win the final at 4:37.14, closing in 1:03.04 to run down the likes of Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko (4:37.36) and Italy’s Sara Franceschi (4:37.86) on the final 100.

“I just had to trust my process,” Colbert said. “I know Anastasia is such a strong flighter and it’s not necessarily my strength. I had no idea how I finished… the board was not showing it so I had to turn around but I saw the cameras on me. I could spot my parents in the crowd and there were a couple of British supporters. I was just overjoyed, especially watching Laura (Stephens) win earlier this week, just training together with her the whole time, gave me the confidence boost. Everyone was kind of lifting me up. I'm just so happy with the result.”

Colbert, age 19, is coached by Dave Hemmings in Loughborough, as she was off her best time, but improved on her fifth place finish in Fukuoka last year.

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Gorbenko led the race on the butterfly, trading the lead with Franceschi on the breaststroke leg, who was out in lane eight. Gorbenko won her first ever medal at the World Aquatics Championships and swam her best time to move up to 77th all-time.

“This is the first time for Israel to win a medal in a World´s long course so I am very proud of myself and for being able to be here in Qatar with the Israeli flag,” Gorbenko said. “It is more than I can ask for. And to end up on the podium, I do not know how to describe this feeling. This week has been like a roller-coaster for me emotionally. So being able to put in a good performance, finally a PB at this meet on the last day - that means a lot for me as an athlete and teaches me a lot for this year. I know that a lot of people are watching me in my country tonight so it means a lot.”

Franceschi led at 300m and won the bronze to improve on her sixth place finish from Fukuoka 2023.

“I was out of training for quite some time until December 30th due to an injury on my right shoulder and to achieve this result with just one month’s preparation is an amazing thing,” Franceschi said. “I came here to fight for the Olympic qualification. I knew that I was far from being at 100% physically and to make this time at this moment and under the circumstances is great. I will go home with both the ticket for Paris and a World Championships medal, so it’s incredible, I couldn’t ask for more!”

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Slovenia’s Anja Crevar (4:38.93) and Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (4:39.78) were amongst the top three throughout the race but lost touch on the freestyle to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

France’s Cyrielle Duhamel (4:41.95), Canada’s Tessa Cieplucha (4:43.02) and Japan’s Ichika Kajimoto (4:43.61) also swam in the championship final.

Men’s 4x100m Medley - United States Stamps Dominance on Championship

The United States closed out its campaign at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships - Doha with one last gold in the men’s medley relay, winning its 16th total gold medal in the relay.

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The team of Hunter Armstrong (53.15), Nic Fink (58.20), Zach Harting (51.13) and Matt King (47.32) swam to 3:29.80 in winning the gold medal.

“It was awesome to win this,” Fink said. “We always take pride in our medley relays, knowing that it’s the end of the meet, the last major international race for the men’s team before Paris. I think getting a win here just like we did last summer is really good momentum that we are going to carry, and a bunch of these guys stepped up all week. To finish on a good note is encouraging for those guys but for the team.”

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Netherlands provided some pressure in the middle of the race to win silver at 3:31.23 with the team of Kai Van Westering (53.84), Arno Kamminga (58.23), Nyls Korstanje (51.12), and Stan Pijnenburg (48.04).

The Italians returned to the podium with bronze at 3:31.59 after the team won in Budapest 2022 and did not make the final in Fukuoka 2023. The Italians were represented by Michele Lamberti (54.28), Nicolo Martinenghi (57.97), Gianmarco Sansone (52.14), and Alessandro Miressi (47.20).

Canada (3:32.89), Spain (3:33.20), Austria (3:34.62), Ireland (3:35.28), and Poland also competed in the championship final.

The quickest splits outside the medalists came from Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez (53.11), Canada’s James Dergousoff (59.89), Spain’s Mario Molla Yanes (51.14), and Canada’s Javier Acevedo (47.75).

Women’s 4x100m Medley - Shayna Jack Sprints Home as Australia Runs Down Sweden

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Australia won the final gold medal of the championships as the team ran down Sweden to win the women’s medley relay on Sunday night at the Aspire Dome in Doha.

The team of Iona Anderson (59.20), Abbey Harkin (1:07.21), Brianna Throssell (56.86), and Shayna Jack (52.71) swam 3:55.98 for the team’s first World title in the relay since Melbourne 2007.

“For all of us girls here we just came out to do the best we could do and coming away with the gold makes us really proud,” Jack said. “I think all of us did this tonight for our country and we couldn’t be more proud of each other for doing that and coming home with the gold.”

Australia ran down Sweden, who held the lead through 350m as the team of Louise Hansson (59.93), Sophie Hansson (1:06.18), Sarah Sjostrom (56.11), and Michelle Coleman (54.13) won silver at 3:56.35, the nation’s first medley relay medal since Kazan 2015.

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Canada (3:56.43) won its fourth straight bronze with the team of Ingrid Wilm (58.95), Sophie Angus (1:06.24), Rebecca Smith (58.28), and Taylor Ruck (52.96).

China (3:59.16), Netherlands (4:00.24), Italy (4:00.34), Poland (4:01.73), and Hong Kong, China (4:03.15) also competed in the championship final.

The quickest splits outside the top three came from Kira Toussaint (1:00.26) of the Netherlands, China’s Tang Qianting (1:05.15), China’s Yu Yiting (57.16), and Kim Busch (54.29) of the Netherlands.