Australian swimming Olympian Elijah Winnington won silver as he finished just 0.15 of a second behind the gold medallist in the men’s 400m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships on Monday morning (AEDT).
That followed a shock result in the heats in Doha, where reigning Olympic gold medallist and the 2023 World Championship silver medallist, Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui, bombed out. Hafnaoui was well off the pace as he battled home to finish eighth in his heat in 3:48.05, three seconds behind the heat’s winner, Winnington.
The opening night of pool swimming at the world titles also saw China’s Pan Zhanle shatter the men’s 100m freestyle world record. The 19-year-old opened his country’s 4x100m freestyle relay with a scorching leg of 46.80, slashing six hundredths off Romanian David Popovici’s world record from 2022.
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In the men’s 400m freestyle final at the Doha major, Winnington surged from 1.37 seconds behind on the final turn to go tantalisingly close to stealing gold from South Korea’s Kim Woomin, who triumphed in 3:42.71, ahead of the Australian in 3:42.86.
« I came here to race, and the focus is on Paris, but I am happy where I am at, » said Winnington, who’s expected to join Dolphins teammate Sam Short in the 400m freestyle at the Paris Olympics.
« I didn’t really have a race plan after he [Woomin] went out so hard. I could see him, so that’s something I need to think about. »
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Australia also won silver in the women’s 4x100m freestyle on Monday morning (AEDT), as Brianna Throssell, Alexandria Perkins, Abbey Harkin and Shayna Jack combined forces. The Netherlands claimed gold in 3:36.61, ahead of Australia in 3:36.93.
Throssell secured her 13th World Championship medal — and all of them have come in relays.
« We just wanted to come out and do our best, so coming home with the silver medal for our country is something we are proud of, » Jack said.
« There is nothing better than hunting. Therefore, we will be hunting for the next six months toward the Olympics. »
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