Australian swimming sensation Mollie O’Callaghan has left the world in awe after breaking the oldest standing world record in the women’s 200m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka on Wednesday, July 26.
The 19-year-old superstar achieved the seemingly impossible feat with a remarkable time of 1:52.85 seconds, smashing the previous record set by Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini in 2009 at 1:52.98.
In a nail-biting finish, O’Callaghan surged ahead in the final 20 meters, overtaking her teammate Ariarne Titmus, who had already set a world record in the 400m freestyle just the night before.
Emotions ran high as she touched the wall and realised the magnitude of her achievement.
“I was a wreck,” O’Callaghan said after the race.
“I kind of looked (at the results board) and I was a bit like ‘oh, is that me or not?’.
“I couldn’t really explain it in the moment.
“There was tears. There was happiness. Very mixed emotions.
“I am just so proud of myself to do that. It was such an unexpected moment.”
THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE! ????????????
Mollie O’Callaghan goes BANG and owns the Women’s 200m Freestyle WORLD RECORD with the time of 1:52.85. ????????
Ariarne Titmus was oh so close and took out the Silver with a time of 1:53.01. ????
— Australian Swim Team (@DolphinsAUS) July 26, 2023
Not only did the incredible performance secure O’Callaghan a place in history but added to Australia’s dominance in the pool.
On Tuesday, July 25, fellow Aussie swimmer Kaylee McKeown made a splash after claiming Australia’s fifth gold medal during the 100 metre backstroke, coming within 0.08 seconds of her own world record.
“I was very, very nervous heading in, probably more so than I have ever been,” McKeown said.
“It was just to real testament myself dealing with what I have over the past few hours.
“Nerves just mean that you care about what you’re doing. When you train so hard for something, you just want it to all come together at the right moment.”
KAYLEE MCKEOWN WINS GOLD! ????
Redemption for Kaylee after clocking a new championship record of 57.53, securing gold in the women’s 100m backstroke final! She was on world record pace with just 20m to go! ????#Fukuoka2023 #WorldAquaticChamps pic.twitter.com/4hnXVYyg3O
— Australian Swim Team (@DolphinsAUS) July 25, 2023
At 57.53 seconds, McKeown narrowly missed her own world record of 57.45, established in Adelaide back in 2021.
Fellow swimming sensation Ariarne Titmus has also been making waves, setting a new world record in the women’s 400-metre freestyle on day one of the competition.
Titmus amazed everyone with her incredible performance, turning the expected exciting three-way contest into a display of her abilities. She broke the world record held by Canadian teen swimmer Summer MacIntosh with a remarkable time of 3:55.38.
Titmus has become the first-ever swimmer to finish under the 3:56 mark, shaving a massive seven-tenths of a second off McIntosh’s previous record.
“I was really excited for this race coming in tonight, I haven’t really raced the best in the world since the Olympics,” Titmus told reporters.
“Katie and Summer always put on a great fight and I’m glad we could put on a show.
“I feel like I didn’t have the most perfect prep coming into this and I think it all came together in the last few months. To swim like that and swim really free and fearless, I feel really over the moon to get that one.”
Australia finds itself leading the medal table with an impressive tally of six gold and three silver medals, surpassing both China (4-0-4) and USA (3-7-7).