Records keep tumbling in Doha

Florent Manaudou (AFP)
Florent Manaudou (AFP)

Doha - Florent Manaudou has hammered home his status as king of the sprints as he set a new world record in winning the 50m freestyle at the World Short-Course Swimming Championships on Friday.

The gargantuan Frenchman was not alone in setting a new global mark at the Hamad Aquatic Centre with a double strike from Katinka Hosszu and new records by the Netherlands and Denmark in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x50 medley respectively.

It brings to 12 the number of world records set after three days of the five-day event.

Not only were there five world records on Friday, Femke Heemskerk claimed two gold medals while there was a gold and silver for Sarah Sjostrom and Peter Bernek of Hungary broke the 400m freestyle championship record set in April 1999 by Australian great Grant Hackett.

Also notable was the end of Ryan Lochte's reign at the helm of the 200m individual medley, Japanese Kosuke Hagino wresting away the crown he had worn for the last four championships.

Manaudou's record was not the first of the night but it was dramatic.

The 6ft 6ins swimmer has a distinctive high-armed windmill stroke which propelled him into the wall in a time of 20.26sec ahead of Marco Orsi of Italy and former Olympic champion Cesar Cielo.

The Olympic champion's time cut 0.04sec off the previous record held by South African Roland Schoeman since 2009 and the time of performance-enhancing suits.

Manaudou was shocked by what he had done, saying: "I didn't know I could swim so fast.

"I didn't aim to break the world record: it was not my main goal. That was to beat my two big rivals. I succeeded so this is my greatest satisfaction.

"I haven't won in a world competition since the Olympics so I feel really good."

Hosszu has already lived up to her 'Iron Lady' nickname after battling back from opening night disappointment when she was upstaged by Spaniard Mireia Belmonte to clinch victory and a world record in last night's 100m backstroke.

She returned Friday to become the first woman to dip under two minutes in the 200m backstroke, taking down Missy Franklin's mark by 0.80sec in 1:59.23 ahead of Emily Seebohm of Australia and Japan's Sayara Akase.

She followed this up with another gold in world record time in the 100m individual medley, Hosszu's time of 56.70 bringing victory over Siobhan-Marie O'Connor of Great Britain with Seebohm getting her second medal of the night.

"Some people might have thought there were problems after day one but I felt there were no problems -- just that Mireia (Belmonte) was in good shape," said Hosszu.

The Danish women's 4x50m medley relay had got the evening session off to a record-breaking start as an eye-watering butterfly leg by Jeanette Ottesen guided them into the lead which they never relinquished in a record time of 1:44.04.

The finals were rounded off with another record of 3:26.53 from the Netherlands women's 4x100m freestyle relay squad, Heemskerk winning her second gold of the night.

The 27-year-old had claimed the individual 100m freestyle title in a meet record 51.37 to beat Sjostrom by a fingernail.

The Swede returned half an hour later to clinch the 50m butterfly title in a championship mark of 24.58 ahead of Ottesen and Inge Dekker of the Netherlands.

Mireia Belmonte claimed her fourth gold medal in three days as she won the 400m freestyle in a championship record of 3:55.76.

While Lochte is in the latter stages of his career, sitting on his shoulder are the Japanese 20-year-olds Hagino and Daiya Seto.

The pair are friends and rivals, having competed against each other since the age of 10, with Seto having taken the 400m individual medley crown on Thursday.

On Friday, it was Hagino's turn. Lying second behind Lochte with 50m to go, he overhauled the American to clock 1:50.47 ahead of Lochte with Seto taking bronze.

Bernek led from start to finish to break Hackett's championship mark in the 400m freestyle by 0.69sec in 3:34.32. Hackett had set the record in Hong Kong on 1 April 1999.

Daniel Gyurta won his second successive 200m breaststroke title, the Hungarian tracking his own world record pace before falling off coming up to the 150-metre mark to win in 2:01.49.

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