Swimmer Gan Ching Hwee smashes women’s 1,500m freestyle record
After setting a personal best in the 400m freestyle on Sunday, Gan Ching Hwee took note of what she needed to improve on for her next event on Monday.
The Singaporean, 20, duly delivered as she smashed her 1,500m free national record by almost 11 seconds with her 16min 20.88sec effort at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Her previous mark of 16:30.48 was set just three months ago at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, Illinois.
Gan, who had lowered her 400m free time by 1.06sec to 4:13.10, called her personal best times at the heats “rewarding”.
“I am really pleased with today’s performance and national record in the 1,500m,” she said.
“I kept in mind the things I needed to improve from the 400m yesterday and executed them well. I’m definitely looking to keep the momentum going for my upcoming events.”
Gan finished 24th out of 41 swimmers in the 400m and 14th in a field of 31 in the 1,500m.
Praising the swimmer for her performance, National Training Centre head coach Brad Dingey said: “Ching is managing herself really well since arriving in Japan.
“The national record in the 1,500m today is representative of the quality training she has been doing now over the course of the year.
“We are looking forward to the remainder of the competition with a focus on the 800m freestyle and really excited to see how the results this week translate into her performance at the upcoming Asian Games.”
Gan, who is slated to compete in her pet long-distance freestyle events in Hangzhou, will look to continue her form in the 200m and 800m free on Tuesday and Friday respectively.
In other action on Monday, China won back-to-back gold medals as Qin Haiyang roared to victory in the men’s 100m breaststroke while Zhang Yufei took the women’s 100m butterfly title.
Qin set the second-fastest time in history behind Britain’s world record holder Adam Peaty, finishing in 57.69sec with a three-way tie for the silver as Nicolo Martinenghi, Arno Kamminga and Nic Fink were all locked on 58.72.
The new champion also shaved 0.13 seconds off his previous Asian record of 57.82, which was set in the semi-finals.
“That is a pretty good time. That is my best time. But I can do better. I will catch up to the world record,” Qin said of Peaty’s 56.88 mark set at the worlds in 2019.
Zhang then came up with another dominating display to emerge triumphant in her event with a time of 56.12, finishing ahead of Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Margaret Mac Neil of Canada and 2022 champion Torri Huske of the United States.
“This is my first gold medal at the world championships,” said double Olympic champion Zhang, who has seven bronze medals at the worlds. “This is my happy time. I just feel wonderful and amazing.”
The absence of defending champion Caeleb Dressel from the men’s 50m butterfly event opened the door for Thomas Ceccon who touched the wall in 22.68 seconds to win Italy’s first gold of the meet to loud cheers at a packed Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall.
“I had the 100m backstroke (semis) 20 minutes ago so it was really hard for me mentally and physically,” said Ceccon, who is the reigning champion in that event too. “But I did it and I’m super happy with that.”
After an underwhelming opening day, the Americans got their first gold with a one-two in the women’s 200m individual medley as Kate Douglass won in 2min 07.17sec to dethrone compatriot Alex Walsh who was 0.80sec slower.
Australia top the medals tally with four golds despite not adding to it on Monday following inspired displays by Ariarne Titmus, Sam Short and their relay teams on Sunday.
- Additional reporting by AFP