Pan Zhanle, a 19-year-old swimmer from China, made headlines by breaking the men’s 100m freestyle world record at the world swimming championships in Doha. He led off China’s gold medal-winning 4x100m free relay team and split 46.80 seconds, taking six hundredths off the previous world record set by Romanian David Popovici in 2022. This impressive performance helped China win the relay by a one-second margin over Italy while the U.S. claimed bronze without their top 100m freestylers.
Pan’s remarkable record has established him as a strong contender for the iconic 100m freestyle race at the Paris Olympics, which American Caeleb Dressel won in an Olympic record time of 47.02 at the previous Games in Tokyo in 2021. Although some top swimmers opted not to compete at the worlds, which was held for the first time since an Olympic year, Pan’s performance was noteworthy.
In the women’s 4x100m free, Australia outperformed New Zealand to win gold, with anchor Marrit Steenbergen posting the fastest split of the field. Meanwhile, Erika Fairweather made history by becoming the first New Zealand swimmer to win a world title in the women’s 400m free. Her victory of two seconds over China’s Li Bingjie set her up to challenge