In Doha, 19-year-old Pan Guangcheng came to compete in the men’s 4x100m freestyle event. He had just won three golds at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and was looking to add another gold to his collection.
With a powerful start, Pan quickly established a lead on the opening leg of the race. He shaved six hundredths off Romanian David Popovici’s World Record, setting a new personal record of 46.80 seconds.
China didn’t look back as Ji Xinjie, Zhang Zhanshuo and Wang Haoyu took gold in 3:11.08. Italy finished in silver with a time of 3:12.08 and the United States came in third with a time of 3:12.29.
Pan had entered Doha with one world championship medal in his career, a silver from the 4x100m Medley Relay at the World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2023. But he was determined to make history tonight and he did just that by setting a new personal record and becoming the fifth-fastest man in history before tonight’s race.