Florian Wellbrock made history by becoming the first man to win gold in the open water and the pool at the same World Championships as arena swimmers enjoyed a golden sunset to the programme in Gwangju, South Korea.
Katinka Hosszu and Daiya Seto both won gold in the 400m individual medley while Gregorio Paltrinieri, Sarah Sjostrom and Cate Campbell were all among the medals.
Wellbrock was locked in a battle in the 1500m and he took over the lead with 100m to go which he never relinquished to win in 14mins 36.54secs.
The German also won the 10km open water race to write a new line in the history books.
He said: “Of course, for me it’s a big thing. I’m now the first swimmer ever who became world champion in open water and in the pool”
“I expected a medal, but not gold. My strategy was to follow Paltrinieri as long as I can. During the last 50 I only thought: keep your head down, keep fast.
“It was mentally not easy for me after the 800 (he was 17th) – but we found the reason with my coach Bernd Berkhahn.
“I felt well the last days in the pool, that’s why i was quite confident for the race.”
Defending champion Paltrinieri was third in 14:38.75.
Hosszu also made history when she became the first woman to win five world titles in one event when she took gold in the 400m individual medley.
The ‘Iron Lady’ took over the lead at the halfway point and was never subsequently threatened to win in 4:30.39 for her fourth successive title.
She said: “Very good obviously. For me going into a 400IM the last day of a world champs – it is not what you are thinking about – oh my God this is my ninth gold medal or my fifth 400IM gold. It’s not something that gets you going.
“Today was a big fight: it always is on the last day of a world champs to swim a 400IM. I like it because it’s tough, it’s challenging and it hurts a lot, it shows you are. And I am happy with the time as well: going this time at the end of a world champs is definitely really good and prepares me to swim the first day in the Olympics.”
Seto won the men’s race in 4:08.95 to add gold in the longer race to his 200m individual medley victory a year away from a home Olympics in Tokyo.
Sjostrom was second in the 50m freestyle to become the first woman to have won five medals in individual events at a single World Championships.
The 25-year-old also won gold in the 50m butterfly, silver in the 100m fly as well as bronze in the 100m and 200m freestyle.
She missed gold by just 0.02secs in 24.07 and said: “I am very happy that I could get another medal, my fifth individual medal here,” she said.
“I don’t think many people have won medals in 50, 100 and 200 freestyle before, I’m not sure.
“Especially not with two extra events on the side – the 50 and 100 fly. It was a very close race but I am happy because I had such a tough programme, I wanted to challenge myself. I didn’t know if it was the right decision to do that but I am very, very pleased I decided to do such a tough programme.”
Cate Campbell was third, 0.04secs behind Sjostrom with Ranomi Kromowidjojo sixth.