Emily Seebohm lay down in tears on poolside after winning the 200m backstroke in a new Commonwealth and Oceania record and Sarah Sjostrom followed up winning the 50m butterfly title with a new world record of 23.67secs in the 50m freestyle semi-finals on the penultimate night of action at the World Championshis in Budapest.
Katinka Hosszu made it an arena one-two in the 200m backstroke for her third medal of the competition while Bruno Fratus won silver in the men’s 50m freestyle.
Emily has endured a very difficult time in both mind and body over the past 18 months where a debilitating health issue had both physical and psychological repercussions.
The Australian did not win an individual medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year, despite being world champion over 100m and 200m backstroke, although she rallied to be part of the medley relay squad that won silver.
She won bronze in the 100m in Budapest before timing her charge down the final length to perfection in the longer race, passing Katinka in the last metres, to win in 2:05.68 and lower her own Commonwealth and Oceania records which she had equalled on Friday.
She clambered out of the pool and lay down by the blocks before sitting up and staring at the scoreboard in disbelief.
It was an emotional night for Emily who held back tears to say: “Honestly, I’m pretty relieved.
“I’m just really honoured and proud, it was such a fast field tonight and I was going to be proud of myself whether I won or I came last because getting back into the pool after Rio was really hard.
“Everything I’ve gone through it just proves to myself that it wasn’t me, that Rio was just one of those things that happens in life and sometimes you’ve got to go down to get back up.”
Katinka set a new personal best of 2:05.85 as she matched her silver medal in Rio last year, the Hungarian now the owner of three medals, one of each colour, in Budapest.
She was happy with her performance, especially given she had to swim in lane one after just squeaking into the final in seventh.
She said: “I desperately wanted to claim a medal so I am really happy about the silver.
“Although I could not see Seebohm from lane one I knew she was coming and even though she was faster in the final sprint, I am not at all disappointed.”
Sarah won the 50m butterfly in 24.60 to pick up her second title of the meet in the opening event of the evening.
However, more sizzle and speed awaited, the Swede appearing to glide on top of the water to set a new world record of 23.67 in the 50m freestyle semi-final.
It sliced 0.06secs off the record set by Britta Steffen at the World Championships in 2009 where Sarah competed as a 15-year-old, setting a world record in the 100m butterfly.
The 23-year-old now holds all the world records in the 50m and 100m freestyle and butterfly and is truly the queen of speed.
“It is very nice to have the world records in the four fastest events. I am really happy to have the world record in the 50 freestyle because it really proves I am the fastest woman in the world,” she said.
“I am very happy also that I could beat one of the times from the World Championships in 2009 when all the world records were being done.
“Everyone thought those records were going to be impossible to beat when they removed the suits from 2010 so I am very happy I proved to myself that I could do it.”
Ranomi Kromowidjojo and defending champion Bronte Campbell also made it to the final.
Bruno claimed his second silver medal of the meet in the 50m freestyle in 21.27, to add to his second place as part of the Brazil 4x100m freestyle.
It also means he has upgraded his bronze medal from Kazan, Russia, two years ago.
He beamed: “I have become a real silver man here in Budapest. I cannot recall the last time I was feeling so good in the pool, it has probably been the best week of my life and the two best races of my career so far.
“It feels great to see all the hard work paying off.”