Sarah Sjostrom set a new world record of 51.71secs in the 100m freestyle as she became the first woman to swim inside 52 seconds and Gabriele Detti claimed bronze in the 400m freestyle as arena swimmers made waves at the World Championships in Budapest.
There was also a championship record of 57.75 for Adam Peaty in the 100m breaststroke semi-final with Katinka Hosszu serving notice that she means business in the 200m individual medley on Monday night in 2:07.14, the fastest in the world this year.
Sarah had already qualified fastest from the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly in 55.77 – just 0.01secs off her own world-leading time this year – before she swam the lead-off leg for the Swedish quartet in the women’s 4x100m relay.
Out in 24.83, the Swede left all her rivals in her slipstream, to touch in 51.71secs to beat the record of 52.06 set by Australia’s Cate Campbell last year.
It was an astonishing achievement, her time just 0.01secs shy of being a full second faster than the that in which Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel shared Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Sarah had been threatening all season with Campbell predicting she would indeed eclipse her record.
The Swedish quartet eventually finished fifth but all eyes were on Sarah who was rewarded with hugs aplenty after the race, including from Bronte Campbell, Cate’s younger sister.
Sarah said: “It was a really quick time, it was like 1.2secs faster than I did in the Olympic final last year so I have been working a lot on my freestyle technique this last year and it worked out really well.
“The plan was to go for the world record the first day because I know I am going to be more fresh today than I will be maybe later this week. It’s also much easier to go for a record in the first leg of the relay so I kind of took the chance and went all out on the first 50 and hoped for the best on the second 50 so it wasn’t really a smart swimming, I was just chancing so it was not really the perfect plan to race when I swim the individual race later this week – then I have to be more careful on the first 50.”
Gabriele matched his Olympic bronze from Rio when he was third in the 400m freestyle, the Italian clocking 3mins 43.93secs.
The 22-year-old, who is the European champion, said: “It is my first medal at the World Championships and it makes me happy as I missed the championships two years ago, due to injury. Today I tried to catch Mack Horton (silver medallist) on the last 50m, but it did not work. In the end, it does not matter which colour the medal is!”
Adam heads into the final of the 100m breaststroke looking ominous – for his rivals that is.
The Briton lowered the world championship record he set two years ago in Kazan, Russia, from 58.18 to 57.75 meaning that he now has the 10 fastest times in history.
The Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion has been studying Project 56 for quite some time as he looks to become the first man inside 57 seconds.
“There’s always room to step up again and that’s what makes a 57.7 a 57.1. Whether we get that tomorrow, I don’t know. Whether in three years (we do) a 56, we don’t know. But that’s the beauty of sport. We’ll see what we get.”
Katinka has won all major titles in the 200m individual medley since the London Olympics in 2012 where she finished eighth, a turning point in her career.
She was welcomed rapturously, the crowd threatening to lift the roof off the Duna Arena before, during and after her race.
Coached by husband Shane Tusup, Katinka looked in a realm of her own, coming home in a freestyle split of 29.98 to head the world rankings in 2:07.14, 1.02secs off her world record of 2:06.12 set in Kazan two years ago.