FUKUOKA: Australian teen Mollie O’Callaghan said she was “a wreck” after breaking the women’s 200m freestyle world record to claim gold at swimming’s World Championships today.
The 19-year-old beat Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus and Canada’s Summer McIntosh to touch the wall in 1:52.85s in Fukuoka, breaking a world record that had stood since 2009.
Callaghan said breaking the record was “unexpected” after going into the championships with an unspecified injury.
“I couldn’t really explain it at the moment,” said O’Callaghan, who had fired a warning shot when she beat Titmus at the Australian trials last month.
“There were tears, there was happiness. It was very mixed emotions.
“I’m just so proud of myself to do that and it was such an unexpected moment,” she added.
The previous world record was 1:52.98s, set by Italian Federica Pellegrini at the 2009 World Championships.
Titmus was looking to grab her second gold of the championships after winning the 400m freestyle in a world record time on the opening night.
She led for most of the race but O’Callaghan turned on the afterburners over the home straight to reel her in and come home first.
Titmus finished second on 1:53.01s ahead of McIntosh on 1:53.65s.
O’Callaghan said she was “really shook” when she saw her name and time on the scoreboard.
“Heading into this, I just really wanted to have fun and enjoy it and try my best and try some new race plans,” she said.
“To come out with a world record was really unexpected for me.”
Defending champion Yang Junxuan of China did not defend her title in Fukuoka.
Yang’s win in Budapest last year gave China its only individual swimming gold of the championships.