DOHA: The world short-course championships came to an end on Sunday with Brazil topping the medal table after five days of action which saw an incredible 23 world records tumble.
A whirlwind final session saw 13 titles decided with five new world records established at the Hamad Aquatic Center.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom demolished two world records in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle that had stood since December 2009 when the performance-enhancing suit era came to an end.
There were also new marks by the Netherlands’ women’s 4x50m freestyle relay, Etiene Medeiros of Brazil in the 50m backstroke and Germany’s Markus Deibler in the 100m individual medley.
Four gold medals on the final night propelled Brazil to the top of the table with seven golds and 10 in total.
Hungary were second with six golds in a total of 11 ahead of the Netherlands (five golds, 12 overall) and South Africa, who were grateful to Chad le Clos’ four gold medals in their five overall.
Hungary’s ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu won eight medals — four gold, three silver and a bronze — and set four world records while Mireia Belmonte won four titles, two in world record time.
Frenchman Florent Manaudou cemented his status as king of the sprints with three gold medals and two world records in his six-strong haul while Brazil’s Felipe Franca Silva left Qatar with five titles.
Sjostrom, who won three golds and a silver in total, soared to a dominant victory in the 100m butterfly, her time of 54.61sec slicing a hefty 0.44sec chunk off the previous mark set by Diane Bui Duyet five years ago.
The 21-year-old Swede then returned to claim the 200m freestyle, lowering Federica Pellegrini’s mark by 0.39sec in 1min 50.78sec.
It was the final world record of the competition and Sjostrom herself was shocked by the number of new standards set.
“It’s amazing. We have shown the world we have improved swimming and are getting better,” she said.
“After 2009 everyone said no-one will break these world records, all the records will be stuck for 10 years. The technique, the training environment and everything is better.”
They’re very big
World and championship records have constantly tumbled this week with Great Britain’s head coach Bill Furniss pointing to the finer technical details of the swimmer in a 25metre pool as opposed to competition in a 50m Olympic-sized pool.
“Some are good under water, some are anatomically gifted — they can move their body in a certain way, they are very powerful. They are very big.
“They can get off the walls with good speed and then they generate power on the first two or three strokes.
“If you look at something like the 100m backstroke you will have 15m off the start so you’ve got 60m of it under water.
“Then you’ve got to roll over before the turns so probably 65-70% of the race you’re not swimming.
“Whereas long course it’s the other way round so 70% of the race you are swimming.
“So it is a completely different sport: it’s as different as clay and grass in tennis.”
The Netherlands women’s 4x50m freestyle squad had got the evening off to a flying start with victory and a new record of 1min 34.24sec meaning the Dutch hold all the freestyle relay marks in the 4x50m, 100m and 200m.
Their achievements are all the more notable given their all-women squad is just eight strong.
Deibler lowered Ryan Lochte’s record in the 100m individual medley to 50.66 with the United States swimmer in third while Medeiros followed up Brazilian compatriot Cesar Cielo’s victory in the 100m freestyle with a 50m backstroke world record triumph in 25.67.
Cielo’s tussle with Manaudou was one of the night’s highlights. The Frenchman had already won the 50m shootout and was ahead at halfway in the longer race only for his rival to overhaul him for victory in 45.75.
The 27-year-old Cielo then returned to the pool for the men’s 4x100m medley relay.
He took over in fourth but such was his desire that he moved through the field before overhauling the United States and Lochte to win by 0.35sec in 3:21.24.
Le Clos won his fourth title with a hard-earned victory in the 200m butterfly to clinch the fly triple having already taken the 50m and 100m. AFP