Pan Zhanle has made waves in the swimming community after breaking the men’s 100m freestyle world record at the world swimming championships in Doha. At just 19 years old, Pan split 46.80 seconds, taking six hundredths off the previous world record set by Romanian David Popovici in 2022. This impressive performance helped China win the relay by a one-second margin over Italy while the U.S. claimed bronze without their top 100m freestylers.
With his remarkable record, Pan has established himself as a strong contender for the iconic 100m freestyle race at the Paris Olympics, which American Caeleb Dressel won in an Olympic record time of 47.02 at the previous Games in Tokyo in 2021. Although some top swimmers opted not to compete at the worlds, held for the first time since an Olympic year, Pan’s performance was noteworthy.
In other events at worlds, Australia’s Erika Fairweather made history by becoming the first New Zealand swimmer to win a world title in the women’s 400m free with her victory of 2.18 seconds over China’s Li Bingjie. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kim Woo-Min claimed victory in men’s 4x100m free by holding off Aussie Elijah Winnington, despite being missing two of Australia’s fastest swimmers and Olympic gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia who were absent from competition. World championship continues on Monday with finals scheduled to be broadcast live and featuring American Kate Douglass looking to repeat as champion in women’s 200m individual medley race.