Pan Zhanle made headlines by breaking the men’s 100m freestyle world record as he led off China’s gold medal-winning 4x100m free relay team 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, the first to be held in an Olympic year, Pan’s performance was noteworthy.
In the women’s 4x100m free, Erika Fairweather made history by becoming the first New Zealand swimmer to win a world title in the women’s 4x100m free relay race with Australia finishing second and Germany third place. Meanwhile, Marrit Steenbergen from Netherlands outperformed Australia’s Olivia Smolik and finished first with a time of 53:53 seconds . In this event there were no American swimmers present due to their decision not to participate in World championships that coincides with Olympic year