Kyle Chalmers wins gold in 100m freestyle at World Championships with stunning swim to claim the only major title missing from his extraordinary career
- Aussie star Kyle Chalmers won gold in the 100m freestyle in Japan
- World record holder David Popovici could only finish sixth
- Kaylee McKeown won gold for Australia in the 50m backstroke
Kyle Chalmers is savouring his sweetest victory of them all after claiming gold in the men’s 100m freestyle.
And Australia’s swimmers continue their Fukuoka feast with the women’s 4×200 metres freestyle relay team setting a world record amid three more gold medals at the world championships.
Chalmers, the invincible relayers and Kaylee McKeown in the 50m backstroke all saluted on Thursday night.
Australia’s gold medal tally rose to nine – the nation’s most at any world titles since 2007.
Liz Dekkers also collected a 200m butterfly silver medal, while the women’s relayers created Australia’s third world record of the meet.
Kyle Chalmers won gold in the men’s 100m freestyle at the World Championships in Japan
The Aussie finished first in 47.15 seconds ahead of Jack Alexy of the United States
Relay teammates Mollie O’Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus have been involved in two of the benchmarks, following their records in the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle respectively.
O’Callaghan, Shayna Jack, Brianna Throssell and Titmus sizzled in the 4×200 relay, clocking seven minutes 37.50 seconds to eclipse Australia’s previous world record of 7:39.29 at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The achievement came shortly after Chalmers said he was intent on appreciating his 100 freestyle world title more than his shock Olympic gold seven years ago.
The 25-year-old triumphed with a trademark last-lap surge – turning in seventh, he powered to the finish to win in 47.15 from American Jack Alexy (47.31).
‘I have had to work so much harder for that moment,’ Chalmers said.
Australia won gold and set a new world record in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay
‘Obviously, 2016 [Olympics] I was an 18-year-old kid and, to be honest, I didn’t really know what I achieved in that moment.
‘I have had to work so hard for seven years, sacrifice so much, go through heart surgery, shoulder surgeries, some pretty bad mental health times throughout this last little period.
‘So I know how much it means to me, my family, my friends.’
Chalmers was desperate to complete his collection which includes Olympic, Commonwealth Games and world short-course gold in the event.
‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubt in mind at times that I would be able to achieve that,’ he said.
McKeown set an Australian record in winning the 50m backstroke, adding to her 100m backstroke title two nights ago.
She clocked 27.08, inside her previous benchmark of 27.16 set in 2021, to pip American rival Regan Smith (27.11).
Dekkers took silver in the 200m butterfly in 2:05.46 with Canadian 16-year-old Summer McIntosh taking the gold medal in 2:04.06.
Kaylee McKeown won gold in the 50m backstroke adding to her 100m backstroke title she won two nights ago
In the women’s 100m freestyle semi-finals, Australia’s reigning world champion O’Callaghan and Emma McKeon both advanced to Friday night’s final.
O’Callaghan, a night after setting a 200m freestyle record, won her semi in 52.86 and, in the same semi-final, McKeon finished third in 53.00.
In the men’s 200m breaststroke semi-finals, Australia’s world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook was fastest qualifier for the medal race in a time of 2:07.27.
Abbey Harkin (2:23.65) secured her berth in Friday night’s 200m breaststroke final while Brad Woodward advanced to the men’s 200m backstroke final in a time of 1:56.16.