In Doha, 19-year-old Chinese swimmer Pan Zhanle broke a new world record in the 100 meter freestyle. With a time of 45.78 seconds, he surpassed the previous record of 46.86 seconds and took the lead in the World Championships.
Pan spoke to reporters about his achievement, saying, “Breaking the world record just came naturally. Now my goal is to swim even faster.” He was surprised by the time he saw on the clock and had originally planned to leave it for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. However, he said that it was an honor for him and a motivation for both young and old swimmers.
In addition to breaking the 100m freestyle record, Pan also helped China ease to gold in the 4x100m relay with three other teammates. Italy and the US finished in silver and bronze respectively. Notably, Zhang Yufei, who is just 16 years old, broke the 50 second barrier in the discipline with a time of 48.62 seconds – though only the leadoff leg of a relay counts towards official record times.
This accomplishment is all the more impressive when one considers that Pan had been feeling under the weather before