Doha 2024: Daniel Wiffen joins elite distance-double club; named best male swimmer of the meet

Credit to: Mike Lewis/World Aquatics

Daniel Wiffen became the fourth man to do the distance double when he won the 1500m freestyle by more than 10 seconds as the World Championships wrapped up in Doha.

It was a glittering final session for European swimmers who left the Aspire Dome with 15 medals.

Wiffen made history when he became the first Irish swimmer to win a world title with victory in the 800 free.

On Sunday, the 22-year-old took the lead on the third 50, going away from the field and swimming inside Sun Yang’s world record pace.

He was 6.91secs ahead of Kuzey Tuncelli of Turkey at halfway with the battle for silver and bronze unfolding behind him.

Wiffen came home in 14mins 34.07secs to elevate himself to fifth-fastest man in history and second European all-time behind Gregorio Paltrinieri, whose continental record stands at 14:32.80.

The Irishman joined Grant Hackett, Sun and Ahmed Hafnaoui as the only men to have completed the double.

Florian Wellbrock was second, 10.54secs adrift in 14:44.61 after a battle with David Aubry, the Frenchman third in 14:44.85.

Credit to: Istvan Derencsenyi/World Aquatics

Wiffen, who was named male athlete of the meet, described it as “an amazing feeling” before looking ahead to Paris 2024 and beyond with Sun’s world record of 14:31.02 in his sights.

“It’s one of my goals to try and beat the world record at some point,” he said.

“It’s a bit funny to say that too as I’ve got at least another eight years.

“Doha has been going great for me and I’m looking forward to the Olympics as I’ve already qualified.

“I’m more looking forward to my twin brother (Nathan Wiffen), I want him to go to the Olympics.

“I feel like if he is there, it is going to be more like home and it’s going to be easier for me. I will just try and give my best while swimming how I swim.”

Credit to: Mike Lewis/World Aquatics

There was a 50m freestyle three-peat for Sarah Sjöström, as she claimed her fourth gold in the event.

The Swede won in 23.69, 0.08 outside her world record and the joint fourth-fastest time in history, with Sjöström owning the five top times.

She won her first world title at Budapest 2017 and has now topped the podium at Budapest 2022, Fukuoka 2023 and Doha 2024.

“I’m very, very proud to win this medal,” she said. “It was a lot of pressure.

“It gives me the confidence coming up to Paris that I can handle all kinds of pressure.”

Kasia Wasick made it two Europeans on the podium, touching in 23.95 for third in a Polish record.

Credit to: Istvan Derencsenyi/World Aquatics

Ruta Meilutyte also won her third straight title in the 50m breaststroke, touching in 29.40 for the third-fastest time of her career and the joint fifth-swiftest performance in history.

The 2012 Olympic 100m breaststroke champion said: “It’s always a matter of pride to represent my country at the World Championships.

“Lithuanian fans are the best, very bright country, it’s always a pleasure to be on the podium with such fans in support.

“My grandmother admired my medals and this medal is going to be a gift for her.”

Benedetta Pilato, the former world record-holder and Budapest 2022 champion, was third in 30.01.

It was a fourth straight World Championship medal in the event for the Italian.

Credit to: Hiroyuki Nakamura/WORLD AQUATICS

Freya Colbert was third at the final turn of the women’s 400m individual medley before a 31.31sec last 50 saw her move past Anastasia Gorbenko of Israel and Italy’s Sara Franceschi.

The Roma 2022 bronze medallist claimed Great Britain’s second gold of the championships in 4:37.14 ahead of Gorbenko (4:37.36) and Franceschi (4:37.86).

“I was just overjoyed, especially watching Laura (Stephens) win earlier this week,” said Colbert.

“Just training together with her the whole time, gave me the confidence boost. Everyone was kind of lifting me up.”

Teammate Max Litchfield won silver in the men’s event on his return to the international stage.

Litchfield, a double European medallist over eight lengths, stopped the clock in 4:10.40.

Poland’s Ksawery Masiuk got the evening off to a medal-winning start with bronze in the 50m backstroke in 24.44.

Masiuk then led off the Polish quartet in the men’s 4x100m metres medley relay, handing over in third only for the team to be disqualified for an infraction on the breaststroke leg.

The complexion of the race changed on the breaststroke with Arno Kamminga and Nicolo Martinenghi propelling the Netherlands and Italy to second and third respectively, where they remained throughout.

Netherlands won silver in 3:31.23 ahead of the fast-finishing Italians in third in 3:31.59.

A 56.11 butterfly leg by Sjöström propelled Sweden into the lead at the final changeover in the women’s medley relay.

However, Shayna Jack came past Michelle Coleman down the second 50 with Sweden taking silver in 3:56.35.