Doha 2024: Marrit Steenbergen and Tes Schouten on top of the world in record-breaking style

Credit to: Hiroyuki Nakamura/WORLD AQUATICS

Marrit Steenbergen and Tes Schouten struck gold for the Netherlands on a night when European swimmers claimed three individual titles.

Steenbergen served notice of her intentions in the 100m freestyle semifinals when she set a Dutch record of 52.53.

The European champion was joint fourth at the turn but a 26.96secs second 50 steered her past the field and into the wall for gold in 52.26.

With that, Steenbergen became the eighth-fastest woman in history and third European all-time behind world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom (51.71) and Britta Steffen (52.07).

It was the 24-year-old’s second title of the 2024 World Championships after she anchored the Netherlands’ 4x100m freestyle squad to gold.

“It’s amazing. I’m so excited,” she said. “After missing the 200m final I just wanted some revenge for myself.

“I didn’t really think I was going to win here. l knew it would be very tough.

“It’s something you dream of, the anthem is always something special, so I’m going to enjoy that.

“I set a new personal best here, that’s a big PB, so I’m very pleased with that and it gives a lot of perspective towards Paris, so I’m going to be working on that and try to do even better there as well.”

Credit to: Tsutomu KISHIMOTO/World Aquatics

Team-mate Schouten also produced a record-breaking performance in the 200m breaststroke.

She held almost a half-second lead after 50m which she extended to almost a second in 1:07.20 at halfway.

Come the 150m mark and the 23-year-old was 1.35secs ahead and although the United States’ Kate Douglass slightly cut into the lead down the final 50, Schouten was never in danger and claimed an emphatic gold.

With her time of 2:19.81, Schouten sliced a hefty 1.69secs from the Dutch record of 2:21.50 she set in the semifinals and bypassed 2:20 altogether as she elevated herself into the all-time world top 10.

Schouten added gold to 100m breaststroke silver a year after bronze over four lengths at the World Championships in Fukuoka.

“It is still a little bit of a surprise for me to win this gold medal,” she said. “Actually, it was like two seconds faster than before I came here, so it is a surprise.

“I guess I have every colour in my collection now and I am very glad.”

Credit to: Tsutomu KISHIMOTO/World Aquatics

Hugo Gonzalez was the third European to top the podium when he upgraded 100 back silver to gold over 200m.

The Spaniard was third at the final turn before coming past Jack Aikins of the USA and long-time leader Roman Mityukov with a late surge to touch in 1:55.30.

Mityukov, of Switzerland, made it a European 1-2 in 1:55.40.

Gonzalez was the first Spanish swimmer to win the 200 back since Martin Lopez-Zubero at Perth 1991.

“I think every guy in the final was capable of winning,” said Gonzalez. “I just gave my best and this time I’m happy it’s me.

“To be Spain’s first gold medallist in this event after thirty years is a great honour for me.”

Caspar Corbeau joined Netherlands teammates Steenbergen and Schouten on the podium with silver in the 200m breaststroke.

He led at the final turn only to be overhauled by China’s Dong Zhihao with Corbeau claiming his first international long-course medal in 2:08.24.

European swimmers shone in semifinal action with Sjostrom leading the 50m fly ahead of France’s Melanie Henique and Eszter Szabo-Feltothy of Hungary third into the 200 back final.

Diogo Ribeiro booked lane four for the 100m butterfly with Vladislav Bukhov and Ben Proud second and third and respectively in the 50 free.