Doha 2024: Sarah Sjöström storms to sixth straight 50m butterfly title

Credit to: Hiroyuki Nakamura/WORLD AQUATICS

Sarah Sjöström blew away the field as she powered to her sixth straight 50m butterfly title in Doha.

Sjöström was one of four European swimmers to win gold on the penultimate night at the Aspire Dome.

The Swede is the only woman to have broken the 25-second barrier and she did so once more on Saturday in 24.63secs.

It was the third-fastest time in history surpassed only by her 24.63 world record dating back to July 2014 and the 24.60 she posted en-route to gold at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest.

Sjöström enjoyed a winning margin of 0.81secs over Melanie Henique of France who clocked 25.44 for a European 1-2.

She spoke of the expectation that domination brings, saying:I do not know why everyone is saying it is easy or that it looked easy.

“Imagine going in, everyone is expecting you to win, if you do not, it is a disaster.

“So it is not easy to do that – it’s actually one of the hardest things you can do and it is easy to win the first time.

“It’s quite easy to win the second time, then it just gets harder and harder every time and it is tough to keep going and handling the pressure.

“I am proud that I was able to prove to myself and that I can manage all the pressure in the world.”

Credit to: Tsutomu KISHIMOTO/World Aquatics

Vladyslav Bukhov got his hand to the wall first in the men’s 50m freestyle, touching out reigning champion Cameron McEvoy of Australia by 0.01 in 21.44.

Bukhov became the first Ukrainian man to reach the world podium where he was joined by Great Britain’s Ben Proud who clocked 21.53.

The 2019 world junior champion paid tribute to all those who have helped him reach the top of the podium.

“It was very hard to win and I need to thank my coach and my family for their support in this way,” Bukhov said.

“I did not expect this win today and it is very special to me. I am so excited. It was not an easy transition from junior to senior category and you need to be mentally very strong.

“It is good, when you do your job in a smart way. And discipline is the key.”

Diogo Ribeiro added the 100m butterfly to his 50m crown as Europe enjoyed a clean sweep of the podium.

The Portuguese swimmer was second at halfway before coming home in 27.33 to touch in 51.17.

Simon Bucher of Austria was second in 51.28 with Poland’s Jakub Majerski coming from sixth at the turn to clinch bronze in 51.32.

Ribeiro, who became the first Portuguese swimmer to win a world title when he took the 50 fly crown, said: “I wasn’t expecting to win one gold here and now I have two!

“It’s perfect for me. I will return to my country with the feeling that work pays off.

“I’m just 19 years old and I can’t explain my feelings.”

Credit to: Hiroyuki Nakamura/WORLD AQUATICS

The women’s 800m freestyle was a real thriller and one in which Isabel Gose led from the 450m mark.

Come the final turn and the German was 0.08 ahead of Simona Quadarella only for the Italian to produce a last-lap surge.

The pair went stroke for stroke before Quadarella got her hand to the wall first in 8:17.44, 0.09 ahead of Gose (8:17.53).

With that she added the 800 crown to her 1500 title for her seventh world medal.

“It’s my first world title in 800m and it feels so special,” she said.

“It was my best race. I’m really excited about this.

“It was quite tiring. I started easily, checking the other girls, and tried to speed up in the second part of the race.

“I was focused on the gold medal. I wanted to win. It’s great that I really made it.”

In semifinal action, Sjöström returned to the pool after her 50 fly gold to book lane four for the 50m freestyle, the only woman inside 24secs in 23.90.

World record-holder Ruta Meilutyte headed the 50m breaststroke in 29.42.

Ksawery Masiuk was joint third-fastest into the men’s 50 back final in 24.46.