Chinese swimmer Pan Zhanle has set a new world record in the 100 meter freestyle at the World Championships in Doha. At just 19 years old, he broke the previous record of 46.86 seconds and took the lead in the competition.
Pan told reporters that breaking the world record came naturally to him, and that his goal now is to swim even faster. “I was shocked when I saw the time,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to break it – I wanted to leave it for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. It’s an honor for me, and it’s motivation for both young and old swimmers.”
Along with three other teammates, Pan helped China ease to gold in the 4x100m relay, with Italy and the US taking silver and bronze. Zhang, who is just 16 years old, notably 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 the race. Qin Haiyan set the current 200m breaststroke record at last year’s World Championships, making China a dominant force in international swimming.