‘Unbelievable’: Australia sets world record in mixed 4x100m freestyle final

By Emily Patterson with AP

Australia has set a new world record in the mixed 4x100m freestyle final at the FINA World Championships.

The line-up of Jack Cartwright, Kyle Chalmers, Madison Wilson and Mollie O’Callaghan clocked 3:19.38 in Budapest to shave two hundredths of a second off the record set by the United States at the last world titles in 2019.

The Australians end the Americans’ dominant three-title winning run from 2015 to 2019 in the event.

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Kyle Chalmers and Jack Cartwright celebrate after setting a new world record. (Getty)

Cartwright led the team out in an opening split of 48.12 to position Australia perfectly at the first change, sitting third by just 0.19 off the American team.

Chalmers was next in the water and had captured the lead through his first 50m before delivering a margin of close to a second at the halfway point in a 46.98 split, his second sub-47 swim of the competition.

Handing over, Wilson extended the margin to 0.90 at the final turn. It gave newly crowned 100m world champion O’Callaghan an undeniable lead but it then became a race against the red line.

The 18-year-old replicated the powerful second 50m from her individual world title to not only secure the gold for Australia but a new world record.

“I don’t think there was any mention, expectation or even a thought about being able to break that world record,” Wilson said afterwards.

“So to do that and see it at the end was unbelievable and a real surprise for us.”

Meanwhile, after five silver medals, Aussie Olympic hero Kaylee McKeown finally claimed gold when she edged American Phoebe Bacon by just four-hundredths of a second in the women’s 200m backstroke.

McKeown delivered a clinical final 50m to add an individual world title to her resume.

McKeown was second fastest off the wall and first through the opening 50m, before Bacon made her move in the middle 100m to turn 0.33 ahead of McKeown at the 150m mark.

The 20-year-old’s renowned competitive spirit kicked in exactly when she needed it to, kicking in the final 50m to deliver her the gold medal by the barest of margins in 2:05.08.

Kiah Melverton also claimed silver in an inspiring swim in the women’s 800m freestyle final.

Swimming from the outside lane, Melverton recorded a personal best time of 8:18.77 to claim her maiden individual medal at the world championships.

Melverton matched American great Katie Ledecky, remarkably producing a near 12-second improvement on her time from the heat.

The 25-year-old becomes just the second Australian this century to medal in this event at the world championships, following Ariarne Titmus’ bronze in 2019.

After the seventh day of action, Australia sits second on the medal tally with six gold, eight silver and one bronze.

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