FLASH! Siobhan Haughey Takes Down Sarah Sjostrom’s 200 Free (SCM) World Record at Short Course Worlds
During the entire ISL season, Hong Kong star Siobhan Haughey had been chasing the world record in the women’s 200 freestyle. The world record had belonged to Sarah Sjostrom at 1:50.43 since 2017, but Haughey went undefeated in the event while representing Energy Standard during the ISL season and twice swam the second-fastest time in history, including a mark of 1:50.65 in late November. But finally, while racing at the Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi, she got the job done.
Haughey was out in 53.81 at the halfway point, more than a half-second ahead of the field and under world-record pace. She was six tenths under at the 150-meter mark, and although she faded slightly on the way home, she had enough to push herself to the wall in 1:50.31, 12 hundredths under Sjostrom’s record.
Previously, Haughey captured silver medals in the 200 free and 100 free at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, but this is her first gold medal at a global event and the first-ever world title in swimming for Hong Kong. On deck after the race, Haughey was awarded a $50,000-bonus check from FINA for breaking a world record.
“I knew I was close to the world record, I got close recently a few times and everyone around me kept telling me I could do it. I just tried not to think about that as all I wanted to do is really focus on my race plan; how I was going to swim well. I think that was the right thing to do, not think too much about the record, just focus on what I have to do,” Haughey said after the race. “I’d say that it was close to (a perfect race). The whole race happened pretty quickly. Honestly, I don’t really remember too much about it, but I’m sure there are things I have to work on, things I can slightly improve. Though it was a pretty good race.
“I think it’s one of the best years I’ve had so far. Hopefully, it’s not the best year yet because I’d still want more good things to happen in the future.”
Haughey was the overwhelming favorite coming into the race, and the only question was whether she would break the world record. The battle was for silver, and Canada’s Rebecca Smith emerged as the favorite for that medal when she tied Haughey for the top qualifying mark in prelims. Smith backed up that effort in the final as she was in second place for the entire length. The 21-year-old from Canada touched in 1:52.24 to earn her first-ever international medal in an individual event.
Meanwhile, American Paige Madden earned bronze in 1:53.01. Madden was sixth after 50 meters and fifth at the halfway point before she surged to the finish. Madden, a silver medalist for the U.S. on the 800 free relay at the Olympics, is competing at her first World Championships. Madden finished about a half-second ahead of Slovenia’s Katja Fain (1:53.48), Canada’s Summer McIntosh (1:53.65) and France’s Charlotte Bonnet (1:53.68).
DeepBlue Media is Swimming World’s official supplier of photos from the Short Course World Championships.
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