DOHA (AFP) – The world short-course championships came to an end on Sunday with Brazil topping the medal table after five days of action which saw an incredible 23 world records tumble.
A whirlwind final session saw 13 titles decided with five new world records established at the Hamad Aquatic Centre.
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom demolished two world records in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle that had stood since December 2009 when the performance-enhancing suit era came to an end.
There were also new marks by the Netherlands’ women’s 4x50m freestyle relay, Etiene Medeiros of Brazil in the 50m backstroke and Germany’s Markus Deibler in the 100m individual medley.
Four gold medals on the final night propelled Brazil to the top of the table with seven golds and 10 in total.
Hungary were second with six golds in a total of 11 ahead of the Netherlands (five golds, 12 overall) and South Africa, who were grateful to Chad le Clos’ four gold medals in their five overall.
Hungary’s ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu won eight medals — four gold, three silver and a bronze — and set four world records while Mireia Belmonte won four titles, two in world record time.Frenchman Florent Manaudou cemented his status as king of the sprints with three gold medals and two world records in his six-strong haul while Brazil’s Felipe Franca Silva left Qatar with five titles.
Sjostrom, who won three golds and a silver in total, soared to a dominant victory in the 100m butterfly, her time of 54.61sec slicing a hefty 0.44sec chunk off the previous mark set by Diane Bui Duyet five years ago.
The 21-year-old Swede then returned to claim the 200m freestyle, lowering Federica Pellegrini’s mark by 0.39sec in 1min 50.78sec.
It was the final world record of the competition and Sjostrom herself was shocked by the number of new standards set.
“It’s amazing. We have shown the world we have improved swimming and are getting better,” she said.
“After 2009 everyone said no-one will break these world records, all the records will be stuck for 10 years. The technique, the training environment and everything is better.”
World and championship records have constantly tumbled this week with Great Britain’s head coach Bill Furniss pointing to the finer technical details of the swimmer in a 25metre pool as opposed to competition in a 50m Olympic-sized pool.
“Some are good under water, some are anatomically gifted – they can move their body in a certain way, they are very powerful. They are very big.
“They can get off the walls with good speed and then they generate power on the first two or three strokes.”