By Peter Rutherford
GWANGJU, South Korea (Reuters) – Australia set a world record of 7:41.50 en route to winning the gold medal in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay at the world championships on Thursday.
The quartet of Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon knocked 0.58 seconds off the previous mark set by China at the Rome worlds in 2009.
The United States (7:41.87) took silver and Canada (7:44.35) the bronze.
“Just touching the wall and seeing the three others celebrate, it made me so excited,” said McKeon, who swam the anchor leg. “I wasn’t thinking about a world record, that was the key.”
Titmus, who beat American great Katie Ledecky to gold in the 400 freestyle on Sunday, said she knew she would have to pull her weight if they were to have a shot at the record.
“I really wanted to do my job for the girls, if we really wanted to have a crack at the world record I would have to play my part,” she added.
The Americans’ time was also under the previous world record and while Ledecky, who pulled out of the 200 and 1,500 freestyle due to illness this week, was disappointed not to win gold she took some solace from the time.
“It’s just cool whenever you break the world record,” she said. “We know we swam one of the fastest times ever so it was pretty cool.”
The 22-year-old, who has so far failed to add to her haul of 14 world titles in Gwangju, said she had been feeling the effects of dehydration, loss of appetite and light headedness but that she was “95% sure” she would swim in the 800.
“It’s just one of those things where you have to put your health first and put my trust in our great medical staff, who did a tremendous job of getting me back on a path to try and resurrect the second half of this meet.”
(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Ken Ferris)