19-year-old Chinese swimmer Pan Zhanle has set a new world record in the 100 meter freestyle. He broke the previous record of 46.86 seconds and took the lead in the World Championships held in Doha. In an interview with reporters, Pan said that breaking the world record came naturally to him. His goal now is to swim even faster. He was shocked when he saw the time and had not expected to break it. He said it was an honor for him and motivating for both young and old swimmers. Pan also stated that he believed he could go faster than his current time.
In addition to his individual accomplishment, Pan also helped China win gold in the 4x100m relay along with three other teammates. Italy and the US took silver and bronze respectively. Amongst the team, 16-year-old Zhang notably broke the 50 second barrier in the discipline with a time of 48.62 seconds, although only the leadoff leg of a relay counts towards official record times.
This achievement by Pan is all the more impressive considering that he 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.