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Another absolute masterclass in freestyle swimming has won Daniel Wiffen his second gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, this time after his 30 lengths of glory in the 1500 metres final inside the Aspire Dome in Doha.

Adding to his 800m freestyle gold medal won on Wednesday, a first ever medal for Ireland at these championships, Wiffen spent much of this race chasing the world record, before finishing just three seconds outside of that, his 14:34.07 still the fastest swim of his life, improving his own Irish record – and an incredible 10-second margin of victory.

It wasn’t quite gun to gold for Wiffen, with 16-year-old Kuzey Tuncelli from Turkey taking an early lead, but once Wiffen hit the front just before the 150m it was effectively race over.

The 22-year-old from Armagh simply pulled away from his rivals with breathtaking ease, already about seven seconds clear by halfway, and then 10 seconds ahead going onto the final 200m.

On his mind at that point was the $30,000 bonus for breaking a world record, the mark of 14:31.02 still belonging to Sun Yang since the 2012 Olympics in London. That came before the Chinese swimmer was handed an eight-year ban in 2020, for interfering which a doping sample, a sanction that was later reduced to four years and three months on appeal. Yang also finished that race with an unheard of 53.4 last 400m.

Germany’s distance specialist Florian Wellbrock came through to win silver in 14:44.61, David Aubry from France took bronze in 14:44.85.

Wiffen had already made Irish swimming history when breaking a world record in the event last December, taking the short course 800m mark, and it is only a matter of time it would appear before he makes this mark his own too.

Defending champion Ahmed Hafnaoui from Tunisia once again missed out on this final, finishing back in 17th in his heat – the Olympic champion in the 400m missing out on all three finals in Doha, having also won the 800m in Fukuoka last year.

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy, a three-time previous champion in the event and the Olympic gold medal winner from Rio, also missed out by one place.

Irish swimmers had previously won three medals at the World Short Course (25m pool) Championships, in Shane Ryan (2018 bronze), Ellen Walshe (2021 silver) and Mona McSharry (2021 bronze), but never in the standard Olympic-sized 50m pool, and now Wiffen has two gold medals of his own.

His parents Rachel and Jonathan were in Doha to witness his historic feat, along with his twin brother Nathan, also still in contention to qualify for Paris.

Wiffen also pockets another $20,000 for striking gold, having also finished seventh in the 400m final.

Meanwhile, a third final of the week for Mona McSharry has seen her finish in eighth place, this time after the suitably tight margins of 50 metres breaststroke, at the closing session of World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

In the event she describes herself as the “splash and dash”, McSharry was mixing it with the very best breaststroke specialists in the world, victory going to Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, the world record holder and defending champion, who touched home in 29.40.

Then came Tang Qianting from China, the 19-year-old winner of the 100m event, taking silver in 29.51, with world junior record holder Benadetta Pilato from Italy, also only 19, third in 30.01.

McSharry, swimming in lane, one finished in 30.96, it what was the second of the eight finals down for decision.

With two fifth place finishes already in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, the Sligo swimmer was back inside the Aspire Dome after giving herself another fighting chance in the medal showdown, only once again it simply wasn’t to be.

On Saturday evening McSharry had finished fourth in her semi-final that effort coming just 24 hours after finishing fifth in the 200m breaststroke, the 23-year-old also back in the pool earlier on Saturday when coming through her heats, clocking 30.72.

It comes as Ireland’s men’s 4x100m medley relay have qualified for the final out of this morning’s heats at the World Aquatics Championships, becoming Ireland’s first relay in a world long course championships final.

Conor Ferguson (Backstroke), Darragh Green (Breaststroke), Max McCusker (Butterfly) and Shane Ryan (Freestyle) confirmed their place in the Medley relay final after an outstanding swim of 3:34.94 to place fourth in their heat and eighth overall.

Ireland still have some work to do in the men’s relay, with two Olympic Qualification Times (OQT) required from the team in order to confirm the Olympic place when the invitation arrives.

The Ireland men relay will compete at 5.37pm.

Women’s 50m breaststroke start list:

Mona McSharry (IRL), Lara van Niekerk (RSA), Benedetta Pilato (ITA), Ruta Meilutyte (LTU), Qianting Tang (CHN), Piper Enge (USA), Veera Kivirinta (FIN), Ida Hulkko (FIN)

Men’s 1500m freestyle start list:

Liwei Fei (CHN), Sven Schwarz (GER), David Betlehem (HUN), Florian Wellbrock (GER), David Aubry (FRA), Mykhalio Romanchuk (UKR), Daniel Wiffen (IRL), Kuzey Tuncelli (TUR)

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