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Sam Short betters Grant Hackett in historic feat at swimming world championships

The teenager broke the national record in the 800m freestyle with the fourth-fastest time ever.

Sam Short.
Sam Short broke Grant Hackett's national record in the 800m freestyle. Image: Getty/Channel 9

Teenager Sam Short broke the Australian record in the 800m freestyle at the swimming world championships on Wednesday night, but had to settle for silver. The 19-year-old broke Grant Hackett's national record, swimming the fourth-fastest time in the history of the event with a 7:37.76.

Short eclipsed Hackett's previous mark of 7:38.65, set in Montreal in 2005. It continued a remarkable world championships for the teenager, who won gold in the 400m freestyle on the opening night.

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"Grant is one of my heroes, I have looked up to him my whole life," Short said. "And even though I came second, I am over the moon with the time."

Despite the staggering feat, Short was relegated to silver as Tunisia's Ahmed Hafnaoui won gold in 7:37.00. "I knew he'd come back fast as he did," Short said after the race.

"It was brutal. My strategy was to use my 400m speed to my advantage and to tire out Bobby (Finke). I think I executed as well as I could today and that shows in my PB."

Finke is the reigning Olympic champion in the event, however the American finished third in 7:38.67. "It's amazing. I knew I had the potential to do it if I swam my race," Short said of breaking Hackett's mark. "It's been a big goal of mine, I didn't think I'd achieve it this year, I thought maybe a couple of years down the track, but I'm over the moon."

Sam Short on the podium at the swimming world championships.
Sam Short on the podium with gold medallist Ahmed Hafnaoui and bronze medallist Bobby Finke. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Short is now targeting Hackett's national 1500m record of 14:34.56. The Aussie great's record has stood for almost 22 years.

" Definitely at some point," Short said about breaking the 1500m record. "I feel like the more years you can have training the 1500 metres, the better you can get, so if not this year, definitely down the track."

Swimming fans and commentators were left in awe of Short's phenomenal swim.

Mollie O'Callaghan pips Ariarne Titmus with 200m world record

It was another brilliant night in the pool for Australia, with Mollie O'Callaghan breaking the longest-standing world record in women's swimming. The Queenslander came over the top of teammate Ariarne Titmus in the 200m freestyle to touch home in one minute, 52.85 seconds.

In doing so she eclipsed Federica Pellegrini's previous mark of 1:52.98 - set in the super-suit era in 2009. "I was a wreck," O'Callaghan said after the swim. "I kind of looked (at the results board) and I was a bit like 'oh, is that me or not?'. I couldn't really explain it in the moment.

"There was tears. There was happiness. Very mixed emotions. I am just so proud of myself to do that. It was such an unexpected moment."

Titmus had to settle for silver after breaking the world record in the 400m freestyle on Sunday night. O'Callaghan is the first Australian to hold the world record in the 200m since Shane Gould in 1972.

Australia's 4x100m mixed medley team also claimed a silver medal. Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matt Temple and Shayna Jack were beaten by China, despite Jack making up the majority of a two-second gap on the final leg.

with AAP

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