Sam Williamson and Rhiannan Iffland make history for Australia at world championships

Australia claimed another five medals at the World Aquatics Championships - including four in the swimming program.

Sam Williamson and Rhiannan Iffland.

Sam Williamson and Rhiannan Iffland have both won gold medals in a remarkable day for Australia at the world aquatics championships in Doha. Williamson won the 50m breaststroke title as Australia won four medals in the swimming pool, after Iffland claimed a record-extending fourth world title in high diving.

Williamson won Australia's first gold medal in the swimming program at this year's world championships, recording the fourth-fastest time in history in the 50m breaststroke. It was one of four medals won by the Dolphins on Wednesday night (Thursday Aussie time), with Elijah Winnington capturing a second silver of the meet in the 800m freestyle.

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Brianna Throssell earned the first individual medal of her career, taking bronze in the 200m freestyle. The veteran has won 13 medals as part of relay teams, but had never earned one in an individual event.

Williamson and Throssell then backed it up to join Bradley Woodward and Shayna Jack in the mixed 4x100m relay team that took silver behind the USA in the final. Williamson was the toast of the night for the Aussie team, with the 26-year-old breaking the Australian record in the 50m breaststroke that he had set in the semi-final.

His searing time of 26.32 in the final bettered his previous mark of 26.41. The Aussie touched out Italy's Nicolo Martinenghi (26.39) and American Nic Fink (26.49) in a frantic finish.

“I'm really at a loss for words,” Williamson said. "Eighteen months ago, I watched this race from the couch at home. Last year at the worlds, I was in lane eight, so just to get a chance to race these guys - I mean, they're my heroes - it's pretty special."

The four-medal night in the pool doubled the Aussies' swimming haul to eight for the championships. The Dolphins now have one gold, five silvers and two bronze.

Bradley Woodward, Sam Williamson, Brianna Throssell and Shayna Jack.
Bradley Woodward, Sam Williamson, Brianna Throssell and Shayna Jack with their silver medals.

Rhiannan Iffland does it again with fourth high diving world title

Iffland had earlier continued her dominance of high diving by winning a record-extending fourth-consecutive gold medal at the world championships. The 32-year-old, who has dominated the extreme sport for a decade, once again demonstrated courage and composure under the utmost pressure in what effectively became a one-off dive for gold.

"Number four. I'm absolutely speechless," said Iffland, whose exploits have slipped under the radar somewhat with high diving not being an Olympic sport. "It's a big accomplishment. I knew it was gonna be a fight, so it makes it that bit more rewarding. I'm really proud that I fought for it, and didn't give up."

Iffland was 4.30 points behind Canadian rival Molly Carlson going into their fourth and final dives from the 20-metre tower. The Aussie then produced the best dive of the championship - a superbly executed inward three somersaults with a half-twist in the pike position - to scored 102.60.

Rhiannan Iffland, pictured here at the World Aquatics Championships.
Rhiannan Iffland in action at the World Aquatics Championships.

Carlson, the only athlete to have beaten Iffland in the last four years, could only answer with a 77.00, giving the Australian 342.00 compared to the Canadian's 320.70. It ensured Iffland secured a fourth-straight crown after also winning gold in Budapest 2017, Gwangju 2019 and Fukuoka 2023.

"Yesterday was okay, but it wasn't my best and I knew I had to come out here today and fight and put down two good dives," she said of her earlier performance. "I just had to try and keep my composure and stay focused on the job and that's what I did. I tried not to let anything else get in my mind but that focus and get the fire inside me going."

with AAP

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