Aussie makes swimming history in never-before-seen feat at world titles

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·Sports Editor
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Lani Pallister, pictured here finishing third behind Katie Ledecky in the 1500m freestyle at the world championships.
Lani Pallister finished third behind Katie Ledecky in the 1500m freestyle at the world championships. Image: Getty/NBC

Lani Pallister has become the first Australian woman in swimming history to win a medal in the 1500m freestyle at the world championships.

Going into the meet in Budapest, the 1500m was the only women's event in which an Australian swimmer had not reached the podium at a world championships.

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But Pallister changed that on Monday as she finished third behind record-breaking American champion Katie Ledecky.

Pallister pipped compatriot Moesha Johnson to win bronze, while 16-year-old American Katie Grimes was second.

It was joy and relief for the 20-year-old Pallister, after the Sydneysider missed out on a medal in the 400m freestyle on Saturday night by the barest of margins.

"It's really special to win a medal," said Pallister.

"I was touched out by .08 in the 400m and I remember getting back to the hotel and I was just devastated.

"It's really exciting coming to my first senior international meet and coming back to a pool that I loved three years ago.

"Moving forward it's a really nice stepping stone to see what I can do in the future. I think if I work the back end more rather than just attacking the front end then it's an event that I could do something really special in the future."

Katie Grimes, Katie Ledecky and Lani Pallister, pictured here with their medals at the swimming world championships.
Katie Grimes, Katie Ledecky and Lani Pallister pose with their medals at the swimming world championships. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The gold medal marked Ledecky's fourth 1500m freestyle title at the worlds.

She never looked threatened and clocked 15:30.15 - just under 10 seconds more than her world record from 2018.

Ledecky's gold was her record-extending 17th world title and second of this championships.

Pallister finished 18.81 seconds behind Ledecky, and 6.79s from Johnson.

Johnson, who swam a personal best, said: "I just went out there tonight just wanting to put down the best swim that I could and get some experience internationally, so to come overseas and race some of the best in the world has been a real honour.

"Hats off to Lani for such a good swim, I've seen her train the house down for the last six months and she deserves every bit of this."

Thomas Ceccon breaks 100m backstroke world record

There was disappointment for Australia's golden boy of Saturday night, with Elijah Winnington finishing eighth in the men's 200m freestyle.

Winnington, the gold medalist in the 400m freestyle, was second fastest off the blocks but was overtaken by the field and finished 2.61s behind Romania's David Popovic - who set a world junior record in 1:43.21.

The 17-year-old Popovici was 1.26 seconds ahead of South Korea's Hwang Sun-woo and 1.77 ahead of Britain's Olympic champion Tom Dean.

Aussies Madi Wilson and Mollie O'Callaghan carried their form through from the heats of the women's 200m freestyle to qualify second and third fastest for Tuesday night's final.

Thomas Ceccon, pictured here after breaking the world record in the men's 100m backstroke.
Thomas Ceccon celebrates after breaking the world record in the men's 100m backstroke. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Also on Monday, Italy's Thomas Ceccon smashed the men's 100m backstroke world record.

The 21-year-old swam a phenomenal 51.60 seconds - 0.25 seconds better than the previous mark set by American Ryan Murphy.

Murphy, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, finished second while fellow American Hunter Armstrong was third.

There was more success for Italy when 17-year-old Benedetta Pilato won the women's 100m breaststroke in a race in which the three medallists were separated by less than a tenth of a second.

with AAP

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