‘Panicking’ Aussie’s shock 30-year first as Olympic hero does it again in gold medal stunner

Aussies bag double gold on Day 6 | 01:54
AFP from Afp

Australian 18-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan overcame “panic” to edge world record holder Sarah Sjostrom and become the youngest women’s 100m freestyle world champion in more than 30 years on Thursday.

O’Callaghan, a double Olympic relay gold medallist, edged the 28-year-old Sjostrom of Sweden by 0.13sec. American Torri Huske took bronze.

At 18 years and 82 days, she became the youngest winner of the 100m freestyle since 1991, when Nicole Haislett of the United States won the title at 18 years and 22 days.

Mollie O'Callaghan celebrates after picking up Gold. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

(L-R) Silver medallist, Sarah Sjostrom of Team Sweden, Gold medallist, Mollie O'Callaghan of Team Australia and Bronze medallist, Torri Huske of Team United States. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

O’Callaghan said she had suffered badly from pre-race nerves. “It was bad, the worst ever,” she said.

“I was panicking in my bed, having a little bit of a cramp in my leg, just feeling dizzy, feeling out of it, starting to panic, but I knew I had my teammates there... I guess that kind of uplifted me for the race.”

Mollie O'Callaghan said she suffered from pre-race nerves. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Elsewhere, fellow Australian Zac Stubblety-Cook, the Olympic champion, came from last after the first lap to win the men’s 200m breaststroke.

Dutchman Caspar Corbeau started off at world record pace, but faded and Stubblety-Cook, Yu Hanaguruma and Erik Persson, who had conserved energy at the back, came through.

The Australian won in 2:07.07, 1.31sec ahead of the Japanese and the Swede who tied for the silver.

Zac Stubblety-Cook celebrates after picking up Gold in the Men's 200m Breaststroke Final. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Gold medallist, Zac Stubblety-Cook. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Jenna Strauch (women’s 200m breaststroke) and Elijah Winnington, Zac Incerti, Sam Short and Mack Horton (men’s 4x200m freestyle quartet) also added silvers to Australia’s tally.

Strauch was bested by Lilly King, who added to her collection of gold medals.

King had dominated the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the last two world championships and also won gold in the 2016 Olympics in the 100m breaststroke.

After she missed a medal in the 100m breast on Tuesday, her college coach, Ray Looze, told American media that she was racing at “80 percent”.

On Thursday, she came from fifth to grab victory in 2min 22.41sec. Australian Jenna Strauch was second at 0.63 with American Kate Douglass third.

“It’s really nice to be able to complete the set, I guess I’m a distance swimmer now,” said King after her first gold at the longest breaststroke distance.

King said the setback earlier in the competition had motivated her.

“Anytime I have a bad swim I feel like I have a lot of haters out there, so just to prove them wrong is good,” she said.

Pallister claims bronze with huge PB | 00:17