World Swimming Championships: Srihari breaks own national record

The 18-year-old clocked 2:02.08s, bettering his old record of 2:02.37s, while finishing fourth in the heats but the time was not enough to carry him to the semifinal.

Srihari Nataraj competes during the men's 200m backstroke heats.   -  REUTERS

Srihari Nataraj broke his own 200m backstroke national record in the heats at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, on Thursday.

The 18-year-old clocked 2:02.08s, bettering his old record of 2:02.37s, while finishing fourth in the heats but the time was not enough to carry him to the semifinal.

Earlier, American Caeleb Dressel swam the second-fastest 100m freestyle in history to retain his world title as China lashed out at the anti-doping protests targeting Olympic star Sun Yang.

Dressel, 22, clocked a jaw-dropping 46.96 seconds in Gwangju, pipping Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers to win swimming's blue riband event in swashbuckling style.

Meanwhile, Australian Matt Wilson tied the men's 200m breaststroke world record to underline his title credentials, before Australia set a new world mark in the women's 4x200m free.

The lightning-fast performances helped refocus attention on the pool after a week dominated by protests centring on China's Sun, the triple Olympic champion who is accused of destroying blood samples after a visit from drug testers.

China's head coach Zhou Jijong called the actions against Sun, when Australia's Mack Horton and Briton Duncan Scott both snubbed him on the podium, “harmful” and “prejudiced”.

“It is unbelievable and unacceptable that some people publicly defiled the innocence of an elite athlete based on speculation and hearsay,” Zhou told Chinese media.

In the highlight of the evening races, Dressel exploded from the blocks to lead by a body-length at the turn and finished strong as he bagged his third gold of the week.

With inputs from AFP