China’s Qin Haiyang won the men’s 100m breaststroke at the world championships in Japan on Monday.
Qin came home in 57.69sec to finish ahead of Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi, American Nic Fink and Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands, who all tied for second on 58.72.
“That’s a crazy time,” said 24-year-old Qin. “It’s my best time but I can do better. I will catch up with the world record.”
Qin won China’s first gold medal of this year’s competition.
China only won one individual swimming gold at last year’s world championships in Budapest.
Britain’s Adam Peaty, the world record-holder and twice Olympic champion in the event, skipped the competition in Fukuoka to prioritise his mental health.
The 28-year-old said he has been in a “self-destructive spiral” and has spoken previously about periods of depression and problems with alcohol.
Peaty has been in a class of his own in sprint breaststroke events for nearly a decade.
His world-record time in the 100m breaststroke is nearly a full second quicker than anyone else has swum and at one point he held the fastest 20 times in history over the distance.
Belarus’s Ilya Shymanovich, who has swum two of the six fastest times so far this year, was also not competing because his country was banned over the war in Ukraine.
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