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Pallister seizes bronze at second attempt

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Glenn Moore / AAP News
Image: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia

The Birmingham bound daughter of a gun Lani Pallister takes bronze in the only event an Australian swimmer had not reached the podium at the world championships.

Lani Pallister has won bronze at the world swimming championships in the 1,500m freestyle, completing Australia’s set of medal-winning women’s events.

It was joy and relief for the 20-year-old Sydney swimmer who had missed out on a medal in the 400m freestyle on Saturday night by the barest of margins.

Going into the championships in Budapest the 1,500m freestyle was the only women’s event at a worlds in which an Australian swimmer had not reached the podium.

Pallister pipped compatriot Moesha Johnson on Monday to wipe out that omission, as she came third behind record-breaking American Katie Ledecky.

Sixteen-year-old Katie Grimes, also from the United States, was second, 4.07s ahead of Pallister.

There was disappointment, however, for Australia’s golden boy of Saturday night, Elijah Winnington, in the men’s 200m freestyle as he finished eighth.

“It’s really special to win a medal,” said Pallister. “I was touched out by .08 in the 400m and I re member 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 in the future.”

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.”

It was Ledecky’s fourth 1,500m freestyle title at the worlds.

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

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

Pallister was 18.81s off Ledecky’s pace and 6.79s ahead of Johnson.

Earlier, Romania’s David Popovici set a world junior record to win the men’s 200m 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.

Winnington, the gold medalist in the 400m freestyle, was second fastest off the blocks but was overtaken by the field finishing 2.61s behind Popovic.

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.

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 American Ryan Murphy’s previous mark.

Murphy, a four-times 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.

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