FLASH! Daniel Wiffen Crushes 800 Free S/C World Record In 7:20.46

dan wiffen, 1500 freestyle
Daniel Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: István Derencsény/LEN

FLASH! Daniel Wiffen Crushes 800 Free S/C World Record In 7:20.46

Daniel Wiffen crushed the 800 free short-course world record in 7:20.46 to slice 2.96secs off Grant Hackett’s 2008 mark in Otopeni.

The Australian’s 7:23.42 was the longest-standing WR dating back to July 2008, but Wiffen led from the front and completely left it behind in a masterclass of distance swimming that had the crowd at the Aquatics Complex of Otopeni on its feet.

Wiffen came into the race with a PB and European record of 7:25.96 from December 2022 but he also took that apart to become the first Irish world record-holder in the pool.

“It was amazing,” Wiffen said. “As I reached the 400, I felt comfortable and still fast, and after that I was just like, go for it. The crowd got me going. I knew from the noise that I had the right pace, and that was just amazing.

“It was in the back of my mind to beat the world record, obviously, I was very close last year when I beat the European record and from there, I was on my way to achieve this today which is amazing. I think I can call my meet decent, at least.”

Victory also meant the 22-year-old – coached by Andi Manley at Loughborough – enjoyed a clean sweep of the 400-800-1500m freestyle plus a WR.

At the halfway point of the 800-meter final, Wiffen was just 11-hundredths inside Hackett’s world-record pace, but he accelerated over the second half of the race. After he covered seven lengths above 14 seconds for the first half of the event, he split above 14 only once after the halfway point. Wiffen negative-split the race by a huge margin, going 3:40.91 over the first 400 meters before coming back in 3:39.55.

That helped him finish almost 10 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, France’s David Aubry (7:30.32) and almost three seconds under the previous world record, the last of the many standards Hackett set during his legendary career. Hackett once owned set WRs in the 400, 800 and 1500 in both short course and long course (as well as the 800 free relay in both courses), but the short course 800 was by far his longest-lasting mark.

Aubry earned silver while Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk took bronze in 7:31.20, repeating the order of finish from the 1500 free earlier in the meet, a race where Wiffen became the third-quickest performer in history. Wiffen’s brother Nathan took eighth in the final at 7:39.99.

This concludes a marvelous year of racing for Wiffen after the 22-year-old finished fourth in both the 800 and 1500 free at the World Championships, setting a European record while finishing a half-second out of the medals in the 800 in Fukuoka. Wiffen also swam as fast as 14:34.91 in the long course 1500 free in 2023, finishing the year as the seventh-fastest performer in history. Now, his performance in Otopeni will launch him into a year where he pursues distance gold medals at the Paris Olympics.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x