World Championships: Dan Wiffen Makes 800 His Own In European Record Books

Daniel Wiffen of Ireland competes in the 800m Freestyle Men Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 25th, 2023.
Dan Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Dan Wiffen Makes 800 His Own In European Record Books

Take a look at the European record books and Dan Wiffen’s name now appears twice after he added the 800 free long-course standard to his short-course mark in 7:39.19 at the World Championships.

The Irishman arrived in Fukuoka with a PB of 7:44.45 from the Stockholm Open before lowering that to 7:43.81 in the prelims.

Come the final and the 22-year-old dipped inside 7:40 to eclipse Gregorio Paltrinieri’s continental mark of 7:39.27 en-route to gold at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.

It elevated him into the top 10 all-time headed by Lin Zhang’s eye-watering WR of 7:32.12 at the super-suited 2009 World Championships.

And not for the first time did Wiffen go beyond a European standard held by Paltrinieri having taken 1.98secs off his 800 short-course mark in 7:25.96 back in December 2021.

Wiffen – coached by Andi Manley at Loughborough – said:

“I mean, I’m obviously happy.

“The 800 isn’t my strongest this season which I’m surprised at because I just took five seconds off my PB.

“But yeah, a great swim. Unlucky to get fourth but coming away with a time like that, I can’t really complain.”

It was a race that shook up the face of the all-time rankings with Ahmed Hafnaoui taking the title in 7:37.00 ahead of Sam Short (7:37.76) and Bobby Finke (7:38.67) with Wiffen 0.52 off the podium as the first five home all went through the 7:40 barrier.

Wiffen added:

‘It was a good race, I’m really happy with the personal best and really looking forward to the 1500m freestyle later in the week, but that race was great to be part of.

“Missing the podium, you know; I came into this, and I just wanted to be better than last year, and I’ve done that by a lot so I’m happy enough.”

Wiffen joined exalted company in the 1500 in Stockholm in April when he became fourth-fastest all-time and second European behind Paltrinieri in 14:34.91.

Days later Olympic bronze medallist Florian Wellbrock clipped 0.02secs from Wiffen’s time to go 14:34.89 at the Berlin Open.

The longest race in the pool could well be a show-stopper with Wiffen joining the likes of Finke, Mykhailo Romanchuk and Wellbrock – the trio who made up the Olympic podium in Tokyo – plus Paltrinieri.

“I said on poolside there that if I can take five seconds off my 1500m that I’m under the world record, so let’s hope that happens!”

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