World Championships, Day 8 Finals: Daniel Wiffen Dominates 1500; Becomes Fourth Man To Do Distance Double

Daniel Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: G.Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

World Championships, Day 8 Finals: Daniel Wiffen Dominates 1500; Becomes Fourth Man To Do Distance Double

Daniel Wiffen became the fourth man to complete the distance double when he dominated the 1500m freestyle on the final day in Doha.

Wiffen was the first Irish swimmer to win a swimming world title when he claimed the 800 and on Sunday he created further history with his second gold.

The 22-year-old took over from Kuzey Tuncelli on the third 50 to come home in 14:34.07, the seventh-fastest time in history and 0.84 inside his Irish record from April 2023.

It elevates him to fifth-fastest man all-time and second European behind Gregorio Paltrinieri whose continental standard of 14:32.80 was set at Budapest 2022.

Daniel Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: G.Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

The Italian wasn’t in the final in Doha after being locked out in ninth following the prelims.

Florian Wellbrock was 10.54secs adrift in second in 14:44.61 after a duel with David Aubry, the Frenchman third in 14:44.85.

With that, Wiffen joined Grant Hackett, Sun Yang and Ahmed Hafnaoui in winning the 800/1500 double at a single worlds.

At the 400, Wiffen had already built up a lead of 3.11secs over Tuncelli, himself the winner of the distance double at the 2023 World Junior Championships, with Wellbrock in third.

The Irishman was 0.23secs inside Sun’s world record that dates back to the 2012 Olympics in London and while he slipped 0.33secs outside by 600, he was extending his lead throughout.

His lead at halfway was 6.91secs over Tuncelli with David Betlehem of Hungary in third as the race for the minor placings unfurled behind Wiffen.

Wiffen was ploughing a lone furrow while behind him five men were battling for the minor placings.

Come the 1400 and Wellbrock was in second ahead of Aubry and Mykhailo Romanchuk with Wiffen 0.93secs outside Sun’s WR.

Given the Chinese swimmer delivered an eye-watering 53.49 final 100 en-route to the global standard, it was a tall order for Wiffen who went 55.61 to come home for gold.

Wiffen said:

“It’s an amazing feeling. I just wanted to give a good time and finish off like that. I’m content with my swim.

“I said in my interview after the race too that the crowd was really good and that pushed me towards getting the gold.

“I came to this competition thinking of just winning a medal because I had never won one.”

Daniel Wiffen: Photo Courtesy: G.Perottino/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Next up for Wiffen is Paris 2024 where the likes of Ahmed Hafnaoui and Bobby Finke await, although the former endured a Doha programme that prompted a myriad questions as he failed to get out of the prelims in the 4/8/15.

Wiffen, coached by Andi Manley at Loughborough, has his eyes not only on Paris but also on Sun’s 14:31.02 world record dating back to London 2012.

“It’s one of my goals to try and beat the world record at some point.

“It’s a bit funny to say that too as I’ve got at least another eight years.

“Doha has been going great for me and I’m looking forward to the Olympics as I’ve already qualified.

“I’m more looking forward to my twin brother (twin Nathan Wiffen), I want him to go to the Olympics.

“I feel like if he is there, it is going to be more like home and it’s going to be easier for me.

“I will just try and give my best while swimming how I swim.”

For Wellbrock, it represented a return to the pool podium, a year after missing the final of both the 8 and 15 in Fukuoka.

Silver completes the set for the Olympic bronze medallist who won gold at Gwangju 2019 and bronze at Budapest 2022.

l-r: Florian Wellbrock, Daniel Wiffen, David Aubry: G.Perottino/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

It also booked his spot in the event at Paris 2024 as he bounced back from his 29th-place finish in the 10k.

“I’m doubly happy, both for the silver medal, and the Olympic qualification.

“After the 10km open water and the disappointing 800m, I had a lot of pressure.

“I had to finish in the top four in this race so that I could get the Olympic qualification.

“I focused on the medal. I wanted to be on the podium.”

For Aubry, it was a first long-course medal since the 2019 worlds where he claimed 800 bronze and came as something of a shock to the Frenchman.

He said:

“I felt very well in the race and I did the race the way I wanted to.

“In the last 50m I missed a bit of speed and I was very close to the silver.

“I have to work on that but for today I am very glad for my performance. It was not my PB but I got very close – less
than one second so it is very good for me.

“If you told me that I would be on the podium before the world championships, I would not believe it. So it is a kind of a surprise. I was training so hard and I managed to do this today.”


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