Sam's stunning gold at world titles

Published 10:43am 24 July 2023

Sam's stunning gold at world titles
Words by Nick Crockford

Former Albany Creek Swim Club member Sam Short helped give Australia a ‘four-some’ start to the World Aquatic Championships in Japan last night.

The 19-year-old struck gold won the men’s 400m freestyle in three minutes 40.68 seconds - just 0.02 ahead of Olympic champion Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia.

Short, who went to Prince of Peace Lutheran College at Everton Hills, led at each 100m split but Hafnaoui kept closing the gap.

The pair were stroke-for-stroke in the closing 25m with Short, now swimming at Rackley Centenary team in Brisbane, just touching first.

List of legends

It was the fourth fastest 400m freestyle time in history and his name now sits among Dolphins legends.

Short has joined Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Kieren Perkins and Elijah Winnington on the list of Australian 400m freestyle world champions.

“They're my heroes," Short said. “I couldn't wait to get on the lane rope and start flexing to be honest. It's what you dream about as a young guy.”

Short's sister Summer will also be on international duty, in September, at the 2023 Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth Life Saving Championships.

Short’s gold was one of four for Australia in Fukuoka, with Ariarne Titmus reclaiming her women's 400 metres freestyle world record.

Just 30 minutes after Short’s success, Titmus blew away American great Katie Ledecky and Canada's 16-year-old sensation Summer McIntosh.

The Australian led from start to finish and clocked three minutes 55.38 seconds, bettering McIntosh's world mark of 3:56.08 set last March.

The trio have all held the world record in the past 18 months but it has returned to Titmus, who has the word 'fearless' tattooed on her right foot.

'Free and fearless'

"I can see it right before I dive," she said. "To swim like that and swim really free and fearless, I feel really over the moon to get that one."

The Dolphins had their most successful night in world championship history with both the 4x100m men's and women's relay teams also winning gold.

The only hiccup was in the women's 200m medley semi-finals, where former Burpengary swimmer Kaylee McKeown was disqualified for a stroke violation in her transition from backstroke to breastroke.

Australia appealed, but it was rejected.

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