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Two relay world records smashed as Australia take charge at swim short course titles

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Melbourne: Two more relay world records tumbled Wednesday at the World Short Course Championships as rising Australian star Lani Pallister completed the 400-800m freestyle double and Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown won 100m backstroke gold.


Led by home by Pallister, Australia smashed the women's 4x200m freestyle record by nearly two seconds, touching in 7mins 30.97secs to obliterate the old mark set by the Netherlands in 2014. Canada came second and the USA third.


"To be here with these girls and come away with the world record is something I have dreamed about forever," said Pallister, standing on the Melbourne pool deck with teammates Madi Wilson, Mollie O'Callaghan and Leah Neale.


The United States shattered the mixed 4x50m medley mark, hitting the wall in 1:35.15 ahead of Italy.


Former world record holders the Netherlands came third, but were disqualified, handing Canada the bronze.


"My best split ever. Pretty cool experience to see that world record go down," said the USA's Nic Fink, who swam the breaststroke leg. Torri Huske, Ryan Murphy and Kate Douglass were also on the team.


- McKeon sizzles - It was the fourth world record of the meet after Australia set a new best in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay and Italy in the men's race on the opening day Tuesday.


Huske backed up to win the women's 50m butterfly gold while Brazilian veteran Nicholas Santos took out the men's crown aged 42.



Dominant 20-year-old Palliser built on her 400m win by winning 800m gold by a huge six seconds from New Zealand's Erika Fairweather, touching in a personal best 8mins 04.07secs.


"It definitely hurt a lot but coming away with another win is just insane," she said.


Middle distance greats Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus skipped the meet and Chinese 800m defending champion Li Bingjie again failed to suit up after pulling out of the 400m on Tuesday. Her American coach Mark Schubert told reporters she had Covid.


Australia's double Tokyo Olympic backstroke champion McKeown swam a sizzling final 25m lap to claim the 100m title in 55.49, edging O'Callaghan, who usually swims freestyle, with American Claire Curzan and Canada's Ingrid Wilm joint third.


"I had a bit of a rough turn in my third 25 so I knew I had to give it everything coming home," said McKeown.


American veteran Murphy, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, won the men's 100m backstroke title with ease in a championship record 48.50 ahead of Italy's Lorenzo Mora and Australian Issac Cooper.


Meanwhile, men's 100m freestyle world record holder Kyle Chalmers of Australia qualified third fastest for Thursday's final with teenage Romanian sprint star David Popovici -- the long course world record holder -- fifth.


They were both upstaged by little-know Caymen Islander Jordan Crooks who was quickest.


Tokyo Olympic champion Emma McKeon was comfortably first into the women's 100m freestyle final in 51.28 ahead of defending champion Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong.


Adam Peaty made his tournament bow in the 100m breaststroke with the British long-course world record holder qualifying fourth into Wednesday's final. American long course record holder Lily King was fastest into the women's decider. -- AFP


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