18 December 2022; MELBOURNE (AUS) – Following six days of competition highlighted by 14 World Records, the 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2022 finished in one of the most exciting moments in history with Australia and the USA tying for the World Record in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.
More than 560 athletes from 160 countries across six continents competed in 48 events – including the debuts of the Women’s 1500m Freestyle and the Men’s 800m Freestyle – for an overall prize purse of US $2.54 million.
Brilliant relay races throughout the championships animated the event with host Australia and the USA each setting four relay World Records. Relays from Italy set two World Records and France added another.
Canada’s Margaret Mac Neil first stormed to an individual World Record of 25.25 in the Women’s 50m Backstroke and then set another World Record of 54.05 in the Women’s 100m Butterfly. Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania, meanwhile, posted the all-time world-best mark of 28.37 in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke.
All World Records, including the relays, earned US $25,000 for each of their record-setting performances.
In total, 14 World Records, 6 World Junior Records and 23 Championship Records were set in Melbourne. Twenty-four countries stand on the event's medal table, showing swimming’s global appeal and the sport’s competitiveness.
Honouring the sport’s past while celebrating its current stars was a current theme running throughout the premier event in the 25m pool. Swimming legends helped bring the action from the Melbourne pool to viewers.
TV Asahi – host broadcaster for next year’s World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan – had Rio 2016 Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino interviewing athletes while former short course world champion and world record holder Bobby Hurley provided colour commentary to international viewers.
With over 36 hours of live sports broadcast in over 150 territories, World Aquatics provided additional live digital coverage to ensure the event was available in every country.
Waiting to receive her third individual freestyle gold, Australia’s Lani Pallister ushered her godmother and swimming icon Dawn Fraser onto the podium, with the duo then singing the Australian national anthem together.
“I pulled Dawn onto the podium with me for the last medal ceremony. I don't know if she was planning to do that Medal Ceremony the whole time, but I was so surprised when I burst out of the little box and saw Dawn,” Pallister recalled. “To have my family in the crowd and to be able to turn around and look at them after I swim, not for approval, but to say, 'Look what we've done as one big family' was so beautiful.”
Added Pallister: “I am incredibly grateful to Swimming Australia and World Aquatics for taking this on and putting this event in Melbourne so us Australian athletes can have an international meet here and swim in front of a home crowd.”
With three individual wins and two World Records, Mac Neil took home the event’s top women's honours.
“Seeing so many records get broken and amazing swims this week, I am so honoured, honestly, to be the swimmer of the meet,” Mac Neil said. “It means the world to me to finish 2022 off on such a high note. Unbelievable; I never thought I would get one, let alone two, World Records."
With wins in the 50m, 100m and 200m Backstroke events, USA’s Ryan Murphy earned the best male award. Murphy’s three individual wins and two relay medals, including a World Record-setting gold in the Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay, helped push the USA to the top team award.
“My goal coming in was to add as many medals to Team USA as possible. We did that tonight – and we added a World Record, too,” Murphy said. “Swimming is a sport where you get so few opportunities to race, and I really want to take advantage of every opportunity.”
World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam opened the final night of action from the pool by thanking the athletes, organisers and supporters that packed the stands in Melbourne.
“First, I must thank the athletes. Some of your performances here will never be forgotten,” President Al-Musallam said. “You have set new standards. Melbourne 2022 will be talked about for many years to come.
“I also want to give a very big thank you to the organisers. You have provided an excellent venue, where the athletes have been able to perform at such high standards, and the large crowds have enjoyed watching them,” President Al-Musallam added. “You agreed to host these World Championships at very short notice, and you have delivered a superb event.”
Swimming Australia President Michelle Gallen noted the lasting impact of Australia’s event hosting.
“I would like to thank the organising committee, led by Brenton Rickard, for all their hard work in delivering this event. I would also like to thank Swimming Australia CEO, Eugénie Buckley, and her whole team for the incredible effort to bring a World Swimming Championship back to Australia and provide this opportunity for our swimmers to perform so well on home soil.”
Leading the local organising duties was Melbourne native Brenton Rickard, a world champion and Olympic medallist in swimming.
“The results across the board have been amazing, from unearthing new talent like Jordan Crooks from the Cayman Islands to smashing World Records, the event has delivered in and outside the pool,” said Rickard.
“Events simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of major partners like Visit Victoria as well as a huge volunteer workforce,” Rickard noted. “With more than 300 volunteers on hand over six days, we were able to support the 160 nations in attendance.
“We have laid a great framework for the international events that Australia will host over the next decade, including the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.”