A Night Of Firsts At The World Aquatics Championships In Doha

Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong reacts after competing in the women's 200-meter freestyle final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong reacts after competing in the women's 200-meter freestyle final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It was a night of firsts at the World Aquatics Championships.

Siobhán Haughey of Hong Kong captured her first long-course world title in the women's 200-meter freestyle on Wednesday. Ditto for Japan's Tomoru Honda, who claimed the biggest victory of his career in the 200 butterfly.

That's not all.

Daniel Wiffen used a strong finishing kick to capture the men's 800 freestyle — Ireland's first medal ever at the world championships. And Sam Williamson gave powerhouse Australia its first swimming gold of the competition in the 50 breaststroke.

For British star Adam Peaty, it was another disappointment at the Aspire Dome after a long layoff to deal with mental health issues. The world-record holder finished fourth in the 50 breast, just missing the podium after a third-place showing in the 100 breast.

Haughey, a three-time champion at the short-course worlds, finally touched first in the big pool after years of close calls.

She was the Olympic silver medalist in both the 100 and 200 free at the Tokyo Games, in addition to a runner-up finish in the 100 free at last summer's world championships in Fukuoka.

Also, Haughey finished fourth in the 200 free — just off the podium — at both the 2019 and 2023 worlds.

“This really means a lot to me," she said. “It's nice to finally see the No. 1 next to my name.”

Haughey added to a bronze medal she won a day earlier in the 100 breaststroke, a surprising result in an event she swam “just for fun.”

She will face a much stiffer challenge at the Paris Olympics, where the 200 free will include Australian stars Mollie O'Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus, who were among the many no-shows for Doha.

“I feel like I can do a lot better," Haughey said. “Paris is the main target, so hopefully tweak and fine-tune some things the next few months and I can have an even better swim in Paris.”

The first swimmer from Hong Kong to capture an Olympic medal was under world-record pace through 150 meters and held on at the end to win in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds. She finished well off O'Callaghan's mark of 1:52.85 set at last year's worlds.

The silver went to New Zealand's Erika Fairweather at 1:55.77, giving her another medal after a victory in the 400 free. Australia's Brianna Throssell took the bronze at 1:56.00.

Honda, who was silver medalist in the 200 fly at the Tokyo Olympics and bronze medalist in the event at the last two worlds, was first this time in 1:53.88.

“I'm so happy,” Honda said.

Italy's Alberto Razzetti claimed the silver in 1:54.65, with the bronze going to Austria's Martin Espernberger at 1:55.16.

Wiffen used a strong finishing kick in the grueling 800 free to capture the historic gold for Ireland in 7:40.94.

“I really wanted to win this one,” said Wiffen, the short-course world record holder in the 800 free.

Elijah Winnington of Australia claimed the silver at 7:42.95, while Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri — the 2019 world champion in the event — faded at the end to settle for bronze in 7:42.98.

Australia, which sent a small team to Doha that didn't include most of its top stars, finally reached the top of the medal podium with Williamson's victory in the 50 breast.

He touched first at 26.32 in the furious dash from one end of the pool to the other, followed by Italy's Nicolo Martinenghi (26.39) and American Nic Fink (26.49).

“I'm really at a loss for words,” Williamson said. “Just getting a chance to race these guys, they're my heroes. It's pretty special.”

Peaty was a bit further back at 26.77.

Fink returned for the final event of the night, helping the U.S. to a dominating victory in the mixed 4x100 medley relay.

Fink, Hunter Armstrong, Claire Curzan and Kate Douglass posted a time of 3:40.22, nearly 3 seconds ahead of silver medalist Australia at 3:43.12. Britain took the bronze in 3:45.09.

At the halfway point of eight days of swimming in Doha, the Americans lead the table with five golds and 10 medals overall.


Rhiannan Iffland of Australia won her fourth straight world title in women's high diving.

The 32-year-old Iffland finished with 342.00 points off the 20-meter tower at Doha Old Port.

Canada took the next two spots on the podium in the non-Olympic event, with Molly Carlson claiming silver at 320.70 and Jessica Macauley grabbing bronze at 320.35. American Kaylea Arnett finished fourth.

The men's final, from the 27-meter tower, is Thursday. France's Gary Hunt led after the first two rounds.


The United States and Hungary advanced to the Friday final in women's water polo.

In the semifinals, the Americans knocked off Spain 11-9 and Hungary defeated Greece 13-11.


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