Wiffen Crowned World 800m Freestyle Champion in Doha

ByEmma Porter |

Ireland’s first ever World Aquatics World Championship medal came courtesy of Daniel Wiffen in Doha this evening, with the 22-year-old storming to gold and a first ever World Title in the 800m Freestyle.

In an outstanding race from the Armagh man, he had an emphatic win over the stacked field to win in 7:40.94, two seconds ahead of his closest competitor.

A delighted Wiffen said, “Amazing, obviously the goal coming into this meet was to win a world medal and make the podium for Ireland, win Irelands first ever [long course] medal at a world championship level. It’s just really cool to say and I’m really happy.”

While the eventual silver and bronze medallists Elijah Winnington (7:42.95) of Australia and Gregorio Paltrinieri (7:42.98) of Italy lead for much of the race, Wiffen was controlled throughout, executing his race to perfection, taking the lead with 150 metres to go and not letting go, he said “I was just really trying to build the confidence in myself and make sure I can trust it and execute my own race plan, and that’s what I did so I’m really happy.”

Wiffen returns to the pool on Saturday morning for the heats of the 1500m Freestyle.

Ireland had never won a World Aquatics Long Course (50m) Medal; Shane Ryan (2018 bronze), Ellen Walshe (2021 silver) and Mona McSharry (2021 bronze) have all won medals at World Short Course (25m) Championships.

The morning session saw Shane Ryan and Maria Godden as the sole Irish swimmers in action on the fourth morning of swimming at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

Shane Ryan, competing in the first of the 100m Freestyle seeded heats, was seventh in 49.19, just outside his Irish Record of 48.68. Ryan ranked twenty sixth overall.

The National Centre Dublin swimmer returns to the pool on Sunday for the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, with the team aiming to secure Olympic qualification.

Maria Godden returned to the pool this morning for the 50m Backstroke, where she was second in her heat in 29.13, placing twenty sixth overall.

Godden returns to the pool on Friday for her main event, the 200m Backstroke.

Four Irish swimmers will be in action on Thursday, with Olympic qualification available in all events. Victoria Catterson is first up in the 100m Freestyle. John Shortt, who turned 17 this week, returns to the World stage for the first time in 2024 in the 200m Backstroke Heats. After a fifth place finish in the 100m Breaststroke Final on Tuesday, Mona McSharry returns for the 200m Breaststroke, while Eoin Corby, also competing in the 200m Breaststroke, makes his World Championships debut.

Results Day 4 Heats

  • Women 50m Backstroke                            Maria Godden                 29.13 (26th)
  • Men 100m Freestyle                                   Shane Ryan                      49.19 (24th)
  • Men 800m Freestyle                                   Daniel Wiffen                  H 7:46.90 (2nd)    F 7:40.94 (1st)

Schedule – Day 5 Heats

  • Women 100m Freestyle                             Victoria Catterson
  • Men 200m Backstroke                                John Shortt
  • Women 200m Breaststroke                      Mona McSharry
  • Men 200m Breaststroke                             Eoin Corby
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