Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey finishes fifth in historic world championships final in national record time again
The 19-year-old finishes behind Italian Federica Pellegrini and American great Katie Ledecky in another new national mark in Budapest after becoming the first Hong Kong swimmer to reach an Aquatics World Championships final
Siobhan Haughey’s historic World Championships final came to a successful conclusion with the 19-year-old starlet missing out on a medal in the women’s 200 metre freestyle but finishing a very creditable fifth in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday night.
The Hong Kong teenager improved her own Hong Kong record for the third time in Budapest with a new time of 1:55.96. World record holder Federica Pellegrini of Italy won the race in 1:54.73 while American great Katie Ledecky and Emma McKeon of Australia tied for second place in an identical 1:55.18.
The fact that Haughey managed to rub shoulders with Ledecky, McKeon and Pellegrini at a world championship race was extremely encouraging as she boosted Hong Kong’s hopes of winning a medal at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
Haughey had earlier become the first Hong Kong swimmer to reach an Aquatics World Championships final following several excellent performances in the pool. On her way to the final, she shattered her own Hong Kong record which she set at the Rio Olympic Games last summer to make it to the final eight swimmers of the event.
The Michigan University student first improved her own record in the heats when she came second with a time of one minute and 56.62 seconds, which was almost 0.3 seconds faster than her time of 1:56.91 in Rio.
In the semi-finals, which featured the 16 fastest swimmers from the heats, Haughey continued her fine form against some of the world’s best, finishing with another top-three position, just behind world record holder Pellegrini of Italy and home favourite “Iron Lady” Katinka Hosszu of Hungary.
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Her time of 1:56.21 not only improved on her Hong Kong record but also earned her a place in the final, the first ever for a Hong Kong swimmer.
Haughey was up against a handful of the fastest swimmers in the world, headed by five-time Olympic gold medallist Ledecky, who posted the fastest time in the other semi-final heat in 1:54.69, followed by McKeon of Australia’s 1:54.99.
Veronika Popova of Russia had the third fastest time in the semis with 1:55.08.
At the last world championships in Kazan, Russia two years ago, Haughey reached the semi-finals in the 200-metre individual medley but missed out on reaching the final, and her stated ambitions at these championships was to reach at least one final, which she has now done.