Swimming: Manaudou sprint king as world records hit 12

Florent Manaudou of France reacts after winning the Men's 50m Freestyle and setting a new world record during the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25M) in Doha on Dec 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Florent Manaudou of France reacts after winning the Men's 50m Freestyle and setting a new world record during the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25M) in Doha on Dec 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

DOHA (AFP) - Florent Manaudou hammered home his status as king of the sprints as he set a new world record in winning the 50m freestyle at the World Short-Course Swimming Championships on Friday.

The gargantuan Frenchman was not alone in setting a new global mark at the Hamad Aquatic Centre with a double strike from Katinka Hosszu and new records by the Netherlands and Denmark in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x50 medley respectively.

It brings to 12 the number of world records set after three days of the five-day event.

Not only were there five world records on Friday, Femke Heemskerk claimed two gold medals while there was a gold and silver for Sarah Sjostrom and Peter Berner of Hungary broke the 400m freestyle championship record set in April 1999 by Australian great Grant Hackett.

Also notable was the end of Ryan Lochte's reign at the helm of the 200m individual medley, Japanese Kosuke Hagino wresting away the crown he had worn for the last four championships.

Manaudou's record was not the first of the night but it was dramatic.

The 198cm swimmer has a distinctive high-armed windmill stroke which propelled him into the wall in a time of 20.26sec ahead of Marco Orsi of Italy and former Olympic champion Cesar Cielo.

The Olympic champion's time cut 0.04sec off the previous record held by South African Roland Schoeman since 2009 and the time of performance-enhancing suits.

Manaudou was shocked by what he had done, saying: "I didn't know I could swim so fast.

"I didn't aim to break the world record: it was not my main goal. That was to beat my two big rivals. I succeeded so this is my greatest satisfaction.

"I haven't won in a world competition since the Olympics so I feel really good." Hosszu has already lived up to her 'Iron Lady' nickname after battling back from opening night disappointment when she was upstaged by Spaniard Mireia Belmonte to clinch victory and a world record in last night's 100m backstroke.

She returned Friday to become the first woman to dip under two minutes in the 200m backstroke, taking down Missy Franklin's mark by 0.80sec in 1:59.23 ahead of Emily Seebohm of Australia and Japan's Sayara Akase.

She followed this up with another gold in world record time in the 100m individual medley, Hosszu's time of 56.70 bringing victory over Siobhan-Marie O'Connor of Great Britain with Seebohm getting her second medal of the night.

"It's pretty amazing. Today everything was clicking," said Hosszu.

"Some people might have thought there were problems after day one but I felt there were no problems - just that Mireia (Belmonte) was in good shape.

"Being beaten is good sometimes. It gives extra motivation for the following days and next season.

"I am pretty satisfied with my performances today. I believed I could beat the world records today but I had to deliver."