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Thomas Ceccon breaks 100m backstroke world record

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Italy’s Thomas Ceccon smashed the world record to win gold in the men’s 100m backstroke at the World Championships in Budapest.

The 21-year-old took victory in 51.60 seconds – 0.25secs better than Ryan Murphy’s previous mark set in 2016.

America’s four-time Olympic gold medalist Murphy claimed silver, while compatriot Hunter Armstrong was third.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Olympic champion Tom Dean took bronze in the men’s 200m freestyle.

Romania teenager David Popovici, 17, took gold to break the world junior record he set in qualifying, while South Korean Hwang Sun-woo, 19, took silver.

But Ceccon enjoyed centre stage with his stunning effort.

“I have no words, there was an Olympic champion in 2016 (Murphy) and other strong people in the field, I’m pretty happy,” he said.

“I didn’t think of any record or time before the start, I just swam my own race. For me, it’s simply unbelievable.”

More Italian success followed as 17-year-old Benedetta Pilato won gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke.

She pipped Germany’s Anna Elendt by just 0.05secs to become the youngest Italian to win a world title and Lithuania’s 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte was third.

“I’m super happy, it was my dream and it came true tonight,” said an emotional Pilato as she broke down in tears, unable to finish her post-race interview.

American Katie Ledecky, 25, dominated the women’s 1,500m freestyle to claim her second gold of the championships.

Ledecky, who won the women’s 400m freestyle on the opening day, cruised to victory in 15 minutes and 30.15 seconds.

Britain’s Freya Anderson, 21, swam a personal best of 1:56.05 seconds to qualify fastest for the women’s 200m freestyle final on Tuesday.

She said: “It’s a big confidence boost, I’ve been struggling to get down to a 1:56-low, so I’ll take it – but there’s always ways to do better.”

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