China's Sun Yang celebrates after the men's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on July 25, 2017. Sun Yang won the gold with 1:44.39. (Xinhua/Ding Xu)
BUDAPEST, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese swimmers Sun Yang and Xu Jiayu jumped into the spotlight at the 17th FINA World Championships with their respective breakthrough gold medal here on Tuesday, a day with three world records beaten in the Hungarian capital.
Xu, who finished atop in Monday's heats and semifinals, built his leading position from the start and claimed men's 100m backstroke champion with 52.44, the first ever victory in this event for Chinese male swimmers at worlds.
Xu said a higher target crossed his mind before the final.
"I performed quite well in the semifinals, so it was normal for me to have some ideas in my mind. Actually I aimed at rewriting the world record," he said.
Xu beat Matt Grevers and Ryan Murphy, two Olympic gold medalists from the United States. The 2012 champion Grevers finished runner-up with a deficit of four hundredths of a second, while the 2016 champion Murphy was placed third at 52.59.
Sun, fresh from his 400m freestyle win here, claimed his first ever men's 200m freestyle world champion with 1:44.39. He only ranked seventh after 50m, then sixth after 100m, before making an aggressive charge for his personal breakthrough with a new Asian record.
With his titles in the 800 and 1500m from previous worlds, Sun now has completed the sweep in all men's middle and long distance events and is also the Olympic gold medalist in 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle.
"I feel happy about the gold medal. Actually I didn't expect such a result, and just wanted to work on every detail. Today my dream has come true," said Sun, who will appear in 800m free final on Wednesday evening.
Townley Haas of United States and Aleksandr Krasnykh of Russia finished second and third respectively.
Three swimmers became spotlight of the night in Duna Arena as they managed to renew the world records.
Britain's Adam Peaty improved his own 50m breaststroke record to 25.95 in the semifinals, from 26.10 he created in the heats on Tuesday morning.
"It was not really in my radar to swim below 26 seconds but I felt good tonight. Let's see what comes out tomorrow," commented Peaty.
China's Yan Zibei failed to secure a final berth with his 15th position in the semifinals.
With a new world record of 58.10 seconds, Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse met little challenge en route to becoming women's 100m backstroke world champion.
Olympic champion Lilly King also beat women's 100m breaststroke world record by 0.22 in 1:4.13. Chinese swimmer Shi Jinglin didn't finish on podium ranking 5th.
American female swimming star Katie Ledecky won her third gold in Budapest with her 1500m freestyle triumph at 15:31.82. Hou Yawen of China ranked fifth among eight finalists.
Ledecky also led women's 200m freestyle semifinalists, while China's 15-year-old swimmers Ai Yanhan and Li Bingjie missed the final.