China’s Pan Zhanle Breaks World Record With 46.80 During 4×100 Freestyle Relay Lead Off


Day 1 Finals Heat Sheet

Women’s 4×100 Free Relay Start List 

Men’s 4×100 Free Relay Start List 


  • World Record: USA – 3:08.24
  • Championship Record: USA – 3:09.06
  • 2023 World Champion: Australia – 3:10.16


  1. China (Pan (WR), Ji, Zhang, Wang) — 3:11.08
  2. Italy (Miressi, Zazzeri, Conte, Frigo) — 3:12.08
  3. USA (King, Casas, Hobson, Foster) — 3:12.29
  4. Great Britain — 3:12.59
  5. Hungary — 3:13.66
  6. Greece — 3:13.67
  7. Serbia — 3:13.88
  8. Spain — 3:14.83

Pan Zhanle of China set a new world record in the men’s 100 freestyle while leading off the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay on night 1 in Doha.  Pan’s swim of a 46.80 broke David Popovici‘s record that stood at a 46.86 which Popovici swam in August 2022.


Zhanle Popovici
First 50 22.26 22.74
Second 50 24.54 24.12
46.8 46.86

Zhanle was out faster than Popovici at the 50 mark which makes sense considering Popovici’s second 50 was the 3rd fastest back-half split of the race at the time of his swim in 2022.

All-Time Top Performances, Men’s 100 Free:

  1. Pan Zhanle, China – 46.80 (2024)
  2. David Popovici, Romania — 46.86 (2022)
  3. Cesar Cielo, Brazil — 46.91 (2009)
  4. Alain Bernard, France — 46.94 (2009)

Zhanle helped lead China to a gold medal in the relay. This was the first time the Chinese men have ever medaled in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.

Zhanle’s swim marked the first Chinese World Record in a men’s sprint event, in both LCM and SCM. Pan earns a $30,000 USD bonus for setting the World Record.

Zhanle notably was much slower this morning during his split as he split a 48.26 flying start on the anchor leg. Clearly, Pan kicked it into another gear in tonight’s final.

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10 days ago

Idk why it’s so hard to believe that Chinese swimmers could do well without doping… It’s a country of 1.4 billion people that is known to start training kids at a very young age and testing them for which sports they would be best at. The WR shouldn’t be the big surprise here but rather that they aren’t more dominant

Michael Mooney
10 days ago

FINA should do blood tests after every race before ratifying any WR. I want to see the results! Om sorry 🙏 I’m just a bit suspicious..

Reply to  Michael Mooney
10 days ago

They already do.

Slow Swimmer X
Reply to  Troyy
10 days ago


It’s always the ignoramus that have the worst takes.

Awsi Dooger
10 days ago

Imagine all the geniuses who thought this wasn’t a real world championships and wasn’t worth watching.

Never lose to normalcy. Nobody goes through life more dependably bewildered than an adjuster. 

10 days ago

Just saying relay anchor 48.26…flat start 46.80…no one raises an eyebrow? Not saying he’s a cheat but to a certain point come on.

Reply to  CharlieBrown
10 days ago

Orrrr, maybe he took it a little easier because it was prelims? They made to finals pretty easy so he did not need to go all out.

Reply to  CharlieBrown
7 days ago

how are people so ignorant

10 days ago

Is anyone at Doha going to even be within 1 second of this dude in the individual 100?

Reply to  Tencor
10 days ago

Yes, at least Miressi, Richards and Nemeth.

Slow Swimmer X
Reply to  Brownish
10 days ago

Is Richards still swimming in Doha?

I thought the British guys flew to Australia for training after they were done with 4×1 free?

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Slow Swimmer X
10 days ago

richards is staying but not swimming the 200

Gaglianone’s Boot
10 days ago

Brett Hawke is responsible for this by inventing the parachute 3-4 weeks ago.

Garbage Yardage
Reply to  Gaglianone’s Boot
10 days ago

That guy does it all.

11 days ago

Pan out there Dresseling the front half of a 100 free to break the world record! It reminds me a bit of Sjostrom’s world record in 2017 not just because it’s a relay lead off but the relentless speed sustained the whole way through. Really thought if he broke the world record it would come with a Popovici/Chalmers style back half. This what Held imagined he was doing last year leading off the relay but then reality hit 60m in.

The US seems to mess up a relay selection at most big meets so at least now it’s out of the way the rest of the meet can be smooth sailing.

Last edited 11 days ago by Troyy
11 days ago

Nice interview with Pan after the race: Thank you to @jidantamago for translating.

I thought it was interesting that he said that winning a relay is 50% luck.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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