Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui Breaks Mellouli’s African 800, 1500 Records

2021 FINA SHORT COURSE SWIMMING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui took the silver medal in the men’s 1500 behind newly-minted World Record holder Florian Wellbrock in 14:10.94. That swim was the 7th fastest 1500 of all-time and makes Hafnaoui the 5th fastest performer ever, behind only Wellbrock, Gregorio Paltrinieri, Mykhailo Romanchuk and Grant Hackett.

The swim also chops nearly 8 seconds off Tunisian swimming legend Ous Mellouli‘s African Record of 14:18.79, which was set at the 2014 Short Course Worlds when Mellouli took silver behind Paltrinieri. Hafnaoui also broke the African Record in the 800 at the 800 meter split of this race.

Hafnoui 2021 Mellouli 2014
 50m
26.75 26.75 26.52 26.52
 100m
27.68 54.43 28.59 55.11
 150m
28.20 01:22.63 28.65 01:23.76
 200m
28.35 01:50.98 28.74 01:52.50
 250m
28.70 02:19.68 28.63 02:21.13
 300m
28.47 02:48.15 28.75 02:49.88
 350m
28.58 03:16.73 28.99 03:18.87
 400m
28.59 03:45.32 28.78 03:47.65
 450m
28.53 04:13.85 28.74 04:16.39
 500m
28.46 04:42.31 28.66 04:45.05
 550m
28.64 05:10.95 28.58 05:13.63
 600m
28.36 05:39.31 28.58 05:42.21
 650m
28.69 06:08.00 28.72 06:10.93
 700m
28.62 06:36.62 28.64 06:39.57
 750m
28.64 07:05.26 28.65 07:08.22
 800m
28.43 07:33.69 28.62 07:36.84
 850m
28.39 08:02.08 28.65 08:05.49
 900m
28.19 08:30.27 28.91 08:34.40
 950m
28.53 08:58.80 28.79 09:03.19
 1000m
28.42 09:27.22 28.84 09:32.03
 1050m
28.42 09:55.64 28.79 10:00.82
 1100m
28.46 10:24.10 28.77 10:29.59
 1150m
28.49 10:52.59 28.85 10:58.44
 1200m
28.92 11:21.51 28.89 11:27.33
 1250m
28.71 11:50.22 28.95 11:56.28
 1300m
28.65 12:18.87 29.11 12:25.39
 1350m
28.87 12:47.74 29.07 12:54.46
 1400m
28.79 13:16.53 29.04 13:23.50
 1450m
28.47 13:45.00 28.33 13:51.83
 1500m
25.94 14:10.94 26.96 14:18.79

Looking at the splits, Hafnaoui was consistently faster than his idol from start to finish, splitting 28 mids to Mellouli’s 28 highs over the first half of the race, though Hafnaoui made a clear speed change at the halfway point where Mellouli stayed consistent. Hafnaoui dropped from 28.6s to 28.3s and 28.4s, which he held until the 1200 mark, where his splits started to creep up, though still ahead of Mellouli’s record pace. Hafnaoui closed in a blistering 25.94, the fastest in today’s field to seal the silver medal.

Hafnaoui will be following in his idol’s footsteps further, as he plans to make the move to Bloomington, Indiana in the fall and compete in the NCAA. While Mellouli swam for USC in Los Angeles, he was an NCAA champion in 2005 in the 400 IM and 16 time All American for the Trojans, including individual All American honors in the 400 IM, 500 free and 1650 free.

With his silver medal here in short course meters, Hafnoui demonstrates an even further likelihood that he will be able to translate his long course success, which included a shocking upset win in the 400 free at the Tokyo Olympics, to the NCAA short course yards format.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 1500 Freestyle (SCM)

  1. Florian Wellbrock (GER), 14:06.88 – 2021 SC Worlds
  2. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), 14:08.06 – 2015 SC Euros
  3. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), 14:09.14 – 2018 SC Worlds
  4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), 14:09.87 – 2018 SC Worlds
  5. Florian Wellbrock (GER), 14:09.88 – 2021 SC Euros
  6. Grant Hackett (AUS), 14:10.10 – 2001 Australia SCM Champs
  7. Ahmed Hafnaoui (TUN), 14:10.94 – 2021 SC Worlds
  8. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), 14:11.47 – 2021 SC Worlds
  9. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), 14:13.07 – 2021 SC Euros
  10. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), 14:14.59 – 2017 SC Euros

 

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Landen
1 year ago

So much for him being a fluke

neffry
1 year ago

That 2001 swim from Grant Hackett is bonkers in context

Ragnar
Reply to  neffry
1 year ago

Grant and Thorpe were the prototypes for Freestyle along with PVDH, if they were here today peaked with todays training/suits, the podium in the 200 would be straight 1:43s. Nuts

Scotty P
Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

I am much more ok with the Biedermann record after the Agnel news.

Captain Ahab
1 year ago

Can’t wait for Ahmed Hafnaoui and Bobby Finke 1650 in 2022. Hopefully, their coaches peak them correctly.

Mister 17.6 no fins
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

Bobby Finke is a senior this year. He will probably go pro after this upcoming March.

IU Swammer
Reply to  Mister 17.6 no fins
1 year ago

Doesn’t he get a bonus year if he wants it? I totally understand going pro instead, but maybe he’ll get enough NIL money to stick around another year.

JP input is too short
1 year ago

Yeah so that converts to 14:05 SCY 1650. I’m just leaving that there.

frug
1 year ago

Not too shabby for a guy no one had even heard of 6 months ago…

simpyvonsimp
1 year ago

IU has a heck of a distance swimmer coming in next year!