Dan Wiffen Writes Irish Swim History With 14:09 Triumph In Otopeni 1500 For Second Gold As 3rd Swiftest Man Ever

2023-12-07 Reading Time: 3 minutes
Daniel Wiffen, courtesy of Swim Ireland

Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen raced in a league of his own to a dominant 14:09.11 victory over 1500m freestyle on day 3 at the European Short-Course Championships in Otopeni, Romania, the time making the new champion the third fastest man in history.

In a final that also featured his twin brother Nathan Wiffen, Dan was dominant. His best a year ago was 14:32.13, the 50th best performance ever. He chopped that back to a 14:14 at Scottish Nationals in the second week of December 2022, and today wiped another 5 seconds off his career high.

A champion celebrating an historic second gold for Ireland after his day 1 win in the 400m freestyle, he emerged from an epic swim the right side of two former world records held by Australian legends Kieren Perkins and later Grant Hackett.

The only two men now ahead of him on the clock in s/c swimming history: the first of two World record holders, Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, whose European record 14:08.06 survived its closest challenge; and the only swim better than both, the towering 14:06.88 global mark of German Olympic marathon champion Florian Wellbrock.

Wiffen was worth the mainstream headlines he generated back home in an era in which swimming gets ever less mainstream coverage far and wide between the Olympic highlight.

For splits see below, but basically, Wiffen, coached at Loughborough by Andi Manley, did a Hackett: in the lead at the first turn, he had built a decisive 1.5sec lead by 100m and never looked back, building on strength with more strength well beyond what the best of the rest had to bring this day.

The silver went to France’s David Aubry in 14:21.78, the bronze to Ukraine’s Olympic podium placer Mikhail Romanchuk in 14:22.18 a stroke ahead of Norway’s Henrik Christiansen.

Nathan, left, and Daniel Wiffen – courtesy of their dad’s X

Nathan Wiffen finished eighth in the final on 14:38.75, his second PB in Otopeni over 1500 after a 14:39.34 in heats. Martin J. McCann, development coach to the Wiffens, was delighted with their progress and noted: “The other impressive thing about that race was twin Nathan!

“His first time representing Ireland and does a big pb and into a final of 1500free, then does a pb again in that final 24hrs later. For the distance guys it’s hard to go heats and finals and control the energy.

“Dan now has that mastered and his twin Nathan … let’s just say he’s a quick learner.”

Ireland: two 1500m men in Paris next year? They’re working at it!

Wiffen said “I’m very happy, this was a fast time, 5sec off my PB. I swam my own race, I didn’t think of the world record, I hoped it was going to be close at the end, anyway I’m happy with the time, third fastest ever which is pretty cool.”

Aubry’s take: “I’m so happy to back after 2019 when I was bronze medallist and now I took the silver medal. This is a personal best for me, I had 14:23, so this is great, really.”

And then listen to this from Romanchuk, whose 14:22.18 looks all the more impressive in light of what he’s been living through:

“You know I was swimming in Germany in the last two years but after the World Championships I decided to go home to Ukraine and for a while I thought I finished my career. You know, swimming is not the most exciting thing to do and I was really exhausted mentally. I didn’t train for two months but eight weeks ago I returned to the pool. For one single reason: Ukraine needs me and the other young athletes to show we can compete, we can fight, we can deliver results. It was hard as I weighed 90kg upon my returned, gained 12kg during the break… So I’m happy to be on the podium now and being competitive after just eight weeks of training and proud to get another medal to Ukraine.”

Mykhaylo Romanchuk on his way to gold No 2 – by DeepBlueMedia, courtesy of LEN

Championship Results In Full / Livestream and meet details

At the other end of the distance spectrum: Brit Ben Proud Blasts 20.18 ER, CR For Biggest 50 Free Win In Euro S/C History 0.02sec Shy Of WR

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