Dominating the longest event of the programme since 2011, Yang Sun (CHN) was the predictable winner of the 1500m free. The only possible question remaining was: will he get close to his own World Record of 14:31.02 established in the Olympic final in London? The answer after the final was clear: no. Leaving most of the initiative to Ryan Cochrane from Canada, Sun managed his effort until the 1400m-mark and then applied some more vigour to clinch the gold in 14:41.15, roughly 10 seconds slower than one year ago in the British capital.
He couldn’t threat either his Championships record from Shanghai 2011, when he had swum in a WR time of 14:34.14. Finally, as Katie Ledecky (USA) among women, Sun manages to win in the same edition of the Championships the three longest free events of the programme, the 400m , 800m and 1500m (only Grant Hackett, from Australia, has done the same, in Montreal 2005).
The silver went precisely to Cochrane (14:4248), also second at the Games, while Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) was the bronze medallist in 14:45.37. It was his first success at this level – the 18-year-old had been fifth at the Olympics and improved in Barcelona his personal best and record of Italy.
Even before the final, the surprise of the day was the elimination (11th) in the heats for Oussama Mellouli (TUN), the 2008 Olympic champion and bronze medallist in 2012.
World Record: Yang Sun (CHN), 14:31.02 – August 4, 2012 in London (GBR)
Championships Record: Yang Sun (CHN), 14:34.14 – July 31, 2011 in Shanghai (CHN)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Yang Sun (CHN), 14:41.15 – August 4, in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Grant Hackett (AUS, 14:43.14); 2005 – Grant Hackett (USA, 14:42.58); 2007 – Mateusz Sawrymowicz (POL, 14:45.94); 2009 – Oussama Mellouli (TUN, 14:37.28); 2011 – Yang Sun (CHN, 14:34.14)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Grant Hackett (AUS, 1998, 2001, 2003 & 2005)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Yang Sun (CHN, 14:31.02), 2. Ryan Cochrane (CAN, 14:39.63), 3. Oussama Mellouli (TUN, 14:40.31)