BUDAPEST : Australia's Mollie O'Callaghan stormed to victory to take the women's 100 metres freestyle gold at the swimming world championships on Thursday on the back of a superb second split.
O'Callaghan was third in the final 50 but raced into the lead in the last few metres to beat favourite and world record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden, who took the silver, while American Torri Huske was third.
The Australian clocked 52.67 seconds to take gold, 0.13 seconds ahead of Sjoestroem while Huske was just a quarter of a second behind.
"I'm so excited, I really don't know what to say. I wasn't expecting that at all. I'm racing some amazing girls here," O'Callaghan said after winning her first individual gold at the world championships.
O'Callaghan had set the fastest time in the semi-finals to earn a spot in lane four and she was unfazed in the final stretch with Sjoestroem and Huske, the 100m butterfly champion, on either side.
The field was blown wide open with defending champion and twice-Olympic gold medallist Simone Manuel not competing while O'Callaghan's compatriot Shayna Jack withdrew from the championships after breaking her hand during a training session.