PLYMOUTH Leander’s Ben Proud set the swimming world alight on Friday night with a sensational performance at the Sette Colli Meet in Italy.
Proud smashed his own British record and the Commonwealth record to win the men’s 50m freestyle event in a time of 21.16 seconds.
Only three swimmers – Brazilian world record holder Cesar Cielo, France’s Fred Bousquet and current world champion Caeleb Dressel – have ever gone faster in history. And only one – Dressel – has done so in textile swimwear.
Proud was only one-hundredth of a second off Dressel’s 21.15 time which he swam to win the world title. He was also more than half-a-second ahead of world silver medallist Bruno Fratus, who was second on Friday.
The former Plymouth College pupil’s performance in Rome will get British swimming fans excited ahead of August’s European Championships in Glasgow, which is Proud’s main focus at the moment.
However, he is not yet finished in Rome. He will swim the 50m butterfly event on Sunday and judging by his freestyle form, he could challenge the European and world record in that event. His best time for the 50m butterfly event, where he is world champion, is 22.75 seconds, with the European record standing at 22.67 and the world record at 22.43.
Meanwhile, team-mate Tom Fannon missed out on progressing in the 50m freestyle in Rome. He clocked 23.01 in his preliminary round.