Seventh heaven for Pellegrini, sorrow for China's Sun Yang

Italy's Federica Pellegrini became the first swimmer to win seven medals in a single event at the world championships after a stunning, against-the-odds victory in the women's 200m freestyle final in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Pellegrini last won a world title at the 2011 championships, but the determined Italian rolled back the years to clock one minute and 54.73 seconds.

The oldest in the field at 28, Pellegrini stormed back from fourth at the final turn to take gold in a shock win ahead of Katie Ledecky of America, the world and Olympic champion, and Australia's Emma McKeon, who had led until the 150m mark.

Ledecky and McKeon were both given silver after touching home in 1:55.18.

"This is an amazing medal," said a beaming Pellegrini.

"I didn't think I was going to win gold because Ledecky is so far ahead of the field. There is Ledecky and then the rest."

Pellegrini, who won the 2009 world title in Rome, added that she would not be tackling the event again.

"I will swim but not the 200 free. This has come full circle in my career."

Pellegrini, who broke 10 world records before she was 21, scuppered the hopes of silver medallist Ledecky becoming only the second swimmer, after Michael Phelps, to win at least two world titles in four different individual events.

"I can't complain really. It's over now," said Ledecky.

Chinese star Sun Yang cut a dejected figure after he finished a disappointing fifth place in the men's 800m free final as Italy's Gabriele Detti claimed a surprise victory.

Detti touched the wall at seven minutes and 40.77 seconds, with Wojciech Wojdak of Poland claiming silver at 0.96sec back and Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri earning bronze at 1.67sec.

Sun, the gold medallist in the event at each of the last three world championships, produced an uncharacteristically poor performance to finish 8.10sec off Detti's pace.

Meanwhile, South African Chad le Clos won the men's 200m butterfly final after defeating home favourite and defending champion Laszlo Cseh.

Le Clos clocked 1:53.33 with Hungary's Cseh, 0.39sec behind, taking silver and Japan's Daiya Seto earning bronze at 0.88sec.

In the mixed 4x100m medley relay, the US broke the world record for the second time in a day, just hours after lowering the mark in the heats.

The American quartet of Matt Grevers, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel clocked 3:38.56 with Australia taking silver, 2.65sec back.

Canada and China shared bronze after both finished 2.69sec behind.