Shanghai: China`s Sun Yang could provide the perfect finale for the host country when he swims in the final of the men`s 1500 metres freestyle on Sunday, the last individual men`s event of the world swimming championships.
The gangly 19-year-old is tipped to take over from retired Australian Grant Hackett as the world`s dominant distance swimmer, and also be the man most likely to break Hackett`s 10-year-old world record of 14 minutes, 34.56 seconds for the 1500 freestyle.
Sun, who clocked 14:35.43 at the Asian Games last year, was ruthlessly efficient in his heat on Saturday, destroying Beijing Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli by almost a length of the pool.
China`s head coach Yao Zhengjie, however, said he would not put any pressure on Sun to break the record -- all he wanted him to do was win the race.
"I hope he will swim better, there is a possibility of him breaking the world record, but in an important competition like this one, as a coach and as an athlete, we would rather focus on the gold medal," Yao said.
"In his mind, he will be thinking about how to win the race, of course, I would hope he would get the gold medal and break the world record as well."
Sun has already won the men`s 800 freestyle in Shanghai and taken silver in the 400 freestyle behind South Korea`s Park Tae-hwan. He added a bronze as a member of China`s 4x200 freestyle relay team.
American Ryan Lochte, with four golds from these championships, seeks a fifth in the men`s 400 IM on Sunday.
The 26-year-old has overshadowed compatriot Michael Phelps in Shanghai and will be more than a challenge for his rival, the most successful Olympian ever, at next year`s London Olympics.
American Rebecca Soni also has her opportunity to complete a sweep of gold medals in the women`s breaststroke when she lines up in the 50 breaststroke final.
Australia`s Stephanie Rice, who has had a torrid three years plagued by injury and inconsistent form since she won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, will line up in the women`s 400 individual medley.
Britain`s world 50 backstroke champion Liam Tancock will also attempt to defend his title on Sunday.
"It`s going to be a tough one but ...I`ll go faster," Tancock said after he qualified fastest for the final.
"I`m really pleased. I have improved a lot."