Alzain Tareq, Aged 10, Becomes Youngest Swimmer in World Championships History

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2015

KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 07:  Ten year old Alzain Tareq of Barhain competes in the heats of the Women's 50m Butterfly during day fourteen of The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships at Kazan Arena on August 07, 2015 in Kazan, Russia (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Bahrain's Alzain Tareq became the youngest competitor to ever race at the World Swimming Championships on Friday, when the 10-year-old girl took part in the heats of the 50-metre butterfly event in Kazan, Russia.

She posted a time of 41.13 seconds, a mark just shy of her personal best (but the slowest of all 64 swimmers). Afterward, she said she enjoyed the occasion.

KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 07:  Alzain Tareq of Bahrain walks out to her starting block to compete in the Women's 50m Butterfly heats on day fourteen of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 7, 2015 in Kazan, Russia.  (Photo by Matthi
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

"I'm very happy," she said following her performance, per Toby Keel of Eurosport. "It was fun. Now I want to lower my mark in the 50 freestyle."

As ITV.com noted, the youngster also revealed she has a clear goal: "I want to swim at the Olympics [2020 in Tokyo]."

Here's a look at her performance:

Tareq has been swimming competitively since the age of four. Subsequently, she has become the fastest swimmer in a nation with a population of over 1.3 million. Tareq will race again in the 50-metre freestyle on Saturday.

Here are the top 10 qualifiers for the semi-finals and how they compare with Tareq, per omegatiming.com:

50m Butterfly: Selected Results
1.SJOSTROM SarahSWE25.43
2.OTTESEN JeanetteDEN25.51
3.DEKKER IngeNED25.66
4.LU YingCHI25.69
5.HALSALL FranGBR25.86
7.GEMO ElenaITA26.07
7.STEWART KendylUSA26.07
10.BUYS KimberlyBEL26.28
64.TAREQ AlzainBRN41.13

For reference, Miriam Sheehan broke the United States record earlier this year in the 10-year-old-and-under age group, posting a time of 29.84, per USASwimming.org.

Tareq gets off to a flying start.
Tareq gets off to a flying start.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Tareq told BBC, "The other swimmers are often surprised, they ask me my name and how old I am and then they are like, 'Are you swimming here?' I feel so happy. I want to learn the techniques and how they swim."

Even with a time of 41.13 seconds, just imagine what her achievement will do to help raise the profile of swimming in Bahrain.


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