By Agence France-Presse

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom limbered up for a world sprint double with the fastest 50 meters freestyle heat Saturday as a fatal nightclub accident shook the world swimming championships.

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Britain’s Daniel Jervis competes in a heat for the men’s 1500m freestyle event during at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Eight athletes were among the injured after a balcony at a South Korean nightclub collapsed in the early hours Saturday, sending party-goers plummeting over five meters onto people below.

Two locals were confirmed dead by Gwangju police, while 16 more people hurt. Athletes among those who sustained injury were from the United States, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Brazil and Italy.

In the pool, Sjostrom clocked 24.26 seconds to top the women’s 50m free prelims ahead of Australia’s Cate Campbell (24.40) and American Simone Manuel (24.41) as the trio resumed battle after Friday’s 100m final.

“It is what it is,” shrugged Campbell the morning after claiming silver behind the defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Manuel in the 100m.

“It is a little bittersweet. I’ve managed to get on the podium every time I’ve swum the 100 at a world championship which is a pretty remarkable achievement in itself so I’m focusing on the positives.”

Sjostrom, who took bronze in the 100m free, can become the first woman to win three world championship gold medals in the 50m butterfly in Saturday’s evening finals.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri qualified fastest for the men’s 1,500m freestyle final in a time of 14:45.80 as the Olympic champion chases a world title treble in the pool’s toughest event.

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