Australia won the most gold medals, boasted the swimmer with the most individual golds, and the female swimmer of the world championships.
Yet the United States has been presented with the award for the best team of the world championships in Japan.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kyle Chalmers wins gold, relay team shatters world record.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
Australia captured 13 gold, seven silver and five bronze medals in Fukuoka – the total of 25 is the nation’s record at a single world titles.
And the golden haul equals Australia’s best-ever return at the worlds, in 2005 and 2001 editions.
In fact, for the first time since 2001, the Australians unseated the Americans from the head of the gold medal table at a world titles or Olympic Games.
Mollie O’Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus both set individual world records at the world championships. Credit: EPA
But the United States still claimed the team award presented by the sport’s governing body, World Aquatics, leaving Swimming Australia’s head coach Rohan Taylor, plus many fans, somewhat bemused.
The Americans only won seven gold among their 38 medals, the latter figure the most overall of by any nation.
Aussie teen outshines legend to create world title history
Titmus coach goes berserk as gold medal tradition continues
“The way the award is presented is on total medals, that’s the award,” Taylor said.
“We (Australia) have always looked at, and I was brought up by the Don Talbot era, that gold medals were the most important.
“So from our perspective, we were the best performed team on the gold medal count.
“And when you look at the website and you look at the medal tally, we sit on top of that.
“That is how I feel. But I’m not taking anything away from the US and they won the award based on the criteria that was there.”
Fans also believed Australia should have been crowned the best team.
Debate has erupted over the USA’s ‘best team’ award. Credit: Twitter
Social media account Propulsion Swimming – devoted to swimming news – was one of several to question the ‘best team’ call.
“Sorry is this some kind of sick joke?!” they asked.
“Best team by a country mile was Australia. Who even votes on these things?!”
Other fans agreed.
“Embarrassing by whoever decides these things, Australia will be going to Paris with revenge in (their) minds,” another fan said.
While another fan highlighted the strange quirk: “Best (team) at winning runner-up medals!”
Australian sensation Mollie O’Callaghan departed Fukuoka with five golds – the most of any swimmer at the meet – and a silver.
O’Callaghan set the champs alight with five gold medals. Credit: EPA
Ian Thorpe (six golds in Fukuoka in 2001) holds the Australian record for most golds at a single world championships.
O’Callaghan also featured in three of Australia’s four world records in Fukuoka.
“It’s what you’d hope would happen with another exposure to this level of meet,” Taylor said.
“The ability to lean back on the work done, the support team who have really put a lot in to that preparation as well, not just addressing the physical but how they psychologically bring it.
“And it was put to the test here and she was really was able to do that.”
Australian backstroker Kaylee McKeown was crowned female swimmer of the year after sweeping all three golds in the 50m, 100m and 200 medal races of her pet stroke.
Australia’s Kaylee McKeown won all three backstroke gold medals at the world championships. Credit: EPA
“I have teammates like Ariarne Titmus and Mollie O’Callaghan who have broken world records this week,” McKeown said.
“As proud as I am, I feel like I have should share that (award) with my teammates.
“I never thought in a million years I would be named swimmer of the year. But it’s pretty cool.”
– With Cameron Noakes
McKeown brushes nerves and disqualification to win gold
Chalmers savours epic win, relay team shatter world record
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.