Four world marks were set in the night's eight finals, three of them by Chinese women.
At least Britain's medal winners could celebrate national records. Pickering broke June Croft's 11-year hold on the British mark for the women's 100 metres freestyle when finishing third behind China's Le Jingyi, who took the gold in a world record of 53.01sec.
Pickering, from Ipswich, who won three bronze medals at the European championships in August, recorded 54.39 in the final to lower by a further 0.29sec the British record she had set in the morning's heats of 54.68.
'I hope this does not sound big-headed but it never occurred to me that I wouldn't swim well here because I have been swimming so well in training and I felt really strong,' Pickering said.
Nick Gillingham, the European champion, provided the inspiration for the medley relay bronze with a brilliant breaststroke leg of 59.93, the first time he has gone under 60sec for 100m. Martin Harris (backstroke), Mike Fibbens (butterfly) and Mark Foster (freestyle) also played their part in a British record of 3min 37.27sec. The United States claimed the world record when their men took the gold in that event in 3:32.57.
There were also world records for China's Dai Guohong in the women's 400m individual medley, 4:29.00, and by the Chinese quartet in the women's 4x200m freestyle, 7:52.45.
Results, Sporting Digest, page 43Reuse content