Dubai: Ryan Lochte destroyed a classy field to claim a third gold medal and a second world record at the World Short Course Championships in Dubai last night, beating the former world mark by just over a second.
The US swimmer’s 1:50.08 swim was 2.83 seconds ahead of Austria’s silver medalist, Markus Rogan and 3.48 in front of his compatriot, Scott Clary.
“This is amazing. I started very fast and did a very fast last 25m and the result is a world record. I just focused on going out faster than the rest of the field,” said Lochte, whose medal spree so far this championship also includes gold in the 200m freestyle and a world record in the 400m individual medley.
“When I was doing backstroke I looked up at the screen and saw I was just in front of the world record line and that motivated me to the breaststroke and freestyle.”
Also taking home some hardware was Swedish powerhouse, Therese Alshammar, who won the women’s 50m butterfly in a new championship mark of 24.87. Australia’s Felicity Galvez was snapping at her heels in second and a time of 24.94.
“It was always going to be tough, it’s been a catfight between the both of us all the way through the heats and the semi-finals,” said Galvez.
“But I have to be happy with that time. It was a lifetime best and I can’t complain, but there are always things I can improve on. Maybe next time.”
Alshammar’s win took her all-time tally of medals won at a short course world championship to 16, one short of the USA’s Jenny Thompson.
Brazilian Cesar Cielo was the emotional victor of the men’s 50m freestyle, claiming a championship record on the night in a time of 20.51, Frederick Bousquet was second in 20.81 while Josh Schneider was third in 20.88.
Germany’s Paul Biedermann silenced the critics who call him ‘Mr Suit,’ referring to his dip in form since last year’s FINA suit ban, clinching gold in the 400m freestyle, starting from lane eight.
“I was a little disappointed with my early swims,” he said after a lacklustre performance in the 200m freestyle on the opening day. Biedermann had been swimming behind eventual bronze medalist, Oussama Mellouli from Tunisia and Russia’s Nikita Lobinstev and made his move in the final 50m, finishing in 3:37.06
“It was not my plan to win like that,” he said. “I just kept my eye on Nikita and pushed as hard as I could. They call me ?Mr Suit’, but I’m training harder than ever to prove my critics wrong.”
The tussle between Japan’s Naoya Tomita and Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta continued in the final of the 200m breaststroke. Tomita had broken the championship record in his semi-final before Gyurta broke it again in the next semi.
In the evening’s final, Tomita had the last laugh, breaking the championship record once more to win gold in a time of 2:03.12. Gyurta had to be content with 2:03.47.
“I have raced against him a number of times and I don’t just consider Daniel my competition, I consider everyone my competition,” said a jubilant Tomita.
Gyurta warned that the rivalry was not over.
“He won this time but wait until next time,” he said.
The Chinese women are dominating the relay at this meet, with the foursome of Zhao Jing, Zhao Jin, Liu Zige and Tang Yi just missing out on a world record by .32sec after finishing in 3:48.29 in a very close final.
Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy won silver for the USA in 3:48.36, while Australia’s Rachel Goh, Rebecca Soni, Felicity Galvez and Marieke Guehrer took bronze in 3:48.88