Swimming, Day 2 - Men's 100m breaststroke: Sprenger brings gold to Australia

BCN2013 - Swimming

Christian Sprenger brought Australia their first swimming gold medal in BCN2013Christian Sprenger brought Australia their first swimming gold medal of the FINA World Championships, winning the men's 100m breaststroke in a rousing duel with Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa. Van der Burgh, bronze medallist at the 2009 and 2011 Worlds, led at the turn inside world record pace, with Felipe Lima (BRA) second and Sprenger third. But Sprenger caught him as they battled down the return length to win in 58.79, with Van der Burgh - 50m breaststroke gold medallist in 2009 - taking the silver in 58.97 and Lima bronze in 59.65.

Sprenger, at 27 the oldest holder of the title, claimed Australia's second win in the event in the last three Worlds, 2009 victor Brenton Rickard having failed to progress beyond the heats this time.Van der BUrgh's 58.46 world record remained intact.

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Kosuke Kitajima, Japan's double Olympic champion in both 2004 and 2008, had to settle for sixth place having won the world 100m and 200m breaststroke titles back in 2003 when Barcelona last hosted the championships. Italy's Fabio Scozzoli, silver medallist in the 50m and 100m breaststroke in 2011, was fifth this time. The race was held in the absence of 2011 world champion Alexander Dale Oen of Norway, who died in 2012 during a training camp in Arizona.

World Record: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA), 58.46 – July 29, 2012 in London (GBR)
Championships Record: Brenton Rickard (AUS), 58.58 – July 27, 2009 in Rome (ITA)
Best performance of the current season (since January 2013): Christian Sprenger (AUS), 58.79 – July 29 in Barcelona (ESP)
2003-2011 winners in this event: 2003 – Kosuke Kitajima (JPN, 59.78); 2005 – Brendan Hansen (USA, 59.37); 2007 – Brendan Hansen (USA, 59.80); 2009 – Brenton Rickard (AUS, 58.58); 2011 – Alexander Dale Oen (NOR, 58.71)
The best in this event (1. most victories or 2. fastest time): Norbert Rozsa (HUN, 1991 & 1994) and Brendan Hansen (USA, 2005 & 2007)
2012 Olympic podium: 1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA, 58.46), 2. Christian Sprenger (AUS, 58.93), 3. Brendan Hansen (USA, 59.49)

QUOTES:

Gold medal winner: Christian Sprenger (AUS)

"It was amazing. I feel really lucky because I needed to compete against Cameron [van der Burgh] and at least I won!"

Silver medal winner: Cameron van der Burgh (RSA)

"I'm happy. I didn't think about my injuries, I tried to do my race without pressure, putting my head on what I could control."

Bronze medal winner: Felipe Lima (BRA)

"This is my best time. The first 50m are important to start really strong, I came back fast and I did a really good result. I wanted to win the silver but now my best possible result so far has been bronze."