Swimming, Day 5: USA 2 – China 2; WR for Pedersen (DEN) in the women’s 200m breast
The fifth session of finals was highlighted, in terms of performances, by the new World Record in the women’s 200m breaststroke by Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) in the first semi-final of the event. The Danish swimmer clocked an impressive 2:19.11, improving the previous world global mark (2:19.59) set by Rebecca Soni (USA) at the London Olympic Games. Pedersen is naturally the athlete to beat in the decisive race, but Yulia Efimova, from Russia, is not far, with a 2:19.85 effort in the semis. It was the third World Record of the Championships, all in women’s events – Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) in the 100m breaststroke and Katie Ledecky (USA) in the 1500m free are the two other WR performers so far.
In terms of medals, the five finals gave two titles to USA and also two gold medals to China. In all of these events, logics prevailed, with Ryan Lochte confirming his good shape in the men’s 200m IM and getting the third consecutive gold in this distance since 2009. Additionally, it was his first individual podium presence in Barcelona. In the women’s 4x200m free relay, the North Americans were also the favourites and touched home first for the fifth title in the last six editions of these Championships.
From the Chinese side, 2008 Olympic champion Zige Liu is back at the top, with a brilliant triumph in the women’s 200m butterfly, in front of the audience’s hero Mireia Belmonte and well ahead of her compatriot Liuyang Jiao (sixth) the reigning Olympic winner. In the women’s 50m backstroke, it was another Chinese affair, with WR holder Jing Zhao defeating her teammate and revelation of the current season, Yuanhui Fu.
Last but not least, Australia took the last gold at stake, by winning the always prestigious men’s 100m free. James Magnussen, from Australia, imposed his class in 47.71, and could forget his silver medal in London, behind Nathan Adrian, this time the bronze medallist in the Catalan capital.
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