Swimming, Day 7 - Women’s 800m free: Ledecky (USA) wins gold in a new WR of 8:13.86!
Barcelona is definitively inspiring for the long distance freestyle swimmers: 10 years ago, also at the Palau Sant Jordi, Hannah Stockbauer (GER) was the first in history to win gold in the same edition of the championships in the 400m, 800m and 1500m free. In this seventh session of the swimming events in the 15th FINA World Championships, Katie Ledecky (USA) repeated the same feat: after clinching gold in the 400m and 1500m (the latter in a new WR performance), the 16-year-old star touched again first in the 800m in 8:13.86, also a World Record, the sixth of these Championships. The former best global mark (2:14.10) had been set by Rebecca Adlington (GBR) at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Ledecky is definitively one of the brightest stars of the competition in Barcelona and has confirmed in the best possible way the surprising 800m Olympic gold from last year’s Olympics.
Swimming, Day 7 - Men’s 100m butterfly: Chad Le Clos (RSA) ends with US “era”
Since the 2003 title of Ian Crocker also in Barcelona, the United States had amassed all the gold medals at stake in this event, thanks also to Michael Phelps, the winner of the previous three editions, in Melbourne 2007, Rome 2009 and Shanghai 2011. After the retirement of the greatest Olympian in history, there was an empty spot for the first place, and the one taking it at the Palau Sant Jordi was Chad Le Clos (RSA), precisely the man who beat the North American at the 2012 Games (in the 200m fly).
The South African clinched his second gold in Barcelona, touching home in 51.06, still far from the World and Championships record set by Phelps in 2009 (49.82). But this was a natural victory if we consider the London results, where Le Clos was the runner-up of the North American in this event.
Swimming, Day 7 - Women’s 200m backstroke: Franklin (USA) imperial, sets new CR (2:04.76)
In what was one of the most predictable finals of the day, Missy Franklin (USA) got her fifth gold in Barcelona, after a comfortable win in 2:04.76, a new Championships record. The best mark at FINA’s major event had been set by Kirsty Coventry (ZIM) in Rome 2009, when she got the gold in 2:04.81. Franklin’s tally in the Catalan capital now comprises the 200m back, 200m free, 100m backstroke, 4x100m free relay and 4x200m free relay. The North American star – Olympic champion in this event - was also the fastest of the semis and held since June the best performance of the year in 2:05.78.
The silver went to Belinda Hocking, from Australia, who repeated her performance from Shanghai 2011, while the bronze medal went to Hilary Caldwell (CAN), her first success at this level.
Swimming, Day 7 - Men’s 50m free: Cielo (BRA) gets third consecutive title and sixth gold in total
Cesar Cielo from Brazil became the first swimmer to win three titles in the 50m free (and consecutively) after getting the gold in Barcelona, in a time of 21.32 (best time of the year). Winner in Rome (ITA) four years ago in 21.08 (the current Championships record) and in Shanghai (CHN) in 2011 (21.52), the Brazilian star had a perfect race in lane 6 and earned his sixth gold medal at FINA World Championships – 2009: 50m free and 100m free; 2011: 50m free and 50m butterfly; 2013 – 50m butterfly. Cielo was also the bronze medallist in this event at the 2012 Games in London.
The minor medals went to Vladimir Morozov (RUS), silver in 21.47, while George Bovell gave Trinidad and Tobago the first medal ever at FINA World Championships, touching home for the bronze in 21.51. Bovell had already been a pioneer at Olympic level, when in Athens 2004 he got the bronze in the 200m IM. For Morozov, this was his first individual medal, after the bronze in the 4x100m free relay.
Swimming, Day 7 - Women’s 50m butterfly: Ottesen gives first gold to Denmark
After two silver medals, Denmark got its first gold in Barcelona thanks to the win of Jeanette Ottesen in 25.24, the best performance of the year. The 25 year-old swimmer had been already the fastest of the semis and got her second world title, after the victory in the 100m free two years ago in Shanghai (CHN). Ying Lu, from China, swimming in lane 8, clinched the silver in 25.42 (new Asian record), improving her 2011 performance, when she was fourth. Lu was also second in the 2012 Olympics in the 100m butterfly. The bronze went to Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), who was also third in the 100m free and 4x100m free relay.
The 2011 champion and second Dutch of the final, Inge Dekker, concluded in fifth (25.83), while Dana Vollmer (USA), four-time Olympic gold medallist (namely in 2012 in the 100m butterfly) was eighth in 26.46. This final also registered the presence of an Egyptian swimmer, Farida Osman, who clocked 26.17 for the seventh spot.
Swimming, Day 6 – Two more gold for Lochte (USA), overall tally reaches 23!
Ryan Lochte (USA) earned two gold medals in the sixth session of the swimming competition at the 15th FINA World Championships, having now an accumulated number of 23 awards in FINA’s major event since 2005. His latest successes happened in the 200m backstroke, where he easily revalidated his 2011 title, this time in 1:53.79. In the last final of the evening, he was essential in the triumph of his team in the 4x200m free relay. The other two podium presences of Lochte in Barcelona were in the 200m IM (gold) and in the 4x100m free (silver).
Other highlights of this sixth day included the surprising win of Yulia Efimova (RUS, 2:09.41), in the women’s 200m breaststroke. In the semis, Rikke Pedersen (DEN) had established a new World Record of 2:09.11, but she was slower in the decisive race, getting the silver in 2:20.08. In the men’s 200m breaststroke, Daniel Gyurta, from Hungary, became the first man with three wins in this event, after his golden performances also in 2009 and 2011. His time of 2:07.23 is a new Championships and European record, and is faster than the World Record he had set at the 2012 Olympics, when he won this distance. The current WR holder, Japan’s Akihiro Yamaguchi had a poor performance, finishing seventh.
Swimming, Day 6 - Men’s 4x200m free: USA remains unbeaten since 2005!
Unbeaten since 2005, the team of the United States revalidated its title in a time of 7:01.72. Presenting a quartet formed by Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte, Charles Ouchin and Ricky Berens, the only weak point of the North Americans was the initial leg, in which Dwyer touched in third. Lochte immediately rectified the situation and from then, the winning team was always in control of the situation. It was the fourth medal of the championships for Lochte and his 23rd since 2005!
With a very fast Danila Izotov (first at 200m), Russia gave some opposition but finished with a silver performance in 7:03.92. The bronze went to China (also third in London last year), touching home in 7:04.74. The silver medallists at the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics, France, missed the podium, concluding in fourth (7:04.91). Yannick Agnel was quite solid in the first 200m (1:45.44, second) but the subsequent efforts of Lorys Bourelly, Gregory Mallet and Jeremy Stravius were not enough to secure a medal.
Swimming, Day 6 - Men’s 200m breaststroke: Gyurta (HUN) gets third consecutive title in a new CR
When winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in a new World Record of 2:07.28, Daniel Gyurta, from Hungary, could not imagine that his performance would not last for more than a month and a half. On September 15, 2012, in Gifu (JPN), 18-year-old Akihiro Yamaguchi blasted that mark to set the existing World Record in 2:07.01. Gyurta has of course the Olympic glory, but his outstanding performance was soon forgotten.
In Barcelona, the Magyar 2009 and 2011 champion, was ready for the “revenge”. After being also the fastest of the semis, Gyurta not only outclassed Yamaguchi (in lane 1), but the entire field of this final. Earning gold in 2:07.23, he did not recover the WR performance but proved that he is at the top of his shape. Moreover, he bettered his personal best and established a new Championships Record (the previous mark had been set by Christian Sprenger (AUS) in Rome 2009, in a time of 2:07.31. The Magyar victory also meant another milestone in this event, as he became the first swimmer at the World Championships to have three wins in the 200m breaststroke, and on a consecutive way.
Swimming, Day 6 - Women’s 200m breaststroke: Efimova (RUS) beats Pedersen (DEN) in a thrilling race
After the World Record (2:09.11) in the semis, Rikke Pedersen, from Denmark, was the swimmer to beat in this decisive race. The Danish led until the 150m-mark, but a final push from Yulia Efimova, from Russia, allowed her to surprisingly get the gold in 2:19.41. Pedersen had to content with the silver, in 2:20.08, while the bronze went to US Micah Lawrence in 2:22.37.
Both Pedersen and Efimova were looking for their first world title, but the previous experience of the Russian star probably dictated this outcome: Efimova had already five medals at this level – including the 2009 gold in the 50m breaststroke -, plus a 2012 Olympic bronze in the 200m. Pedersen, despite being three years older (she is 24) had never medalled at Olympic or world level. For Lawrence, this is also the first podium presence at World Championships.
Swimming, Day 6 - Men’s 200m backstroke: Lochte (USA) earns second gold in Barcelona
With already nine wins in the history of the World Championships in this event (including seven consecutive victories since 2001), the USA had its two strongest assets in the central lanes: Tyler Clary, the fastest of the semis and reigning Olympic champion, and in lane 5 Ryan Lochte, winner of the 200m IM in Barcelona. In this North American duel, Lochte was faster and got the gold in 1:53.79, the best performance of the year. It is Lochte’s 22nd medal at FINA World Championships.
The silver went to a very solid Radoslaw Kawecki, from Poland, touching in 1:54.24, a new European record. It is the first success at this level for the Polish swimmer, aged 21. Clary clinched the bronze, in a time of 1:54.64, far from his personal best of 1:53.41, when he won the Olympic gold one year ago.
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