Water Polo Men, Day 7 - 5th & 6th: ESP 10 GRE 8
For the fifth time in World Championship history, Spain finished fifth in beating Greece 10-8 at the Bernat Picornell Pool. In the 43rd match of the championship, Spain made it special for the stand-in captain, Xavier Valles, a veteran of the team and playing his last international. Felipe Perrone stood down for the match to allow Valles to lead the team into the pool. He scored his last goal at this level for the go-ahead 4-3 in the second quarter. A champion player, he leaves the international stage as a character and an exceptional athlete.
Greece won the first period 2-1 and then Albert Espanol set the pool alight when he went rampant, lift his team to 6-4 at halftime with four goals. He scored from his favourite deep left and from the penalty line to give his team the upperhand in the middle stage of the match.
Swimming, Day 7 – Ledecky (USA) and Meilutyte (LTU) set second WR in Barcelona
The seventh day of the swimming competitions in Barcelona was highlighted by three new World Records and five finals distributing medals to 13 countries. The most impressive performance was achieved by Katie Ledecky (USA) in the women’s 800m free, where she set a new global mark of 8:13.86; at the same time, she became the second swimmer in history to win the 400m, 800m and 1500m free (also with WR) in the same edition of the Championships. This previous feat had been achieved by Hannah Stockbauer (GER) also at the Palau Sant Jordi, in 2003.
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, the final has not been swum yet, and already two new WR were established: in the morning heats, Yulia Efimova (RUS) had clocked 29.78, but the best world standard would only last few hours: in the semis, Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) improved that performance, advancing first to the final with a time of 28.48. The Lithuanian had already set a WR in the 100m breaststroke (1:04.35).
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.
Water Polo Men, Day 7: Bronze Medal - CRO 10 ITA 8
Olympic champion Croatia won a frustrating bronze-medal encounter 10-8 over outgoing world champion Italy. Fouls were king and a veritable revolving door of players and officials being sent from the match marred what could have been something wonderful.
These two teams have been two of the best three teams in the world and deserve respect. They showed it to each other after the match. During action the teams wanted a fluid match but it was a staccato encounter of whistles and uncertainty.
Water Polo Men, Day 7: 7th & 8th - SRB 12 AUS 7
Serbia may be unused to playing off for seventh in a major championship but it’s not unused to playing Australia, having won 10-7 on day one. It became two from two in Barcelona when Serbia defeated the Aussie Sharks 12-7 for seventh place.
Filip Filipovic, a new father who will now want to rush home to see his baby son for the first time, was the star of the show with five goals from six attempts. It could have been six but for a penalty save of his shot against Australian goalkeeper Joel Dennerley. Only one of his left-arm shots came on extra but his run was stopped when he injured his shooting thumb on the follow through of his last score. He finished with 16 goals for the championship.
Women's water polo press conference highlights
Jennifer Pareja (ESP):
"We know that we could not let go this final, that we had to play our best. For me the key is that we enjoy playing and all of us wanted to win. Playing here at home is the best atmosphere.
"I have played the last World Championship (in Barcelona) in 2003 and now and it has been really different. Women's water polo has changed a lot. In the past there was a huge difference between men's water polo and women's water polo and now they're in the same level. In BCN 2003 I was really young and I enjoyed it a lot. Now, in 2013, what we get is awesome.”
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