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.
Swimming, Day 6 - Women’s 100m free: Campbell (AUS) gets first title in 52.34
In a very open final, Missy Franklin (USA), already with four medals in Barcelona, was in lane 2; next to her, in lane 3, the 2012 Olympic champion from the Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo; in lane 4, the fastest of the semis, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, gold medallist in the 100m butterfly at these championships; swimming on lane 5, Australia’s Cate Campbell, the best performer of the season in 52.33 (in the heats of the event); and finally, in lane 7, the 2008 Olympic champion and world record holder Britta Steffen (GER).
In the end, the gold in Barcelona went to Campbell, who was under the World Record pace at the 50m-mark, but touched home in 52.34. It was the first title at World Championships for the Australian, who was decisive at the 2012 Games in London to give her country the only gold of the competition, in the 4x100m free relay.
Water Polo Women: Day 7: Bronze: HUN 10 RUS 8
Hungary overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first quarter and took until halfway through the final quarter to grab a two-goal lead, which it maintained to deny Russia a record fifth bronze medal 10-8. The match was levelled at 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7 before Hungary took the elad at the final break and triumphantly pulled away.
Russia started strongly, racing to 2-0 before Hungary responded. When Olga Belova scored on extra for 3-1, Russia looked set for a lucrative match, however, Hungary fired up and Gabriella Toth and Gabriella Szucs scored at centre forward and with a lob respectively for 3-3 at quarter time.
Water Polo Women, Day 7: 7th & 8th - NED 12 CAN 9
Netherlands captain Yasemin Smit led her team to seventh classification with a 12-9 victory over Canada. Smit scored three times in the opening quarter as the Dutch went from 5-1at the first break to 6-1 early in the second quarter. Canada woke up at this stage and started competing and then outplaying Netherlands 8-7 in the last three periods.
The Dutch meant business from the start and only veteran Joelle Bekhazi broke the Dutch charge at 2-1.
Water Polo Men, Day 6: MNE 10 ITA 8
Montenegro ended Italy’s World Championship reign with a staggering 10-8 victory in front of a near-packed crowd at Bernat Picornell Pool. Italy was shell-shocked with Montenegro’s start to the match, from Aleksandar Ivovic’s lightning shot from the top of the first attack, through Mladan Janovic’s extra-man goal from the top and the Nikola Janovic’s penalty goal — 3-0 at 4:04.
That was a huge shock that Italy had severe difficulty adjusting to after five straight victories in Barcelona. Matteo Aicardi splashed in a rebound from one metre for 3-1.
Hungary and Montenegro to battle for men’s gold medal
Multiple Olympic champion Hungary and Montenegro will do battle for the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Championships at the Bernat Picornell Pool on Saturday. A reshaped Hungary, a far cry from the triple Olympic champions of the new millennium, pushed London Olympic champion Croatia out of title contention with an 11-10 victory built on better extra-man statistics and the stopping power of goalkeeper Viktor Nagy.
The first semifinal produced an upset according to many pundits, except anyone related to Hungary. The Hungarians, under new head coach Tibor Benedek, himself one of the world’s most decorated athletes, grabbed the lead in the second quarter, took the match to 10-7 early in the fourth, watched Croatia level at 10-10 and then celebrated when Denes Varga scored the winner at 1:58.
Water Polo Men, Day 6: HUN 11 CRO 10
Winning games is all about winning percentages and Hungary had the better figures in knocking Olympic champion Croatia out of the gold-medal contention in the men’s competition. Hungary won 11-10, shutting Croatia down in the extra-man situation with stunning figures of converting four from eight and restricting Croatia to six goals from 15 attempts. What was even more telling was the two penalty saves by Hungary’s goalkeeper, Viktor Nagy,
The excitement started early and continued throughout from Miklos Gor-Nagy’s opening goal until Petar Muslim’s 3-2 goal at 3:06, the quarter-time score.
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.
Swimming, Day 5 - Women’s 4x200m free: USA confirms supremacy with fifth win in six editions
In the last final of the evening session, the duel between USA and Australia turned out in favour of the North Americans, who got their fifth title in six editions, touching home in7:45.14. The winners started very strong, with Katie Ledecky swimming the first 200m in 1:56.32, but then the Australians got some advantage after the efforts of Kylie Palmer and Brittany Elmslie. USA closed the quartet with Missy Franklin, who clocked an impressive 1:54.27 to provide gold to her team.
Australia earned silver in 7:47.08, while the bronze went for France in 7:48.43. This podium was a copy of the 2012 Olympic top-3 ranking, but in London all these three teams had swum faster.
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