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August 3, 2009

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Home » Sports » Swimming

4th gold for Lochte in Rome

RYAN Lochte won his fourth gold medal of the world championships, and three more world records fell yesterday on the final night of the fastest meet in swimming history.

Taking advantage of Michael Phelps' absence, Lochte added the 400-meter individual medley title to his medal haul in Rome. Lochte also won the 200 IM along with two relay golds, in addition to taking bronze in the 200 backstroke.

Lochte was far off Phelps' world record in the 400 IM, touching first in 4 minutes, 7.01 seconds. Phelps won gold in Beijing in 4:03.84, but decided to scale back his program heading into what will be his final Olympics.

The Americans still went 1-2 even without Phelps. Tyler Clary came on strong in the freestyle to beat Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, taking silver in 4:07.31. Cseh settled for bronze at 4:07.37.

China's hopes of snatching its fifth swimming gold medal in Rome were dashed when Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli won the men's 1,500 freestyle.

The Tunisian clocked 14 minutes 37.28 with Canada's Ryan Cochrane taking silver and China's Sun Yang third. Zhang Lin, China's first world swimming champion, who won the 800 freestyle, finished a disappointing fifth

Britta Steffen underlined her women's sprint dominance by triumphing in the 50 freestyle for the 42nd world record at the meet.

The German, Olympic champion, swam 23.73 seconds having taken the 100 gold with another world record which she credited to her swimsuit on Friday. "It was a fast race, it was very nice to swim here. I thank God," she told reporters.

Sweden's Therese Alshammar was second and Australian Cate Campbell finished joint-third with previous record holder Magdalena Veldhuis of the Netherlands.

Defending champion Libby Trickett of Australia was sixth.

Forty-year-old Dara Torres failed to match her silver-medal showing from the Olympics. Bothered by a sore knee that will require surgery, the American was eighth in 24.48.

Britain's Liam Tancock broke his own world record to win the 50 backstroke. He touched in 24.04, eclipsing the 24.08 he set the previous day in the semifinals. Japan's Junya Koga claimed silver in 24.24, while South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg (24.34) took bronze.

Fire a warning

The Briton had clocked 24.08 in Saturday's semifinal to fire a warning to Koga, who had taken the 100 backstroke title last Tuesday.

Yuliya Efimova followed with another mark, edging American Rebecca Soni in the 50 breaststroke.

Russian Efimova won in 30.09, breaking the record of 30.23 set by Canada's Amanda Reason. The next two also went under the old mark, with Soni (30.11) taking silver and Australia's Sarah Katsoulis (30.16) the bronze.

On Saturday, China smashed the world record to strip Australia of the women's 4x100 medley title and complete a relay double.

China, whose 4x200 freestyle team also took gold last Thursday, triumphed in 3:52.19 to beat the mark of 3:52.69 Australia set in Beijing. The German quartet took the bronze medal.

"We all swam so well, we all did a great job," Jiao Liuyang said.

New 50 backstroke champion Zhao Jing had her team in second place behind Britain at the end of the first leg.

Chen Huijia put it in front in the breaststroke, Jiao maintained the advantage in the butterfly and Li Zhesi fended off a strong challenge from Trickett in the freestyle to guide the Chinese home.


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