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August 1, 2009

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Home » Sports » Swimming

Records continue to tumble at worlds

MICHAEL Phelps has earned his third gold medal of the world championships and the US set the 35th world record in Rome, winning the 800-meter freestyle relay.

Phelps swam the leadoff leg and was again bested by Germany's Paul Biedermann, who handed off with more than a 1-1/2 second lead over the American star.

But the US has the deeper team. Ricky Berens seized the lead on the second 200, David Walters maintained the margin and Ryan Lochte held off Russia's Alexander Sukhorukov on the sprint to the wall, touching in 6 minutes, 58.55 seconds -- a hundredth of a second ahead of the US record set in Beijing.

Russia took the silver and Australia, the bronze.

Earlier, Milorad Cavic sent quite a message heading into his showdown with Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly, setting a world record and nearly becoming the first swimmer to break 50 seconds.

The Serbian, who still thinks he beat Phelps at the Beijing Olympics, got off to his usual strong start -- he was a second under the world-record pace at the turn -- and held on at the end for a time of 50.01 in the semifinals. That broke the mark of 50.22 set by Phelps at the US nationals on July 9.

Phelps won the other semifinal in 50.48, the second-fastest time and ensuring that he'll be swimming right next to Cavic in tonight's final.

Cavic's record was the 34th of the meet.

Serbia's Nadja Higl touched home first to claim victory in an exciting climax to the women's 200 meters breaststroke.

Higl swam two minutes, 21.62 seconds to win the gold medal just in front of Canada's Annamay Pierse, who had set a new world record of 2:20.12 in the semis. Austria's Mirna Jukic took the bronze medal.

American Olympic champion Rebecca Soni set off strongly and looked on course to claim a golden double with a world record time after she won the 100m breaststroke title on Tuesday.

But she faded in the final 50m, was caught by the chasing pack led by Higl just before the line and had to settle for fourth place.

Also, Aaron Peirsol ripped up his own world record to win the men's 200 meters backstroke. The American swam one minute 51.92 to beat the mark of 1:53.08 he set earlier this month. Japan's Ryosuke Irie was second with Lochte third.

Defending champion Therese Alshammar was quickest in the women's 50 butterfly, going through to the next round in 25.44 to beat a championship record. The Swede then set a world record in the semifinal by clocking 25.07 seconds to win her race.

Meanwhile, the polyurethane swimsuits that have led to a deluge of world records will be banned from next January, FINA said yesterday.

"The manufacturers are ready," FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu said yesterday. "Now without any doubt the new rules will apply from January 1 2010."


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