Golden Lochte gives US relay record


Ryan Lochte wrote another golden chapter in his memorable world championships Friday as he pushed the USA to a record fourth straight 4x200m freestyle win and claimed his third individual title. The American team were lagging after out-of-sorts Michael Phelps’ lead-off leg but Lochte demonstrated the form that brought him the individual 200m freestyle crown as he overtook France’s Fabien Gilot on the penultimate turn.
Lochte’s efforts helped the United States, who timed 7min 2.67sec to finish ahead of France and China, become the first team to win the event four times in a row, outstripping Australia’s treble between 1998 and 2003. “Once we hit around the 75m mark I knew it was over. I knew I had a lot of energy left and I was going to hit that second wall and then just go for it,” Lochte said. “Everyone did their own part. We went out there and just did our best, that’s all we did — and we came out with the win.” It capped another bravura night for the 26-year-old, who has emerged from Phelps’ shadow with a world record in the 200m individual medley and doubled his personal gold medal haul to four on Friday. “I’ve said this every night so far: hopefully, with more training I can swim faster,” said Phelps. “But with these three guys behind me, that’s something I’m comfortable with. I’m confident in these guys. “They’ve held the back end of the relay together really well. I don’t think there’s anybody better at the end of the relay than Ryan. He finished it all for us — we set it up, and he brought it home.” Lochte, whose medley record was the first since high-tech swimsuits were banned last year, also led from start to finish in the 200m backstroke to reclaim the title he won in 2007. The Olympic champion timed 1min 52.96sec ahead of Japan’s Ryosuke Irie and Tyler Clary of the United States. Meanwhile, Olympic title-holder Rebecca Soni also stretched the United States’ medals table lead when she won her second breaststroke gold of the championships in the women’s 200m final. And Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta won an exciting duel with four-time Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima of Japan to retain his men’s 200m breaststroke crown. Gyurta, who came off second best to Kitajima in the 2004 Olympic final, overtook the “Frog King” over the last 50 metres to claim gold in 2:08.41. Germany’s Christian vom Lehn was third. “I was the fourth in the 100m (breaststroke), but today I won the silver medal, so I feel happy. But in next year’s Olympic Games, my goal is to win the gold medal,” Kitajima said. Also on Friday, the championships witnessed only their third ever dead-heat final — and the second this week — as Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus and Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen both finished the women’s 100m freestyle in 53.45.
Greece win first gold
Greece edged hosts China 9-8 in the water polo final Friday to secure their first ever women’s gold medal in any sport at the world aquatics championships. In a tight contest in Shanghai in front of 1,600 spectators, the Europeans struck first but the teams were all square at 2-2 after the first period. Greece scored twice to lead 4-2 at the halfway point, and maintained their two-goal lead during a high-scoring third period in which both sides scored four times. The killer blow for China came early in the fourth period when Greece scored again to go ahead 9-6, and although China pulled two back in a frantic finish, they could not find the equaliser. “It was a close match. Although it’s a pity that we did not win the gold, we’ve drawn lessons from these matches and I’m sure the Chinese girls will make progress in future,” said China coach Pan Shenghua. “We are looking forward to good results at next year’s London Olympics.” In the match to decide third place, Russia clinched their third bronze in a row by beating Italy 8-7.