July 28, 2011
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
And they said it wouldn’t be done in a textile suit for a long time.
After nineteen months without a world record, Floridian Ryan Lochte broke his own world record in the 200-meter individual medley and snatched another gold medal away from Michael Phelps in a textile suit Thursday at the XIV FINA World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai, China.
It was the first world record set in a textile suit since the high-tech bodysuits were banned in January 2010.
With Phelps bearing down on him in the final freestyle lap, Lochte hit the wall in 1 minute, 54.00 seconds, defending his title and bettering his previous world mark in 1:54.10 that he set at the 2009 Rome World Championships, where 43 world records were broken in the high-tech suit.
It was the second consecutive world final that Lochte beat Phelps, the 14-time Olympic gold medalist, at the Oriental Sports Center.
“I wanted to do something that everyone thought was impossible,” said the 26-year-old University of Florida alum.
“Since they banned those suits everyone thought a world record would never get touched again. I just wanted to show everyone that can happen. That’s why we have records, they are meant to get broken.
“Hopefully, everyone now can start realizing that ‘Hey, it’s possible,’ so hopefully a lot more records will fall.”
Lochte also beat Phelps in the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday. Lochte has two more events and Phelps one but not head-to-head. With his two golds, Lochte is the third best in world championship history after Phelps and Aussie legend Grant Hackett.
“I’m just happy that all that hard work I’ve done this year and dedication is definitely paying off,” said Lochte, who lives and trains in Gainesville with 2012 Olympic men’s coach Gregg Troy.
Phelps took the silver in a career-best 1:54.16 and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took the bronze in 1:57.69.
“That one frustrated me more than anything,” Phelps said. “I thought I was going to get that one. I thought I had it on the last stroke. I felt myself gaining and gaining and gaining.”
Phelps beat Lochte to the wall on the opening butterfly leg, Lochte moved into the lead on the backstroke leg and started there even though Phelps swam the last 50 in 27.36, .13 faster than Lochte. Phelps finished with a long stroke that may have cost him the race.
“Ryan has really done all the little things right,” Phelps said. “He has more comfortable speed now than he had before. He is super focused. He’s just more prepared. Things are always won by people who are most prepared. To go faster than he did in 2009 is incredible.
“I think that race is going to be a lot of motivation for the next year. There’s a lot of frustration right now going through my head. This is going to help me through the tough months of training for the next year.”
In other championship finals:
Aussie James Magnussen, 20, proved that his opening split of 47.49 was no fluke against Phelps on the winning 4×100-meter relay opening day, overtook defending champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil during the back half of the race to win in 47.63. Canadian Brent Hayden took silver in 47.95 and William Meynard of France took bronze in 48.00.
Cielo, who was cleared of doping last week, finished fourth much to the delight of several swimmers and coaches who did not want to see Cielo cleared of the doping charges.
“It means the world and I know it means a lot to Australian swimming as well,” said Magnussen, making his worlds debut. “First person to win that event at a world championships from Australia, which is a pretty big deal. I think it puts men’s sprinting in Australia back in the spotlight.”
China’s Jiao Liuyang led from start to finish to win the 200-meter butterfly in 2:05.55. Ellen Gandy of Great Britain was second in 2:05.59 and defending champion and world record holder Liu Zige of China was third in 2:05.90. No American made it to the final.
Russia’s Anastasia Zueva won the women’s 50-meter backstroke in 27.79. Japan’s Aya Terakawa took the silver and 16-year-old American Missy Franklin won the bronze.
Franklin then came back to swim a fast lead-off leg of 1:55.06 (faster than the gold medal-winning time in the 200 freestyle event) to enable the U.S. to win gold in the 4×200-meter relay ahead of Australia and China with teammates Dagny Knutson, Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt.
SOFLO two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov, 27, swimming in Lane 8 in Heat 7, finished 33rd in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:15.70 in the prelims and did not advance into the semifinals. It was his third and final event of the world championships.
World champion Serbia needed extra time to beat Olympic champion, Hungary, 15-14, in the men’s water polo semifinals. Serbia was the only scorer in the first period of overtime. In the other semifinal, Italy edged Croatia, 9-8. Alex Giorgetti scored three goals. In the semifinal round 5-8, the U.S. men’s team held off Germany, 9-8, and Spain defeated Montanegro, 10-9. In other classification matches, Australia beat Canada, 8-6, and Japan defeated Romania, 18-15.
After thirteen days, China leads the medal count with 32 including 14 gold and 11 silver medals. The U.S. is second with 17, seven golds and five silver. Russia is third with 15 including eight golds.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org