Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Phelps improves another record to win fifth medal


Fueled by a big defeat to a teammate, Michael Phelps responded with a world-record win for his fifth gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships on Sunday.

Not to be outdone, fellow American Brendan Hansen lowered his own world record in the 200 breaststroke for the second time in two weeks, beating Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima of Japan.

Phelps powered past teammate Ryan Lochte on the final lap, touching in 1 minute, 55.84 seconds. That bettered his old mark of 1:55.94, set in 2003 at a meet in his home state of Maryland.

A huge grin spread across Phelps' face and he raised his arms in triumph. He then signaled No. 1 with both index fingers before hugging Lochte.

"I hate to lose," said Phelps, referring to Aaron Peirsol's 2.37-second victory over him in the 200m backstroke on Saturday night.

"It was good for me to get in the water and be pushed and get taken to a new level with Ryan," he said. "It was a best time for me, but I think over the next few years it's going to be even better."

Phelps opened the first 50 of butterfly under world-record pace.

"I wanted to make a statement in the first 50 and just leave it in the pool," he said.

Lochte gained the lead on the backstroke leg and was below pace on the breaststroke, sneaking a look at Phelps in the next lane. But he was no match for one of swimming's strongest closers.

Phelps methodically picked off Lochte on the final freestyle leg to win his last race of the four-day meet.

Lochte finished in 1:56.11. Ken Takakuwa of Japan earned bronze.

Phelps won six medals, including five gold, and set world records in the 200 IM, 200 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay. His only loss was to Peirsol.

In the men's 200 breaststroke, Hansen led all the way and touched in 2:08.50 -- slicing 0.24 seconds off the mark he set Aug. 5 at the U.S. national championships in Irvine, California.

"With Peirsol breaking the world record last night and Michael coming out tonight, it was just fitting for me to come out and do the same," he said.

Kitajima took the silver in 2:10.87, with American Scott Usher earning bronze in 2:16.49.

Hansen has carried an admitted chip on his shoulder since Kitajima beat him twice at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where the American settled for bronze in both breaststroke events.

Hansen also won the 100 breast in Victoria. Kitajima was third.

Rising US star Cullen Jones won the men's 50 freestyle in 21.84 seconds, a Pan Pac record.

Roland Schoeman of South Africa took silver in 22.12. Canada's Brent Hayden earned bronze, his fourth medal.

Jones was part of the Phelps-led US team that broke South Africa's 2-year-old world record in the 400 freestyle relay Saturday night.

"Cullen who?" Schoeman said dismissively after the 50 preliminaries.

He was piqued at a comment US relay swimmer Neil Walker made about the record being back where it belongs.

"They've got some of the best swimmers in the world and for them to take two years to break our record, come on. Catch up, you guys," Schoeman said.

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