Ryan Lochte destroyed a classy field to claim a third gold medal and a second world record at the World Short Course Championships in Dubai on Friday, beating the former world mark by just over a second.
The US swimmer’s 1 minute, 50.08 second swim was 2.83 seconds ahead of Austria’s silver medalist, Markus Rogan and 3.48 in front of his compatriot, Scott Clary.
“This is amazing. I started very fast and did a very fast last 25m and the result is a world record. I just focused on going out faster than the rest of the field,” said Lochte, whose medal spree so far this championship also includes gold in the 200m freestyle and a world record in the 400m individual medley.
“When I was doing backstroke I looked up at the screen and saw I was just in front of the world record line and that motivated me to the breaststroke and freestyle,” he said.
Also taking home some hardware was Swedish powerhouse, Therese Alshammar, who won the women’s 50m butterfly in a new championship mark of 24.87 seconds. Australia’s Felicity Galvez was snapping at her heels in second with a time of 24.94.
“It was always going to be tough, it’s been a catfight between the both of us all the way through the heats and the semi-finals,” Galvez said. “But I have to be happy with that time. It was a lifetime best and I can’t complain, but there are always things I can improve on.”
Alshammar’s win took her all-time tally of medals won at a short course world championship to 16.
Brazilian Cesar Cielo was the emotional victor of the men’s 50m freestyle, claiming a championship record on the night in a time of 20.51, Frederick Bousquet was second in 20.81 while Josh Schneider was third in 20.88.
Germany’s Paul Biedermann silenced the critics who call him “Mr Suit,” referring to his dip in form since last year’s FINA suit ban, clinching gold in the 400m freestyle, starting from lane eight.
Biedermann had been swimming behind eventual bronze medalist, Oussama Mellouli from Tunisia and Russia’s Nikita Lobinstev and made his move in the final 50m, finishing in 3:37.06
The tussle between Japan’s Naoya Tomita and Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta continued in the final of the 200m breaststroke. Tomita had broken the championship record in his semi-final before Gyurta broke it again in the next semi.
In the evening’s final, Tomita had the last laugh, breaking the championship record once more to win gold in a time of 2:03.12. Gyurta had to be content with 2:03.47.
The Chinese women are dominating the relay events at the meet, with the foursome of Zhao Jing, Zhao Jin, Liu Zige and Tang Yi just missing out on a world record in the 4x100m medley relay by .32 seconds after finishing in 3:48.29 in a close final.