World champs end with United States domination
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Daily news Photo/ Emrah GürelUnited States took the first place as the World Short Course Swimming Championships ended in Istanbul on Dec. 16.
American swimmers won 11 gold medals in addition to eight silver and eight bronze medals to come on top, while China (three gold, five silver and three bronze medals), Hungary (three gold, four silver and three bronze medals) and Denmark (three gold, two silver and five bronze medals) followed.
It was a comparably successful campaign for Turkey, who saw three finalists in the competition.
İskender Başlakov qualified for the final in both men’s 50m and 100m backstroke finals, in addition to men’s 4x100m relay team’s eighth finish. Turkish swimmers also broke 14 national records.
The star of the tournament was, without a doubt, Ryan Lochte, who won six gold medals at the week-long tournament.
Lochte won his last two gold medals on the last day, taking his toll to eight in all for the week and 30 in his career.
The superstar swimmer won the 100m individual title in 51.21sec ahead of Australia’s Kenneth To with George Bovell of Trinidad in third.
The 28-year-old New Yorker then anchored the team US to 4x100m medley relay gold, ahead of Russia and Australia.
He had already won the 200m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay and 200m individual medley titles, adding silver in the 200m backstroke and bronze in the 100m butterfly for good measure.
He was also the only swimmer to set world records in Istanbul, in the semifinals of the 100m medley and 200m medley final.
Lochte, a five-time Olympic champion, and the heir to the now-retired Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time, is the only swimmer in history to win eight medals at the same world short course championships.
His career total now stands at 30 medals of which 20 are gold.
“I swim in a bunch of races but that’s what I train for,” said Lochte. “I push my body to limits other athletes are afraid of. That’s why I am able to swim two races in 30 minutes.”
He also won the hearts by giving all his medals to young fans.
“I remember when I was a kid I was looking up to this superstar, an Olympian. I’m not going to mention his name, but I asked him for an autograph and he said no,” he said.
“I was eight and I was crushed. He wasn’t even concentrating, he was just in an elevator. I went back to the hotel room and my parents asked me, ‘So? Did you get the autograph?’. I told him he said no and I remember telling my parents that if one day I ever get there in the same position, I’ll do it.”