Ryan Lochte opens World Champs with double gold
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily NewsU.S. swimming star Ryan Lochte bagged two gold medals on the opening day of the World Short Course Championships on Dec. 12.
The American led from start to finish, winning the men’s 200m freestyle before he teamed up with Anthony Ervin, James Feigen and Matthew Grevers to win the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Lochte was pushed hard by Germany’s world record holder Paul Biedermann in the 200m freestyle, but he clocked 1:41.92 to claim his 15th career World Short Course Championships gold medal.
The second gold was secured in a much tougher contest and needed anchor leg swimmer Grevers to chase down and overtake Russia’s Artem Lobuzov and then hold off the late charge of Italy’s Filippo Magnini to secure Lochte’s 16th gold medal in the championships’ history. Team U.S. finished in 3:06.40. Turkey also competed in the final, an important event for the country. The team of Arda Gürdal, İskender Başlakov, Doğa Çelik and Kaan Türker Ayar finished eighth, but set a new national record of 3:13.73.
With the double, Lochte added to the five medals he won in the London Olympics this summer.
Those two golds put the U.S. team at the top of the medals standings at the end of day one, with the U.S. women adding a third gold by winning the final race of the day, the 4x200m freestyle relay.
İskender Başlakov, a swimmer born to Belarusian and Turkish parents, was set to race against Grevers again in the 100m men’s backstroke final in yesterday’s evening session. Başlakov set a new Turkish record of 51.21 seconds in the semifinals.
Başlakov and Gürdal also competed in the 50m men’s freestyle heats yesterday but were eliminated. In the women’s 50m butterfly, Iris Rosenberger was just left out of the semifinals. Rosenberger finished in 26.60, while the 16th semifinalist, Brianna Throssell of Australia, finished 26.54. The quartet of Megan Romano, Chelsea Chenault, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt were pushed all the way by Russia, but Schmitt’s greater strength over the final 200m brought them home in front yesterday.
Elsewhere, it was a good day for eastern European women. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu set a competition record of 2:02.20 when she won gold in the 200m butterfly and in doing so became the first Hungarian woman to win a medal in championship history.
Hosszu returned to the pool 30 minutes later to overhaul compatriot Zsuzsanna Jakabos in the final stages of the women’s 400m individual medley and win bronze behind Great Britain’s Hannah Miley and Ye Shiwen of China.
Lithuania’s 15-year-old Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte, meanwhile, broke the championship record twice on her way to the 50m breaststroke final. In the morning session she finished in 29.56 and then lowered it to 29.51 in the semifinal.
An additional report from AFP was used in this story.