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BARCELONA, Spain, August 3. IN a loaded championship heat that featured three Olympic gold medalists, Brazil’s Cesar Cielo put on a show with his third straight world title in the men’s 50-meter freestyle at the FINA World Championships.
Cielo rocked a time of 21.32 to win the splash-and-dash this evening, and claim his sixth career world long course title. He now has two wins per meet for the past three competitions with wins in 2009 (50 free, 100 free), 2011 (50 fly, 50 free) and now 2013 (50 free, 50 fly).
The threepeat club has nearly doubled in size this week with three new members so far. After Ryan Lochte (200 IM) and Daniel Gyurta (200 breast) picked up their third straight titles, Cielo now joins them with his third victory in a row in the 50 free.
Prior to this week, only Michael Phelps (100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM), Aaron Peirsol (100 back, 200 back), Ian Thorpe (400 free) and Grant Hackett (1500 free) had won three straight world titles with Hackett owning the record with four victories straight in the metric mile.
Russia’s Vlad Morozov raced to second in 21.47, concluding what has been a remarkable season for the now-professional swimmer who turned heads with his short course yard times in his final collegiate season with USC in March. Then, Morozov turned it up at the World University Games with some stunning times, and closed out his year with a silver medal in his signature event.
Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell turned in a surprising third-place time of 21.51. While Bovell has always been in the mix in the sprint freestyle events since transitioning from being a 200 IMer (Olympic bronze medal in 2004), he’s been known more for his humanitarian efforts away from the pool. Tonight, however, Bovell slayed some significant dragons as some legitimate sprint studs missed the podium altogether.
USA’s Nathan Adrian continued a disappointing meet with a fourth-place time of 21.60. Adrian had come in riding the wave of an Olympic gold medal last summer, and some predicted he could sweep the sprint freestyle events here in Barcelona. He now has a silver in the 400 freestyle relay and a bronze in the 100 free, and missed the podium completely in the 50 free.
Reigning Olympic champion Florent Manaudou of France took fifth in 21.64, while USA’s Anthony Ervin posted a sixth-place 21.65. South Africa’s Roland Schoeman (21.85) and France’s Fred Bousquet (21.93) concluded an all 21-second finale.