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SHANGHAI, China, July 29. SOME said Daniel Gyurta's men's 200 breast world title in 2009 was a bit of a fluke with all-everything stud breaststroker Kosuke Kitajima taking a hiatus. This year, the Hungarian proved those doubters wrong with a head-to-head win at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
Gyurta used a superior final 50 meters to overtake Kitajima for the win, 2:08.41 to 2:08.63. Kitajima had led at the 150-meter mark, but could not hold off the surging Gyurta. Gyurta became only the second man to defend a men's 200 breast world title dating back to David Wilkie of Great Britain winning in 1973 and 1975 – the first two times the event was offered in world championship competition.
"I have been training a lot for the final, and I knew that I had to push it at the end," Gyurta said. "I know [Kitajima] is a good swimmer, but I think I can match him at the London Olympics. I respect him, but he and I are the best in the event."
Kitajima earned his fourth medal in the men's 200 breast in world championship competition. He won in 2003 and 2007, and took bronze in 2001.
"I am happy to have won the silver medal tonight," Kitajima said. "But, in next year's Olympics Games, my goal is to win the gold medal."
Germany's Christian Vom Lehn finished third overall in 2:09.06, while USA's Eric Shanteau missed the podium with a fourth-place 2:09.28 after taking silver in 2009.
"It was a fantastic race," Vom Lehn said. "This is my first world championships, so it is a big success for me to medal, and I am very happy about that."
Great Britain's Michael Jamieson (2:10.67), Lithuania's Giedrius Titenis (2:11.07), South Korea's Kyu Woong Choi (2:11.17) and Great Britain's Andrew Willis (2:11.29) also competed in the finale.