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SHANGHAI, China, July 25. NORWAY's Alexander Dale Oen closed the book with a storybook ending to what has been an emotional weekend for the Norwegian at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
With his home country in disarray following domestic terrorism attacks, Dale Oen put his focus on his work and left Shanghai with a textile best and a world title in the men's 100 breast. Dale Oen clocked a remarkable time of 58.71, far surpassing Kosuke Kitajima's previous textile best of 59.04 from the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. Dale Oen's time stands fourth all time behind only Brenton Rickard (58.58), Hugues Duboscq (58.64) and Igor Borysik (58.67).
Dale Oen now has a faster time than Kitajima's lifetime best of 58.91, and could give Kitajima his first major test at the 2012 London Olympics.
After his win, Dale Oen gestured to the Norwegian flag on his cap.
"We need to stay together now in Norway, and we just need to try to do the best we can," Dale Oen said after his win.
Italy's Fabio Scozzoli picked up silver with a 59.42, while South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh garnered bronze with a 59.49.
"I'm really happy and pleased with my time," van der Burgh said. "It's great. Now there is a whole year until London Olympics, and I can go home now and train more."
Kitajima, however, continued his troubles with the world championships in the 100 breast with a fourth-place 1:00.03. The undisputed king of breaststroke at the Olympics, Kitajima has had a difficult time at the world championships in the 100 breast since first winning in 2003 in Barcelona. He finished second to Brendan Hansen in both 2005 and 2007, and was on hiatus in 2009.
Rickard (1:00.11), Hungary's Daniel Gyurta (1:00.25), Lithuania's Giedruis Titenis (1:00.25) and USA's Mark Gangloff (1:00.52) also competed in the championship heat.