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SHANGHAI, China, July 28. RYAN Lochte became the first man to shoot down a world record in the post techsuit era over long course meters with an astounding effort in the men's 200 IM at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
After a drought that lasted since the techsuit ban went into place more than a year ago, Lochte crushed the men's 200 IM with a scintillating time of 1:54.00. That outstanding performance broke the world record of 1:54.10 that he set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Incidentally, he also beat the former textile best of 1:54.43 he clocked at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships.
Lochte remains the only individual to break a swimming world record since the techsuits were banned. He set new marks in the 200 IM and 400 IM at the FINA Short Course World Championships last December. At that meet, China's women and Russia's men set world records in the 800 freestyle relay.
Here are the comparative splits between the world records:
Lochte 2009: 24.72, 53.20 (28.48), 1:26.28 (33.08), 1:54.10 (27.82)
Lochte 2011: 24.89, 53.48 (28.59), 1:26.51 (33.03), 1:54.00 (27.49)
"All I can say is summed up in one word…Jeah! That's really all," Lochte said after the world record. "I knew it was going to be a battle between Michael [Phelps] and I but I got the better end this time. Anytime you break a world record you have to be excited. I trained hard and it paid off."
Michael Phelps nearly joined Lochte under the former world record with a second-place time of 1:54.16, which now stands as the third-fastest effort all time.
"I felt good, but I thought I was a little long at the finish and that cost me the race," Phelps said. "I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time it is faster than I went in 2008 at the Olympics, so that's a good thing. [Tonight] frustrated me more than anything, because I thought I was going to get that one. But, it is what it is."
Lochte defended his 2009 title in the event, giving the U.S. its fifth straight win in the event with Phelps having gone back-to-back-to-back in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Lochte's victory tonight gave him his second world title of the meet, and ninth World title of his career. The nine gold medals puts him fifth in long course competition, while is 15 career medals is third on the all-time hardware list at the FINA World Long Course Championships.
While we can never tell exactly how our voting panel of international experts will vote, Lochte's performances just halfway into the meet likely locked down his second consecutive Swimming World World Swimmer of the Year award. That puts him up into the Mount Rushmore of men's swimmers for the U.S. that have defended the award. Michael Phelps is definitely at the top with six titles, but Mike Barrowman, Tim Shaw, Mark Spitz and Gary Hall are the only other Americans to defend the illustrious World Swimmer of the Year title.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh completed the podium with a third-place time of 1:57.69, while Great Britain's James Goddard (1:57.79), Austria's Markus Rogan (1:58.14), Brazil's Thiago Pereira (1:59.00), Australia's Kenneth To (1:59.26) and Japan's Yuya Horihata (1:59.52) also swam in the finale.
"I am happy with third place, even though my time was not very good," Cseh said. "I'd expected to swim faster. I need to continue to find ways to improve, and luckily there is always something to improve on. The Americans are too good for me. Only Ryan can beat Michael, but I can improve myself and continue to swim faster."
Video of world record courtesy of Universal Sports