By John Lohn
MELBOURNE, Australia, April 1. WHILE Michael Phelps has been the standout performer on the male side this week, Libby Lenton can make a strong argument for being the elite female in Melbourne. Winning her fifth gold medal, Lenton proved herself to be the fastest woman in the world with a clocking of 24.53 in the 50-meter freestyle. Lenton was also the champ in 2005.
Already the winner of the 100 free and 100 butterfly, along with the 400 free relay and 400 medley relay, Lenton soared off the blocks for a time that was just off the Australian record of Alice Mills (24.49). Lenton was followed closely by Sweden's Therese Alshammar, who touched in 24.62. A night earlier, Alshammar won the 50 butterfly.
"To get five gold medals is incredible," Lenton said. "It's definitely pretty special. I'm used to having a great meet, then not so good, then a good one. To get some consistency is really nice."
The bronze medal was secured by the Netherlands' Marleen Veldhuis, who touched in 24.70, ahead of the 24.79 of Germany's Britta Steffen. Veldhuis won the silver in the 100 free earlier in the week. American Kara Lynn Joyce was fifth with a mark of 24.83 and Aussie Jodie Henry checked in sixth in 24.96.
Check back for an updated story on this event as our team of Senior Writer John Lohn and CEO Brent Rutemiller, on the scene at Rod Laver Arena, provide in-depth coverage, along with radio and TV segments.