Flash! Lochte Blasts Two World Records as World Short Course Champs Conclude

SHANGHAI, China, April 9. WHEN the week started, Ryan Lochte had never established a world record. Now, he has three to his credit. Completing a stellar week at the World Short Course Championships, the University of Florida sensation set a pair of global standards on Sunday. Having claimed the world record in the 200 individual medley earlier in the week, Lochte added the 100 and 200 backstroke marks to his resume.

In the 200 backstroke, Lochte obliterated Austrian Markus Rogan’s record from last December by swimming an eye-popping time of 1:49.05, well under Rogan’s 1:50.43. Lochte split 53.74 at the 100-meter mark, was at 1:21.54 at the 150-meter point and cruised to the wall in impressive fashion. Rogan was second with a time of 1:50.97 and Australian Matt Welsh took bronze in 1:53.10.

For a finale, Lochte led off the American 400 medley relay with the first sub-50 100 backstroke in history. Lochte stroked to a clocking of 49.99 to better the world record of 50.32, set in 2004 by Peter Marshall. The United States, however, settled for silver in the relay as its time of 3:28.00 was slightly slower than the 3:27.71 of Australia. The Aussies went with the squad of Welsh, Brenton Rickard, Adam Pine and Ashley Callus. Lochte was followed by Scott Usher, Jayme Cramer and Nick Brunelli.

Australian ace Libby Lenton added two more titles to her stash as she doubled in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. In the sprint free, Lenton punched the pads in 23.97, giving her the narrowest of triumphs over Sweden’s Therese Alshammar (23.98), the world-record holder. The Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis was third in 24.25.

Lenton also captured top honors in the 100 butterfly, as she dispatched American Rachael Komisarz and Aussie Jessicah Schipper, the winner of the 200 fly. Lenton popped a dynamite effort of 56.61, providing her with an easy decision of Komisarz (57.43) and Schipper (57.49). Lenton had a huge lead at the 50-meter mark, thanks to a split of 26.69.

Like Lenton, South Africa’s Ryk Neethling was a double-winner on Sunday, with his gold-medal performances arriving in the 100 freestyle and 100 individual medley. In the 100 free, Neethling negotiated the distance in 47.24, ahead of the 47.31 turned in by Italy’s Filippo Magnini and the 47.87 of Argentina’s Jose Meolans. Neethling added the I.M. win in a championship record of 52.42. He was followed by Slovenia’s Peter Mankoc (53.00).

Germany’s Janine Pietsch was another victor on the final night of action as she set a championship record in the 50 backstroke with a swim of 27.00. That effort held off Australia’s Tayliah Zimmer (27.25) and China’s Gao Chang (27.28). Meanwhile, China's Qi Hui won the women's 200 breast in 2:20.72, with American Tara Kirk second in 2:21.77. For the men, Ukraine's Oleg Lisogor won the 50 breast in 26.39.

Another Chinese win was supplied by Yang Yu in the 200 free (1:54.94) while countryman Wu Peng took the 200 butterfly in 1:52.36. Russia's Yuri Prilukov bested the competition in the 1,500 free with a mark of 14:23.92.

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