Olympics, Swimming: Kosuke Kitajima Wins 200 Breast Gold With Olympic Record

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 14. IT'S history for Japan's Kosuke Kitajima. Four years after winning double-gold at the Athens Olympics, Kitajima turned the same feat at the Beijing Games by winning the 200 breaststroke in near-record time. The victory complemented Kitajima's earlier triumph in the 100 breast.

Kitajima was in control throughout the race and hovered either just above or below his world-record pace for the entire four laps, ultimately settling for a time of 2:07.64. It just missed his world mark of 2:07.51, but was the second sub-2:08 mark in history. He covered the opening lap in 29.04, went through the midway point in 1:01.13 and was 1:34.05 at the 150-meter mark.

The Japanese star has been phenomenal during his career and currently owns both world records in the breast events. He registered an easy triumph over Australia's Brenton Rickard, who replicated his silver-medal showing from last year's World Championships in Melbourne. Rickard was timed in 2:08.88 for a national record.

The bronze medalist in the 100 breast, France's Hugues Duboscq won the same medal in the longer event, thanks to a time of 2:08.94. Duboscq finished just ahead of Canadian Mike Brown, who went 2:09.03, slightly slower than his 2:08.84 from the semifinals. Hungary's Daniel Gyurta, the silver medalist from Athens, was fifth in 2:09.22.

American Scott Spann turned in another sub-2:10 showing to take sixth in 2:09.76 and the Italian tandem of Loris Facci (2:10.57) and Paolo Bossini (2:11.48) closed out the field.