World Champs, Day 8 Evening Session: Lenton Outclasses Field in 50 Freestyle

By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick

MONTREAL, Canada, July 31. WHAT a meet for Australia’s Lisbeth Lenton. Heading into the final of the women’s 50-meter freestyle, Lenton already had gold medals in the 400 free and 400 medley relays and led off the silver-medal winning 800 free relay with the fourth-fastest time in history. Oh, she was also the silver-medal winner in the 100 butterfly. The best, though, arrived last.

Blazing through the water at Parc Jean-Drapeau, Lenton clocked a PR 24.59 and earned a decisive victory over the Netherlands’ Marleen Veldhuis, who covered the sprint in 24.83. Lenton’s winning time wasn’t too far off the championship record of 24.45, set in 2001 by Dutch superstar, Inge DeBruijn. Lenton should continue her sizzling performances at next week’s Duel in the Pool, the head-to-head matchup between the U.S. and Australia.

China’s Zhu Yingwen sped 24.91 to collect the bronze medal, as she fought off Sweden’s Therese Alshammar (24.96). Australia’s Alice Mills, considered the favorite before the competition started on the back of her Aussie record 24.49 in March, could only manage fifth in 25.02 and was followed by Belarus’ Svitlana Khakhlova in 25.17. The United States’ Kara Lynn Joyce was seventh (25.36) and Estonia’s Jana Kolukanova was eighth (25.56).