Busy Lochte claims golden double
US star survives the grueling schedule of three events in a day
US star Ryan Lochte swam through the pain barrier to win two gold medals on Friday at the world championships as he followed his 200m backstroke victory with 4x200m freestyle relay gold.
In the backstroke final, Lochte clocked 1 min, 53.79 sec, while Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki set a European record at 0.45 back with Tyler Clary, the Olympic champion, taking bronze, 0.85 adrift.,
The 28- year- old Lochte swam a total of three races on Friday evening, following his backstroke victory by qualifying as the fastest from the 100m butterfly semifinals an hour later before swimming the second leg of the relay — all within two hours.
“I survived! I wasn’t really thinking about the triple at all. I was just focusing on it one race at a time,” said Lochte, whose golden brace leaves him with 15 titles — including three at Barcelona — from world championships dating back to Montreal in 2005.
“I don’t know anyone in swimming that has done a triple in one night. No matter what the outcome was in the first and second race, I had to pull it together for the team in the relay.”
Despite his impressive haul of 15 world golds, Lochte’s tally is far behind US swim legend Michael Phelps, who collected 26 gold medals at world championships dating from 2001 until 2011 — before he retired after last year’s Olympics.
Despite his heroics, Lochte admitted he had pushed through the pain barrier for his country.
“It was so painful. I don’t want to do that again,” he said.
“When you get together for a relay, you don’t care about the pain, you just have to get up there and do it for the other guys.”
The 21- year- old Kawecki, who won the short- course world title in 2012, swam a personal best behind Lochte.
“I am very happy with the result and to get a personal best,” he said.
“I did not expect to come in second place but I felt like I had everything under control during the race.”
Having put on 13kg on his break from training after London 2012, Olympic 200m backstroke champion Clary said bronze was acceptable with a view to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“I came into training camp after the Olympics 30 pounds overweight, so the celebration was ongoing, you could say,” Clary said.
“I didn’t even really feel like myself again in the water until after the world championship trials, so that is a good base to start from and I certainly would rather have this result now than in Rio.”
He also said: “There isn’t more pressure, it’s more recognition as an Olympic champion.
“There are a lot of guys looking at you, but swimming is a non-contact sport, it’s not as if anyone can knock you off your game so you just need to swim your own race.”
Ryan Lochte in action during the heats of the 100m butterfly in the world aquatics championships in Barcelona on Friday.