Busy Lochte claims golden dou­ble

US star sur­vives the gru­el­ing sched­ule of three events in a day

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Barcelona

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.”

FRAN­COIS XAVIER MARIT / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ryan Lochte in ac­tion dur­ing the heats of the 100m but­ter­fly in the world aquat­ics cham­pi­onships in Barcelona on Fri­day.

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