Missy’s golden six-pack sets stan­dard for women

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

Missy Franklin claimed an his­toric six gold medals at swim­ming’s world cham­pi­onships while Ruta Meilu­tyte and Katie Ledecky each broke two world records as teenage girls ruled the pool in Barcelona. US star Franklin earned her six in the 100 and 200m back­stroke and the 200m freestyle, the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle re­lays and Sun­day’s 4x100m med­ley.

It made her the first woman to win six ti­tles at a world cham­pi­onships, match­ing Ian Thorpe of Aus­tralia at the 2001 world cham­pi­onships in Fukuoka, Ja­pan.

It’s a mark which has only been bet­tered by Michael Phelps’ seven golds at Melbourne in 2007.

“It is an honor to be the first woman to reach this land­mark,” said Franklin, who won five golds at the Lon­don Olympics and set the 200m back­stroke record.

The 18-year-old Amer­i­can won six of the eight events she en­tered in Barcelona while fel­low Amer­i­can Ledecky and Lithua­nia’s Meilu­tyte, who are both 16, fin­ished with two world records each.

A to­tal of five world records were bro­ken in Barcelona — all by women.

Meilu­tyte took both the 50m and 100m breast­stroke records, while Ledecky shaved nearly six sec­onds off the 1500m record, then low­ered the 800m mark on Satur­day.

Den­mark’s Rikke Moller Ped­er­sen, 24, also set a new 200m breast­stroke record.

Ledecky said Phelps’ mark can still be felt on the sport, 12 months af­ter the leg­endary swim­mer walked away af­ter last year’s Olympics with a ca­reer to­tal of 18 Olympic golds and 26 world ti­tles.

“There are a lot of great fe­male swim­mers right now,” said Ledecky.

“Michael left a great legacy, and I think a lot of peo­ple have been in­spired by him, both male and fe­male.

“The men are try­ing to chase his records, which are re­ally hard to reach. It is the women’s time right now.”

De­spite Franklin’s achieve­ments, Ledecky de­served her award as the cham­pi­onships’ best fe­male swim­mer with a haul of four golds af­ter sweep­ing the long- dis­tance freestyle events over 400, 800 and 1500m, plus help­ing the US women’s 4x200m freestyle re­lay squad to vic­tory.

Ledecky said she now wants to test her­self over 200m, which would put her on a col­li­sion course with Franklin at the 2015 world cham­pi­onships in Kazan, Rus­sia, be­fore the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Even with­out Phelps, the US team dom­i­nated the medals ta­ble with 29 (13 gold, 8 sil­ver and 8 bronze) with China a dis­tant sec­ond with a to­tal of nine (5-2-2).

France was third ( 4- 1- 4) while Aus­tralia fin­ished fourth (3-10-0).

Aus­tralia bounced back from a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at the Olympics with three golds.

Both Cate Camp­bell and James Mag­nussen won their re­spec­tive 100m freestyle fi­nals while Chris­tian Sprenger took the 100m breast­stroke ti­tle.

China’s 21- year- old longdis­tance star Sun Yang again proved he has few peers in the freestyle, adding Sun­day’s 1500m ti­tle to the 400m and 800m golds he won dur­ing the week.

But Chi­nese teenager Ye Shi­wen was a flop as the Olympic 200 and 400m in­di­vid­ual med­ley cham­pion fin­ished fourth and sev­enth over the re­spec­tive dis­tances.

Ye took the Lon­don 2012 Olympics by storm when she won took both IM ti­tles, swim­ming the fi­nal leg of the 400m fi­nal in a faster time than men’s win­ner Ryan Lochte to set the world record of 4 min 28.43 sec.

Ye’s time in the Barcelona 400m IM fi­nal was just over 10 sec slower than her world record in Lon­don.

Mean­while, Lochte car­ried the bur­den of Phelps’ ab­sence for the US men with three golds that took his tally of world ti­tles to an amaz­ing 15.

South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh picked up where they left off in Lon­don with le Clos win­ning both the 100 and 200m but­ter­fly golds in Barcelona.

Van der Burgh, the Olympic cham­pion, fin­ished sec­ond to Sprenger in the men’s 100m breast­stroke, but gained re­venge with gold in the 50m fi­nal with Sprenger sec­ond.

AL­BERT GEA / REUTERS

Missy Franklin of the US laughs as she poses with her gold medal af­ter win­ning the women’s 200m back­stroke at the world aquat­ics cham­pi­onships in Barcelona on Sun­day.

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