Lochte makes history; Ledecky wins 4th gold

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY RY­LAND JAMES

Ryan Lochte wrote him­self into the history books on Thurs­day while Katie Ledecky won her fourth gold at the world swimming cham­pi­onships to cap a great night for the United States.

Lochte’s vic­tory in the 200-me­ter in­di­vid­ual med­ley fi­nal saw him be­come the first swim­mer to win four con­sec­u­tive world cham­pi­onships gold in the event.

“It’s some­thing I’ll re­mem­ber for the rest of my life,” said Lochte.

He now has 16 gold medals at world cham­pi­onships dat­ing back to 2005.

Aus­tralia’s Grant Hack­ett is the only other swim­mer to have won four con­sec­u­tive world ti­tles in a sin­gle event, hav­ing achieved the feat in the 1,500-me­ter freestyle be­tween 1998 and 2005.

“It would have to be a toss up be­tween this, it’s the coolest thing to make history in any sport, or 2011, when I broke the (200-me­ter IM) world record,” said Lochte when asked if this was the best mo­ment of his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

Phelps’ SMS

Lochte re­vealed U.S. swim­star Michael Phelps, who was sanc­tioned from tak­ing part in Kazan, told him to take lead­er­ship of their coun­try’s team via a pre-race text mes­sage.

The 31-year-old Lochte pro­duced a com­mand­ing dis­play to win his fi­nal and both but­ter­fly ex­pert Camille Adams and breast­stro­ker Micah Lawrence said Lochte’s vic­tory had inspired them to fin­ish sec­ond in their fol­low­ing races.

Ledecky then an­chored the United States women’s 4x200-me­ter freestyle re­lay vic­tory.

The Amer­i­cans fin­ished the night with two golds and Adams’ sil­ver in the women’s 200-me­ter but­ter­fly to move up to sec­ond in the over­all medals ta­ble be­hind China.

The 18-year-old Ledecky had al­ready won the 200, 400 and 1,500- me­ter freestyle golds in Kazan and still has the 800-me­ter heats to come on Fri­day morn­ing and fi­nal sched­uled for Satur­day night.

Af­ter Missy Franklin swam a strong first leg in the re­lay, Ledecky dived in with the United States slightly be­hind the Swedish team, but she put plenty of clear wa­ter be­tween her team’s ri­vals to win by a clear mar­gin.

Ledecky, who holds the world re- cords for the 400, 800 and 1,500-me­ter freestyle, has had an out­stand­ing cam­paign in Kazan and has twice bro­ken her own 1,500-me­ter record.

“There’s only one word I can use to de­scribe Katie Ledecky — ‘phe­nom­e­nal,’” said Lochte.

“It seems when­ever she sets foot in the wa­ter she ei­ther wins gold or breaks a world record — she’s a beast.

“She got Team USA on a roll and we have to carry on that mo­men­tum.”

It was also a good night for Asia as Ning Ze­tao be­came China’s first 100-me­ter freestyle world cham­pion, while Fu Yuan­hui won women’s 50-me­ter back­stroke gold with fel­low 19-year-old Liu Xiang earn­ing bronze for the Chi­nese team.

Ja­pan’s Nat­sumi Hoshi won the women’s 200-me­ter but­ter­fly gold to add to her 2012 Olympic bronze in the event while 17-year-old Chi­nese Zhang Yufei swam a new world ju­nior record of 2:06.51 to take bronze.

Freestyle Bat­tle Royal

The women’s 100-me­ter freestyle fi­nal on Fri­day will be a huge bat­tle with Aus­tralian sis­ters Cate and Bronte Camp­bell, plus Hol­land’s Femke Heemskerk, all within 0.60 sec­onds of Sarah Sjostrom’s 52.78 sec­onds fastest time in the semi­fi­nals.

Cate Camp­bell is the de­fend­ing cham­pion.

Den­mark’s world record-holder Rikke Moller Ped­er­sen is on course to win women’s 200m breast­stroke gold af­ter qual­i­fy­ing fastest from the semi­fi­nals just ahead of Lawrence.

Ped­er­sen, who set the world record in Barcelona two years ago, is now the fa­vorite af­ter Rus­sia de­fend­ing cham­pion Yuliya Efi­mova failed to qual­ify.

Mitchell Larkin is on course to add 200-me­ter back­stroke gold to the 100-me­ter ti­tle he has al­ready won af­ter qual­i­fy­ing as the fastest into Fri­day’s fi­nal.

He was just ahead of the United States’ Ryan Mur­phy and China’s Xu Ji­ayu. Olympic cham­pion Tyler Clary of the USA was sev­enth fastest.

AP

(Above) United States’ Ryan Lochte holds up his gold medal af­ter win­ning the men’s 200-me­ter in­di­vid­ual med­ley fi­nal at the Swimming World Cham­pi­onships in Kazan, Rus­sia, Thurs­day, Aug. 6. (Right) United States’ Katie Ledecky holds her gold medal af­ter win­ning the women’s 200-me­ter freestyle fi­nal at the Swimming World Cham­pi­onships in Kazan, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 5.

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