Chinese teenager Sun Yang toppled swimming’s oldest world record when he shattered Grant Hackett’s 10-year mark in the men’s 1500 metre, ensuring a rousing finish to the Shanghai World Championships.
Sun, roared on by a capacity crowd, put on a devastating burst over the last 100 metres as he made up a deficit of more than two seconds to touch in 14 minutes and 34.14 seconds, 0.42 seconds inside Hackett’s mark set at the 2001 meeting in Fukuoka.
Sun’s performance was only the second new record in Shanghai, two years after polyurethane-clad swimmers set 43 new bests at the 2009 championships in Rome.
“I was not obsessed with the world record before the final, because I wanted to focus on my plan,” said Sun. “My goal was to win the gold. I’m so grateful to the whole Chinese team, including my coach and my parents as well, and I think the world record belongs to all of them.”
Lochte grabs fifth gold, Phelps defends title
Meanwhile US star Ryan Lochte, this week’s other record-setter, underlined his supremacy with a superb fifth gold medal, matching his illustrious teammate Michael Phelps’ haul from 2009.
Lochte led from start to defend his 2009 title in four minutes and 7.13 seconds , more than four seconds ahead of teammate Tyler Clary with Japan’s Yuya Horihata third.
“I’m not really happy,” he said. “Getting five gold medals is definitely great but I know I can go a lot faster.”
Olympic champion Phelps was instrumental in the US 4x100m medley win, as he took them from fourth to second in the butterfly-leg before Nathan Adrian finished off the win.
Hardy, Alshammar clinch wins
Similarly, America’s Jessica Hardy won the women’s 50m breaststroke title as the world record-holder finished in 30.19 seconds ahead of defending champion Yuliya Efimova of Russia and US swimmer Rebecca Soni.
“I’m really excited, I trained so hard for this,” said Hardy. “I’m really glad. I performed well. All of us did a good job.”
Sweden’s Therese Alshammar won the women’s 50-metre freestyle title as she clocked 24.14 seconds, outside world record time, ahead of Dutch swimmers Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Marleen Veldhuis.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.
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