Lochte breaks world record, SA’s Versveld crashes out

2011-07-28 14:40

Ryan Lochte today became the first swimmer to break a long-course world record since the ban at the beginning of January 2010 of performance-enhancing high-tech swimming costumes when he won the 200m individual medley event at the swimming world championships in Shanghai.

Lochte won the gold medal in a time of 1 minute 54 seconds, beating his own best mark set in 2009 by 0.14 seconds.

The 26-year-old again managed to beat rival Michael Phelps, who picked up the silver medal in a time of 1:54.16. Bronze went to Hungarian Laszlo Cseh in a time of 1:57.69.

Lochte said he hoped that his world record would now get other swimmers to break records.

“I wanted to do something that everyone thought was not possible.”

“I always want to do what nobody else has done in the sport. I wanted to prove everybody who said that the records will stand forever wrong.”

Lochte’s record and fifth victory over Phelps at these championships was undoubtedly the highlight of today’s session at the Oriental Sports Centre in Shanghai.

The only South African involved in the session was Neil Versveld, who crashed out in the men’s 200m breaststroke semifinals, finishing with the 16th-slowest time of 2:12.32.

“Even though I swam a personal best, it is a bit disappointing,” he said.

He will now be heading off to the US Nationals next week to swim the event again in order to be a step closer to qualifying for the London Olympics next year.

“Hopefully, I will have a shot at the qualification time when I compete in California,” he said.

The other gold medals of the evening went to Russian Anastasia Zueva, who won the women’s 50m breaststroke and the American women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, and James Magnussen, who became the first Australian 100m freestyle world champion.

There was also plenty to cheer about for local fans as Jiao Liuyang took the gold medal in the women’s 200m butterfly in a time of 2:05.55. It was the first gold at a major global competition for the 21-year-old.

Briton’s Ellen Gandy also secured her first world championship medal by finishing second in a time of 2:05.59, while world record holder Liu Zige gave the hosts even more to cheer about when she took bronze in 2:05.90.

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