A year before Olympics, Lochte proves he is the man to beat claiming his second gold at world swimming championships.
|American Ryan Lochte has spent a lot of time in Shanghai with a gold medal between his teeth [GALLO/GETTY]|
Ryan Lochte raced to two more gold medals at the swimming world championships on Friday, raising his victory total to four with at least one more event to go.
The American led from start to finish in the 200-meter backstroke, then rallied the U.S. past France in the anchor leg to win the 4×200 freestyle relay.
“When Ryan is hot right now you don’t want anyone else on the end of the relay,” said Ricky Berens, who swam the third leg for the Americans.
Michael Phelps led off the relay, leaving the U.S. third behind Paul Biedermann of Germany and Yannick Agnel of France.
Peter Vanderkaay then put the Americans in front at the halfway mark, but France led at 600 meters before Lochte passed Fabien Gilot with only one lap to go.
“They were talking about me swimming the last leg,” Vanderkaay recounted.
“I said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want Ryan on that?’ He doesn’t surprise me anymore.”
Ryan’s golden week
Earlier in the meet, Lochte won the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley – relegating Phelps to silver twice.
He also set a world record in the 200 IM – the only world mark in swimming since high-tech bodysuits were banned 19 months ago.
“I have a lot of confidence, especially what happened with last year,” said Lochte, who won six golds to Phelps’ five at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2010.
Meanwhile, American Rebecca Soni won the 200 breaststroke to go with her 100 title from Tuesday.
Jeanette Ottesen and Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus finished in a dead heat for gold in the women’s 100 freestyle, both clocking 53.45 seconds. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands touched third in 53.66 and Francesca Halsall of Britain and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands tied for fourth in 53.72.
|Rebecca Soni raced to another gold for the US in the women’s 200m breaststroke final [GALLO/GETTY]|
It was the second time in these championships that there was a dead heat for gold, after Camille Lacourt and Jeremy Stravius of France shared the top spot on the podium in the men’s 100 backstroke on Tuesday.
Daniel Gyurta of Hungary overtook Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima of Japan on the final lap to defend his title in the men’s 200 breaststroke.
“It’s probably the biggest day of my life because ever since I started taking part in the world championships in 2003, I’ve tried to catch (Kitajima) and now I’ve succeeded,” Gyurta said.
In the 200 backstroke, Lochte hardly celebrated after hitting the wall in 1:52.96, more than a second in front of silver medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan, while another American, Tyler Clary, took bronze.
Soni was being tapped for a world record in the 200 breaststroke but struggled in the second half of the race, touching in 2:21.47 to hold off a late comeback from Yuliya Efimova of Russia. Efimova took silver in 2:22.22 and Martha McCabe of Canada grabbed bronze in 2:24.81.
“It felt great the first 100 and then I was trying to hold on at the end,” Soni said.
“I ran out of gas.”
Even when running out of gas, the Americans are a mighty force in the swimming pool.