Lochte’s Triple Leads Team USA at FINA World Championships
BARCELONA – Led by a double gold-medal performance from Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), American swimmers won four medals – two gold and two bronze – Friday at the 15th FINA World Championships.
Lochte, who swam three events in the evening session, won gold in the men’s 200m backstroke in 1:53.79 and the men’s 800m freestyle relay. He also posted the fastest swim in the 100m butterfly prelims in between finals with a time of 51.48.
Leading the U.S. to gold in the 800m free relay with Lochte was Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.), Charlie Houchin (Raleigh, N.C.) and Ricky Berens (Charlotte, N.C.). Their final time was 7:01.72.
Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.) and Micah Lawrence (Pflugerville, Texas) also medaled for the U.S. on day six at Palau Sant Jordi, with Clary taking bronze in the men’s 200m back in 1:54.64. Lawrence won bronze in the women’s 200m breaststroke in 2:22.37.
The U.S. has now won 24 medals in Barcelona – 11 gold, six silver and seven bronze. It leads all teams in both gold medals and total medal count.
The 200m back was the first of the three swims for Lochte. He took the lead from the start of the men’s 200m backstroke and held on through the finish for gold by a half a body-length over runner-up Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland, who touched in 1:54.24. Clary moved into third at the 100-meter mark and stayed there for the bronze.
Americans have won gold at the last eight World Championships in this event. Lochte has won three of those – in 2007, 2011 and this year.
“The 200 back is probably one of the hardest events on your legs and just your body in general,” Lochte said. “I think it’s the exact same time I went at the Olympics, and with the little amount of training I’ve done this year, I think that’s going to set me up pretty good for 2016.”
Dwyer, who took silver in the 200m free earlier in the week, led off the 800m free relay and put the team in third position at the 200-meter mark, behind Russia and France. Lochte then took the lead in the second leg by six-tenths over Russia, his split of 1:44.98 was the second-fastest in the 32-man field.
Houchin increased the Americans’ lead to about a body length in the third leg, and Berens brought them home. Russia finished second in 7:03.92, while China was third in 7:04.74.
The U.S. has now won this race at five straight World Championships and has not lost the 800m free relay on the international stage since 2003.
Lawrence knew she was in for a tough race in tonight’s finals of the women’s 200m breaststroke. In Thursday’s semifinals, two swimmers – Russia’s Yuliya Efimova and Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen – swam under the 2 minute, 20 second mark, with Pedersen breaking the world record in 2:19.11.
Lawrence said her plan was to take the race out controlled and relaxed and hopefully be in striking distance near the end. It didn’t work out quite that way, but Lawrence said she was happy with her bronze medal. Efimova was first in 2:19.41, followed by Pedersen in 2:20.08.
Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) missed the medal stand in the women’s 100m freestyle by just five-hundredths of a second, finishing fourth behind the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, 53.47 to 53.42. Cate Campbell of Australia took gold in 52.34, followed by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden in 52.89. Shannon Vreeland (Overland Park, Kan.) was eighth in 54.49.
In Friday’s semifinal action, Anthony Ervin (Valencia, Calif.) missed the American record in the men’s 50m freestyle by two-hundredths of a second with a time of 21.42 to qualify second. Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) qualified third in 21.60. The top eight finishers in each semifinal round advance to tomorrow’s final.
Franklin, who swam twice Friday, qualified first in the 200m backstroke in 2:06.46, while Elizabeth Pelton (Baltimore, Md.) posted the third-fastest time in 2:08.20. Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) qualified fifth in the 50m fly with a time of 26.06, while Christine Magnuson (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished 10th in 26.19.
Following Lochte’s 51.48 in the 100m fly, Eugene Godsoe (Greensboro, N.C.) finished 11th in 51.96.
The competition will continue through Sunday with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. local time. NBC will broadcast the meet on Saturday, Aug. 3 from 1-3 p.m. ET and Sunday, Aug. 4 from 4-6 p.m. ET.
For more information about the U.S. Team at FINA World Championships visit, www.usaswimming.org. For complete results, visit www.omegatiming.com.