Adlington adds world gold to Olympic title
Sat, 30 Jul 12:57:00 2011
Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington beat Denmark's 2009 world champion Lotte Friis to win the women's 800 metres freestyle title in a thrilling finish at the World Championships in Shanghai.
Adlington produced a devastating finish in the final 50 metres to overhaul defending champion Friis, who had started to build up a small advantage during a race in which they matched each other stroke for stroke.
The Olympic champion and world record holder usually swims this event out on her own but she kept pace with 1500m freestyle gold medallist Friis throughout, her winning time of 8:17.51 not far off her own world record.
Friis took silver while American Kate Ziegler, the two-times world champion, just held off team-mate Chloe Sutton to claim bronze.
"I'm so happy I've got a World Championship gold medal. This is why I get up at five in the morning and makes it all worth it," said Adlington, a silver medallist behind Federica Pellegrini in the 400m freestyle last weekend.
"Lotte and I are so closely matched and it was a real head-to-head race with her.
"I just put my head down and went for it. It sounds really bad but all I was thinking was I get to lie on a beach in ten days and it doesn't matter if I ache.
"I just tried to stay with her and I didn't care about the time. She's such a great swimmer and I know how much she will be determined to change this result at next year's Olympics.
Adlington's gold is Great Britain's fourth of the championships, following the success of room mate Keri-Anne Payne in the open water, her 400m silver and Ellen Gandy's 200m butterfly silver.
And while there is some disappointment that that haul of nine medals from Rome won't be eclipsed, Adlington is looking ahead with confidence.
"I can't explain to you what an amazing team this is. Were going to go on to do amazing things next year," she added.
Michael Phelps won his third successive men's 100m butterfly title warning his rivals he could only get quicker ahead of next year's London Olympics.
The 26-year-old American, who won an unprecedented eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, claimed the 100 title in 50.71 seconds ahead of Poland's Konrad Czerniak (51.15) and Tyler McGill (51.26) of the US.
The victory ensured Phelps, who was also first in the 200 on Wednesday, recorded a butterfly double for the third consecutive World Championships.
"I thought I could be a little faster," he said. "Looking at the finish and the scoreboard I think I was a little long, my turn was a little long.
"Those are the two things that can potentially make me faster."
Phelps coasted into the final in 51.47, using his finishing speed to post the fastest qualifying time after he found himself in fifth place at the turn.
He was better positioned on Saturday, turning for home in third before another late burst propelled him clear of the field.
It was Phelps's third gold of the championships, having also swum the lead-off leg for the U.S. in the 4x200 freestyle relay on Friday.
In addition he won two 200 silvers in the individual medley and the freestyle - both behind compatriot Ryan Lochte - and a bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay.
Phelps, who lacked motivation to train after his exploits in Beijing, said his performances in Shanghai would give him an indication of where he stood heading into the Olympics - his final Games before retirement.
"It's been an okay week, some surprises," he said. "Throughout the week I was not in the best physical shape. This is going to be a lot of help that I can work on next year."
World Championships : 100m
Dutchwoman Inge Dekker pipped Therese Alshammer to the women's 50 metres butterfly title.
Dekker clocked 25.71 seconds to claim gold ahead of world record holder Alshammar of Sweden (25.76s). Melanie Henique of France won bronze in 25.86s.
Sixteen-year-old Melissa Franklin of the United States won the women's 200 metres backstroke title.
Franklin stopped the clock in 2:05.10 seconds to win gold ahead of Belinda Hocking of Australia who took silver in 2:06.06, while Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands claimed the bronze in 2:07.78.
Lizzie Simmonds, clearly off the form that secured her the European title 12 months ago, was seventh.
At her best Simmonds, fifth in the same event in Rome, would have been right in the medal mix but swimming in an outside lane she touched in 2:08.76
Brazilian Cesar Cielo's emotions again got the better of him after he retained his men's 50 metres freestyle title to earn his second gold medal.
The Olympic champion and world record holder blasted down the length of the pool to clock 21.52 seconds. Italy's Luca Dotto won silver in 21.90 while Frenchman Alain Bernard, in lane eight, took the bronze in 21.92.
Cielo, who escaped a doping ban to compete here, broke down on Monday after winning the 50 butterfly and he wept again on Saturday in front of reporters and also had to choke back more tears on the podium.
"I wanted to win this one so badly. I am an Olympic champ and a defending world champ so I am really happy with the result," said Cielo.
"Coming to this World Champs, gaining two golds and a fourth place (in the 100 freestyle), the results are better than what I had imagined two weeks ago."
Cielo was in danger of missing out on the championships before he escaped a doping ban just three days before the pool competition began.
The 24-year-old and three team-mates tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide in May but Brazil's governing body (CBDA) decided against banning the quartet.
Cielo said the positive test was caused by a supplement he took regularly that had become contaminated.
Swimming's governing body FINA appealed against CBDA's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and asked them to impose a three-month ban.
CAS, after a special hearing in Shanghai, ruled on July 21 that he would be allowed to compete because he took "sufficient precautions" over the supplements.
Cielo said the week had taken its toll but he felt better for it.
"Overall this World Champs has been good for me," he added. "I feel I am a lot stronger right now."
United States won their first women's 4x100 metres medley relay world swimming title since 1998 when they took the gold medal.
The quartet of Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Melissa Franklin reached the wall in 3:52.36 seconds. China claimed the silver in 3:55.61 while Australia were third in 3:57.13.
British world record holder Liam Tancock was quickest into final of the men's 50m backstroke, where he'll look to defend his world title.
Tancock was comfortably quicker than his nearest rival, France's Camille Lacourt, as he touched in 24.62 seconds.
"I'm really pleased I think the way I have gone through this meet and tried to progress with each race. I have been really pleased with how it has happened," said Tancock,
"I've got 24 hours to go back, rest, recover, have a massage, a good nights sleep and hopefully come back faster tomorrow."
Fran Halsall, who admitted her disappointment with fourth in yesterday's 100m freestyle final, was fifth quickest into the women's 50m free final, clocking 24.80 secs to finish a quarter of a second behind fastest qualifier Ranomi Kromowidjojo.
"It was a seasons best for me, which bodes well for tomorrow night if I can bring it down a bit more," she said.
But Kate Hayward missed out on the women's 50m breaststroke final by just two hundredths of a second.
Haywood, who now trains in Australia, was ninth quickest, with only the top eight advancing, clocking 31.43 secs.Reuters