American great Michael Phelps won the 100m butterfly in convincing fashion on Saturday to prove he is far from a spent force in swimming despite a disappointing world championships.
The defending champion, world record-holder and Olympic gold medallist was third at the turn but he swept through the field over the final 50 metres to win in 50.71sec, ahead of Poland’s Konrad Czerniak and America’s Tyler McGill. With nemesis Ryan Lochte watching from the stands, Phelps extended his record number of world titles to 25, including three in Shanghai, alongside two silver medals and one bronze.
Phelps returned to China looking for a possible seven golds, to follow his eight from the 2008 Olympics, but he was beaten by Lochte in the 200m freestyle and again in 200m individual medley, where his team-mate set a world record.
Meanwhile Dutch swimmer Inge Dekker upset a field including the world record-holder and defending champion to win the women’s 50m butterfly and claim her first individual world title.
Drug row aged me 20 years: Cielo
Brazilian star Cesar Cielo said the drug row which overshadowed his world championships had aged him 20 years, adding it was a “big relief” his campaign was over. Cielo, whose escape from a doping ban provoked an angry reaction from some swimmers, rounded off a difficult meet with his second sprint gold in the 50m freestyle, after winning the 50m butterfly earlier.
“For now, it’s a big relief for me. I’ve had a crazy month and it’s good to finish with a gold,” said Cielo.
Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington beat Denmark’s 2009 world champion Lotte Friis to win the women’s 800 metres freestyle title on Saturday.
Adlington, who also won silver in the women’s 400 metres behind Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, clocked eight minutes 17.51 seconds.
Lochte has no time to rest on laurels
Ryan Lochte had little opportunity to soak up the fact he had become the first swimmer to break a long course world record since controversial polyurethane swimsuits were outlawed as his focus shifted to the 200 metres backstroke final on Friday.
Lochte, who broke his own world record in retaining the 200 metres individual medley on Thursday, qualified fastest for the 200 backstroke just over an hour later and was immediately asked what it meant for his preparations for Friday and beyond.
“Forget about the 200 individual medley, I’ll just focus on the 200 backstroke,” Lochte told reporters. “It’s probably the most difficult item for me.”
Biological passport test approved
Swimming’s world governing body FINA has approved a pilot project to look at the introduction of a biological passport in an effort to combat doping, the organisation said on Saturday.
The documents allows testing officials to take a longitudinal study of an athlete’s blood profile.
Variations in that profile over time could indicate doping. “With this new tool, FINA will definitively remain at the forefront of the doping fight,” the organisation’s president Julio Maglione said.
Blood tests taken at the championships in Shanghai would provide the basis for the start of the project, FINA said.