American teenager Missy Franklin captured a record-equalling fifth gold medal at a single world championships when she won a second consecutive 200 metres backstroke title in Barcelona on Saturday.
The 18-year-old clocked a time of two minutes 04.76 seconds, a championship record, with Australia’s Belinda Hocking taking silver in 2:06.66 and Hilary Caldwell of Canada bronze in 2:06.80.
Franklin already had golds this week in 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle and the 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle relays and she came fourth in Friday’s 100 freestyle.
Her fifth triumph means she has matched a feat previously achieved only by American Tracy Caulkins in 1978 and Australian Libby Trickett in 2007.
“It’s hard to comprehend but I’m so excited because 200 back is my favourite race so it was so fun to get out there,” Franklin told Spanish TV.
Cielo sprints to gold
Brazil’s Cesar Cielo added men’s 50m freestyle gold to his sprint butterfly title just ten months after surgery on both knees.
Cielo, the defending champion and world-record holder, clocked 21.32secs with Russia’s Vladmimir Morozov taking silver at 0.15 adrift and Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell at 0.19 back in third in the freestyle sprint.
““I really didn’t think I’d won when I touched the wall,” said the 26-year-old, before bursting into tears during the medal ceremony.
With six gold medals from the last three world championships, Cielo screamed with joy when his victory was confirmed at the Palau Sant Jordi pool. After winning bronze in the 50m freestyle final in London, Cielo underwent surgery on both knees at the end of 2012 and has only been able to train properly since March.
Record for Ruta
Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania broke a world record that was set only hours earlier in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke.
In the second semifinal heat, Meilutyte touched in 29.48 seconds, beating the record set in the morning preliminaries by Russia’s Yuliya Efimova. Efimova was swimming the same heat as the 16-year-old and touched second in 29.88, just off the mark of 29.78 she held for not even a day. It was Meilutyte’s second world record for at these worlds, having set one in the 100 breast semis.
Le Clos wins 100m fly
Olympic and world 200m champion Chad le Clos of South Africa won the men’s 100m butterfly gold, clocking 51.06sec with Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh at 0.39 back and second and Poland’s Konrad Czerniak 0.40 adrift.