|American swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed two gold medals in Barcelona. - EPA|
Lochte, swimming an unprecedented three times in the evening, first won the 200m backstroke before progressing to the final of the 100m butterfly and rounding the evening off with another gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
“I survived,” said the exhausted 28-year-old Lochte after a long but successful evening.
“I don’t know anyone in swimming that has done a triple in one night. No matter what the outcome was in the first and second race, I had to pull it together for the team in the relay.
“When you get together for a relay, you don’t care about the pain you just have to get up there and do it for the other guys.”
Lochte’s feat was lauded by his American team-mates and also by 200m butterfly world champion Chad Le Clos, who is aiming to beat the 28-year-old after also qualifying for the 100m butterfly final.
“It is great what he is doing for the sport. It is good to show the youngsters that they should swim all the races because he is still able to do this at his age.”
There wasn’t to be a fifth gold of the meet for Franklin though as she failed to even make the podium in the women’s 100m freestyle as Australia’s Cate Campbell claimed gold ahead of Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum and Dutch Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo.
“It’s a strange feeling, it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said a shocked Campbell who cried as she stood atop the podium.
“It’s strange to strive your whole life for something and then achieve it in under a minute!”
Franklin, meanwhile, was philosophical about losing her unbeaten record in Barcelona – having pulled out of the 50m backstroke earlier in the week – and insisted she will challenge for gold in the 100m freestyle come the next Olympics in Rio.
“I was fifth in London and I was fourth tonight so I’m happy with that although I would have loved a personal best.
“Most importantly I learned a lot. The 100m freestyle is definitely the event that I have most to improve so it will be fun to see what I’ll be able to do one day in this event.”
In the women’s 200m breaststroke Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen couldn’t repeat her world record breaking effort from Thursday as she was pipped to victory by Russia’s Yuliya Efimova, who claimed her second medal of the championships after taking silver in the 100m breaststroke.
Hungarian Daniel Gyurta retained his world title for the third consecutive championships in the men’s 200m breaststroke as Marco Koch claimed Germany’s first medal of the championships with silver and 19-year-old Matti Mattsson scored a surprise bronze.
In the evening’s semi-final action there was a shock in the men’s 50m freestyle as fresh from success in the 100m, Australia’s James Magnussen failed to even make the final.
Olympic champion Florent Manaudou qualified fastest with the American duo of Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian and Olympic and world 50m butterfly champion Cesar Cielo Filho also expected to be in contention for the medals. — AFP