July 29, 2005

World records fall, Phelps gets 4th gold

By Julian Linden

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Aaron Peirsol and Leisel Jones both
set world records to win their second gold medals at the world
swimming championships on Friday while Michael Phelps collected
his fourth courtesy of another American relay victory.

Peirsol lowered his own 200 meters backstroke world record
to join Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett as the only swimmers to
win the same event at three world championships.

Then Jones slashed 0.72 seconds off Amanda Beard's world
record to win the 200m breaststroke final and add the gold to
her win in the 100m earlier this week.

Australia's Olympic champion Jodie Henry also won her
second gold this week with victory in the 100m freestyle to
confirm her place as the fastest woman in the world.

Jones and Henry will team up in the medley relay on
Saturday where Australia will be heavily favored to win another

Brendan Hansen completed the 100m-200m breaststroke double
for the first time by winning the four-lap race on Friday and
provide the U.S. with the second of their third victories in
Montreal on Friday night.

Phelps put the icing on the cake when he teamed up with
Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller to win the
4x200m freestyle relay in a combined time of seven minutes
06.58 seconds to take the gold.

Canada finished second and Australia third after Hackett,
winner of the 400m and 800m freestyle titles, reeled off a
final leg of 1:44.84 seconds to grab the bronze for his

Peirsol led all the way to take the 200m backstroke gold in
a time of 1:54.66, 0.08 under the previous mark of 1:54.74
which he set at last year's U.S. Olympic trials at Long Beach,

Markus Rogan of Austria finished second in 1:56.63 while
American Ryan Lochte was third in 1:57.00.

Peirsol's victory was the latest in a series of staggering
achievements that has made him the world's greatest male

The 22-year-old Californian won the 200m backstroke at the
2001 and 2003 world championships as well as the 100m titles in
2003 and again this year. He also won three gold medals in
Athens and holds the world record for both distances.

Jones stopped the clock at 2:21.72 to demolish the previous
record Beard also set at Long Beach last year. Germany's Anne
Poleska finished second in 2:25.84 while Austria's Mirna Jukic
was third in 2:27.11.

Jones claimed the 200m world record from Beard for the
first time last year last year but it lasted just two days when
the American snatched it back.

Earlier this week, Jones lost her 100m world record to
Jessica Hardy in the semi-finals but returned the next day to
beat her in the final and claim her first world title.

Henry stormed home on the last lap after being third at the
turn to take out the premier women's freestyle sprint in a time
of 54.18, well outside the world record of 53.52 she set in
Athens but still enough for her to add the world title to her
Olympic crown.

American Natalie Coughlin and Malia Metella of France
dead-heated for second place in 54.74.

Phelps laid the foundations for the American relay win with
an opening leg of 1:45.51 to claim his fourth gold medal of the
championships after his previous wins in the 4x100m freestyle
relay, the individual 200m freestyle and 200m medley.

He has entered eight events but bombed out in the heats of
the 400m freestyle and finished seventh in the 100m freestyle
to ruin.

The 20-year-old still has the 100m butterfly and the medley
relay but needs to win both to match Thorpe's record of six
golds at a single world championship.