Irie beats record by more than a second
CANBERRA, Australia -- Japan's Ryosuke Irie set a world record in the men's 200-meter backstroke Sunday in a meet against Australia.
Irie finished in 1 minute, 52.86 seconds to break the previous record, held by American Ryan Lochte, by more than a second, Lochte set the previous mark of 1:53.94 while winning the gold medal at last year's Beijing Olympics.
The 19-year-old Irie won the race by more than 5 seconds over from Australia's Ashley Delaney and Japan's Takashi Nakano.
Irie, who swam 1:54.02 at the Japanese world championship trials two weeks ago, pumped his fists after the race and appeared to be overwhelmed.
"I couldn't think I could go that fast," he told Australian television's Network Ten through an interpreter. "I can say only one phrase: unbelievable."
Irie's world record was the first in the Australian Institute of Sport pool since Michael Klim's 100-meter butterfly world mark of 51.81 seconds in December 1999.
Irie was just 0.02 seconds behind American Aaron Peirsol's world record for the 100 backstroke on Saturday, clocking 52.56. Peirsol set the mark of 52.54 in winning the gold at the Beijing Games.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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