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Lochte leads another record-filled night at short-course worlds

4/13/2008

MANCHESTER, England -- Ryan Lochte led the way as the short-course swimming world championships concluded Sunday with six more world records to bring the total for the meet to 18 overall.

Lochte set four marks and Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe established three at the last major international meet before the Beijing Olympics.

All but one of the records were set by athletes wearing the Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit, which has also been worn in 18 of the 19 long-course world record-setting performances since it was introduced in February.

"A world record is a world record," Lochte said. "It means you're the best in the world. If you break a world record, you can't be like, 'Uh, all right.' It's something no one else can do and you should really remember that."

The space-age suit -- which was designed with the help of NASA -- supposedly makes swimmers go up to two percent faster.

"An athlete still has to train. None of us are walking across water," Coventry said. "It's just an Olympic year and everyone is swimming fast. Everyone is getting prepared and showing what to expect in Beijing."

On Sunday, Lochte improved on his own 100-meter individual medley record, set in the semifinals a day earlier. The American finished in 51.15 seconds, shaving 0.10 off his previous mark.

Lochte also set a world record in the 200 IM and led off the Americans' world-record swim in the 400 freestyle relay earlier in the week. The Floridian finished with four gold medals and two silvers.

The other records Sunday were set by Markus Rogan in the 200 backstroke, Sanja Jovanovic of Croatia in the women's 50 back, Felicity Galvez of Australia in the women's 100 butterfly, Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands in the women's 50 freestyle and Russia in the men's 400 medley relay.

Rogan can shed the label of eternal runner-up. His previous best results at Olympics and world championships were seven silvers. When he realized he had won, Rogan slammed his fist into the water to celebrate.

"I didn't think I stood a chance," the Austrian said.

Rogan finished in 1 minute, 47.84 seconds. The previous record of 1:49.05 was set by Lochte in Shanghai two years ago. Lochte finished second this time, in 1:47.91 -- also better than his old mark.

Jovanovic improved on her own world record, finishing in 26.37 seconds. Her old mark was 26.50, set at the European short-course worlds in December.

Galvez's time was 55.89 seconds, which shaved 0.06 off the previous mark set by teammate Lisbeth Lenton in 2006.

Veldhuis improved her own world record in the women's 50 free, finishing in 23.25. Her previous mark was 23.58, set in November.

The Russian team of Stanislav Donets, Sergey Geybel, Evgeny Korotyshkin and Alexander Sukhorukov took the medley relay in 3:24.29. The previous record of 3:25.09 was set by the United States in 2004.

Also Sunday, Nathan Adrian of the United States beat two-time world champion Filippo Magnini of Italy in the men's 100 free. Adrian finished in 46.67 for a championship record, while Magnini touched second in 46.70 and Duje Draganja of Croatia was third in 46.83.

Magnini had hoped to use a new Arena suit that is supposed to compete with the LZR, but the suit could not be approved in time by swimming governing body FINA.

Yuriy Prilukov of Russia improved his own championship record in the 1,500 freestyle, touching in 14:22.98 -- nearly a second ahead of his time from two years ago.

Suzaan Van Biljon of South Africa also set a championship mark in the women's 200 breaststroke, as did Moss Burmester of New Zealand in the men's 200 butterfly.