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South Africans take over Barcelona

August 1, 2013
Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos

Van der Burgh’s gold in the 50m breaststroke, along with Chad Le Clos‘ gold in the men’s 200m fly earlier in the evening, gave South Africa two swimming world championship titles on the same day for the first time ever. Other highlights today were a third medal for South Africa, Missy Franklin´s third world title in this meet and the second for Chinese swimmer Yang Sun.

The first gold medal of the evening went to Chad Le Clos, who swam a 1:54.32 in the 200m fly event. The South African idol repeated his title from London 2012, to now get his first world championship medal. The silver was for Polish swimmer Pawel Korzeniowski (winner of this title eight years ago). Korzeniowski won his third medal to set a new Polish men´s record, while the bronze was for China´s Peng Wu, who won his fourth world championship medal in this discipline.

The women´s 200m freestyle was for USA´s Missy Franklin, who became the first swimmer to bag a third gold in these Worlds.

35 years had to pass before the USA could celebrate a gold medal in this event, since the triumph of Cynthia Woodhead in 1978, which is a big accomplishment for this amazing 18-year-old swimmer. She is aiming for more and looked very confident while facing her first races in these Worlds, although she recognizes that it´s going to be tough to keep up the pace.

“It´s hard when you have this schedule”, said Missy Franklin a few minutes before leaving this iconic venue to rest for tomorrow´s 50m backstroke final.

Italy´s Federica Pellegrini took the silver and missed the chance to become the first woman to win the same individual event three times in the World Championships. Meanwhile, it was Camille Muffat from France who came third, just like she did in Shanghai 2011, when she also won the bronze medal.

The next event was the men´s 50m breaststroke final. And that´s when Cameron Van der Burgh made history in the name of South Africa by hitting the wall in 26.27 (only one hundredth of a second before Australia´s Christian Sprenger, who won the silver) to become the first man to reach his fourth world championship medal in this discipline. At the same time, Van der Burgh also tied Ukraine´s Oleg Lisogor as the only men to win this title twice.
Van der Burgh´s fellow countryman Giulio Zorzi came third, which gave South Africa the second time in the history of the World Champions two South Africans were on the podium at the same time.

The last event of today´s second session was the men´s 800m freestyle final, where it was long-distance Chinese swimmer Yang Sun who touched the wall in 7:41.36. With this he won his second gold medal at this meet, after winning the world title in the 400m freestyle race that took place last Sunday.

Palau Sant Jordi will see more from Yang Sun as he will be swimming his strongest distance (the 1500m freestyle) on Sunday, a couple of minutes before the closing ceremony of the 15th FINA World Championships Barcelona 2013.


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