Swimming: Tunisian Mellouli clinches gold in Dubai

AFP, Monday 20 Dec 2010

Tunisia celebrated Oussama Mellouli winning a golden medal at world Championships in Dubai on Sunday

Gold medallist Oussama Mellouli after the men's 1500m freestyle finals with Mads Glaesner and Gergely Gyurta

Ryan Lochte doubled his gold medal haul to six and took his overall medal tally to a record 21 on the final session at the short course world championships in Dubai Sunday.

The American set a new championship best time of 1:46.68 in the 200m backstroke, followed by an all-out effort in the 100m individual medley in a time of 50.86, meaning that Lochte achieved a gold medal in every individual event he contested.

He was also part of the victorious 4x100 medley relay team that signed off the championships with a final gold, bringing the US medal tally to 25 overall, with 12 golds.

Lochte smashed two world records earlier in the meet in imperious fashion, but his punishing schedule eventually took its toll and the swimmer admitted to feeling tired.

"I think I could have gone a lot faster (in the 200m backstroke). I gave it my best shot," he said.

"In the 100m individual medley I just went for it. I felt it a lot in my legs after the 200m backstroke, but it's around the same time I went in the semi, so I'll take it.

"I messed up with a couple of my turns so I could have done it faster."

He broke the all-time record for medals won at a short course world championship, with a total of 21, four more than Therese Alshammar's former record of 17.

Rebecca Soni took home another three golds for the US after claiming the breaststroke treble and three championship records to boot.

She won the 200m breaststroke on Saturday to add to her 50m and 100m titles in the same event.

The US world record holder was chased all the way to the line by Chinese swimmer, Ye Sun, but Soni's 2:16.39 was too fast. Sun finished in 2:18.09 while Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark won bronze in 2:18.82.

"I came here looking to get some good racing and I've had a great time," said Soni.

"I really enjoyed having the 50m first and the distance getting longer and longer, at the same time I got used to the sprint so the 200m felt really long."

Australian supporters were finally treated to a winning performance from one of their athletes when Felicity Galvez turned the tables on Sweden's Therese Alshammar in the 100m butterfly.

Alshammar had claimed the 50m version of the event by .01sec, but in the longer distance Galvez, a former world record holder in the 100m butterfly, finished too strongly for her.

"I came here to win gold, it's been a tough race between Therese and I," said Galvez of her championship record 55.43 swim. "I felt I deserved to win this one."

Brazil's athletes went home with three gold medals after sprint star Cesar Cielo doubled up in the 50m freestyle and last night's 100m freestyle. Felipe Silva was then the shock winner of the 50m breaststroke in a championship record, setting a 25.95 mark.

South Africa's world record-holder, Cameron van der Burgh missed out, claiming silver in 26.03. Fabio Scozzoli took bronze in 26.09.

South Africa fared better in the men's 200m butterfly with Chad Guy Bertrand Le Clos powering from fourth to first to finish in 1:51.56, ahead of another Brazilian, Kalo Almeida's 1:51.61 in silver and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh who took gold in 1:51.67.

There were riotous celebrations when Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli claimed 1500m gold in 14:24.19. He also takes home a 200m freestyle bronze, 400m individual medley silver and 400m freestyle bronze.

There was a Dutch one-two in the 50m freestyle when Ranomi Kromowidjojo's 23.37 in the 50m freestyle earned her a second gold medal of the meet, and Schreuder Hinkelein's 23.81 was good enough for silver.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas won her country's first short-course world championship medal - bronze in 24.08.

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