World Swim Championships

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BARCELONA–Canada’s Hilary Caldwell captured a bronze medal in the women’s 200-metre backstroke at the world swim championships Saturday.

American Missy Franklin won her fifth gold medal of the worlds with a time of 2:04.76, edging Australia’s Belinda Hocking. Caldwell, a native of White Rock, B.C., clocked 2:06.80. Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., finished seventh.

“I was feeling good in the water and my backstroke was feeling great,” said Caldwell. “It’s pretty exciting. I don’t know if it’s quite sunk in yet actually, but it’s pretty cool to be up there and the whole crowd and stuff.”

Canadian head coach Randy Bennett called Caldwell’s medal the payoff for a lot of work.

“It’s a big step … she kind of stubbed her toe and was 18th at the Olympics and we kind of felt she had a little bit more in her there last year,” said Bennett. “To her credit, she put her head down and she worked really hard all year.”

Franklin, 18, tied the record for golds by a woman at the worlds, matching Tracy Caulkins of the U.S. and Libby Trickett of Australia. Caulkins won five at the 1978 meet in Berlin, while Trickett did it at home in 2007 at Melbourne.

Franklin has one event remaining, the 400 medley relay, and a chance to join Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto – the only swimmers to win six times at the worlds or Olympics.

“That was awesome,” said Franklin, who has already bettered her performance at the London Olympics, where she won four golds and a bronze. “The 200 back is my favourite race, but it’s probably my most painful.”

As for all those medals, maybe one more to come, to haul back to Colorado: “I’ll probably just throw ‘em in my swim bag and carry ‘em on,” Franklin said.

American Katie Ledecky, only 16, wrapped up a brilliant meet with her fourth gold medal and second world record, this time in the 800 freestyle. The youngster, who hopes to get her driving permit when she returns home, turned it on over the final laps to win in 8:13.86.

Powering to the finish as though she was in a sprint, not the last of 16 laps, Ledecky shattered the mark of 8:14.10 set by Britain’s Rebecca Adlington at the 2008 Olympics.

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BARCELONA–Sun Yang won his third gold medal of the world swimming championships, pulling away from Canadian Ryan Cochrane, and Missy Franklin earned her record-breaking sixth gold on the final night of the world swim championships.

Sun wrapped up a stellar meet with a victory in the longest race on the program, the 1,500 metres. After duelling with Cochrane most of the way, the Chinese star turned it on for the last two laps and won going away in 14 minutes, 41.15 seconds.

Cochrane took the silver in 14:42.48, with Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri third in 14:45.37.

Yang, who had won the 400 and 800, also turned in the fastest leg by far in the 800-metre free relay to almost singlehandedly give China a bronze medal.

Later, Franklin, swimming the leadoff leg for the Americans in the 400-metre medley relay, took a slight lead and her teammates – Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano – made it look easy from there. The winning time was 3:53.23.

The 18-year-old Franklin improved on her performance at the London Olympics, where she was one of the biggest stars with four golds and a bronze. She eclipsed the women’s record for a world meet, which had been shared by Tracy Caulkins (1978) and Libby Trickett (2007).

Franklin also joins Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto as the only swimmers to capture as many as six golds at the worlds or Olympics.

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