Lochte's fourth 200 IM gold, Ning stuns in 100 freestyle

American medley king Ryan Lochte in the breaststroke leg on his way to the 200m IM title. He was the three-time defending champion in the event, having won in Rome, Shanghai and Barcelona.
American medley king Ryan Lochte in the breaststroke leg on his way to the 200m IM title. He was the three-time defending champion in the event, having won in Rome, Shanghai and Barcelona.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KAZAN (Russia) • Ryan Lochte won his fourth consecutive 200m individual medley gold at swimming's World Championships in Kazan, Russia, yesterday.

That was one of the few successes for the United States team at the meet, though the 31-year-old could not break his own world record of 1min 54sec set in Shanghai four year ago.

Lochte timed 1:55.81, with Brazil's Thiago Pereira taking silver at 1:56.65 and China's Wang Shun the bronze at 1:56.81.

However, China had much to cheer with Ning Zetao's surprise gold in the 100m freestyle in 47.84sec. He was ahead of Australia's Cameron McEvoy while 2012 Olympic champion Nathan Adrian trailed in seventh.

The US are having a disappointing World Championships by their own high standards and their media have given their swimmers flak for their under-achievements.

But yesterday Olympic backstroke champion Tyler Clary slammed the negative coverage.

The US were third in the medal table on Wednesday behind China and the hosts, having finished top at all of the last six World Championships, dating back to Fukuoka, Japan, in 2001 when Australia claimed first place.

Teenager Katie Ledecky has been America's outstanding performer in Kazan after twice breaking the women's 1,500m freestyle world record and winning three freestyle golds, with the 800m still to come.

But with swim star Michael Phelps absent from Russia after his drink-driving conviction last year, some of the US' top names have failed to dominate the racing here as they usually do.

It has led to some criticism from back home and Clary was not happy about some of the things he has read online.

The Americans failed to win a single heat yesterday morning, as Clary went on the attack.

"To be honest, I am tired about hearing how the Americans are doing here," he said.

"One year from now (at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics), no one will be talking about what happened here. I am tired of some of the negative comments. We're all sticking together as a team."

The US' Missy Franklin left the Barcelona championships two years ago with six golds. The 20-year-old has two bronzes so far.

"We all know our priority is to get to the Olympics next year," she said. "Sometimes, we get disappointed and so do our fans, but we're doing the best we can."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Swimming, heats: StarHub Ch203, 2pm.
S-finals & finals: 10.15pm
Women's water polo final (USA v Netherlands): StarHub Ch202, tomorrow, 2.45am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline 'Lochte's fourth 200 IM gold, Ning stuns in 100 freestyle'. Print Edition | Subscribe