Lochte achieves lift-off at the start of the 200m backstroke. Michael Sohn/AP/Press Association Images
On a Roll

Lochte nabs third consecutive gold at Swimming Worlds

Chilled-out Floridian Ryan Lochte continued his fine form today, dominating the field of the 200m backstroke to take his third successive gold in Shanghai.

RYAN LOCHTE LOCKED up another gold medal at the Swimming World Championships Friday, raising his total to three with at least two events to go.

The American led from start to finish in the 200-meter backstroke to add to his wins in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley.

Lochte edged Michael Phelps in his first two individual events and set a world record in the 200 IM — the only world mark in swimming since high-tech bodysuits were banned 19 months ago.

Lochte, who also got a bronze in the 4×100 free relay, was due back in the water later Friday to swim the anchor leg for the Americans in the 4×200 free relay. He will also be favored in the 400 IM and could swim the medley relay Sunday on the final night of competition.

American Rebecca Soni won the 200 breaststroke to go with her title in the 100 from Tuesday.

Lochte hardly celebrated after hitting the wall in 1:52.96, more than a second in front of silver medalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan. Another American, Tyler Clary, took bronze.

In the men’s 50 free semifinals, Brazilians Bruno Fratus and Cesar Cielo went 1-2, with American Nathan Adrian third. French standout Alain Bernard just made the final in eighth.

“It’s going to be better to have my Brazilian teammate by my side,” Cielo said. “I think he’s hands down the favorite for the gold tomorrow.”

Cielo swept both the 50 and 100 free at the last worlds and is also the Olympic champion in the 50. He was cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week.

Phelps led the 100 butterfly semifinals in 51.47, then hurried out of the pool to prepare himself for the leadoff leg in the 4×200. Milorad Cavic, the Serb who challenged Phelps in Beijing and Rome, failed to qualify in morning heats as he recovers from back surgery.

– Andrew Dampf, Associated Press

Associated Foreign Press