Other Sport

Aussies stun Phelps-led US

2011-07-24 15:20
A dejected Michael Phelps (AP)
Shanghai - Australia stunned defending champions the United States in the world championships' men's 4x100m relay on Sunday as Michael Phelps got off to a slow start in Shanghai.

James Magnussen had the better of Phelps in the first leg and Australia held off France to finish it in 3min 11.00sec, with the United States, who are also the Olympic title-holders, in third.

It was a resounding finish to the first day of pool competition after China sealed the first 10-title diving sweep and South Korea's Park Tae-Hwan won his 400m freestyle duel with Chinese ace Sun Yang.

The Netherlands successfully defended their women's 4x100m crown and Italy's Federica Pellegrini sealed her second successive 400m freestyle world title.

But it was Australia, gunning to improve on their disappointing performance in Rome in 2009, who stole the show and gave 14-time Olympic gold medallist Phelps something to think about as he embarks on his final year in the sport.

"It's tough," Phelps said.

Earlier, Shanghai's purpose-built Oriental Sports Centre witnessed the final act in China's magnificent 10-out-of-10 diving performance, which put the seal on a decade of dominance.

Qiu Bo epitomised China's diving mastery as he collected 585.45 points in the final, more than 40 ahead of American David Boudia with Germany's Sascha Klein taking bronze.

But there was to be no fairytale for British defending champion Tom Daley, 17, who was competing despite the death of his father from cancer in May and finished fifth.

"There is a big gap between me and Qiu Bo," Daley admitted. "The Chinese are fantastic. But you can see that everything can happen, and you can see the Chinese made mistakes in today’s competition."

It was one of only two individual events in which China did not seal both gold and silver, underscoring the wide margin they enjoy over their closest rivals.

China have long threatened the elusive clean sweep after claiming seven out of eight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and taking seven of 10 at the Rome World Championships a year later.

In the evening's first swimming final, Olympic champion Park sneaked down the outside lane almost unnoticed to win his hotly anticipated 400m freestyle shootout with Sun, the quickest man this year.

Park had his nose in front early on and finished nearly a length ahead of Sun, 19, touching in 3min 42.04sec. Defending champion Paul Biedermann of Germany was relegated to bronze.

"I am glad to swim in lane one, which allowed me to fully concentrate on my own tempo and not to get distracted by the competition," said Park, who also won the title in 2007.

Park's winning time was well outside Biedermann's record of 3:40.07, set two years ago in Rome with the aid of the polyurethane swimsuits which are now banned.

"It's strange that nobody wanted to take the lead in the first 200m. And Park was in lane one so it's hard for the other swimmers to notice him," Sun said.

"Anyway it is my first time to win a silver medal in the World Championships so I'm satisfied. It's really a breakthrough for me."

World and Olympic champions the Netherlands left it late in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay before pipping the United States, as Dutch anchor Femke Heemskerk overtook Dana Vollmer with just 25m to go. Germany took bronze.

And Pellegrini won the women's 400m freestyle in 4:01.97, beating Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington into second spot with France's Camille Muffat third.

Earlier, dope-row sprinter Cesar Cielo pleaded with his critics to leave him alone as he topped the semi-final times in the 50m butterfly.

The Brazilian insisted he was just "here to swim" as storm clouds grew over his all-clear for Shanghai despite failing a drugs test.

"I don't know what else they want from me," Cielo said, after Phelps and Jason Lezak voiced disquiet at this week's controversial decision. "I'm a swimmer, I'm here to swim. There's nothing else I can do."

Lezak said many swimmers were unhappy after the Court of Arbitration for Sport let Cielo off with a warning for testing positive for a banned diuretic. The Brazilian has blamed a contaminated caffeine supplement for the result.

Results of semi-finals and finals Sunday at the FINA World Championships (all distances in meters):

Men50 Butterfly Semi-finals

Top 8 to final

1. Cesar Cielo, Brazil, 23.19 seconds.
2. Geoff Huegill, Australia, 23.26.
3. Florent Manaudou, France, 23.32.
4. Jason Dunford, Kenya, 23.34.
5 (tie). Steffen Deibler, Germany, 23.39.
Andriy Govorov, Ukraine, 23.39.
7. Matthew Targett, Australia, 23.41.
8. Frederick Bousquet, France, 23.42.
9 (tie). Roland Schoeman, South Africa, 23.48.
Konrad Czerniak, Poland, 23.48.
11. Ivan Lendjer, Serbia, 23.59.
12. Milorad Cavic, Serbia, 23.59.
13. Francois Heersbrandt, Belgium, 23.68.
14. Joeri Verlinden, Netherlands, 23.73.
15. James Antony, Britain, 23.74.
16. Benjamin Hockin, Paraguay, 23.95.

100 Breaststroke Semi-finals

Top 8 to final

1. Alexander Dale Oen, Norway, 59.37.
2. Kosuke Kitajima, Japan, 59.77.
3. Fabio Scozzoli, Italy, 59.83.
4. Brenton Rickard, Australia, 1:00.04.
5. Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa, 1:00.07.
6. Mark Gangloff, United States, 1:00.19.
7. Daniel Gyurta, Hungary, 1:00.23.
8. Giedrius Titenis, Lithuania, 1:00.26.
9. Ryo Tateishi, Japan, 1:00.36.
10. Christian Sprenger, Australia, 1:00.44.
11. Lennart Stekelenburg, Netherlands, 1:00.50.
12. Hughes Duboscq, France, 1:00.56.
13. Glenn Snyders, New Zealand, 1:00.59.
14. Felipe Alves Franca da Silva, Brazil, 1:01.73.
15. Henrik Feldwehr, Germany, 1:00.91.
16. Michael Jamieson, Britain, 1:00.93.

400 Freestyle Final

1. Park Tae-hwan, South Korea, 3:42.04.
2. Sun Yang, China, 3:43.24.
3. Paul Biedermann, Germany, 3:44.14.
4. Peter Vanderkaay, United States, 3:44.83.
5. Ryan Cochrane, Canada, 3:45.17,
6. Yannick Agnel, France, 3:45.24.
7. Oussama Mellouli, Tunisia, 3:45.31
8. Sebastien Rouault, France, 3:47.66.

4-x-100 Freestyle Relay

1. Australia (James Magnussen, Matthew Targett, Matthew Abood, Eamon Sullivan), 3:11.00.
2. France (Alain Bernard, Jeremy Stravius, William Meynard, Fabien Gilot), 3:11.14.
3. United States (Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak, Nathan Adrian), 3:11.96.
4. Italy, 3:12.39.
5. Russia, 3:12.99.
6. South Africa, 3:13.38.
7. Germany, 3:15.01.
8. Britain, 3:15.03.

Women100 Butterfly Semi-finals

Top 8 to final

1. Dana Vollmer, United States, 56.47.
2. Lu Ying, China, 57.18.
3. Sarah Sjoestroem, Sweden, 57.29.
4. Alicia Coutts, Australia, 57.41
5. Jemma Lowe, Britain, 57.57.
6. Liu Zige, China, 57.85.
7. Jessicah Schipper, Australia, 57.95.
8. Ellen Gandy, Britain, 57.97.
9. Katerine Savard, Canada, 58.07.
10. Therese Alshammar, Sweden, 58.20.
11. Jeanette Ottesen, Denmark, 58.24.
12. Inge Dekker, Netherlands, 58.70
13. Christine Magnuson, United States, 58.59.
14. Yuka Kato, Japan, 58.71.
15. Tao Li, Singapore, 58.78.
16. Irina Bespalova, Russia, 59.02.

200 Individual Medley Semi-finals

Top 8 to final

1. Stephanie Rice, Australia, 2:09.65.
2. Ariana Kukors, United States, 2:09.83.
3. Ye Shiwen, China, 2:10.08.
4. Alicia Coutts, Australia, 2:10.65.
5. Hannah Miley, Britain, 2:10.96.
6. Caitlin Leverenz, United States, 2:11.15.
7. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:11.71.
8. Julia Wilkinson, Canada, 2:11.92.
9. Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwe, 2:12.21.
10. Mireia Belmonte Garcia, Spain, 2:12.37.
11. Evelyn Verraszto, Hungary, 2:12.51.
12. Erica Morningstar, Canada, 2:12.67.
13. Siobhan O'Connor, Britain, 2:13.26.
14. Fanny Lecluyse, Belgium, 2:13.68.
15. Barbaro Zavadova, Czech Republic, 2:14.03.
16. Choi Hye-ra, South Korea, 2:15.90.

400 Freestyle Final

1. Federica Pellegrini, Italy, 4:01.97.
2. Rebecca Adlington, Britain, 4:04.01.
3. Camille Muffat, France, 4:04.06.
4. Kylie Palmer, Australia, 4:04.62.
5. Lotte Friis, Denmark, 4:04.68.
6. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand, 4:06.11.
7. Kathryn Hoff, United States, 4:08.22.
8. Melania Costa Schmid, Spain, 4:09.66.

4-x-100 Freestyle Relay

Final

1. Netherlands (Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Marleen Velduis, Femke Heemskerk) 3:33.96.
2. United States (Natalie Coughlin, Melissa Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer), 3:34.47.
3. Germany (Britta Steffen, Silke Lippok, Lisa Viting, Daniela Schreiber), 3:36. 05.
4. China, 3:36.36.
5. Australia, 3:36.75.
6. Canada, 3:38.42.
7. Japan, 3:39.55.
8. Denmark, 3:39.74.

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