Swimming: Phelps back in fast lane with world record number 34

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A day on and normal service was resumed in the pool. Michael Phelps put his shock defeat by Paul Biedermann on Tuesday night emphatically to rights yesterday with a stunning triumph in the 200m butterfly, breaking his own world record by more than half a second. It is already the 34th world record of his career.

Phelps touched in 1min 51.51sec, whipped around to see his time and held up his right index finger when the letters "WR" came up on the board. It means he has now surpassed Mark Spitz's tally of world records.

There could not have been a more appropriate place for Phelps to add another record to his CV. Shortly after he climbed from the pool, Italy's Federica Pellegrini sent the home crowd into a frenzy when she set the 20th world mark of the four-day-old meet in the 200m freestyle.

It did not take long to set No 21, as South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh broke the mark he set in the semi-finals to win the 50m breaststroke. And China's Zhang Lin made it 22 with gold in the men's 800 metres. Zhang clocked 7min 32.12sec to break Grant Hackett's previous best of 7:38.65.

There were no medals for Great Britain, but Jo Jackson was just 0.2sec away from claiming her second of the meet in the 200m freestyle and David Davies lowered his British record, coming in fifth in the 800m free.

Phelps was delighted on the podium – a markedly different scene from a night earlier, when Biedermann blew away Phelps in the 200m free, snatching away one of the American's five individual world records.

The loss – Phelps' first in an individual race at the Olympics or world championships since 2005 – was followed by coach Bob Bowman's tirade against the sport's governing body, which allowed polyurethane suits to be used at these championships.

It did not matter what suit Phelps or anyone else was wearing yesterday. No one was even close.

Comments