Swimming: Spofforth opens gold account

First win for Britain comes in 100m backstroke – while Phelps suffers shock defeat

Gemma Spofforth last night won gold and set a world record of 58.12sec in the 100m backstroke at the world championships here with a spectacular finish to her race.

The Sussex-born swimmer was second for most of the event but just touched out the Russian Anastasia Zueva in the final metres on a night when Michael Phelps suffered his first major individual defeat in four years.

Spofforth's is the first gold won in the pool by the British team, following the silver and bronze won by Joanne Jackson and Rebecca Adlington in the 400m freestyle at the weekend. Keri-Anne Payne won the 10km open-water swim last week.

"I am very excited with that result," the 21-year-old Spofforth said. "I was thinking I have to take it out a bit faster than I did [on Monday]. Then I came home a bit faster."

The University of Florida swimmer lost her mother, Lesley, to bowel cancer in December 2007 and she dedicated the victory to her memory, saying: "My mum's thoughts were always with me. She got me there over the last 15 metres."

Spofforth became Great Britain's first long-course world champion since 2003. She turned in second at the halfway mark behind Zueva, who had set a world record on Monday in the semi-finals. However, the Briton came back on the final 25m to out-touch the Russian to beat her world record.

She thus became the first Briton since Katy Sexton – also a Portsmouth Northsea backstroker – and James Gibson to claim gold at the worlds. Spofforth was fourth in the event at last year's Olympics and admitted before Rome this had given her extra motivation going into the championships.

Spofforth's win came just minutes after Germany's Paul Biedermann set the 12th record of the championships, beating Phelps in the 200m freestyle.

Biedermann won in 1min 42.00sec, beating Phelps' previous record of 1:42.96 and handing the American his first solo defeat in four years. Biedermann wore his Arena X-Glide suit which has helped him to take more than seven seconds off his 400m freestyle best since 2008, and Phelps was a body length behind in second at 1:43.22. "For the moment it is just like a dream," Biedermann said. Asked if he had thought he could beat Olympic champion Phelps, who won the world title in 2005 and 2007, Biedermann said: "Maybe in two or three years, not now."

Phelps said: "Theoretically that was a pretty good swim for me. Three tenths off my best time after taking sixth months off. I'm not happy but I know I didn't train much this year. For right now, I'll take it. But I'm not pleased." That was obvious from the awards ceremony. Phelps started to walk away after the top three got their medals, then had to be motioned back to the top rung to pose for pictures with the winner and bronze medalist.

Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, later suggested that his charge would not swim internationally after this meet until the issue of suits is fully resolved. Last night FINA, the sport's governing body, confirmed that these championships will be the final major international meet to witness the farcical effect of the performance-enhancing suits. From 2010 there will be a return to textile swimwear.

"A solution needs to be found to the issue of swimsuits as this is not swimming any more," added Phelps. "Technology has to go forward but I am looking forward to the time when we can go back to pure swimming."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks
tv

Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries

Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
techPerils of 'text neck' revealed
News
i100
News
Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt
peopleStonewall boss says many fear it could ruin their careers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection