Swimming: Gibson falters as Kitajima sets world record

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The tears were flowing into the temporary pool in the Palau Sant Jordi here as three world records fell on day two of the World Championship.

James Gibson won Britain's first medal of the week, a bronze racing in the fastest field ever assembled in the men's 100 metres breaststroke. Just as he did in the semi-finals, Gibson attacked from the start, turning in first place in 27.86sec, over half a second under world record pace.

In a three-way fight for gold Gibson's early pace took its toll. The 23-year-old won bronze but was rewarded with a British record of 1min 0.37sec. But it was the winner, Kosuke Kitajima who re-wrote history with a world record of 59.78.

Lying in seventh place at the turn Kitajima stormed to victory to win Japan's first ever gold at a world championship. "Initially I was disappointed," said Gibson. "I paced Kitajima to a world record. I was half a second off the pace so I have got some work to do for next year."

The Australian Matt Welsh set the first world record of the meet with victory in the 50m butterfly, stopping the clock in 23.43. Mark Foster carried British hopes, but the 33 year-old finished in seventh. "I am gutted," Foster said. "I just didn't feel the adrenaline going round enough."

The tears though came from the 17-year-old Olympic and world silver medallist, the Australian Liesel Jones, with a world record 1:06.37 in the semi-final of the 100m breaststroke. She will be the overwhelming favourite for today's final.

British hopes today rest with Katy Sexton and Sarah Price in the 100m backstroke. Whisper it, but a personal best from Sexton could be enough for gold. Also in action today is 20-year-old Rebecca Cooke in the women's 1500m freestyle. Cooke finished fifth at the world championships two years ago and put herself in with a chance of a medal after yesterday's time of 16:17.95 which broke her own British record by over two seconds. "I wanted to go out fast in the first 400m then I tried to relax and find my rhythm and break the record. I am looking forward to going faster tomorrow.''

The highlight of today's racing will be the 200m freestyle where Ian Thorpe and Pieter Van den Hoogenband will renew their rivalry. The Dutchman is the world record holder of the 100m freestyle, Thorpe holds the world record on the 200 and 400m, but it was Van den Hoogenband that upset the Australian crowd in the Sydney Olympics when he beat Thorpe to the gold.

After Ian Thorpe became the first man in history to win three world titles in the same event on Monday, American Jenny Thompson became the most decorated swimmer in world championship history. Gold in the 100m butterfly brought her her 11th medal and she expects to add to that tally before the week is finished.

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