Swimming: World records 'sham': US coach questions Chinese domination

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The Independent Online
THE COACH of the United States women's swimming team, Richard Quick, yesterday accused China of drug abuse after coaches and team officials from 18 countries issued a statement saying drugs threatened the future of the sport.

Quick, speaking to reporters at the end of a world championships where the Chinese women won 12 of 16 gold medals and set five world records, called such amazing results 'a sham'.

The statement did not specifically mention China, and Dave Johnson, the Canadian head coach, said it was wrong to single out one nation.

Michelle Smith finished fifth yesterday in the first- ever appearance in a World Championships final by an Irish swimmer. The 23-year- old from Dublin rounded off a spectacular campaign on the final day in Rome by breaking her eighth Irish record of the week.

She clocked 2min 12.79sec in the 200 metres butterfly, which was won by Liu Limin, of China, who swam a championship record 2:07.25. Smith swam 2:13.22 in the heats to take two-and-a-half seconds off Marion Madine's 1992 Irish record and become Ireland's first finalist since the inaugural event in 1973.

Britain ended the championships without a medal for the first time. Ian Wilson finished seventh in the 1500m in 15:20.58 and Graeme Smith, of Scotland, was a distant eighth in 15:29.24. Kieren Perkins of Australia won the gold medal to add to his 400m title.

Jani Sievinen of Finland broke another world record when he stormed to victory in the 200m individual medley in 1:58.16.

Le Jingyi of China collected her fifth gold medal of the championships and her second individual world record when she won the 50m freestyle in 24.51.