Ryan Lochte took on a task Michael Phelps never attempted and completed it spectacularly at the world swimming championships in Barcelona on Friday night.
Lochte swam three events — the 200-meter backstroke final, the 100 butterfly semifinals and the 4×200 freestyle relay final — and finished first in every race. Neither Lochte nor Phelps had ever attempted a triple at a major international meet before.
Lochte, who turns 29 on Saturday, upped his medal count this week to three golds and one silver. He has two finals left, the 100 butterfly Saturday and the medley relay Sunday, to win five golds at worlds for the second straight time. Lochte ranks second all time in world golds (15 to Phelps’ 26) and total medals (23 to Phelps’ 33).
Missy Franklin, aiming to become the first woman to win six golds and seven medals at a single world championships, took fourth in the 100 free final. Her shot at seven medals is now over. She was not expected to win the event but was considered a medal contender. Franklin, 18, also qualified first into Saturday’s final in the 200 backstroke, where she is a heavy favorite.
Franklin will also be part of the women’s medley relay. She has four golds now and has a great chance at six total golds. Kristin Otto of Germany and Tracy Caulkins and Shirley Babashoff of the U.S. have also won six medals (but not all gold) at a single worlds.
Below are full results, analysis, quotes and video highlights from Friday’s action at Palau Sant Jordi.
Women’s 100 Freestyle Final
Gold: Cate Campbell (AUS) 52.34
Silver: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) 52.89
Bronze: Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 53.42
4. Missy Franklin (USA) 53.47
5. Femke Heemskerk (NED) 53.67
6. Britta Steffen (GER) 53.75
7. Tang Yi (CHN) 54.27
8. Shannon Vreeland (54.49)
Franklin would have won bronze if she repeated her preliminary time, which was a personal best. Still, she was smiling after the race. Franklin won’t win seven medals, but she still is likely to win six golds, which no woman has done at a world championships. Australia wins both the 100 freestyle world titles at the same world championships for the first time. Campbell was .61 seconds under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark. She finished behind the world mark of 52.07. Sjostrom adds silver to her 100 butterfly gold. Kromowidjojo was the 2012 Olympic champion.
“I’m very, very happy with that race,” Franklin said. “I have so much to improve on in that race.”
Men’s 200 Backstroke Final
Gold: Ryan Lochte (USA) 1:53.79
Silver: Radoslaw Kawecki (POL) 1:54.24
Bronze: Tyler Clary (USA) 1:54.64
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) 1:55.07
5. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 1:55.43
6. Craig McNally (GBR) 1:55.67
7. Xu Jiayu (CHN) 1:57.13
8. Peter Bernek (HUN) 1:58.26
Lochte had a slight lead at the 50, opened it up to a half-second at the 100 and the 150 and held on for his second straight world title in the 200 back and his second straight gold in Barcelona. Kawecki was a surprise medalist, snatching silver with a European record. Clary is the Olympic champion and was the top seed going into the final. The U.S. has won this event at every worlds and Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
“My first reaction getting into the wall was frustration,” Clary told Universal Sports. “It’s going to be fun trying to get back up on the podium the next three years.”
Women’s 200 Backstroke Semifinals
Advance To Final
1. Missy Franklin (USA) 2:06.46
2. Hilary Caldwell (CAN) 2:07.15
3. Elizabeth Pelton (USA) 2:08.20
4. Belinda Hocking (AUS) 2:08.49
5. Daryna Zevina (UKR) 2:08.74
6. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) 2:08.97
7. Daria Ustinova (RUS) 2:09.08
8. Sinead Russell (CAN) 2:09.84
Franklin showed how dominant she is in her signature event by qualifying more than a half-second faster than anyone else 20 minutes after getting out of the pool from the 100 free final. She’s the world champion, Olympic champion, world record holder and heavy, heavy favorite for gold No. 5 on Saturday. Pelton, who had a pair of third-place finishes at last year’s Olympic trials, looks to be in the mix for silver and bronze with Caldwell and Hocking, the 2011 world silver medalist.
“I will (relax),” said Franklin, who gets her first session off Saturday morning. “I’m going to get Starbucks.”
Men’s 50 Freestyle Semifinals
Advance To Final
1. Florent Manaudou (FRA) 21.37
2. Anthony Ervin (USA) 21.42
3. Cesar Cielo (BRA) 21.60
3. Nathan Adrian (USA) 21.60
5. Frederick Bousquet (FRA) 21.62
6. Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 21.63
7. Roland Schoeman (RSA) 21.67
8. George Bovell (TRI) 21.74
Manaudou, the Olympic champion, also had the fastest prelim time. He’s the favorite for gold Saturday. Ervin, though, was spectacular in his semifinal and could also win gold after coming .02 shy of Cullen Jones‘ American record. Ervin was the co-gold medalist in the splash and dash at the 2000 Olympics. Cielo is the two-time defending world champion and world record holder. Adrian, too, is in the medal picture, though he has never medaled in this event at a worlds or Olympics. Adrian’s rival, James Magnussen, missed the final.
“My goal this summer was to get that bottom half of 21, 21.59 or better was my goal,” Ervin said. “Just with that swim alone, I feel really good the next couple years to Rio, the possibility of Rio.”
“Each hundredth is just so much emotional energy,” Adrian said. “If you want to win at this point, you’ve got to nail your start, breakout and your finish. That right there is the entire race.”
Women’s 200 Breaststroke Final
Gold: Yuliya Efimova (RUS) 2:19.41
Silver: Rikke Pedersen (DEN) 2:20.08
Bronze: Micah Lawrence (USA) 2:22.37
4. Rie Kaneto (JPN) 2:22.96
5. Viktoriya Solntseva (UKR) 2:23.01
6. Marina Garcia Urzainqui (ESP) 2:23.55
7. Sally Foster (AUS) 2:24.01
8. Martha McCabe (CAN) 2:25.21
Efimova passed Pedersen on the final 50 meters. Pedersen had broken Rebecca Soni‘s world record in the semifinals — clocking a 2:19.11. Efimova adds a gold to her Olympic silver and bronze from the 2011 worlds. Lawrence wins her first world or Olympic medal.
Men’s 100 Butterfly Semifinals
Advance To Final
1. Ryan Lochte (USA) 51.48
2. Chad le Clos (RSA) 51.52
3. Konrad Czerniak (POL) 51.55
4. Evgeny Korotyshkin (RUS) 51.60
5. Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 51.61
6. Matteo Rivolta (ITA) 51.64
7. Steffen Deibler (GER) 51.65
8. Yauhen Tsurkin (BLR) 51.78
Lochte swam a personal best to vault into the medal picture Saturday. Le Clos is the Olympic and world champion in the 200 butterfly and probably still the favorite for gold. Watch out for Deibler, who is the fastest in the world this year.
Women’s 50 Butterfly Semifinals
Advance To Final
1. Jeanette Ottesen Gray (DEN) 25.50
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) 25.68
3. Francesca Halsall (GBR) 25.90
4. Melanie Henique (FRA) 25.95
5. Dana Vollmer (USA) 26.06
6. Inge Dekker (NED) 26.11
7. Farida Osman (EGY) 26.12
7. Ying Lu (CHN) 26.12
Vollmer, the Olympic champion and world record holder in the 100 fly, is healthy again after suffering through illness to a bronze in the 100 fly a few days ago. Ottesen Gray and Halsall are probably the favorites as the fastest women in the world this year. Dekker is the defending world champion. And how about Egypt getting a swimmer in a final?
“(I feel) so much better,” said Vollmer, who had three days off between events. “It just feels like everything kind of cleared up. My energy’s back.”
Men’s 200 Breaststroke Final
Gold: Daniel Gyurta (HUN) 2:07.23
Silver: Marco Koch (GER) 2:08.54
Bronze: Matti Mattsson (FIN) 2:08.95
4. Andrew Willis (GBR) 2:09.13
5. Michael Jamieson (GBR) 2:09.14
6. Viatcheslav Sinkevich (UKR) 2:09.34
7. Akihiro Yamaguchi (JPN) 2:09.57
8. Ryo Tateishi (JPN) 2:10.28
Gyurta, seventh at 100 meters, took the lead between 100 and 150 and cruised home to become the sixth man to win three straight world titles in the same event. He went faster than his world record at the 2012 Olympics (a record since broken by the Japanese Yamaguchi). Mattsson became Finland’s first world medalist since 1994. Jamieson, the Olympic silver medalist, disappointed in fifth after coming in with the fastest time in the world this year.
Men’s 4×200 Free Relay
Gold: United States 7:01.72
Silver: Russia 7:03.92
Bronze: China 7:04.74
4. France 7:04.91
5. Japan 7:04.95
6. Germany 7:10.07
7. Belgium 7:11.15
8. Great Britain 7:12.00
The U.S. used three of its four swimmers from the 2012 Olympic final — Lochte, Ricky Berens and Conor Dwyer. Charlie Houchin, who swam in the prelims in London, replaced Michael Phelps.The Americans were a solid but not overwhelming favorite.
Russia (Danila Izotov) led France (Yannick Agnel) by three tenths and the U.S. (Dwyer) by six tenths after the first leg, each nation using its medalist from the individual 200 free on leadoff. Lochte propelled the U.S. into the lead on his last turn of the second leg. Houchin and Berens extended the edge over Russia to a full body length to win easily.
The U.S. won its fifth straight world title in the event. Lochte finished a perfect night, two golds and qualifying first in the 100 butterfly. He now has three golds, one silver and a fourth with two finals left.