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Lochte bid for 8 gold medals ends
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 12 - 2010

DUBAI: Ryan Lochte's bid for eight gold medals ended when the United States relay squad failed to even finish on the podium on the opening night of the Short-Course World Swimming Championships Wednesday.
Lochte enjoyed a dominant win in the 200-meter freestyle, but in the 400 free relay the US fell behind after Nathan Adrian's dismal opening leg and Lochte had too much time to make up when he dived in for the anchor leg. The US stood only seventh after the opening leg.
Meanwhile, China set the first swimming world record of 2010, winning the women's 800 freestyle relay.
While world records fell by the dozens in 2008 and 2009, no marks had been set this year after rubberized bodysuits were outlawed – and there still has been no individual mark set in either the long- or short-course pool.
The quartet of Chen Qian, Tang Yi, Liu Jjing and Zhu Qianwei timed 7 minutes, 35.94 seconds, improving on the previous mark from the Netherlands two years ago by nearly three seconds.
Still, the biggest surprise was in the men's relay. The French team of Alain Bernard, Frederick Bousquet, Fabien Gilot and Yannick Agnel won in 3:04.78, with Russia a slim 0.04 behind and Cesar Cielo's Brazil third, 0.96 back.
Normally the dominant force in relays, the US team of Adrian, Garrett Weber-Gale, Richard Berens and Lochte placed fourth, a distant 1.32 behind.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps led off and Jason Lezak swam a memorable anchor leg against Bernard to secure a memorable win for the US.
Phelps and Lezak were not here, and it was stunning to see Adrian, who upset Cielo in both the 50 and 100 free at the Pan Pacific championships in August, swim so slow.
The next long-course worlds are scheduled for Shanghai in July.
The US women – Katie Hoff, Dagny Knutson, Missy Franklin and Dana Volmer – also finished fourth in their relay.
In other races, Olympic champion Liu Zige of China led for most of the way but slowed in the final lap and finished only fifth in the women's 200 butterfly, which was won by Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain in 2:03.59.
Belmonte Garcia was back in the water later to win the grueling 400 individual medley in a championship record 4:24.21.
Lochte didn't celebrate after winning the 200 free in a meet record 1:41.08, nearly a full body-length ahead of his closest competitor.
Danila Izotov of Russia finished second, 0.62 seconds behind, and Olympic 1,500-meter champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia was third, 0.94 back. Paul Biedermann, the German who holds the world record of 1:39.37, placed fifth, 1.11 behind Lochte.
Lochte was attempting to match Phelps' eight victories from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


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