Meilutytė claims Lithuania's first FINA World Short Course Championships gold
Thursday, 13 December 2012
December 13 - Lithuanian Rūta Meilutytė continued her excellent form from London 2012 where she claimed the women's 100 metres breaststroke gold medal, by winning the 50m breaststroke title – her nation's first medal in the history of the event – at the FINA World Short Course Championships here tonight.
The 15-year-old, who is coached by Jon Rudd at Plymouth Leander, is already making a big name for herself on the global scene following her Olympic victory this summer and secured her latest gold medal winning finish in a championship record 29.44sec – the third time in as many races that she lowered the previous best.
"I really didn't expect it," Meilutytė said.
"At the moment it feels just like I have swum a normal race, but it will start sinking in.
Following Meilutytė was Jamaica's Alia Atkinson, who recorded 29.67 to win silver and her country's first Championship medal, and Australian Sarah Katsoulis, who clocked 29.94 for the bronze medal spot.
However, the absence on the podium of favourite Jessica Hardy, America's world record holder and winner of the distance in 2008, delivered a shock as she finished in fifth place.
In the men's events, South Africa's Chad le Clos clinched the gold medal in the 100m butterfly, clocking a new event best mark in 48.82.
Leading from the start, the London 2012 200m butterfly gold medallist beat United States pair of Thomas Shields and Ryan Lochte, and was under the world record time by 50m.
However, despite holding his form in the second half of the race, it was not enough to top Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin's mark of 48.48.
Shields won silver in 49.54, while Lochte won bronze – his third medal of the Championships – when he clocked 49.59.
The rest of the session saw the US claim three gold medals, with victories in the men's 4x200m free relay, and the women's and men's 100m backstroke from Olivia Smoliga and Matt Grevers respectively.
Japan's Daiya Seto continued his excellent 2012 season with a sub-4 minute victory in the men's 400m individual medley, while Fabio Scozzoli of Italy took gold in the 100m breaststroke and New Zealand's Lauren Boyle claimed the title in the women's 800m freestyle event.
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