July 31- Quadruple Olympic champion Missy Franklin has racked up her third gold medal of the FINA World Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona with a win in the 200 metres freestyle, but decided to abandon her quest for eight gold medals by pulling out of the 50m backstroke semi-final.
Franklin held off the challenge from Italian Olympic champion and eventual silver medallist Federica Pellegrini to touch first in a time of 1min 54.81sec and take her third world title from three finals, but her quest to emulate compatriot Michael Phelps and win eight gold medals at a major championships was ended when she decided to drop out of the 50m backstroke semi-final in order to focus on the 200m freestyle.
"I'm a little sore this morning, I'm not going to lie," she said after announcing that she would not compete in the 50m backstroke semi-final.
"The 50m backstroke is just a fun event for me."
Tomorrow will be another busy day for the 18-year-old American star however as she takes on the 100m freestyle preliminaries and semi-finals, along with the 4x200m relay in which she will race in the same team as fellow teenage Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, who smashed the world record in the 1500m to take her second world title on her debut appearance at the Championships.
It was also a big day for another of the pool stars from London 2012, South African Chad Le Clos, who famously defeated Phelps in the 200m butterfly to take gold at last summer's Games.
Le Clos claimed the now-retired Phelps' title in the same event in which he defeated him in London, edging past the only man other than Phelps to win the title in the past decade, Polish swimmer Pawel Korzeniowski, on the final length, coming home in a time of 1:54.32 to take the gold medal.
"It is the first time I have won a world title, so it is a landmark moment for me," said Le Clos, who was watched on once again by his father, who became an instant celebrity for his passionate reaction when his son took gold at the Aquatics Centre last summer.
"Also, I wanted to win this title to mark the anniversary of my Olympic title a year on.
"I was a bit out of shape...but I just wanted to win tonight and I've got the win so I'm very happy."
Korzeniowski had to settle for a silver medal, the same as he won in the event in Rome four years ago, whilst Peng Wu of China took the bronze medal, adding to the two bronzes and one silver medal he has already won in Barcelona.
There was more glory for South Africa when Cameron Van Der Burgh sneaked the 50 metre breaststroke title ahead of Australian Christian Sprenger by just one hundredth of a second, making it the first time in history that the nation has taken two gold medals on the same day at a FINA World Championships.
Van Der Burgh finished in 26.77, just one tenth of a second behind his own world record, to claim his revenge on Sprenger, who had defeated him to take gold in the 100m breaststroke earlier this week.
The bronze medal also went South Africa's way, with Giulio Zorzi claiming third place in a time of 27.04.
"One of the most special moments in a athletes career...And I got to share this with my best friend," tweeted Van Der Burgh following his win, along with a photo of him celebrating his victory with Zorzi.
China's double Olympic champion Sun Yang also made history on day four of the swimming competition in Barcelona, becoming the first man since Australia's Grant Hackett to win the world 400m, 800m and 1500m titles.
Sun was the pace-setter throughout the race, and the 22-year-old kicked on in the final 150m to claim his second distance title from two finals in a time of 7:41.36, ahead of silver medal-winning American Michael McBroom in 7:43.60 and Ryan Cochrane of Canada, who took bronze in 7:43.70.
The Chinese star broke down in floods of tears on the podium as he received his second gold medal of the Championships, and spoke of just how huge he felt the achievement was.
"To compete with the USA and Australia is very hard for Chinese swimmers and I am very proud of myself," said Sun.
"Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves and for me it is to cry.
"I am very happy with my performance and to get another gold medal.
"The pressure comes from both myself and people outside.
"At the end, I gave the flowers to my parents to show my gratitude to them for supporting me after I left my coach."
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