By Nick Butler

ped celeAugust 1 - Denmark's Rikke Moller Pedersen led the way with a world record in the semi-finals of the 200 metres breaststroke at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, while the United States and China won two titles apiece on the fifth evening of swimming finals.

Pedersen (pictured top), 24, has never previously won a World Championship medal in a 50 metre pool, yet powered home in 2 min 19.11sec to take almost half-a-second off the time set by America's Rebecca Soni when she won Olympic gold at London 2012.

In Soni's absence this time around Pedersen will be the odds on favourite to break her medal duck in the final tomorrow evening.

In the 200m individual medley Ryan Lochte ensured the Americans still had plenty to cheer when he won his third consecutive gold medal in the event after comfortably defeating Kosuke Hagino of Japan and Brazil's Thiago Pereira, who finished just one hundredth of a second apart in the tightest of battles for silver and bronze.

Lochte's time of 1:54.98 was outside his own world record mark, yet the result reflected a return to form for the American and earned him his first medal of the week.

"My goggles fogged up in the last 50 so I couldn't really see the rest of the field," he revealed afterwards.

"I was just hoping I was in first and could get to the wall." 

The US won a second title in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay in the final race of the evening, when Katie Ledecky, Shannon Vreeland, Karlee Bispo and Missy Franklin led from the start to finish almost two second clear of Australia and France.

Yet the Americans were not alone in winning two gold medals in day five as China matched them stroke for stroke.

zige liuZige Liu on way to the first of two Chinese golds on day five in the women's 200m butterfly

First, Zige Liu returned to the form which earned her Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008 when she won the 200m butterfly after a thrilling battle with home favourite Mireia Belmonte Garcia, while Hungary's Katinka Hosszu was a distant third after her 200m medley victory earlier in the week.

Zhao Jing then led home a Chinese one-two when she won the 50m backstroke in 27.29 ahead of compatriot Fu Yuanhui.

The other gold medal of the day was won by James Magnussen in the 100m freestyle, with the Australian providing a much needed boost for his countries fortunes when triumphing in 47.71 to pip the US pair of James Feigen and Nathan Adrian.

water poloHungarians Norbert Hosnyanszky and Viktor Nagy celebrate after their last gasp victory over Croatia in the semi-finals of the world championships

Elsewhere, Hungary's men's team qualified for the final of the water polo competition after a thrilling 11-10 victory over London 2012 champions Croatia in the semi-finals.

Montenegro will be Hungary's final opponents after they recorded a stunning 10-8 victory over defending world champions Italy.

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